Cheeseburger Gothic

Should I kickstart the Axis of Time reboot?

Posted April 7, 2016 into Books by John Birmingham

Having decided to reboot* the Axis of Time series, I'm now wondering about the best way to do it. Not about what books to write – I've already decided that. The first book in the new series will pick up at the end of Designated Targets. In other words, I will be writing the invasion of Hawaii and the death of Dan Black. The second book will pick up from Stalin's Hammer: Paris, i.e. it will be set over a decade later. If the idea works I can then advance the two timelines.

Narrative arcs are not what's bugging me at the moment. Its production schedules and budgets and all of the manifold pains in the anus that would normally be dealt with by my publisher. But in this case, I am the publisher. So it falls to me to bend over and pucker.

I laid out my writing and publishing schedule a couple of weeks ago. Once I get Paris drafted in a fortnight or so I'll be done with juggling novella length e-books for a couple of months. It will be on to Stronghold to catch up with The Dave, and into The Cruel Stars for my major trade published commitment. I'm committed to offering Stronghold in paperback. I won't be doing a print run, of course. The Dave's next full-length adventure will be available print-on-demand for those who need to kill a tree. I spent most of this morning investigating the costs and scheduling demands of that decision. It's not cheap, but it would be foolish to attempt layout and typesetting on my own. That's a service you have to buy in, just like cover art and final editing.

Doing my research on getting Stronghold ready for print has given me reason for concern over the costs of any new Axis of Time book. It will be another four or five months before I see any return on all the investment I've made on these independently published titles and there will come a point at which I simply can't keep throwing money into the hole. I'm pretty confident these books will all pay off but if I'm not careful I will run out of money to pay for them before I get there.

For that reason I'm thinking about doing a Kickstarter for The Invasion of Hawaii. I've always been wary of crowdfunding. The whole thing reminds me of Deyan Sudjic's description of property development: an edgy, maverick industry defined by “the naked realities of guile, bravado, aggression and ego”.

On the other hand, a buck's a buck.

If I went down this path, I'd probably keep everything pretty modest. There is no point offering the usual gimcrackery; T-shirts, baseball caps, stickers and shit. Every time I have to go to the post office to mail something out into the world of real things it costs time and money. If I had to send anything to the US, I'd lose money.

So, I dunno. What do you guys reckon? Production costs would probably run somewhere between about five- and ten thousand dollars for a professionally produced novel, offered in both the book and paperback format.

Is this something I should look at kickstarting, or should I just suck up the pain myself?

* I say 'reboot' but it's really just a restart. There is one major plot twist which sort of reboots a storyline, and that will be revealed at the end of Paris. But I'm not reinventing the wormhole.

66 Responses to ‘Should I kickstart the Axis of Time reboot?’

jinx would have you know...

Posted April 7, 2016
Do it..... My only word of advice is over estimate the costs. We'll follow you, but people get pissed when you legitimately run out of money.

I'm a little late to this party tho. Reboot? Like you're changing the history of the trilogy? Or just adding books into the middle of the story. Will the old universe die and be replaced, or are you saying you'll run two universes.

Will it be more or less complicated that DC's Rebirth?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 7, 2016
I'm adding books to fill in the gaps, which are huge. But in filling them, I'm also changing the underlying history. There's one major change that'll be revealed at the end of Paris. That sounds confusing, I know, but it's actually pretty simple. I'm not retconning. But I can't give away the spoiler.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted April 7, 2016
You say reboot but your description sounds more like a sequel.

Not much to advise on how to finance it but Jinx advice on overestimating costs sounds right.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 7, 2016
Mmm, as I explained to Jinx, it is a simple sequel in one sense... but not in another. But no, it's not a pure reboot like, say, the infinite numbers of Spiderman movies.

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HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2016
so if we be right, reboot is kick off again and by what you describe to me, its filling in the timeline voids, not necessarily a change in timeline right?Yep, over estimate, nothing worse than asking for more dosh.
Have a think about your minimums if you want that, remember that each share requires admin of it VERY OWN, so the smaller the shares the more admin ( that theoretical, in that you have a dominant number of smaller shares )Other than that, as Jinx said, "We'll follow you off the edge of the cliff"
FKN CHARGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted April 7, 2016
The Kickstarter perks don't have to be the usual t-shirts and crap. Some perks might include just a list of contributors for a modest fee, maybe five to ten bucks. You might offer to Redshirt someone in a particularly gruesome fashion for a bit more. Other things might include, for a fair bit more money, the opportunity for a well off aspiring writer to spend some money getting a one on one writing critique session from you. In person if they are local, or via facetime/Skype if they are across the pond.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted April 7, 2016
I was thinking of offering the ebook for $5 (US)
And major character role for $500.
But a redshirting at $50 is a great idea.
One thing I can't offer is the print copy itself, because of shipping and handling costs.

Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted April 7, 2016
ebook version shouldn't be a problem.

One thing the Star Trek Continues Kickstarter does is offer PDFs of scripts. One thing we might consider is a PDF of an edited manuscript.

In an ideal world we might go nuts and have Research Project Number 2's full binder contents scanned but that is probably beyond the pale.

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philkernick mutters...

Posted April 7, 2016

Rather than Kickstarter - which can and will work given your rabidly loyal fanbase - you should consider Unbound. It is exactly the concept that you are working with, and it definitely works.

https://unbound.co.uk/about

I bought the Robert Llewellyn books through this process.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 7, 2016
That IS interesting. But I'm wary of ceding rights to them. It looks like they'd get control of the ebook.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted April 7, 2016
It occurs to me, The Invasion of Hawaii would start right at the moment the Japanese strike at Uptime assets. Seems there could be at least two books. One for the Invasion, the other for the Liberation.

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Tyson is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2016
I'd say do it. I'd like to think you could get the 10k in funding relatively easily. It would be worthwhile asking for the coin with jbismymasternow as part of the Cairo release.
I'm sure after reading Cairo for free, most reasonable people would be more than happy to push some money your way for another book in that universe.

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DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted April 7, 2016
Do it. People will buy in.
You will need to be careful about over subscription for character names and (a new term to me, but delightfully evocative) "redshirting". Else, it won't be long and you'll have a very crowded narrative. Maybe auction some of these bigger ones?
For example I'd pay SHITLOADS to have my boss offed in a gruesome fashion. And, after his breakfast time antics this morning, maybe my eldest son... "Laurence Bloomfield" has totally the right name-feel for some tight-sphinctered Naval Officer (it's why I named him thus)
Also it occurs to me that you ought be clear in defining what people are getting for the dollars out-laid - expectations may not align with text...
plus, it'll be good practice for when we Go Big or Go Home and crowd fund The Dave movies.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted April 7, 2016
You're worried about the crowded narrative. What's the Dave movie gonna look like with two actors and a thousand extras in every scene?

Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted April 7, 2016
Bollywood.

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Aaron reckons...

Posted April 7, 2016
I am wary of crowd funding but I dont begrudge anyone for exploring avenues available. personally I think it should be simply paying for the book in advance with refund if it doesnt reach target. Character rights interesting idea but would be careful to establish what that gets them (and not having to satisfy too many inclusions). If your loyal fan base is the main customer just jettison the cover art and charge for a straight PDF. All I know is more AOT please

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Surtac asserts...

Posted April 7, 2016

Yeah. Do it.

I'm fine with the idea of supporting via kickstarter, particularly for someone I know and trust. I supported the infamous Amanda Palmer one a few years back and was quite happy with the outcome.

In fact, I was just musing on whether you could use something like Patreon instead to deliver a small regular income from the punters, as Palmer is doing now. But it occurred to me that books, even shorter ebooks, have a longer gestation and a more extended production process than what a modern nimble independent musician can deliver. Selfish I know, but I think I'd rather you were working on the books you want to write rather than scrabbling to toss a regular bone to a slavering pack of patreons.

And, fwiw, I'm really enjoying the narratives you've been giving us about the 'behind the scenes' aspects of ebook writing and production.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2016
Yeah, I kind of enjoy it, too. I'm still shaking out the difference between this place and my Facebook author page. They are different. But they still need more separation. I think FB will end up being a lot more 'corporate'.

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Stephen mumbles...

Posted April 7, 2016
First thing - do you actually want to use Kickstarter for sure? Are you planning to make the books regardless, and use the fund raising to help offset your costs, or must you get all the money up front or it won't happen? If your costs are 10 grand, and you get nine, are you willing to cover the other grand yourself? In which case you'll need to set a lower target, or use one of the systems that lets you run a project where you get the money even if you don't hit target.
There are some great posts out there about the anatomy of Kickstarter (or any other system) projects, and what to be aware of. (Some of which won't apply if you don't have a fixed target you must meet.) For example, when setting targets, most people realise that there are fees from KS, but you also have to be aware of the fact that about 3-5% of pledges won't actually come through. And if you do decide to mail things, remember postage counts against your target, so you have to allow for that. You can set a $50 fee to cover high postage to where-ever, but if 10 people take you up on it, there's $500 that counts against your target but really doesn't.
Finally - think about when you want to run this. Close to the end of a financial year can be a huge mistake. Getting the money in one tax period but not getting the bills to pay until the next can do really horrible things to your tax bill. And sure, you can claim it back eventually, but that doesn't help you pay the cover artist in July.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted April 7, 2016
All good points, Stephen. I'd be publishing the book anyway, no matter what. I'm not looking for income support, just a cost offset. But I'll ponder closely what you've said.

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jason reckons...

Posted April 7, 2016
Happy to pay in advance for any books that might come out. I bought concert tickets where the band wont be here for 18 months and didn't cry about that, so if your book takes a year I'm well ahead. Very happy to pay $100 to be written out of a book in a very gruesome way or $50 just to be name checked. .

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted April 7, 2016
Dunno if it is a good idea. At least, with you, backers would be confident there would eventually be a book. Maybe backers could be offered a special backer edition with some extras. It could perhaps include some character back stories or some other author stuff that you developed to help create the novel.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted April 7, 2016
I'll pay fiddy smackers to see Abbott's migration ship, the Aronsay, get its beans cashed in a fiery end around 10 September 1960.

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WarDog reckons...

Posted April 7, 2016

You might be able to handle the cost of t-shirts with shipping just by offloading the manufacture and shipping of the T-Shirts to Zazzle. It also then opens up a t-shirt merch revenue for you :-)

Make the KickStarter t-shirts extra special with a JB sig or "I helped JB rewrite history, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2016
The problem is my audience is split between three major markets. US/Can, UK, A/NZ. There is no easy way to address shipment to all three at once.

Stephen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 8, 2016
If have seen it done where people get something made in China, and then some is bulk freighted to a fulfilment centre in the US for US and Canada, and the rest is sent from Hong Kong or somewhere similar. Sometimes the European stuff is bulk freighted to Europe somewhere, and then shipped around Europe from there. That evidently has benefits from the VAT side for the Euro customers - as you would pay the tax/VAT on the bulk shipment, rather than them having to pay for it on each small one. There is a whole market of people starting businesses to do this kind of thing.
Which reminds me, if you are going to sell books to European customers, make sure you are up to date on VATMOSS, or that could bite you one day.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2016
I am so weary.

WarDog mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2016
If you were doing it through Zazzle (and they are not the only option) it just becomes a matter of creating an order with them for each reward. They handle all of the rest. Just make sure that the price for the reward covers whatever Zazzle will charge plus Kickstarter costs and round up.

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Jeats swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 7, 2016
I would so put up $50 for a red shirt role. I would chuckle like anything when I eventually reached it while reading.

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moz is allegedly literate puts forth...

Posted April 7, 2016
One other perk that people like me would pay for is a bundle of your other ebooks. Give us 5% or 10% off and watch the cheapskates bleed money in your direction. I'm one of those lazy types who would rather get a zip with a whole series in it than try to assemble it over time. I'm currently whining because Juliet McKenna has the final ebook in her Northern Storm series "in the pipeline" but I've read the first three and I wannit neeoooww! A lot seem to be available via kobo as drm-free epub which is nice, but I'm looking at $200 worth of books of which I've read about two and going "there has to be a cheaper way" :)

Also, decide whether this is about growing your market or feeding the vultures who already have their beaks buried in your guts. The latter mob might be just as happy with a paypal address and/or a target bank account, and the fees are lower that way.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
I'm gonna try something like this with the first two Hooper ebooks. They'll be priced 2.99 each, or 4.99 for both. If that's possible to set up.

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Sparty would have you know...

Posted April 7, 2016
"Production costs would probably run somewhere between about five- and
ten thousand dollars"
But would it?
Way back in '07 Stephen King was coming to UK and Mrs Sparty was desperate to get the King homage Novella she'd written into his hands. We knew that he was often wary of being handed manuscripts for all sorts of reasons but figured there would be a much better chance if it was a ISBN'd proper paperback so we self published via LULU. Thing is although it wasn't perfect, we did manage to produce something (type set, wrap cover art, ISBN barcode etc) the local Waterstones agreed to stock. and we literally did that in a weekend of work (and some physical delivery backwards and forwarding). With more time and local expert help I'm confident we could have had a near flawless product.
So how about recruiting a publishing intern who can do the work pro bono in exchange for some cult authorly wisdom?
And the story, well we did get it into da King's hands and due to a sentence or two in a novel he published a few years later we reckon he'd read it.
Anyhow I'll be in the queue either way but can't help feeling kickstarter doesn't quite gel with novel publishing.
Now if its a live action version of AoT, using Battlestar Galactica "Blood n Chrome" style green screen tech - now your talkin....

