New Cover: Ack-Ack Macaque Second Edition

I’m pleased to be able to reveal the cover for the second edition of Ack-Ack Macaque. The picture’s the same, but there’s a new quote and a badge to highlight the fact it won the BSFA in 2013.


In addition, the inside of the book features a new flyleaf with some pretty amazing quotes from some pretty amazing people.

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These new paperback editions will be available shortly via all good book retailers.

Top 100 Fantasy Books

AckAckMacaque_300I’ve just discovered that the Fantasy Book Reviews website lists Ack-Ack Macaque at number #40 in its Top 100 Fantasy Books.

That’s higher than books by Jo Hill, Lauren Beukes, Philip Pullman, and China Mieville.


Click here for link.

There’s A Ghost In My House

12484682_10153821948823428_5454233247302972423_oSix copies of Gunmetal Ghost – the Japanese translation of Ack-Ack Macaque – arrived in the post this afternoon from the publisher. Aren’t they pretty?

New cover art revealed for Gunmetal Ghost

Here’s our first look at the cover art for Gunmetal Ghost, the Japanese translation of Ack-Ack Macaque, which goes on sale a month from today, published by Tokyo Sogensha.

Feast your eyes on this picture (click on it for a bigger version). There’s Ack-Ack and K8 atop the rooftops of Paris (check out the Eiffel Tower on the left of the picture) while the skyliner Tereshkova looms over the city.

To me, it looks like the cover of a DVD from Studio Ghibli. It’s just beautiful, and I can hardly wait to actually hold a copy of the book itself.

If you’d also like to get your paws on this extremely cool object, you can pre-order it via Amazon here.

***UPDATE 12/11/15*** 
The cover art is by the well-known anime and Gundam artist, Naohiro Washio.

The History and Science Behind Ack-Ack Macaque

Since ACK-ACK MACAQUE came out in 2013, people have been commenting on the craziness of some of its ideas. It is, after all, a thriller about a monkey pilot fighting androids in a world where Britain and France merged in the 1950s. However, far from being a work of outright fantasy, much of what is in the novel is actually based in fact.

AckAckMacaque_1501. Anglo-French Merger
Of all the ideas in the book, this one seems to be the one most readers have struggled with. But it almost happened for real. According to this 2007 article in the Guardian, the French prime minister came to London in September 1956 with just such a proposal. In our world, the British declined his offer; in the world of Ack-Ack Macaque, because of an early and unexpectedly victorious outcome to the Suez Crisis, they said yes.

2. Zeppelins
Lighter-than-air craft are a staple of alternate history stories, often thrown in with little rationale save that they add flavour to the background. In Ack-Ack Macaque and its sequels, they exist for political reasons. With the French and British shipping industries facing post-war decline, the new Anglo-French government decided to turn them over to the production of airships. Initially they were petrol-driven, but later switched to lightweight nuclear-electric engines, helping to loosen Europe’s dependence on foreign oil. And, as this BBC report from 2014 suggests, similar airships may be also be making a belated comeback in our reality.

HiveMonkey_1503. Neural Prosthetics and Uplifted Monkeys
Ack-Ack Macaque is a monkey who has been raised to the intelligence of a human being thanks to computer processors implanted in his brain. It sounds outlandish, but scientist can already interface a primate brain with a computer well enough to operate a robot by thought alone, and have done so in both humans and monkeys. It’s not a great leap therefore to imagine that in another fifty years, this interface will be powerful enough to integrate artificial neurones into a living brain – allowing both the uplifting of monkeys such as Ack-Ack, and the repair of damaged humans, such as Victoria Valois. These developments also potentially lay the pathway for the integration of a human brain into an artificial body – something that plays a big role in all three of the novels.

