So long, JR Handley. Welcome, J.R. Handley.

Legion News! We are no longer publishing JR Handley. Following a major reevaluation of his life, the author previously going by that name wishes to be known as J.R. Handley. *Sigh*. In other words, I realized that JR has been published both with and without the dots in his name, and we’ve settled on the dotty version going forward as the most appropriate. Hopefully the changes will work through Amazon without causing too much mayhem. To celebrate this important event, his Sleeping Legion books will be 99c over the next few days, and this will be effective in Australia and Canada and discounted everywhere else, unlike the last promotion. If you find the books aren’t discounted, then wait a few hours and try again because it takes a few hours for Amazon to reflect the change. You can find more details and links here: https://humanlegion.com/books/the-sleeping-legion/

 

Elsewhere in the Legion world, I’ve been working 3,000 years away in the Perseus Arm with Chimera Company. The story and characters are really starting to come together, and I’ve been in talks with an exciting new distributor that would allow you to get issues delivered directly to your phone or tablet for a cheaper price than you could purchase on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo or elsewhere. Watch this space…

The Battle of Earth begins today

You can now read the story of the Human Legion’s final campaign. The Battle of Earth Part1: Endgame and Part2: Restart are available now in the Kindle store to buy, or borrow for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. Paperbacks are not yet ready, but should be by mid-week. I’m really proud of this double-bill climax and I think it benefited more from Recon Team advice than any other book, so thank you; it was a team endeavor.

It’s been a while since the last main-line Legion novel, War Against the White Knights, was released, and I know some readers have subsequently come across me from my work with Revenge Squad, the Four Horsemen Universe or elsewhere. For both those reasons, I’ve written these two novels so you don’t need to have read the preceding books to enjoy them, but if you do want to grab the earlier ones, I’ve temporarily reduced the price of most of them to 99 cents or equivalent during the launch. There’s never been a better time to grab the series. And standby for announcements on The Sleeping Legion and Revenge Squad later this month.

Earth’s alien occupiers look down upon humanity because they know they have won. Join the resistance and prove them wrong.

2739 A.D. Six centuries ago, a million children were given up as slaves to Earth’s new alien overlords. Now their descendants have fought their way back home and found Earth in the grip of a savage new alien occupation. This is the Human Legion’s final battle: the Battle of Earth.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first Legion novel. Start here, because if the Earth is to be liberated, and the statues of the alien Supreme Commander Tawfiq are to be toppled to the ground, it is here that the Legion most needs your support.

In ‘Endgame’, the first of the two-part conclusion to the story of the Human Legion, the Legion walks into the trap they know awaits them in the heavily fortified Solar System. But in the augmented mind of General Arun McEwan, they have the finest strategist in the galaxy. Can he devise a counter-trap to snare the alien defenders? But with McEwan dying and the Legion riddled with Tawfiq’s spies, the Legion’s campaign seems doomed to end in disaster.


Follow these links to grab the books

PART1: ENDGAME  |  PART2: RESTART


Drink to victory from the skulls of your enemies…

 

… at the party on June 25th!

Monday, June 25th at 16:00 EDT (9pm UK time) I’ll be hosting a slot for around 90 minutes in the Galactic Genesis Launch Party on Facebook Live. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m sure it will be fun. Please come along and support me, chat, heckle, ask questions, and have a good time. Join up here. #SpreadTheWord.

For more information on the Human Legion books, you can find out more on the Human Legion book page.

Tim writes live: Bonaventure

To celebrate the conclusion to the Human Legion series, I’m going to go a little mad and write a new Legion story live. Well, live-ish. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to write the story of the ship we meet at the beginning of Indigo Squad, the Bonaventure, except to its Amilx crew, the ship’s real name is FRS Retribution. I’m going to write a scene every day and post it out to all Legionaries signed up to the Legion Bulletin. If you’ve not already signed up, then you can join the Legion for free here. And don’t worry if you missed the start because all back issues of the Legion Bulletin are archived for Legionaries.

Thank you all for your tremendous support that has made it possible for me to write these books.

Tim

EDITED TO ADD 17 July 2018: Due to legal reasons, a part of this post has been removed. If you came here from the link in the Legion Bulletin, I’m afraid it may be the bit you were looking for. Sorry. I need to rethink. Tim.