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 8, 2016
"But would it?"
Yep. I've done the costings. Granted, I don't skimp, because I want these things to be indistinguishable from the industry standard.
One a hundred thousand word novel it breaks down as:
<font color="#333333">Structural editing $2000-$3000*</font>Copy editing $3000Artwork $600-00Typesetting $2000<font color="#333333">Digital formatting $400-$600</font><font color="#333333">Marketing $Fkn Heap$</font><font color="#333333">
</font><font color="#333333">*Structural editing is an unknown. All of my trade published titles get a significant structural edit. As I've become more experienced the edits get lighter, and I often anticipate the major structural changes need to the first draft. Maybe that's something that could be done in beta. Maybe not.</font><font color="#333333">Those costs are for a 100K words. The AoT books all ran to 160K. So you can do the math.</font>

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Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted April 7, 2016
Another option to cut down on shipping costs on the paperbook could be this: http://www.ondemandbooks.com/

It used to be operational here http://www.abc.nl/frontpage/ebm/index.php?pod=Y&show=ebm_info but it's been a while since I've been inside those bookstores so i don't know the current status.

You could sell the axis shorts in an omnibus or ebook pack, get sponsors/productplacement etc, but then your literary integrity would be for sale too ...

Kickstarter is a good option, but then the word about it has to be spread to create a snowball of interest.

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 7, 2016
Hold on, hold on, hold on.
I'm trying to wrap my head around a concept here.
The way I'm reading the above, all you people actually laid out real money to actually purchase JB's product. Surely not you, Boylan? Say it ain't so.
JB, my question would be, why not use the publisher for the original AoT series, or have they pissed you off big time, or is it just that paper book sales are kaput?
I do know one of my brother's is going to be totally pissed if there is no print version. He's a complete luddite, as well as being completely broke. Everything he reads he gets from the library, and if they haven't got it in he gets them to order it - good client and all. This will fuck him right up.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2016
Your brother is why there's gonna be a print version.

DarrenBloomfield ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
My library now provides ebooks on loan, via an app called Axis 360 (how appropriate!)
Bad news is there is fk all* on it - that I'm interested in at any rate. Not sure how that gets energised, but once it does, even cheapskates can go e-books.
*A search for John Birmingham books produced: "no books available"

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McKinneyTexas reckons...

Posted April 8, 2016
If you can raise money with no obligation other than to publish and no expectation of repayment, why not? I've followed your posts on this for some time and remain mystified at the economics. Seems to me, you write a book, someone publishes it, people buy it, you get a slice. Can you do yourself what a publisher does and come out ahead--without an editor? I assume so, based on the fact you are doing it.

That said, I wouldn't mind a few old style Pepsi Challenges where we discuss in detail how things would or should break in the WOC universe.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 8, 2016
Senator, the economics are indeed mystifying but, bottom line, yes, you get them right and you can make more money than you would without a publisher raking off 93% of the return.

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted April 8, 2016
The first book in the new series will pick up at the end of

Donald Bagert is gonna tell you...

Posted April 8, 2016
Hey! what happened to the rest of my comment? Let's try again...
"The first book in the new series will pick up at the end of

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Don Bagert ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
This chopping of my messages is becoming annoying. Ok, maybe the third time's the charm:
You said:The first book in the new series will pick up at the end of Weapons of Choice, and well before Designated Targets. In other words, I will be writing the invasion of Hawaii and the death of Dan Black.My response:However...the invasion of Hawaii was towards the end of Designated Targets, and the death of Dan Black was after DT and before Final Impact.I predict, however, that the plot twist at the end of Paris will be that Dan Black is not dead! :)

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 8, 2016
Man, I better go back and read those books again.

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pedrogb mumbles...

Posted April 8, 2016
To answer your first question JB
Yes you should do it, you have a keen audience already, if you don't get all the money up front you could stipulate refunds or other options in kickstarter or foot the rest yourself (which will still be cheaper that what you would have had to pay in the first place)
I would pay for the privilege being red shirted (lol, I had never heard this expression either, but I like it.)
And yes, I will need to reread the series again (shame but hey, what you gonna do?) in order to make comment!

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Surtac mutters...

Posted April 8, 2016

Fascinating to see some of the costs that are usually hidden behind the publishing kimono. Gives much more insight into the importance of marketing input and effort from the publisher to the success or not of a book.

Hence the importance of the imminent newsletter (along with Twitter and Farcebook) to you as the self-publisher, am I right?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 8, 2016
You are more right than you know. Pan Mac released Emergence on Christmas Eve.Think about that. They were trying to get holiday sales but they released the book on the day most indie bookshops close for a week or two, and even chains go dark for at least a week. So the book sat in boxes in the back of most stores for anything up to three weeks (because most bookstores spend the period after Xmas dealing with returns, not selling new titles).There was no publicity. I did no interviews. I went nowhere. They did get a couple of extracts. One in the Daily Telegraph, which helped. But that was pretty much it.If you were trying to bury a book, you couldn't try harder than this.And the cherry on top of that shit sundae? The ebook was released to the A/NZ market but nowhere else in the world. So when the US and UK came to release their editions three months later, a lot of early demand had already been met by the torrent sites.You can see why I'm so keen to strike out on my own.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2016
Actually, I think I did one interview. One.

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Macwin ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
Loooooong time lurker, first time poster. Yes! Yes! Yes! I will happily pledge $50-$100 of my hard earned to see another long form AOT. I still regard the awestruck Kolhammer presenting Einstein with a flex ipad as one of my favourite, cheesy grin alt history moments. More! Oh and thanks for all the other books too JB.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
Thanks Mac. That helps.

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Aaron ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
Well you have the relative advantage of an established audience who trusts you to come up with the good stuff. If it's an exercise in seeing how much you can save (these discussions are what keep me interested for the last 12 years) then perhaps some co-op type model? Source as much tasks through the burger?

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted April 8, 2016
I know this may be a little left of field (where i spend a bit of time) but is it also possible to garner sponsorship from product placement. I assumed you already were when you refer to a Sony screen etc but this might just be you angling for some freebies. It is becoming a lot bigger in many sectors (Master Chef being an ongoing add for whatever shop sponsors the show) and could translate to books. If suddenly all your characters: drank Pepsi or 5 seeds cider, drove only Fords, wore G Shock watches, only traveled on QANTAS because it is the world's safest airline, etc. It may be more costly to pursue it than it is worth and it might mean selling your soul (shootouts in K Mart rather than an old car lot). Admitting to it might also provide a huge publicity burst and the products can be tailored to where the books are published.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
It's not that left of field.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted April 8, 2016
So when you sell your soul what happens to all of our souls that we have entrusted to you? Was there a clause relating to selling our souls to third parties?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 8, 2016
Your soul has already been crushed and converted into high grade mulch.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted April 8, 2016
Thank you

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insomniac reckons...