4. Parallel Universes
In quantum physics, the idea that  parallel timelines exist is known as the ‘Many Worlds’ theory, and it has been used in science fiction for decades. You might remember the mirror universe in Star Trek, which housed an evil, bearded Spock. They are a great way to write “what if” stories, the most famous of which is probably Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, which depicts a USA under joint Japanese and Nazi rule following defeat in WWII. Now, though, one researcher at the California Institute of Technology has claimed to have discovered evidence of these other universes in the radiation left over from the Big Bang.

MacaqueAttack_150Although Ack-Ack Macaque, Hive Monkey and Macaque Attack are works of fiction and primarily designed as thrilling entertainment, it was very important to me that they were built on a solid and believable base. If I was going to write a book about what it meant to be human, using non-human or post-human characters to explore the boundaries of the human condition, I knew I had to find plausible explanations for their existence. Tempting as it was, I couldn’t just drop an intelligent monkey into the story without having a reason for him to be there. And I wasn’t setting out to write some sort of one-joke slapstick. Despite the (often grim) humour that runs through them, these books are intended as serious works of science fiction, with plenty to say about who we are, where we’re going, and what it’s going to be like when we get there.

In conversation with Jon Oliver of Solaris Books

Here’s a video interview I did recently with my editor, Jon Oliver of Solaris books, in which we discuss the macaque trilogy.

Japanese deal for Ack-Ack Macaque


Tokyo Sogensha Co., Ltd. have acquired Japanese rights in SF novel ACK-ACK MACAQUE by Gareth L Powell from Corinne Shioji of The English Agency (Japan) Ltd in Tokyo, representing the John Jarrold Literary Agency. The book was published in the UK and US by Solaris in 2012, and has been highly praised:

‘Powell primes an explosive narrative with brilliant cliffhangers’ –The Guardian

‘More fun than a barrel of steampunk monkeys … It’s an over-the-top, verbally caffeinated adventure story with smart, nasty ideas and plenty of pulp. What makes it truly special is Ack-Ack, the action hero who can cut through any strategy session or infodump’ –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

‘Any book that makes me grin like a buffoon whenever I crack it open is a definite winner. Full of great characters, fast moving plot and lashings of first-rate action, I can t recommend this highly enough’  –The Eloquent Page

ACK-ACK MACAQUE has been shortlisted for the British SF Association Award for Best Novel, which will be announced over the Easter weekend. The sequel, HIVE MONKEY, was published in 2014.  A third volume will follow early in 2015.

Contact John Jarrold for further details.

John Jarrold – e-mail: 

2000 AD

Thanks to Solaris Books, you can download and read the ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’ strip I wrote for 2000 ADThe strip was published at the beginning of 2013 and forms a prequel of sorts to the novel.

Click here to download.

And so it begins…

Here’s a headline from the Guardian‘s website that should set off alarm bells for readers of Ack-Ack Macaque:

Genetically modified monkeys created with cut-and-paste DNA

The article goes on to say:

Researchers have created genetically modified monkeys with a revolutionary new procedure that enables scientists to cut and paste DNA in living organisms. The macaques are the first primates to have their genetic makeup altered with the powerful technology which many scientists believe will lead to a new era of genetic medicine.

So, what do you reckon? Sounds like life’s starting to imitate art, doesn’t it?

You can read the whole article here.

Thanks to Lou Morgan for pointing it out.

Ack-Ack Macaque makes BSFA shortlist

Ack-Ack Macaque has made the Best Novel shortlist for the 2013 British Science Fiction Association Awards, and I’m officially over the Moon about it. I know I’m up against some stiff competition, but it’s a real honour to have made it this far.

The full shortlist for Best Novel of 2013 is as follows:

  • God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
  • Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie (Orbit)
  • Evening’s Empires by Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
  • Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)
  • The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

Could Ack-Ack win? Well, that depends on how many people vote for it. Ballot papers will be given to members of the BSFA and attendees at this year’s Satellite4 convention in Glasgow, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow, on Sunday 20th April 2014.

Awards will also be given in the Best Short Fiction, Best Artwork, and Best non-fiction categories. 

See the full shortlists here.