Infinity Wars, 2084, and ZUI Found

Two anthologies which I’ve contributed a story to arrived on the shelves in the last week, and here are the lovely print editions looking very smart indeed.

Infinity Wars (Solaris) is the latest in the Infinity science fiction series edited by Jonathan Strahan with a focus on military SF, and includes my story “Weather Girl”.

‘We have always fought. Tales of soldiers and war go back to the very roots of our history, to the beginnings of the places we call home. And science and technology have always been inextricably linked with the deadly art of war, whether through Da Vinci’s infamous machineries of war or the Manhattan Project’s world-ending bombs or distant starships fighting unknowable opponents.

Oppenheimer once wrote that “the atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.” But unendurable or not, future always comes. War was integral to science faction at its birth and remains so today, whether on the page or on the screen.

Infinity Wars asks one question: what would Oppenheimer’s different country be like? Who would fight it? Because at the end of it all, it always come down to a soldier alone, risking life and limb to achieve a goal that may never really make sense at all. How would those soldiers feel? What would they experience?’

And here’s the table of contents:

  • Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
  • Evening of the Span of Their Days, Carrie Vaughn
  • The Last Broadcasts, An Owomoyela
  • Faceless Soldiers, Patchwork Ship, Caroline M Yoachim
  • Dear Sarah, Nancy Kress
  • The Moon is Not a Battlefield, Indrapramit Das
  • Perfect Gun, Elizabeth Bear
  • Oracle, Dominica Phettaplace
  • In Everlasting Wisdom, Aliette deBodard
  • Command and Control, David D. Levine
  • Conversations with an Armory, Garth Nix
  • Overburden, Genevieve Valentine
  • Heavies, Rich Larson
  • Weather Girl, E. J. Swift
  • Mines, Eleanor Arnason
  • ZeroS, Peter Watts

2084 is published by Unsung Stories following a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign and includes my story “The Endling Market”.

‘Fifteen predictions, seventy years in the future. By 2084 the world we know is gone. These are stories from our world seven decades later.

In 1948 George Orwell looked at the world around him and his response was 1984, now a classic dystopian novel. Here eleven writers asked themselves the same question as Orwell did – where are we going, and what is our future?

Visit the dark corners of the future metropolis, trek the wastelands of all that remains. See the world through the eyes of drones. Put humanity on trial as the oceans rise. Say goodbye to your body as humanity merges with technology.

Warnings or prophesies? Paradise or destruction? Will we be proud of what we have achieved, in 2084? Our future unfolds before us.’

2084 features original fiction from: 

  • Christopher Priest (author of The Prestige, The Gradual and many more)
  • Courttia Newland (author of The Scholar, The Gospel According to Kane and more)
  • Lavie Tidhar (author of A Man Lies Dreaming, Osama and Central Station)
  • Dave Hutchinson (author of The Fractured Europe Sequence)
  • James Smythe (author of The Australia Trilogy and The Anomaly Quartet)
  • Anne Charnock (author of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind and A Calculated Life)
  • Jeff Noon (author of Vurt, Automated Alice, Pollen and many more)
  • Aliya Whiteley (author of The Beauty and The Arrival of Missives)
  • E. J. Swift (author of The Osiris Project trilogy)
  • Oliver Langmead (author of Metronome and Dark Star)
  • Irenosen Okojie (author of Speak Gigantular)
  • Malcolm Devlin (author of You Will Grow Into Them)
  • Cassandra Khaw (author of Hammers on Bone)
  • Desirina Boskovich (author of Never Now Always and co-author of The Steampunk User’s Manual)
  • Ian Hocking (author of Deja Vu)

I was also thrilled to receive a copy of Chinese SF magazine ZUI Found, which contains Geng Hui’s translation of my story “Front Row Seat to the End of the World” (first published by NewCon Press in Now We Are Ten). This is the first time I’ve seen my fiction published in another language, and after the first copy went missing in the post, I was hugely grateful to Geng Hui and fellow writer Anne Charnock who orchestrated an exchange of the magazine at this year’s WorldCon in Helsinki.