Posted April 8, 2016
I think it's worth giving it a go for at least one book. As one who has the experience of having to go to the post office on almost a daily occurrence during winter and shelling out $7.45 for the privilege, I would suggest having most of your offers being deliverable with the click of a mouse, and severely limiting those that take up precious time and money.

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pi asserts...

Posted April 8, 2016
It wouldn't take much to include an autographed copy of a book for people who contribute over X would it? The incentive structure for a kick-starter is different for every one. Some will just do it so that it gets written, where if you give some the opportunity of exclusiveness, they contribute more.

Perhaps even include lotteries or something for things like plot-outlines and such if they contribute Z? Include people in editing/drafts if they commit to Y?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted April 8, 2016
But you have to mail those books out. It becomes expensive in both time and money very, very quickly. I've learned that recently.

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Ceramic puts forth...

Posted April 8, 2016
Wow, I go offline for a few months and find out you're self publishing a crap-load of books. Cool.Hats off to you JB. Last I remember you were planning a one book test.
I'd totally be up for contributing to a kickstarter. Seeing as I contribute to artists on Patreon, it would be remiss of me to ignore one of my favourite authors taking a leap into independent publishing :-)

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Thessair asserts...

Posted April 9, 2016
I say Kickstart that sucker. You've got a pretty dedicated fan base and I know that I, for one, would be pleased to be able to lend a bit more support. I think physical rewards in a case like this might be more detrimental and could easily wipe out the funds you generate. Ebooks and ideas like characters (and the redshirt one) would be awesome.

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted April 9, 2016
I can't add a lot to what everyone else has already said, but yes, shut up and take my money :)

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JG reckons...

Posted April 10, 2016
No thoughts re AOT. However, looking at the forest over the trees, I'm happy this blog is archived by the National Library of Australia. It is fascinating to hear about the transition of publishing from your insightful perspective, JB. I'm glad future generations will read about your road through rapid changes in our time. Cheeseburger Gothic is a wonderful primary source for historians of all generations. Enough with the bush, but you're on top of it. You know what you're doing. Thank goodness.Joanna

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Alister Taylor reckons...

Posted April 12, 2016
Hell, I'm in for a particularly gruesome death... Take my money!

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Alister Taylor reckons...

Posted April 12, 2016
Hell, I'm in for a particularly gruesome death... Take my money!

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Ed mutters...

Posted April 13, 2016
Yes - oh my god - yes. Just about my favourite series of books ever.

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien reckons...

Posted April 15, 2016
First time caller, long time listener here. Yes, absolutely! I will
gladly fork over my dinero to be tuckerized and immortalized within the
pages of your masterpiece! Keep on truckin' JB!

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Almost there

Posted February 16, 2016 into Books by John Birmingham

Just hit save on the second last chapter of Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. At least I hope it’s the second last chapter. I’m pretty sure I can kill everybody who needs killing and blow up all the things in one chapter. As long as Prince Harry doesn’t get lost tracking that German rocket scientist across the city.
Assuming he’s cool, the draft should go to beta this week and to full edit next. Then the part I really like about indie publishing; commissioning the artwork. Although in this case I’m a little constrained because this is the second book in a series so I’ll have to stick with the design language chosen by Momentum for the Stalin's Hammer: Rome.
Luckily, their cover is pretty cool and lends itself to iteration. I’m thinking a yellow ochre colour scheme with old Joe Stalin peeking out of silhouettes of the pyramids and the Sphinx.

28 Responses to ‘Almost there’

NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 16, 2016
Huzzah! Huzzah for the worldsmith.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted February 16, 2016
And just in time for JB to kick back, beer in hand and enjoy Daredevil season 2 on 18 March.

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2016
at last- I thought we were going to get to 2021 first.....;-)
will be interesting to see exactly how dystopian the world is when we get to the date they went back in time in the book. (if Trump gets in, I can probably saner that question right now....)

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Peter in the bleachers ducks in to say...

Posted February 16, 2016
Well done sir. I imagine it's like running a marathon and seeing the 1km to go sign. Looking forward to reading it.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2016
I hope you are saving your work more often than when you get to the end of a chapter. I'm looking forward to reading it slowly, word by word. That was fun.

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Dirk mutters...

Posted February 17, 2016
I have this spinning already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlrKETxwRvM

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2016

Looking forward to this. Definitely time to go back to that universe.


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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2016
*hits imaginary "like" button*
(ignores imaginary 'heart' button)

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted February 17, 2016

Seems a long ago time when I first scooped up the three AOT books and hoovered them down in a week. Been a lot of CBG'ing since then.

Guess its a case of 'Get 'er done'.

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BigWillieStyle ducks in to say...

Posted February 17, 2016
OFF TOPIC: Just went and had a Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake at my local hipster café. Quite possibly the greatest invention ever.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2016
Toasted marshmallow you say, in. a. milkshake?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2016
what an age we live in

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Thessair mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2016
Excellent news! I am very much looking forward to delving back into this world.

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Alister Taylor asserts...

Posted February 18, 2016
Last week involved sitting on my tod sick as a dog, reading all 3 AoT novels, Stalin's Hammer, and waiting... waiting...
You legend JB!

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Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted February 18, 2016
What about Constable Bob?
The long suffering Art Mullen? I mean who would want to be Raylan's boss?
Dewie now there was a dimwit.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2016
Are you drunk, Spanners? Drunk and pantsless? Its ok if you are, just a bit concerned is all.

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Spanner has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2016
I have pants! Pants and dignity. These are things that I have.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 21, 2016
Did you hear about the new therapy for In Patients with severe cognitive developmental issues ? They sing while drumming rhythms on fruit. Amazing results, It's called the moron tap an apple choir.
Is this thing on?

NBlob mutters...

Posted February 21, 2016
That's because you are a terrible person. But context is everything, in normal company you'd be the worst person in the room. Here you are no more than one standard deviation from the mean.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted February 23, 2016
maybe two

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 23, 2016
But I don't want to deviate from the mean. I am so tired of being "different." I want to live! I want to belong! I want to be part of the whole, not separate from the main. I want to be recognized for the creative genius that I know, in my heart, I can be. When I carefully craft exact miniature classic automobiles using my own poop, I want it recognized as art and not as another sign of mental illness and/or a gross abuse of prescription pain killers - depending on which doctor you're talking to at any given moment.

NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 23, 2016
The Bugatti is art.

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MuttsInc mutters...

Posted February 24, 2016

Dear Sir, I have a question, one asked in a serious and well-modulated tone of voice, not flippant, nor when wearing the visage of a smirk.

Do you ever get angry at your syntax?