 

 

The Battle of Earth is coming

It’s done.

The Battle of Earth will begin soon.

I don’t normally type THE END, but it seemed fitting this afternoon, because today I finished writing the Human Legion. When you add in the spin off series, including the mighty Sleeping Legion from JR Handley, then once these final books are published, that will take it to 1.6 million published words in the Human Legion Universe. To put that in perspective, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels weigh in at just under 2 million words, Harry Potter is 1.1 million (with 260,000 for Order of the Phoenix aloneI knew that book went on a bit!), and 1.25 million for Iain M. Banks’ Culture books.

Recon teams are on standby, and I’ll be building the recon editions and sending them on next Monday.

I’m enormously excited to share the conclusion with you. Plenty of twists, revelations, and tragedies await. Then there’s some light relief, a few happy bits, and maybe a little romance before the end of the human race. I’m really proud of it. Release date depends on what the recon teams feed back. If they give the thumbs up then this will be released late May as two volumes. More details, including how I wrote each volume differently as we get closer to the time.

Videos are planned. Even an audio advert! Maybe another mug. There’s no end to what I might do!

So, there will be a short wait, but there is plenty of reading goodness to enjoy in the meantime.

Next Friday, 27th April, sees the launch of my first Four Horsemen Universe novel, published by Seventh Seal Press. If you’ve ever fancied getting into an armored mech and jetting around the galaxy with a mercenary company stickling it to the bad guys, then The Midnight Sun is for you. It’s not all mecha though; there’s a space heist and plenty of starship action too. My son’s busy making a Lego version of the cover art, and I’ll make sure to post it here.

If pulp adventures facing cosmic gods and Cthulhu cultists is your thing, join in the Kickstarter for a Lovecraftian pulp anthology in which I have a story set in Birmingham, England in 2015. If you’re an American pledge, your likeness could be drawn as a cosmic demon or cultist (this only works with Americans, for reasons of great cosmic complexity that probably involve the terrifying cult known only by the eldritch name: US Postal Service). Watch the video to learn more!

I know. You wait around for months for the next Tim Taylor novel, and then three come out at once.

And there’s more.

I like to write introductory short (and not-so short) stories to serve as introductions to the series I publish and make them available for signed up Legionaries. If I sharpen my typing fingers, I’m hoping to have a Four Horsemen Universe story written next week that will serve as in introduction to the mercenary company I write about, the Midnight Sun Free Company. It’s called Thrill Addict. Time is getting tight, so I might not quite make it, but I won’t be far off.

You can sign up in readiness here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up anyway and take a look at The Battle of Cairo, which is a prequel novelette for the Battle of Earth.

More news to follow as it comes in.

Tim

Space Opera Politics: post-conflict politics in the Human Legion Pt. 2

After the war what next?

That’s when the hard work starts, that’s what!

In the forthcoming Revenge Squad series, the Human Autonomous Region is fighting for stability, and that’s not just to provide a decent life for its citizens. If you’ve read the Human Legion series as far as Book 5 then you will probably be thinking that if any freedoms have truly been won, then they are going to be highly fragile. Winning freedom is one thing. Making it work, is quite another. As we saw in part one, you can compare this chaotic region of space to Central and Eastern Europe between the First and Second World Wars.

And it is a much more constrained area of space (and time) than we experience in the Human Legion books.

To begin with, at least, the Revenge Squad books are limited to the planet of Klin-Tula and its surrounding star system. The characters aren’t about to pop into a space shuttle or matter transporter and arrive in the next chapter on Earth or Tranquility. There are stuck on Klin-Tula as you and I are on Earth (unless you’re reading this on the ISS, in which case ‘Hi’ and ‘Good on you’ but you are only marginally less stuck than me).

In the late eighteenth century, a protected series of wars were fought in North America involving the native peoples, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and European colonists. The European powers had the strongest conventional militaries, but had to travel across the Atlantic. In the Age of Sail it took around a month to cross to Europe and two months to cross to America. See how that turned out!

Now consider the situation in the Human Legion universe where the equivalent of transatlantic travel times are approximately 75 times greater than European ships took to across the Atlantic.