As to which piece was mine, the evidently untranslatable Instagram and Tinder were the crucial giveaway…

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Bradford Literature Festival

I’m very much looking forward to joining the line-up for this year’s Bradford Literature Festival, a fantastic programme of events running from 30 June to 9 July:

“With over 300 events packed into iconic venues across 10 days, we celebrate the written and spoken word in all its wonderful forms. Every year we invite world-renowned authors, poets, musicians and artists to visit our spectacular city and share their expertise and passions with you, the audience.”

I’ll be taking part in two events:

The Reality Behind Dystopian Futures
Sarah Govett, Oliver Morton, E. J. Swift with Jon Turney
Saturday, 1st July 2017 | 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
University of Bradford – Norcroft Auditorium

Claire North, Jared Shurin, E. J. Swift with Shanon Shah
Sunday, 2nd July 2017 | 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
Bradford College – Dye House Gallery

Solaris signs Paris Adrift!

I’m thrilled to share the news that award-winning publisher Solaris have signed my new novel, Paris Adrift, a tale of time travel set in the City of Lights. The deal, for World English rights, was negotiated with John Berlyne at Zeno Agency Ltd. 

Paris AdriftHere’s a few words about the novel from Solaris Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Oliver:

“E. J. Swift’s extraordinarily rich time travel novel is a real treat of a read. Paris is evoked in all its grubby yet shiny glory, and the characters will make you fall in love with this city, its past and its misfits. An extraordinary accomplishment, bringing to mind the work of authors such as Claire North and Audrey Niffenegger.”

Solaris are a fantastic team and I’m very much looking forward to working with them over the coming months. Paris is a city close to my heart, and I can’t wait for readers to join Hallie – and her bartending friends – as she is unwittingly thrust into a journey that will take her through the city’s turbulent past and possible futures, forcing her to come to terms with love, loss and her own precarious sense of self.

Today I am also able to share the beautiful artwork for the novel. The first sighting of a cover can be a nerve-racking moment, so I couldn’t have been happier when Solaris said they would approach the brilliant Joey Hi-Fi, whose work I’ve admired for a long time. It’s fair to say Joey’s artwork for Paris Adrift has surpassed all my expectations.

Paris Adrift will be published in February 2018.

About Solaris

Solaris is the cutting edge science fiction and fantasy imprint of Rebellion Publishing. Founded in 2007 and acquired by Rebellion in 2009, Solaris has built one of the strongest and most diverse lists in genre fiction. Titles from authors such as Yoon Ha Lee, Dave Hutchinson and Gail Z Martin have been nominated for the Hugo Awards, the Nebula Awards, the Arthur C Clarke Award, and many more. For more information, visit www.solarisbooks.com.

About Zeno

Zeno Agency Ltd is a London-based literary agency specialising in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. For more information, please visit zenoagency.com.

The White Fox and the Red

I have a new short story, “The White Fox and the Red”, now available to read over on Pornokitch. A big thank you to the artist 12 Orchards for the beautiful illustration!

I read this story at Unsung Live #7 on 23 February, and you can also listen to the recording over on Unsung Stories here.

The story was inspired by this beautiful but heartbreaking image by Don Gutoski, the winner of the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The Djinn Falls In Love

The Jinn Falls in LoveThe Djinn Falls In Love & Other Stories, edited by the brilliant Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, is out today from Solaris!

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

These are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

An anthology of twenty new stories of djinn, I’m thrilled to be part of the contributor list below:

Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Helene Wecker, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Saad Hossain, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.

My story, “The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice”, features a haunted spaceship, a Martian spaceport, and a ring-tailed lemur.

For early reviews, events, and order links for The Djinn Falls In Love, take a look at the Pornokitsch website here.