When television became reality, I turned it off; now it gets wiped for dust once a week. I have a terminal fascination with the written word, and as often happens (I'm thinking porn here, mayhap not the best example) when we see something we like, we're tempted to try it.

So, in fits and starts, I scribble some words; more starts, less fits, you could say. I introduce words to each other, get them interested enough in each other to form a sentence, hope they evolve into a paragraph and the movement grows into something substantial. Then I go away; leave them to ferment before adding the sugar.

When I come back, invariably they're dead. Just flat on the page, and no amount of defibrillation can jolt them back into life. It's frustrating; all the organs are functioning and healthy, yet no matter how I poke and prod there appear (in my view) no signs of life. Just a carcass in need of burial. This would be fine if my intent was to establish a funeral home; it wasn't, and I'm tired of being unable to resurrect all these dead things laying around the place.

So, in all sincerity, do you - as one who is (self) employed in the craft - ever get the shits with your own words?

Perhaps want to kill them, even though - or because - they're already dead? (this presumes you never write a recalcitrant word, something I refuse to accept; anyone tells me they never hit backspace or delete? I don't believe them)

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 24, 2016
Mutt, by the time I'm on the third draft of a book those words make me want to vomit hot blood.I also find it difficult to read a column I've just written. I use the Mac's text to speech function instead.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted February 24, 2016

I activated the text to speech function on my Mac and it read back PNB's last post as if it were Peter Cushing lamenting the destruction of Alderaan.

MuttsInc asserts...

Posted February 24, 2016

Excellent to hear (not the visual stimulation of you projectile-puking hot blood - therapy can subdue that mental scar).

I've started small (5-10 thousand word short stories) and even at that amount, I'm never sure I've drafted the final product sufficiently or, as I strongly suspect, I simply cannot bear reading it one more time. How you cope with an entire novel (several times over) is beyond me. Beer, perhaps? (not swallowing that brandy swirlin')

As to the Mac's text to speech function....umm...I got Word; tells me when I gone and done spelled wrongly.

If you told me - after you've finished writing (and reading) the quantity you do - you then relax with a good book I would have to admit confusion; if I write 5 thousand a day, I almost watch television (if the farmer wants a wife, I should care?).

Almost, but not quite.

Thanks for the response, it's appreciated.

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My ('splodey, stabby) summer reads

Posted January 27, 2016 into Books by John Birmingham

One of the small pleasures of summer I always look forward to is cracking the spine, or hitting download, on a new Cliff Hardy story. Peter Corris has been cranking these out since I was a teenager. I still remember reading The Empty Beach for the first time, and going back to it again and again, drawn by the pastiche of Hardy’s gallows humour, the uniquely Australian voice (well, it was unique at the time) and Corris’s way with transplanting the best elements of the hard boiled school to the bright golden shores of the harbour city.

I still have this year’s release – That Empty Feeling – to read, but just finished Gun Control (iTunes) as my bedside book. Cliff ages gracefully, but he does age. He’s a grandad now, still on medication for his heart attack a few years ago, and all around him his contemporaries are retiring from the game. He gets into fewer brawls and tends to take back up with him when he’s expecting one.

Back up in Gun Control comes in the form of an unusually temperate bikie gang leader, looking to establish his rule after the death of his former pack leader, a shady lawyer and crooked cop. Sydney is as much a character and player as ever and feeling my own understanding of the city fading with every day I’m away, I was taken by how well Corris stayed in touch with the place after moving to the north coast a few years ago. Then I found out, he’d moved back. Sucks for him I guess, but yay for the rest of us.

As always the maguffin in Gun Control is a client; a businessman who pays Hardy to investigate the death of his son. The coroner ruled it a suicide, but nothing is ever simple. Hardy is soon mixing it up with bikers, cops good and bad, dodgy lawyers and a couple of unfortunate muggers who chose the wrong granddad to have a go at.

A world away from modern Sydney, Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom (iTunes) is set in England between 866 and 876, during the age of the Vikings. It had been sitting in my pile o’ shame for years and I’m not quite sure what made me pick it up. Maybe seeing the TV series was coming up on Netflix or Stan. I thought, wrongly, that it might have been Cornwell riffing on the King Arthur saga, but it seems to have been based on an actual historical figure.

The narrator is Uhtred Ragnarsson, born a Saxon but taken by Danish raiders who killed his father when he was ten. Uhtred is raised by the Danes as one of their own, setting up a long series with a vengeance motif at its heart.

I tried to like it. It’s a good story, well told, but for some reason I just didn’t find it compelling. That says more about me than Cornwell. I couldn’t help thinking what this book needs is a gunned up platoon of 21st century SAS hard men somehow pulled back in time to kick Viking arse.

Hmm.

That gives me an idea. Excuse me a second while I rejig my writing schedule.

Anyway, would I recommend it? I guess I would, if you’re a fan of historical fiction set in that period. Cornwall is a great story teller, and hugely popular. It’s not his fault I didn’t get into the Kingdom.

My other summer read was the latest in David Weber’s Safehold series; Hell's Foundations Quiver (iTunes). If you haven’t been following the series, I can’t help you. We’re deep in the narrative woods now and as happens with a lot of these long arcs, if you haven’t been there for the whole thing, it will make no sense to you. I have been there, and at times it didn’t make much sense to me because there are now so many characters and plots and sub plots that I found it hard to remember who was doing what.

Still, it felt a more polished effort than some of the earliest titles. Weber has a few quirks that really grated on me as I rushed through the early novels one after another. We’ve discussed them before; his characters are forever chuckling for no good reason; he loves putting two men in a room to chat about nothing but exposition. Hell’s Foundation isn’t free of these sins, but they happen much less frequently. And the premise off the series, a sentient AI in a combat chassis thrown in amongst religious bigots to set off a holy war is as much fun as ever; i.e., heaps.

33 Responses to ‘My ('splodey, stabby) summer reads’

Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27, 2016
" I couldn’t help thinking what this book needs is a gunned up platoon of
21st century SAS hard men somehow pulled back in time to kick Viking
arse."
Stop. Hasn't this been done by Keith McArdle with 'The Forgotten Land'?

I'm sure I heard bout this from you and have downloaded and read it and enjoyed it.
Please get back to Cairo and the next Dave stuff. Or I will be very upset.

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Sparty has opinions thus...

Posted January 27, 2016
Haven't read last Kingdom, but the TV series was well made. However the lead was such a whinney brat f%*k wit he made Dave look mature! and forced me to root for the Vikings over the Saxons!
Again like Birmo, the fact that I found that a barrier to really enjoying the series is on me - strange because I hate it when book agents say things like "you need easily relatable, likable characters".

I think he was meant to be a bit of an unreliable narrator who matures later - just suspect we need episodes book-ended with the "mature version".

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SZF asserts...