If the world of Klin-Tula succumbs to a coup, invasion, epidemic, a fashion for avocado-colored bathroom fittings or a similar calamity, it’s going to be at least a generation before any help will arrive. The world needs to be self-sufficient enough to respond to its own needs.

That includes a military capability, which in the case of Klin-Tula takes the form of the federal Civilian Defense Force.

Klin-Tula is a colony. There have been settlers there for thousands of years, slaves themselves like everyone in the White Knight Empire. They are few in number, and most live underground or in the seas, choosing not to live on the land surface. Which is just as well, because Klin-Tula has been designated as a ‘conglomerated colony’.

The leadership of the Human Legion decided early on that to allocate one planet to the Littoranes, another to the Hardits and another planet to the humans, would be an invitation for the fledgling Human Autonomous Region to split along species grounds.

NJ McCall has no choice but to partner with aliens...
NJ McCall has no choice but to partner with aliens…

Twelve of the constituent species of the Human Legion are being settled on Klin-Tula. Think of how diverse contemporary humanity is and then imagine the multitude of religions, political ideologies, tribes, ethnic and cultural subgroups within each of those species. Then multiply by twelve. And then add the settlers in who were already there.

Klin-Tula is a crazy patchwork world, which makes it interesting to write about, but difficult to live in. This division combined with the huge separation from neighboring star systems also makes Klin-Tula ripe for exploitation. Imagine corporate raiders operating on a planetary scale…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first Revenge Squad novel is due to reach the editor at the start of July, and already I’m hinting here at what might lie in store for books to be published in 2017.

When I look for ideas to describe future worlds and how the people in them might relate to one another, I often look for inspiration from real-world examples. After all, the problem of how people can live together in larger than extended family groups is something our species has been working on for many thousands of years. I’m not sure we’ve quite figured this out yet, but it isn’t for want of trying. That’s led to a number of ideas I can steal and then take where I choose.

Like me, the humans within the Human Legion story also look for inspiration from Earth history, for precisely the same reasons. More so. The likes of Arun McEwan, NJ McCall and Lance Scipio have been separated from Earth for many centuries, and their culture and history squeezed through such a narrow funnel that they couldn’t distinguish historical fact from fantasy until very recently. Orphaned from their culture, and rejecting their history of servitude, they look to Earth for inspiration.

In a tiny way, the Human Legion took inspiration from the town of my birth, Colchester. Its Roman name was Camulodunum, and it was one of the earliest and most important Roman coloniae in Britain. When a legionary had served his time in the legions, he was given a small plot of land somewhere in the frontier and changed status to a citizen reservist. These plots of land were grouped around new frontier towns or were outposts around newly captured towns. They were known as coloniae.

The idea was to create small pockets of stability populated with veteran soldiers who brought their families, and therefore had a vested interest in the prosperity and success of these towns. Over the decades and centuries, the conquered peoples whose land was being colonized in this way (as you probably know or figured out, that’s where we get the word colony from) became ‘civilized’ enough that the frontier could be moved on and more distant coloniae established.

My town was colonized by the Roman invaders way back in AD 50.  A few of these coloniae are still around today: Belgrade, York, and Cologne, to name a few.

Stabilizing the frontier was the plan, anyway. Plans don’t always survive contact with reality, though. Not even for the Romans.

In years to come, Klin-Tula archeologists will talk of an 'NJ McCall Destruction Horizon'
In years to come, Klin-Tula archeologists will talk of an ‘NJ McCall Destruction Horizon’

In the UK, when property developers build a new shopping mall or housing estate, the local authority often requires the developer to pay for a quickfire archaeological dig before they bring in the heavy machines and forever ruin whatever might lay undisturbed underground. Archeological digs in the center of my hometown always discover a red-black layer if they dig deep enough. It’s called the Boudican Destruction Layer or more recently the Boudican Destruction Horizon (which sounds more science fictional … I wonder if I can work a ‘destruction horizon’ into a story one day). The destruction layer comes from the time the local Celts, led by Queen Boudicca, decided they’d had enough of being civilized for the time being, thank you very much, and burned Camulodunum to the ground in a conflagration hot enough to melt lead (AD 60-61). Here’s a photo of the destruction layer. It’s over a meter thick in places.

