Something on the way, back in the slush piles, and Ancillary Justice

Okay, so, getting through things roughly in order…

In absolutely positive news, things are slowly getting finalized on a novella I’ve produced for Abaddon Books. What I can confidently say at the moment is that it’s provisionally titled ‘Orbital Decay’, it’s around 30 000 words long (fractionally longer than Dangerous Jade), and it’s set in Abaddon Books’ Afterblight Chronicles series, a nifty little post-apocalyptic setting in which more than ninety percent of the world’s population has been killed off by The Cull, a viral plague that burned across the globe over the course of ‘The Culling Year’.

Orbital Decay is one of the few stories set during the events of the Culling Year, and I’m privileged to have been able to play around with the setting from a unique perspective — the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, a world away from the horrors on the ground below. But no matter how far away you’re hiding from the apocalypse, one way or another, it’s going to come visiting…

Otherwise, this month I’ve climbed back into the short fiction slush piles, and am circulating two relatively newly finished short stories in the hopes they’ll find homes.

One of them, Pavlov’s House, is another story about those fellas you may have met in the War Dog & Marginalized Populations collection/bundle/e-book cashgrab, and there’ve been some surprisingly positive noises given that it’s, y’know. A story about furries. (On that note, I’m currently working on disposable first chapter attempts/outlines/etcetera for a War Dog type novel. Fingers crossed that I get somewhere with that — I have a nasty habit of stalling and burning out on longer works, but it’s a habit I am fixing.)

Finally, and jumping on the bandwagon a little late, but, Ann Leckie‘s Ancillary Justice is just an amazing, amazing space opera novel. It has plenty of sensawunda, and it’s been getting a lot of positive buzz.

I’m not quite sure how to sell it on you, since there are a lot of angles to cover — it’s about a ship AI that winds up embodied in an ‘Ancillary’, a cybernetic soldier built out of an unwilling captive; it has crazy interstellar politics derived from people who live spread across hundreds of bodies; it has beautifully worked out fictional religions, and almost every character is referred to as ‘she’ because the viewpoint character’s mother-tongue doesn’t have gendered nouns — but there is one way I think I can recommend this book reasonably well.

I read it in mid-October. I started re-reading it last week, and the book still has this fresh feeling that makes me want to stop what I’m doing and go read it, even though I know exactly what’s going to happen next.

So, yeah. Check out Ancillary Justice, keep your fingers crossed for my short stories (and inspiration levels for the War Dog novel, tentatively titled ‘Dog Country’), and watch out for more news about Orbital Decay sometime soon!

By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.

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