Posted January 27, 2016
Speaking of historical fiction, Vlad: the Last Confession by Chris Humphreys is worth a gander. A (very) bloody account of the man who inspired Stoker's Dracula.
Your SAS hard men would want to make sure not to miss if they tried to f*ck with Vlad though. The guy kept a lot of stake makers in business...

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted January 28, 2016
Yes, but Vlad only retained the services of stake makers who were passionate about their art.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted January 29, 2016
You know you've found yourself a serious stake making craftsman if they refer to themselves as a "Maker of Stakes."

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 29, 2016
That, or their Marketing consultant said "everyone likes assonance."

Lulu puts forth...

Posted January 29, 2016
Or they used the words 'bespoke' and 'artisan'.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted January 29, 2016
Artisan stakes: a soft start with notes of pine or oak (depending); a clean finish; aged to perfection. Gluten free.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 29, 2016
See no not everyone like assonance, some find it immensely irritating but by a strange quirk of fate many who appreciate fine stakes AND have disposable income are bandits for it. That is the genius of marketing.

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WA n'ker mumbles...

Posted January 27, 2016
SAS squad back in time sounds good Birmo, but what happens when they run out of ammo? Perhaps the "Philadelphia/Axis" type chronological quantum transposition event sends back the entire London Australian Embassy building? This would obviously include all the staff and equipment; secretaries, ex-SAS security staff with their cache of weapons, Defence Signals Directorate staff (including that weird guy with a doctorate in Ornithology), computers, back up generators, fuel supply, defence attache with honours from Oxford in the appropriate history and languages, foreign affairs and economics/trade people, and a good supply of Hill of Grace, Grange and Victoria Bitter.

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Guy mumbles...

Posted January 28, 2016
I've read all the Last Kingdom novels and they are truly excellent. Much recommended if you like that sort of thing. From the man who brought you the Sharpe novels.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted January 28, 2016
I started watching the TV series last night. Brutal. But good. I'll probably stick with it.

Squid has opinions thus...

Posted January 28, 2016
Yes I've read them all also.

I really enjoy them although he pumps them out a bit like Lee Child (who I also enjoy) with similar plot devices, but there has been some story progression in recent books that I have appreciated.

I think I feel an affinity for the story lines with my family being from the Old Country and having lived there for a few years. The family legend goes we are descended from the Vikings but that's likely complete bunkham.

Yeah that and the blood and guts and general disregard for the Christian church.

Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted January 29, 2016
I watched the whole series after Christmas and enjoyed it a lot. Haven't read the book (or is it books?) yet, but Cornwall is probably the definitive historical military fiction writer these days... I have read his books set in Napoleonic era, American Revolution and Civil War, medieval times and others. Usually pretty good reading...

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted January 28, 2016

" is a gunned up platoon of 21st century SAS hard men somehow pulled back in time to kick Viking arse." There are now even more modern army against ancient army tropes thanks to an excellent Axis of Time series.


One of my favorites at the moment is GATE a Japanese Anime about when modern Tokyo is invaded through gate by a couple of thousand Roman legions from an alternative universe, which include mounted flying dragons after a couple of hours of havoc the Japanese's Defense Force wipes the floor with them then goes the gate and establishes a 'special region' so the JSDF can operate there.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 28, 2016
Sounds totally cool. Gotta find it. Gotta see it.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted January 28, 2016
I will eagerly await your erudite ruminations on this anime.

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Schweaty is gonna tell you...

Posted January 28, 2016
Hi all, long time lurker, first time commenter. Or second? Anyway. Have any of you read the Cormoran Strike books? The ones by JK Rowling under the name of Robert Galbraith? He's another PI who manages to find himself in the middle of the investigation. I've just finished the third. Characters are interesting, stories move along at a cracking pace. Enjoyable!

WA n'ker has opinions thus...

Posted January 28, 2016
Danke, Schweaty der lurker. I had no idea JK had written under a pseudonym, I'll check 'em out.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted January 29, 2016
Her first pseudonym was Andre La Plume. Fairly good Gothic romances.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 29, 2016
I had to read/review the first one for the Bookshow. Pretty sure I then reviewed it here somewhere.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted January 29, 2016
I've read the first 2 Comoran Strike books. I thought they were excellent. The two things I look for, character and atmosphere, are both superb. I haven't read the third one yet. I believe J.K. is planning 4 or 5 more. Best to read them in order. The development in the professional relationship between the two main characters is going to be a big theme in the series.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted January 29, 2016
Cliff Hardy - sort of like the Royal on Bondi Rd which has seen a few fights, is feeling its age but still knows how to do cold beer through clean lines and an edible pub feed.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted January 29, 2016
I've been meaning to read The Empty Beach for some time...being as how its set in my area and all.

Regarding the SAS/vikings thing - someone put out a thought bubble about a Marine force ending up in Roman times and how they would fare...google it I guess. Of course the main contention was they'd kick major arse until they ran out of fuel/bullets/etc. Still a cool idea though.

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Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted January 29, 2016
"Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen" by H. Beam Piper. The original (well, apart from Twains time travel story) and still the best.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted January 30, 2016
Does the story actually move forward in the latest Weber?

Sudragon puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2016
It's moving faster than The Wheel of Time series.

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GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted January 30, 2016
I read young upstart hot on JB's heels James Phelan's The Hunted and Kill Switch over the hols ... no #TheDave to distract me, after reading 'bout Corris' new Hardy I've a mind to re-read Peter Temple's Jack Irish novels - being a Melbourne boy I just love the atmosphere and the darkness of the stories.

dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2016
Haven't read the books but can highly recommend the ABC film versions of Jack Irish - but I may be biased, having spent the bulk of my life in Melbourne too.

GhostSwirv has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2016
Really like the ABC telemovies ... some of the best book 2 tv adaptations I've ever watched.
Can't wait for White Dog to be realised - I hope its the next telemovie they release.

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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2016
To my eternal shame I've never read Corris/Hardy. But, well, because JB is my master now, I have the ibooks version of "the dying trade" cicada 1980. So I'm away!
The foreword by Charles Waterstreet in this edition fills me with hope. Last year I hinge read another crime series I was late too: Jack Reacher.
I enjoyed that, but fallible that guy ain't. CW suggests Mr Hardy may Mr more mortal. And more likeable for it.
And then this "When we read Corris, we see ourselves, we laugh at ourselves, we cringe at ourselves, and finally we understand ourselves a little better".
I'm in! See you in 35 years/38 novels.

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Respond to 'My ('splodey, stabby) summer reads'

Dominion, by CJ Sansom

Posted January 15, 2016 into Books by John Birmingham

Don't know how I missed this this, but when I get out from under my current deadline, I'm gonna check it out. Dominion, by CJ Sansom, an alternate history of Britain under the Nazi jackboot.