In Revenge Squad, when former Sergeant Ndeki Joshua is retired from the Human Legion and sent as a reservist colonist to Klin-Tula, he tries to reinvent himself as NJ McCall, a farmer who keeps himself to himself, does his annual stint with the Civilian Defense Force, and tries to avoid people in general (and aliens in particular whom he blames for a lot of his life’s ills).

Funnily enough, I decided not to write a multi-book science fiction series about farming, and some other geezer has just written an enormously succerssful series of books on silos (though not farming ones), so I didn’t want to involve those either. NJ may start off living as a future version of a Roman ex-legionary colonist, but if he’s looking for peace, he’s not gonna find it. Remember the Boudican Destruction Layer? Look at those flames behind NJ on the cover art. Things aren’t looking good for him.

Maybe he should have bought fire insurance. In older buildings in towns across England you will sometimes see plaques that show registration for an insurance policy. If your town had a Sun Fire Office team and your building caught fire, the Sun Fire Office team would put it out… but only if you had a fire insurance policy with them, which you signified by a special mark or plaque they put into your building. Big towns would have rival fire insurance organizations, with much opportunity for skullduggery, although to be fair there was also at times a surprising amount of cooperation and a sense of civic duty.

 Sun Fire Office wall mount showing registration number. The company started operations in 1710 and within a century these fire schemes were common in Europe, Australia and America. Back in the 1990s, they used to run my occupational pension. Picture by Pauline Eccles, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13921699

Sun Fire Office wall mount showing registration number. The company started operations in 1710 and within a century these fire schemes were common in Europe, Australia and America. Back in the 1990s, they used to run my occupational pension. Picture by Pauline Eccles, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13921699

 

In the world of Klin-Tula there are a lot of fires both literally and metaphorically. Many of them started deliberately. If you find the local thugs are putting the squeeze on your business because you won’t pay protection money, or if thief breaks into your home and steals your valuables, then you will be glad to have a policy with Revenge Squad Inc. they will send some agents to find out who did you wrong and take appropriate level of revenge on your behalf. Who knows? They might even bring your valuables back. But in a world where civil authority is weak, and the rule of law depends on who you are and how much you are going to pay, if you carry the Revenge Squad plaque on your building or on your car, or even sewn into your jacket, then the hope is that the bad guys will see you are under protection and pick on someone more vulnerable.

The authorities turn a blind eye when it suits them, a temporary accommodation with mercenary vigilantes while the planet settles, or so they say. Like a Pinkerton Agency in the Old West, if my extensive research on this topic is correct (I watched Deadwood).

But does that mean Revenge Squad is the ugly face of space age capitalism, turning a mercenary profit out of others’ misfortunes? Or are they performing a necessary service, bridging the gap between anarchy and effective civilian authority? People once asked the same question of Sun Fire Insurance. Once again, echoes of the past resonate in the future. As for Revenge Squad Inc., who and what they really are is a complex question. To find the answer, you have to read the books.

The first Revenge Squad book will be published Fall 2016, but if you don’t want to wait that long, Legion teams will be reading the first recon edition as soon as it’s come back from the first trip to the editor (probably first week in August). Eagle eyed readers will notice the latest artwork from the excellent Vincent Sammy. I’m still playing around with the book titles, and my initial feedback is that I need to rethink them. But Vincent’s images are spot on.

To gain access to the recon edition of new Revenge Squad books when they become available, as well as The Sleeping Legion and Human Legion titles, Join the Legion. If you’re signed up by the end of June, you’ll be in with a chance to win a signed Human Legion audiobook on CD.

Click on the image and join the legion by the end of June for a chance to win a signed audiobook on CD.
Click on the image and join the legion by the end of June for a chance to win a signed audiobook on CD.

 

Space Opera Politics: post-conflict politics in the Human Legion Pt. 1

Back in the pulp science fiction of the 1930s and 40s, galactic politics in these earliest space operas were usually easy to grasp. You had space empires, space federations and sometimes space republics. (People must have had a lot of space in those days). Whether the person at the top of the tree was a queen, emperor, or president made little practical difference.

And how were such sprawling empires held together? Well, naturally, with quasi-military or feudal setups, often supported by a pernickety bureaucracy that readers were invited to ridicule.

