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2018 in Review

As December drags itself one-handed towards the finish line, I’ve decided to join everyone else in looking back over the year.

The big news for me was the publication in February of my novel Embers of War. This was my first published novel in three years, following 2015’s Macaque Attack, and I’ve been delighted with the reception it’s received.

While the Ack-Ack Macaque books were generally well-received, Embers of War feels almost like a new start for me. The beginning of a new phase in my career. It’s already sold more copies than all my other books, and readers and critics alike seem to be taking me more seriously as a writer–even going so far as to compare Embers to the works of Iain M Banks, which as a huge IMB fan, feels deeply surreal and more than I could ever have hoped.

This year, I also wrote and sold Ragged Alice and About Writing, both of which will be published in the New Year, as well as finishing the Embers trilogy with the final edits on Fleet of Knives, and the completion of the first draft of Light of Impossible Stars.

At the beginning of 2018, I had my first proper interview with SFX Magazine. This involved a rather nice lunch with one of their journalists, and a woodland photoshoot with one of their photographers, which saw me balancing twenty-odd feet up a slippery, muddy slope at sundown.

Partly as a result of those photographs, 2018 was also the year I decided to re-grow my beard. I’d grown beards before, but they’d only been temporary things. This year, I decided I wanted to have one permanently. And as soon as I grew it, I knew I’d made the right decision. I felt as if I’d recovered a missing part of myself–a part I never realised was missing until I grew it back.

Other work-related highlights have included interviewing Peter F Hamilton at Foyles in Bristol, appearing at Stroud Book Festival and Bristol Literature Festival, and running day-long creative writing workshops at Bucks New University.

On a personal level, 2018 has been extremely stressful and emotionally exhausting. As a parent, I’ve a had a lot to cope with. But I’ve also learned that when it comes to my children, I have vast and hitherto unsuspected reserves of strength and compassion.

One of the ways I’ve coped with all this personal turmoil has been to focus on helping other people, especially on Twitter, where I’ve been offering encouragement and advice to aspiring authors, and building a community of writers and readers. Putting positivity out into the world helps me deal with my own problems, and makes Twitter a better place to be. And as a result, I’ve received a huge amount of goodwill and support from readers and other tweeters, for which I’m thankful.

I’m also extremely grateful to my real life friends for their company and kindness, which has kept me sane this year. And to my supporters on Patreon, whose continued faith has kept me afloat both creatively and financially.

Looking ahead, 2019 promises to be a very busy year. I have three books scheduled to be published, from three diffferent publishers; I’m planning to attend WorldCon in Dublin; and I will be a guest-of-honour at BristolCon. And on top of all that, I have to decide what I’m going to write next–and then write it!

Happy New Year!

Awards Eligibility

For the first time since 2015, I actually have a novel that’s eligible for the major SF&F awards.

Embers of War came out in February 2018 from Titan Books, and I think it’s the best book I’ve written so far. And luckily many of you seem to have agreed. Here’s a few of the things people have said about it:

“A compulsively readable, expansive space opera.”
THE GUARDIAN

“A big book that hits all of the buttons that make space opera one of my favourite genres.”
TOR.COM BEST BOOKS OF 2018 SO FAR

“This is a true space opera, full of suspense, and mystery, and stuff blowing up real good—but it’s the humanity of Powell’s vision that truly makes it something special.”
BARNES AND NOBLE BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY BOOKS OF 2018 SO FAR

“Vivid and sharp, and at times grittily poetic.”
LOCUS MAGAZINE

So, if you’re nominating or voting for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, or other awards, please remember Embers of War and consider putting it on your ballot.

Many thanks.

COVER REVEAL: FLEET OF KNIVES

The cover for Fleet of Knives, the second novel in the Embers of War trilogy, has been revealed over on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Titan Books will publish the novel on 20th February 2019.

Ten Years In The SF Trade

Elastic Press published my first book, THE LAST REEF AND OTHER STORIES, exactly ten years ago, in August 2008. Since then, I’ve written nine novels, a second collection of short fiction, a supernatural crime novella, and a non-fiction book about writing.

During this past decade, I’ve been fortunate to work with some great editors, booksellers, publicists, cover designers, and agents – and I’m immensely grateful to them all.

I’m grateful to have been published by Solaris, Titan Books, and Tor.com, and grateful to have won a BSFA Award and been shortlisted for the Seiun.

But most of all, I’m grateful to my readers. Not only do they buy or borrow my books, they also talk to me on Twitter, recommend my books to their friends, write great online reviews on Amazon and other places, come to see me at events, support me on Patreon, and vote for my work when awards season comes around.

Ten years (and around a million words) since we launched that first book in the Citte of Yorke pub on Chancery Lane, I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I’m so honoured to be able to write for you, and I hope you continue to enjoy my work for at least another ten years.

Thank you for reading.

Embers of War hailed as a contemporary classic of science fiction

Embers of War (2018)

Indian technology news service FactorDaily has included my novel, Embers of War on its list of ‘contemporary classics’ of science fiction, alongside books by Ian McDonald, MR Carey, Cixin Liu, Adam Roberts, Nnedi Okorafor, and Annalee Newitz.