The Guardian writes it up thus:

... one of the thrills of Dominion is to see a writer whose previous talent has been for the captivating dramatisation of real history (in his five books about the Tudor sleuth, Matthew Shardlake, and the Spanish civil war novel Winter in Madrid) creating an invented mid-20th century Britain that has the intricate detail and delineation of JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, though thankfully described in better prose.

The big historical sweeps seem credible guesses: the newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook – an isolationist, pro-German equivalent to Roth's President Lindbergh – is prime minister, with the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley as home secretary, while Churchill is the leader of an underground resistance movement that occasionally daubs V signs in public places. In America, Adlai Stevenson has just won the 1952 election. In recorded history, Stevenson was thrashed by D-day hero General Dwight Eisenhower, but, in this version, there hasn't been an allied victory to gild Ike's reputation and so he hasn't even run for the Republicans.

Sansom is equally impressive in the depth of the background colour. Air-raid shelters – never, as it turned out, needed – are items of poignant incongruity. Conversations glancingly reveal that what we know as the London and Helsinki Olympics of 1948 and 1952 took place in quite different countries because of the alterations in the geo-political situation. Leading British authors of the period – EM Forster, JB Priestley, WH Auden – have disappeared ominously from view after criticising our political masters in Berlin. A massive picture of Hitler hangs in the lobby of the National Portrait Gallery.

10 Responses to ‘Dominion, by CJ Sansom’

Surtac asserts...

Posted January 15, 2016

I read this a few years back, and can happily recommend it.

It's a very good book and a fine addition to the subgenre.

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted January 15, 2016
downloading ebook NOW

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 15, 2016
That sounds amazing. Will track it down immediately.

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DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted January 15, 2016
Ever since I first visited Spain in the early nineties, and saw how The long-lived Franco regime still echoed in the collective there (and Salazar across the border).
I'd read "Fatherland" of course, and also knew from history that Democracies in Europe were fading, even before the war.
I always wanted to write an alternative history novel that saw Europe avoid WWII, and what Europe in the 80s would look like if, like Franco and Salazar, Hitler and Mussolini had've ruled for decades.
Its why I loved the amazon Man in the High Castle take.
I guess it's a crowded space, too crowded for me and my novel!
Might have to rush out a space opera, get in first...

she_jedi reckons...

Posted January 15, 2016
I really loved Fatherland, and The Man in the High Castle just blew my mind. I love the whole "what if?" sense of alternate histories, particularly around WW2. You should give your novel a crack anyway, see how it goes :)

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted January 15, 2016
Is it available on audio? I've got audible credits to burn.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted January 15, 2016

Looking forward to it, but I don't agree with the reviewer's "one of the thrills of Dominion is..." that's not a thrill.

A thrill is a fistfight with Nazi Zombies whilst on a hovercraft failing through a crevasse in Antarctica while a nuclear weapon ticks down - thank you Mathew Reilly.

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GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted January 16, 2016
I love the 'what if' - alternative history scenario, Dominion sounds verrrrrrry interesting.

James Herbert wrote an alternative WWII history yarn called '48 about the Nazis raining down on London a V2 missile containing a Black Death virus ... pretty sure if the real Nazis had something like that they woulda used it.

Some survivors have to flee infected zombie-like Blackshirts - Nazi sypathisers - who want to drain their blood for their fearless leader.

I'm going after the Dominion ebook before the nuke clicks down, now if i can just remember where I left my maghook?

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted January 18, 2016
I'm 20 per cent in to Dominion now, and it is very good.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 23, 2016

I bought Dominion. Its OK , if a little slow going. So I put it down for a week or two and I read a Zombie book which was also OK. But yesterday a copy of 'Look who's Back ' arrived , and by about midnight last night I really had to put it down and get some sleep. Its the alt-history time travelling novel we never asked for, but got all the same. Brilliant.

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Respond to 'Dominion, by CJ Sansom'

Here be Monsters cover art

Posted January 4, 2016 into Books by John Birmingham

In a couple of weeks the mailing list will go live and those who've signed up will get an invite to grab this bad boy for free. Some of you contributed to this story, as I recall. It's since been redone and edited. I'm stoked to see it getting a day in the sun.

The cover art is by Will Heavy and I love it. It captures the best of the story in one image. I ran a contest at 99 Designs to get this result, and there were a couple of other really excellent offerings. I've noted the artists and will offer them some paying work later this year when the other books go into production. I'll also write up an entry about the 99Designs process which should hopefully be helpful to anyone thinking of using them. Not everyone loves the 99 model, and I do understand the critique of the contest process, but that process fast tracked me into a design marketplace where I can now source artists for commissioned work. I get art assets. They get a pay day. 99D takes a cut.

The first two HOOPER ebooks will be out late Feb or early March and again, early sign ups will get an invite to grab a free copy. I plan a soft release of each book, letting early subscribers have it free before bumping the price to full retail. And if early subscribers felt like leaving a glowing 88 star review... well, who would I be to say no.

31 Responses to ‘Here be Monsters cover art’

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted January 4, 2016
I can't help but have a fondness for the zombie at the bottom left. He might be a murdering, cannibalistic, reanimated corpse; but at least he seems a patriot. In fact, I think I met him once at the cricket.

insomniac mutters...

Posted January 4, 2016
Yes, I think he was caught on the big screen tucking in to someone's skull. The media dubbed him 'Brain Boy'.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 4, 2016
I'm, er, not sold. It reminds me of the unicorn slash titles a few months back. Don't get me wrong, I'm up for some alt.time zombie stomping, the art just lacks, something. Menace?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted January 5, 2016
Just the right touch of menace. Promises lots of fun.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 5, 2016
Not even close, Blob.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 6, 2016
Not the first time. Remember when I said 'The Daemons of Buttecrack County' was an insightful allegory on Australia's troubled relationship with Jakarta.
Oh how you laughed.

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Sparty puts forth...

Posted January 4, 2016
where did the chick come from?
The guy looks like across between Han Solo and the Scottish bloke from Outlander (The TV series, not the movie with the other scottish bloke).
it does look a bit slashy- but somehow that seems right (slash as in genres / time zones rather than slash as in Kirk /Spock).

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 5, 2016
That is the idea.

Sudragon is gonna tell you...

Posted January 5, 2016
Needs more sword to be proper slash fic...

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 5, 2016
And the sword would have be a dildo

Sudragon asserts...

Posted January 5, 2016
I'd say pork sword...but that would be adding to the ham problem.

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DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted January 5, 2016
do thiose of us that signed over our soul (full of guns or otherwise) for the editorial experiment need to re-up for this, or are we pre-conscripted?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 5, 2016
The Beta-reading crew is separate, but related. I can't legally add you to my mailing list. You must give me your soul by your hand. The links up top will take you where you need to go.
[evil chuckle][wait][did I just do my evil chuckle out loud?]

