Why I picked these books to launch with Proxima.

Posted: October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Having survived the epic adventure that was Fantasycon 2011 and gathering many of our Proxima authors in the same room for the first time, I’ve  been wondering how else I could promote our launch books. We seem to have ended up with quite an eclectic mix of formats: (Print Novel, Print collection of Short Stories, e-novel and e-serial.) and examples of a wide variety of subject matter. Meeting the authors for the first time in the flesh (the wonders of cyberspace means none of us had ever had a face-to-face meeting) reminded me again of my enthusiasm for their initial submissions. So I’m sure (I hope!) they won’t mind me sharing my first e-mail responses to their submitted MS.

My very first acceptance was Jonathan Pinnock’s ‘Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens’. Here’s what I said:

I have now had the opportunity to read your manuscript and would be happy for Proxima to publish your hilarious book. There are so many laugh-out-load moments; I was in tears reading out the tale of Colin the pigeon to my wife. The combination of the ghost prostitutes and aliens works beautifully, Sir Humphrey Davey is a great co-star. Also Byron’s involvement, and his effect upon Charlotte, is inspired.


Next across my desk was Charles Christian’s short story collection, ‘This is the Quickest Way Down’:

“Waiting for my Mocha to cool”  has a killer first page, and is a primer for the themes explored in the rest of the book. It clearly has the author’s voice and is confidently written.

“Already Gone” is a sharp piece of of flash fiction.

“Kastellorizon” is a good solid traditional sci-fi story.

“More Important Than Baby Stenick”  has the vibe of an early Michael Moorcock.

“The End of Flight Number 505” had the feel of an old-fashioned piece of sci-fi, a bit like “The Twilight Zone”.

“This is the  Quickest Way Down” is my favourite – it’s a sharp Harlan  Ellison type story, that’s very dark and very sexy.

“A Beretta for Azrella” is great fun, written in a kind of ‘cybernoir meets the devil’ style.

“Don’t Take me to the Bridge” is a good mystery horror fantasy.

“The Hot Chick” is a very funny and naughty satire on sci-fi authors and conventions.

“Confessions of a Teenage Ghost-Hunter” is a neat and pleasant ghost story.

“By The Steps OF Villefranche Station” is a great long-story to end the collection. A confident piece of a gentle apocalypse, very J.G. Ballard, that combines many of the themes that run through the book.

And finally, Niall Boyce introduced me to ‘Veronica Britton: Chronic Detective’:

I really like how you dive straight into the action – sets the dynamic tone for the rest of the piece and grabs the reader right from page 1. Veronica is a hugely attractive character with massive potential for development, and the support characters are also charming. I like your sense of humour throughout the piece, and feel that you write in a clear style that carries the reader along with the adventure. A particular stand-out scene is the fantastic time-disturbed house and the ‘haunting’ effects of the malfunctioning time pool; worthy of ‘Sapphire and Steel’, and the present regime’s ‘Dr Who’

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novella, there’s a bit of the ghost of Sexton Blake about the whole concept, and very much look forward to reading the second story.

It’s wonderful to realise all these stories are now out in the public domain, available from WHSmith, Waterstones, Amazon and Salt Publishing. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did when I first saw the initial manuscripts.


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