Empires competed in a kind of military-political Olympic Games where the winners were determined not by the country with the most gold medals, but the empire with the most planets and star systems. In the constant struggle to expand your empire, there were three common mechanisms of advancement:

  • Conquering planets held by the other side.
  • Merging in smaller empires by alliance, marriage or peace treaty.
  • Planting and nurturing your own colonies.
(c) Luca Oleastri/ Fotolia.com
Classic space opera. (c) Luca Oleastri/ Fotolia.com

In reality, if you read stories of that time, then you will know the politics of mid-20th-century space opera was not always as simple as I’ve described. As the decades rolled by toward the present day, the complexity and diversity of space opera politics has mushroomed. And yet even today, some commentators still insist that space opera is inherently right-wing, even if some of its authors are not right-wing.

You won’t normally hear me talk about contemporary politics on humanlegion.com because I prefer science fiction that subtly encourages its readers to see the world – with its real people and its real problems — through a fresh perspective. And it can do this precisely because it breaks free of the mental shackles of forcing everything through the prism of contemporary politics and other contemporary issues.

Science fiction writers can choose to leave contemporary issues behind, as if the universe has moved on and passed them by (nothing wrong with a good dose of escapism), or they can use the unique vantage point of a fictional universe to paint a fresh picture of contemporary issues using new light. The trick to the second approach is to not do so overtly (as Iain M. Banks often described his approach to writing his post-scarcity ‘left-wing space operas’ in his ‘Culture’ novels).

At this point I’m tempted to lay into the bad science fiction writers (and commentators) of all political philosophies who lack the imagination to write stories free from clumsy references to today’s political figures, and today’s trending topics. However, there’s more than enough tribalism in science fiction already without me adding to it.

Left-wing vs. right-wing. Progressive vs. reactionary. Puppies vs. anti-puppies. People who agree with me vs. everyone who dares to disagree. Simplistic ‘us and them’ abounds and I just don’t buy into that way of thinking. I’ve always found it ridiculous to believe that an individual human being’s political and philosophical view of the world is a scalar quantity – something you can encompass with a single number.

 

“Have you heard about the new neighbors? CitFacts says their politics average 27.3. It’s absolutely disgraceful! I could never bring myself to talk with anyone who scored above 15.”

“You’re right. They’re way beyond unpleasant, dear. Something will have to be done…”

 

It’s my firm belief that real people are far too complicated to be summarized by a single number, and that’s why I reject labeling someone as this-wing or that-wing and leaving it at that, as if doing so is everything you need to understand a human being. Besides, authors who believe they can describe someone as a simple number on a political scale write unconvincing characters, and that leads to bad books, and if I wrote bad books then I wouldn’t get paid.

Nonetheless, much as I distrust describing anything as left- or right-wing (including myself), the reason I bring this up is because with space opera’s tendency to focus on empires, aggressive wars, and colonization, I can understand where concerns about an inherently right-wing bias would come from: those who describe themselves as left-wing regard such aggressive attitudes as belonging exclusively to the right.

 

“Your Majesty, let’s conquer the long-inhabited planets of our neighboring star system because… well, because our military is stronger than theirs and because we can. Afterwards, we can plant our colonists and ruthlessly exploit their resources to feed our own industries.”

“Sounds like a plan, Admiral. We’ll invade next Tuesday, right after the ball game.”

 

That kind of exploitative attitude doesn’t wash with real readers in Western liberal democracies, whichever party they vote for, nor should it. Which is why if there’s fighting to be done, it’s so much easier on the reader’s morality to have the protagonists be on the good side.

For example:

  • “Earth and her fledging colonies are attacked by aliens.” It’s a popular theme, and you can see why. It’s easy to identify the good guys.
  • “An oppressed minority rises up against a totalitarian regime.” That basically sums up Star Wars, and that franchise seems popular. We know who the good guys are, so let’s not worry about what we do if we win. Which brings me to the Human Legion.

 

Freedom can be won is the tagline of the Human Legion series, and when Arun McEwan and his comrades first dare to dream this, the idea of freedom seems so impossibly distant that they give no thought to what shape that freedom might take. Just surviving until the next day is plenty enough to think about for the time being.

But by the fifth book in the series (War Against the White Knights, published March 2016) this question about what might come after the war is something they can no longer dodge. The answer is uncertain, partially because there is still a lot of fighting to be done, but already it is clear that it will be no utopia. They have no choice but to address the political implications of what they have done, and what they have un-done.