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted January 5, 2016
Yes, you did. And it was so cute. The way a newborn calf is cute as it stumbles around.

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted January 5, 2016
thanks John.

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DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted January 5, 2016
thanks John.
On a related topic, at the MWF you repeated something |I think I've read here - that you had filed away a stat about how few days food supply was on hand in major cities. And that you'd call on that fact one day.
My spouse gave me a Chrissy present that might be a good research tool for you: "The Knowledge: how to rebuild our world from scratch". Its a few years old now, but it's a cracking read. Might be of use to an author in a certain genre...? Here's a link to a review:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/03/knowledge-how-to-rebuild-our-world-from-scratch-review

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 5, 2016
That cover is from a story you wrote in Tench's voice I reckon. That seems a while ago now. Nothing like some capping of Zed.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2016
I really like it.classic pulp scifi art.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2016
That water colour aesthetic was exactly the look I was after. I can imagine it on an old torn hard back in the attic.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted January 5, 2016
OK, a little lost. Is this the short that was included in that anthology a couple of years ago? Has it been expanded here?
That was my first little effort at contributing. Fond memories.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 5, 2016
It is the same short, with a slightly expanded ending. I'm going to be giving it away for mailing list sign ups. In a year or so when I have more of a back list, I'll swap it out for something longer.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted January 5, 2016
OK, Ill come out and say. WHAT THE FK!
The grip ( fore grip ) is too long on her ..er machine gun, WTF is he shooting...is it a sawn off shottie...???? if so why the two handed grip for s lide driven fkn auto and the colour... YOU GONE FKN SOFT OR FKN WHAT! AND....FKN...A N D .. the assault Riofle is bloody BLUE or is that a softer hue orf you FFASKES MAN get ya shit together!

Therbs mutters...

Posted January 6, 2016
He'd be using a flintlock pistol being from the late 1780's.

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HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted January 5, 2016
Oh, just so that there be some sort of clarity around what I might be saying, it could do with a weeee bit of tinkering around the edges! IMHO

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted January 7, 2016
Am I the only one that expanded the pic to get a better look at the chick's boobs?
Looking at you Boylan.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted January 7, 2016
Not I. But I am confident Monster Yuppy did the same.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted January 7, 2016
Is inappropriate to ask how TheDave universe fanfic thingy is going?
Cause, if it is, I don't want to be appropriate.
Not that that's ever been a concern really.
I apologize if you were expecting something different and didn't get it.
See what I did there? I crossed the post streams or something.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 7, 2016
Nope, it's not inappropriate. I'm looking at a mid year release. I'll write something up for a separate post. Gimme a few minutes.

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Shane puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2016
No wonder so many people actually plan what they will do when the zombie apocalypse comes!
Regarding the Hooper novels - just finished reading Ascendance (paid full price for the E books! Damn). Thought all of them were great, but the ending of Ascendance left a lot of questions open - can we expect further Dave Hooper novels? I'm sure you have been asked that before but have just found your blog

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Kindle Cover Disasters

Posted November 24, 2015 into Books by John Birmingham

I have to send the books off to art in the next few weeks. It's an exciting prospect. I only hope I can find something as tasty as the many fine entries at Kindle Cover Disasters.

Magnificent beasts like this.

And this.

20 Responses to ‘Kindle Cover Disasters’

KreepyKrawly puts forth...

Posted November 24, 2015
What has been seen cannot be unseen!!!!!! ARGHHHH! Where's the mindbleach!!!!

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 24, 2015
I know. I looked at way way too many for my psychological well being. There are some sick bastards out there.

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted November 24, 2015
I can't help but think that these Kindle Covers were intentional.

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Spanner has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2015
I'm not sure which is more disturbing the twink and beastiality with BDSM overtones or the Tenticle pr0n.
Excuse me while I go scrub my eyeballs with bleach.

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Lulu reckons...

Posted November 24, 2015
Ow ow ow ow!!! My EYES!

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trib swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 24, 2015
There seems to be a bit of a theme with these...

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2015

Saved on this occasion by my work cyber defence and cyber censorship regimes.

I only had to look at the two examples our Lord and Master explicitly showed us

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GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted November 24, 2015
The expression on the Catman's face reminds me of how I imagine Professor Boylan must look in TheDave series.

A look of serene confidence married to a dastardly PNB knows best what's good for humanity visage - especially if all the good flows to PNB first.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted November 25, 2015
Truth be told, the cover featuring men in kilts with tentacles rings truer for me. Something to do with my father worshiping Cthulhu when he was a lad. Something like that.

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted November 24, 2015
I don't think I have read any Scottish sci-fi, but I've obviously missing out. The series certainly has an intriquing premise. The eight part series certainly has an intriguing premise.
<font style="color: rgb(69, 69, 69); font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody; font-size: 19px;"><font style="font-family: -apple-system, HelveticaNeue-Regular, Helvetica; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);">The group of burly men who lived and worked as soldiers in the Scottish highlands manning a remote military installation had a secret: they had all developed tentacles during a freak accident with a hyper-dimensional energy generator that made a rift in the fabric of space-time. Now, they hide their tentacles as best they can, but they can’t hide them forever. What happens when they go home? In the first book, Dan has a girlfriend who is going to be very surprised! </font>

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2015

To be fair there are a lot of disasters in non kindle books covers. Of course none of yours Brimo.

Its an amazing publish niece the Cryptozoo porn gig. Bigfoot, lizard men, werewolves and tentacle horrors are all part of the broad church I think called Monster porn which one of the big names was Ms Viginia Wade and her 16 book run which began with 'Cum For Bigfoot' until the recent manufacoversy over monster porn.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted November 24, 2015
Mr Barnesm. That link. I may never look at Sasquatch the same way.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted November 24, 2015
The blurb from 'Human Rights'

After landing in the pound after being abandoned by yet another family,
Ewan is convinced he's too old to be adopted out again. For a pet like
him, the only fate left is to be put down. But when Sir Jiat—of the City
Guard, no less—visits the pound, he goes straight to Ewan. Jiat prefers
the more mature pets and treats Ewan better than he's ever been treated
by any previous owner. Ewan sleeps at the foot of his master's bed, not
on the floor or outside; he is given toys and other pets to play with
and plenty of room to run; and he's fed on a schedule and eats very
well. But Ewan's love for his master begins to change, to become
something else, something more.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 24, 2015
Eew... Not that there's anything wrong with that.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted November 25, 2015
Is it still bestiality if initiated by the cat?

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted November 25, 2015
make you look at cat from Red Dwarf in a whole new light.

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted November 25, 2015
To say nothing of characters from Skyrim etc...

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted November 25, 2015
Can you imagine the size of cucumber you'd need to fuck up a cat that big?

insomniac reckons...

Posted November 25, 2015
That was a lol and a half ... most excellent funny.

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