Unsung Live #7

I’m delighted to join the line-up of authors for Unsung Live 7 on Tuesday 21 February, an evening of storytelling for fans of contemporary speculative fiction. The evening runs from 7.00 – 9.00pm at The Star of Kings (126 York Way London, Greater London N1 0AX, London).

If you’re interested to attend, it’s a free event but space is limited so you’ll need to sign up here.

You can find out more about Unsung Stories – a fiction imprint of independent press Red Squirrel Publishing – on their website here.

Reading recommendations from 2016

Looking back on the year’s reading, below are a few recommendations from books I’ve loved in 2016. The majority weren’t originally published this year and one which I’ve been lucky enough to read in advance is published in 2017. They’re all brilliant books and as usual it feels impossible to rank, so I’ve listed in the order I read them:

do-no-harm
Do No Harm
by Henry Marsh (W&N, 2014)

Life, death and brain surgery: a searingly honest account of Henry Marsh’s life and work as one of the UK’s most foremost neurosurgeons. This came with oodles of hype and lived up to every ounce of it. Heartbreaking and inspirational.

speak-by-louisa-hallSpeak by Louisa Hall (Orbit, 2015)

One of those novels that deserved far more attention than it seemed to receive. The multiple narratives span several centuries, from a young Alan Turing to a creator of artificial intelligence now serving a prison sentence, tied together by the voice of a discarded AI who has learned about humanity through the stories she has absorbed. 

wolf-borderThe Wolf Border by Sarah Hall (Faber and Faber, 2015)

An eccentric landowner decides to reintroduce wolves to his estate in the north of England. This is a beautiful meditation on nature and landscape, and the most evocative writing I’ve come across about pregnancy. Hall’s language is always divine, and the final images of this novel have lingered with me all year.

house-of-journalistsThe House of Journalists by Tim Finch (Jonathan Cape, 2013)

Dark humour abounds in this tale of a house for refugee journalists seeking sanctuary in London, having fled from oppressive regimes around the world. I loved the clever use of narrative that pulls together the different characters’ stories, and the novel’s themes feel ever more pertinent since it was first published in 2013.

the-boat-nam-leThe Boat by Nam Le (Canongate, 2009)

The opening of this collection, which takes a character with the author’s name attending a writing workshop in Iowa, subverts and satirizes the expectations of what a Vietnamese-born Australian writer should write about, and stakes the writer’s claim on the short fiction form. Seven marvellous stories located around the world in an explosion of startling imagery.

central-stationCentral Station by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon, 2016)

Fractured novel exploring the lives and loves of a cast of characters living in the shadow of a future space station in Tel Aviv. Tidhar creates a wonderful tapestry of moods and emotions with some extraordinarily powerful scenes such as a robotnik soldier’s memories of war. Hope to see this on some awards lists next year.

dear-thiefDear Thief by Samantha Harvey (Vintage, 2014)

In the middle of the night, a woman begins writing a letter to her best friend who disappeared over a decade ago. A gloriously written exploration of betrayal and forgiveness and one of the best depictions I’ve read of the complexities of female friendship.

 

the-thing-itselfThe Thing Itself by Adam Roberts (Gollancz, 2015)

Roberts combines philosophy and thriller in this clever, entertaining and enviably stylish exploration of Kant and the Fermi Paradox. The central narrative is interspersed with often heartbreaking accounts of characters caught up in the ramifications of the thing itself, and wonderfully written throughout. An absolute joy.

dreams-before-the-start-of-timeDreams Before The Start of Time by Anne Charnock (47 North, 2017)

Charnock’s third novel is a beautifully nuanced exploration of future developments in fertility science. The science underpinning the narrative is subtle and unobtrusive, allowing the novel to shine on the neuroses of its large, three-generational cast of characters as they struggle to come to terms with the decisions of their parents. As with her previous novels, Charnock is marvellous at communicating a huge amount in a short space. Look out for this in April next year.