They write:

One could convincingly make a case that we’re truly living in a new golden age of SF. New and diverse voices, great writers everywhere are pushing the possibilities of the genre, reinventing and reshaping SF and going boldly where no SF author has gone before. To read all of them would take half a lifetime and to write about them more so. But over the course of the 2-year run of New Worlds Weekly, we’ve put the spotlight on a few books that aren’t just great reads, but original, thought-provoking, each a classic it in its own right.

You can read the whole article here.

New Book Deal: Ragged Alice to Tor.com

Here’s the full announcement from Tor.com:

Announcing Ragged Alice: A New Novella from Gareth L. Powell

Tor.com Publishing is thrilled to announce the acquisition of Ragged Alice, a new novella by Gareth L. Powell. Senior Editor Lee Harris negotiated World English rights with Alexander Cochran of C+W.

A small Welsh town. A string of murders. And a detective who can literally see the evil in people’s souls.

Orphaned at an early age, DCI Holly Craig grew up in the small Welsh coastal town of Pontyrhudd. As soon as she was old enough, she ran away to London and joined the police. Now, fifteen years later, she’s back in her old hometown to investigate what seems at first to be a simple hit-and-run, but which soon escalates into something far deadlier and unexpectedly personal—something that will take all of her peculiar talents to solve.

Said Lee Harris:

I’ve been hoping to work with Gareth for some time, and this tale of horror set in the Welsh valleys reflects my childhood, and reminds me of the horrors of my adolescence. So, thanks, Gareth! It’s a great story, brilliantly told.

Said the author:

This is a very personal story for me, as well as a departure from my usual style and genre, and so I’m delighted to be working with Tor.com Publishing. They’ve published some truly impressive novellas by some great writers, and I’m thrilled to see Ragged Alice join their ranks.

Gareth L. Powell is the author of five science-fiction novels and two short story collections. His third novel, Ack-Ack Macaque, book one in the Macaque Trilogy, was the winner of the 2013 BSFA novel award. He lives in Bristol, UK. Find him on Twitter @garethlpowell.

Announcement: Embers of War trilogy to be published in French

I’m delighted to be able to tell you that translated editions of Embers of War, Fleet of Knives, and Light of Impossible Stars will all be published in France by Denoël under their Lunes d’encre list.

The deal was negotiated by my awesome agents, C&W, and the first book should appear in the first half of 2019.

Announcing: The Church of Accelerated Redemption

Aliette de Bodard, winner of the Nebula, Locus and BSFA Awards, teams up with BSFA Award-winner Gareth L. Powell to present an uplifting short story of machines and humans, of intense emotions and cutting-age technology culled from tomorrow’s headlines.

Installing a network for the Church of Accelerated Redemption is just another crappy job in a series of crappy jobs for Lisa, an American engineer stuck doing menial work in Paris. That the Church uses artificial intelligences to power its never-ending prayer machines doesn’t interest her at all: they’re paying, and she needs enough money to survive in an increasingly crumbling world. Until a demonstration outside the Church’s headquarters, and the appearance of Stéphane, an enigmatic man Lisa finds herself powerfully drawn to. What lies beneath his headscarf, why is he so interested in the Church–and how far will she be willing to go in order to earn his trust?

“Full of character and wit” – Zone SF
“Wonderful and full of promise.” – SF Revu

Order the story now via:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

New Book Announcement!

So, you might have seen on Twitter that I’m writing a book about writing for Luna Publishing. Here is their official announcement:#

Gareth L Powell Joins The Luna Family!

March 28, 2018

The Luna family is delighted to welcome Gareth L Powell! And a huge thank you also to his agent, Alexander Cochran from CW Agency UK. Most of you will know Gareth for his SFF novels and short stories – from the award-winning Ack Ack Macaque trilogy, to the recently released Embers of War. Gareth will be contributing to our Academia Lunare section, on a project that will be of particular interest to his many fans and any aspiring writers: Gareth L Powell – About Writing.

Gareth has been on the scene for several years now, establishing himself as one of Britain’s best SF voices. Not only that: his easygoing nature makes him incredibly approachable to his fans who, by the way, are growing by the day. He’s there for them – a strong, creative and useful social media presence, happy to inspire and nurture.

There are many aspiring writers among Gareth’s followers and friends, along with the rest of his fans, who will definitely appreciate this new book.

When I read the manuscript, I felt inspired, hopeful and comforted. It’s like having a kind mentor sitting next to you, encouraging you to write a little more when you are tired, or to make a start when you don’t think you can. I do believe this field journal will help many people. And even if you aren’t a writer, you can still benefit from it, in the way it gently accompanies you through whatever creative journey you are on.

Gareth told us:

There are some things nobody will ever teach you on a creative writing course. 

Lessons I had to learn the hard way, and things I wish I’d known when I was starting out as a writer. So I put this book together in the hope of passing on the insights I’ve gained in over a decade of writing professionally. This isn’t an English textbook. These are notes taken in the field and accounts of lessons-learned.

The book will be out in 2019.

 

Top 10 Spaceships In Fiction

I wrote an article for The Guardian about the Top 10 Spaceships in Fiction. You can read it here.

What do you think of my selection? Which ships would you have included?