This Infopedia article originally appeared in War Against the White Knights
Politics rears its perplexing heads…

You can see one of Book 5’s Infopedia sections describing the fledgling Human Autonomous Region here. Things will get more complex in the sixth book when the action finally comes home to Earth itself.

An empire that is torn down leaves power vacuums. If there aren’t stable civilian institutions or an expectation of the rule of law, then they need not only to be established but to bed down too. That takes a long time and a lot of pain. The difficulty in this bedding down period is the reason I’m going to vote in a referendum this week to determine whether my country should stay in the European Union. History gives us many other examples.

Take the early United States of America after the War of Independence. It’s easy for someone like me, who isn’t American, to look at the US today, see a (more or less) single unified political entity stretching across North America, and assume that such an outcome was inevitable since 1783, a Manifest Destiny if you like. The reality, of course, was often a fractious and uneasy alliance of states, cultures, peoples and philosophies that sporadically threatened to break apart all the way until 1861, when it finally did just that.

The area where the Human Legion has taken administrative control, the Human Autonomous Region, is closer to the USA of 1800 than that of 2016. It’s new, bursting with potential, but not fully formed; there’s a lot that’s good about it, and a lot that’s not. We don’t know where it will end up, but we can be sure it will be a bumpy ride.

Perhaps a more pertinent example is the chaos of Central and Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the First World War: rebellions, coups, the rise of thuggish fascism and equally thuggish Bolshevism, hyperinflation, all-out war between Poland and the Soviet Union, and power vacuums that led to political instability such as the disputes over control of the city of Fiume, which led to its occupation by an Italian poet-adventurer. In the real world, it was precisely this chaos that led to the unexpected significance of the Czechoslovak Legion, which is the inspiration for the Human Legion. Even after the guns fall silent, and the war has ended, there is still much to be done before we can say that freedom has been won.

And those guns won’t stay silent for long.

I’ll talk more about the post-war galaxy in part two, when I’ll connect Revenge Squad and the Human Legion to both the real-life destruction horizon in the colony where I grew up, and to smiley sun faces. Don’t know what a destruction horizon is? Stay tuned to find out.

Click on the image and join the legion by the end of June for a chance to win a signed audiobook on CD.
Click on the image and join the legion by the end of June for a chance to win a signed audiobook on CD.

 

I’m interviewed in SFFWorld.com

SFFWorld.com have just posted an interview with me here. I splurge on about the origins of the Human Legion series and other stuff besides. It’s my first interview in a long while. Why not  hop on over, take a read, and leave a comment? Comments leave a smile on the faces of the good people who put together these websites for our pleasure (plus it makes me look good 🙂 ).

 

In other news, like me many of you will have enjoyed the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos. Not content with writing a killer bestselling book series, Mr. Kloos has devised a recipe for the Shockfrost cocktail he mentions in his books. Frankly, that’s just showing off 🙂 I can’t say I’ve tried his cocktail yet, but if it’s as tasty as his books, then it will be a delight. Find out more here.

Book 5, Eastercon, Website news, and why officers should read science fiction

Book 5 of the Human Legion is out now. Eastercon write up, and a bargain deal on Raymond L. Weil’s Lost Fleet.

LegoRobot
My boy’s Lego robot. It has infrared sensors in the front.

I took my family away to Manchester over Easter for the Eastercon science fiction convention (called Mancunicon this year, just to confuse you). My son learned to program a Lego robot to rampage around the room while avoiding all obstacles, and to write his name in Gallifreyan. A definite highlight was lunch with Chris Nuttall (you might know him from books such as Ark Royal and Empire at War) and PP Corcoran and his wife Sarah (Discovery of the Saiph), and artist Andy Bigwood. Much was discussed about how to make a living from our writing while still enjoying ourselves as we do so.

 

Talking of earning a living, the fifth book in the Human Legion series (War Against the White Knights) is available now for Kindle. Have you got it yet? Paperback will be out soon.

