Hi folks. Okay, here goes with pretty much just the one author/project, this week. So let me tell you a story.

Way back, when the world was younger and much less complicated (and considerably less troubled) than it is today, and red daisies and dandelions grew thick on the Towers’ fabled greensward, I worked on a computer installation in one of the UK’s major financial institutions. I look back on those times fondly and think often of my co-workers—they know who they are so no need to mention them here.

This was 1970/71 and the machine I worked on—a massive collection of enormous peripherals including tape decks, DASDs, printers and all manner of similar units (incorporating a double-fronted CPU) that, back then, occupied a huge hermetically sealed glass room that would accommodate most 2018 houses in their entirety. Today, that same level of power would fit comfortably in a doll’s wristwatch. It was initially an IBM 360/30 but I moved on to a 370/145. So it goes, as Unca Kurt might say. So it goes.

We worked shifts in those days—

—day shift, evening shift and night shifts—and many of the jobs we did were long . . . you might even say interminable, particularly year-end updates of the mortgage and investment files—and so we spent quite some time whiling away the hours by reading. I read pretty much all of Lin Carter’s Adult Fantasy Series for Ballantine (LUD IN THE MIST, A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS, the GORMENGHAST trilogy and many many more).

And I interspersed these with other stuff . . .

(much of which I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before) such as John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, Dick Prather’s Shell Scott PI yarns, John Updike novels, Ray Bradbury’s stunning story collections (of course!) and then, one day, I happened across a small clutch of gaudily covered paperbacks, three of ‘em, entitled KNIGHT OF THE SWORDS, QUEEN OF THE SWORDS and KING OF THE SWORDS which, from the accompanying blurbs, seemed to be right up my street.

And so they were. And so too was the author responsible for them—Michael Moorcock.

Barely one third of the way into KNIGHT I was irredeemably hooked. Fortunately, there were lots more similar novels, duologies, trilogies and quartets in what I later learned was the “Eternal Champion” canon. But whoa, Nellie! I said ‘fortunately’ but the truth in those delightful pre-internet days when the word ‘Amazon’ referred only to those gorgeous ladies spearheaded by DC Comics’ Diana Prince was that it fell to the reader to perform his or her own search for missed titles—and where Michael Moorcock was concerned, there were many such. So I employed the not inconsiderable skills of an able and willing assistant—my mum—and she took it upon herself to seek ‘em out.

Mum had a daytime job—and didn’t drive—so she would spend her days off (sometimes with me, sometimes by herself) taking the bus to Leeds’ surrounding towns and villages to fill in gaps, dutifully maintaining missing volumes from my list, scanning the old metal paperback racks and wooden runners in the likes of Bradford, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Otley, Ilkley, Huddersfield and many others, slowly building my collection (which, I’m pleased to say, remains to this day). And while new volumes were added, I and then Nicky feverishly consumed titles, gravitating (where possible/affordable) to hardcovers along the way to bolster my creaking shelves still further.

Imagine my joy, then, as a dyed-in-the-wool comic collector . . .

. . . when Marvel’s Roy Thomas (with whom Paul and I have worked these past eight or nine years on PS Artbooks) pulled Mike into the Conan series co-writing with Roy numbers 14 and 15 and co-featuring Elric of Melniboné. I was made up! Big time!

Even more joy when, in the early days of PS, I persuaded Mike to write a novella and he turned in FIRING THE CATHEDRAL. Good grief!

And then, out of the blue, in the early days of 2016, Mike dropped me a line and offered another novella—PEGGING THE PRESIDENT—and now, alongside a brand new design job from our very own Pedro Marques, here it is, and it’s wonderful (as you’d expect, of course).

So go get it, you vaqueros, hunt ‘em down and relish in the kind of off-the-wall fiction you all too rarely get these days.

One final point.

I got the opportunity to write stories for a couple of Michael Moorcock anthologies along the way. One was ‘Halfway House’ in which I featured Mike’s Karl Glogauer (see BEHOLD THE MAN—one of the greatest time travel yarns of all time—and BREAKFAST IN THE RUINS and then see me in my office next week to explain why you hadn’t read them already) and the other was ‘The Trembler On The Axis’ which I co-wrote with my good friend James Lovegrove (see also ESCARDY GAP, of course, which readers of SFX magazine voted #35 in the top fifty books of all time and which Rich Chizmar and the CD gang will be re-publishing next year) for ELRIC TALES, a story of which Mike spoke highly while wryly acknowledging that it was mired in Robert E. Howard’s stories almost as much as in the Elric mythos.

And absolutely finally, just before Nicky’s update.

Mike has given PS the rights to publish his long-running and hugely respected NEW WORLDS anthology magazine series, for which I’ve already bought two stories.

Coming this winter or next spring.

Over to you, Nicky.

Below are the last few signatures we’re waiting for before we can complete the final three signed editions.

WE ARE THE MARTIANS
·       Sheet 1 — ALL SIGNED
·       Sheet 2 — one contributor:
DARKER COMPANIONS
·       Sheet 1 — ALL SIGNED
·       Sheet 2 — two contributors:
BEST NEW HORROR #28
·       Sheet 1 — ALL SIGNED
·       Sheet 2 — two contributors:
BLACK WINGS VI
·       Two sheets, all signed, ready for insertion  
ODIN’S GIRL
·       Just one sheet: signed, ready for insertion  
NEW BALL GAMES FOR THE FUTURE
·       Just one sheet signed, ready for insertion  
ROUGH TRADE
·       Just one sheet signed, ready for insertion 

Just a reminder that BEST NEW HORROR #28 Trade Paperback  and Volume # 17 of the Lovecraft Illustrated THE CURSE OF YIG should be arriving with you very soon to those customers who ordered copies.

The unsigned edition of WAKULLA SPRINGS by Ellen Klages and Andy Duncan arrived at the warehouse this week and have been posted out yesterday. Allow for delays regarding our winter weather conditions that is already causing holdups.

Nigel is very busy tipping in the signing sheets he’s recently received from us and plans to have the signed editions of ROUGH TRADE by Robert Silverberg  and ODIN’S GIRL by Kim Wilkins over to us by next Tuesday.

York Literature Festival

On Saturday 24th March at York Literature Festival, the people at Writers and Artists website (extension of the Yearbook) have teamed up with Orbit Books to organise an exclusive full-day conference and this year, the focus will be on speculative fiction. They would love to offer a special discount to subscribers of the PS Publishing newsletter. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Top authors Claire North and R.J. Barker to offer exclusive practical sessions on different aspects of the writing process (from the importance of first chapters through to pacing and plotting your novel)
  • Best-selling author Ken MacLeod to deliver a keynote lecture on subverting the normal in fiction
  • Buffet lunch
  • Panel discussion with leading UK literary agents Ed Wilson, Sandra Sawicka and Danielle Zigner
  • Networking drinks


You can secure your place at this unmissable event at the special price of just £65 (RRP £95) by entering the following code by midnight 23rd March: YLFWRITE2018

Hey, maybe we’ll see you there! Thanks, Nicky.

Have a wonderful weekend, look after each other and go easy sledging! Happy reading!

Pete

PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road

Hornsea, HU18 1HG

Contact Phone 01964 537575

Website www.pspublishing.co.uk

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