Talking to several people at the convention has pushed forward a job I had in mind to do later in the year: to revamp the website. We can do a much better job, and we will doubly need to do so later this year when we will start to launch books in the Sleeping Legion and Revenge Squad series. I have been told relentlessly that I need a mailing list rather than simply invite people to subscribe to the website. I’m putting my mind to that now. There will be exclusive content sent to people on the mailing list, serialization of new books, signed giveaways of audio books and swag. That kind of thing. If you have suggestions on what you would like to see, please send them my way.

WarAgainstTheWhiteKnights_05_ebook_400px_150dpi

Producing the fifth book hasn’t been as smooth as I’d hoped because, through no fault of his own, my co-writer hasn’t been as available as we would both have liked. A lot of angst has resulted and some of the things I’ve enjoyed doing have slipped out of my schedule, including my looks at the science fiction publishing world through the lens of the amazon.com bestseller charts. I was surprised to hear people at the convention tell me they were disappointed that I had stopped. I will restart that soon, as well as occasional looks at other online articles, events, book releases, and book promotions.

I was asked a while ago why I promoted the books of ‘rival’ authors on my website when there is no reciprocation on their part. The answer is that I’ll point things out that I think might interest readers of the Human Legion because (1) it’s me sharing and discussing my love of science fiction, which I love to do, and (2) I can almost justify doing so to myself on business grounds because it helps to keep people interested in my site, which will tend to dip otherwise between my own book releases. I’m now adding an extra justification to spend my time on this, which is to use Amazon affiliate links. What that means, is that if I’ve set up a link to Amazon correctly, then I get a small percentage of the sale price for anything you buy when you follow that link. Which is rather peculiar because it doesn’t matter what you buy, just so long as you followed the affiliate link to get to the Amazon store.

So if you think I don’t sell my books for a high enough price, then next time you want to buy a Bugatti sports car, do it through my Amazon affiliate links and make me smile. (It’s just a shame that you can’t buy Bugattis through Amazon. Yet. Keep checking…)

1280px-Bugatti_veyron_in_Tokyo
Bugatti Veyron 16.4. If you bought one of these through an Amazon affiliate link, I would be very happy. 1001 BHP 8 liter W-16 engine. I’ve driven one, actually. (In a computer game, obviously.)

 

What I won’t ever do is advertise any old junk just to con my readers out of a few cents. I’ll only draw attention to books on promotion or releases that I think you would like. And if you don’t like the idea of affiliate links, you can always go directly to Amazon and find the book there easily enough. No worries.

shutterstock_36333865
image (c) iurii/ shutterstock

Why Reading Science Fiction is Good for Military Officers

I came across this recent article from a science fiction loving brigadier. I recognized the quote at the top from The Forever War, and anything that quotes my favorite book is probably going to be good.

It is.

http://groundedcuriosity.com/why-reading-science-fiction-is-good-for-military-officers

LostFleet

Start the Lost Fleet series at 99c

OK, there seem to be a lot of ‘Lost Fleet’ and ‘Lost Ship’ series out at the moment. I’m referring to the one by Raymond L. Weil, who has put The Lost Fleet: Galactic Search on a Kindle Countdown deal, which means you’ve got until Thursday morning, UK time to pick this up at 99c/99p. I don’t think Kindle Countdowns are available outside of amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, so I’m afraid you’re out of luck if you use a different store.

I’ve not read the series, but I read some of his earlier Slaver Wars books. I thought they were fun, action books and expect the same of the Lost Fleet. So I bought a copy myself.

You can get yours from  amazon.com   or    amazon.co.uk

War Against the White Knights

The fifth book in the Human Legion series is available from Amazon now in its Kindle edition. Paperback to follow shortly.

As is Legion custom, I’ve set a low launch price for loyal humanlegion.com subscribers to pick up the book for a song. I’ll be raising the price shortly, probably next week.

I do get asked whether it’s more helpful to me to wait and buy at a higher price, a question that I’m grateful that people want to ask.  Actually, buying now does help me because at this stage it’s all about getting the book in the charts and the Amazon selling algorithms so that people notice the book.

Enjoy the book.

There will be one more novel in the series, The Battle of Earth. No prizes for guessing where that’s set. I do plan for a collection of short stories to fill in the gaps in the timeline, explore the lives of characters who don’t get center stage in the main series, and generally have a good time. But that’s some way off. There’s also the Sleeping Legion, Revenge Squad, and Human Dynasty series coming at various stages. We’re not done yet!

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