Recent Audiobooks

Normally I do an annual audiobook roundup, those titles I’ve produced and/or edited (with my lovely other half Tanja!)  But it has been such a busy year to date, that I felt a quick update now would be useful (and maybe inspire you to buy one or two of these beauties):

DOCTOR WHO: SHADA – Gareth Roberts/Douglas Adams

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From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary ‘lost’ Doctor Who story completed at last by Gareth Roberts and read by Lalla Ward.

The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. The sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind…

Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.

READ BY LALLA WARD

THE SECRET OF HAPPY EVER AFTER – Lucy Dillon

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When Anna takes over Longhampton’s bookshop, it’s her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her rowdy children and their hyperactive Dalmatian. As she unpacks boxes of childhood classics, Anna can’t shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn’t all that she’d hoped for. But as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get caught up in the magic too. Even Anna’s best friend Michelle – who categorically doesn’t believe in true love and handsome princes – isn’t immune. But when secrets from Michelle’s own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna’s home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends – and those they love – find their own happy ever afters?

READ BY JILLY BOND

OVER THE MOON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY – David Essex

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As a young schoolboy, David Essex dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and was signed up by his beloved West Ham United. But as a teenager, he developed a passion for music, which set him on a very different path, and ultimately led to superstardom. It wasn’t, however, an easy start. Scraping a living on the edges of show business was a hard slog, and he endured many disappointments.

Then, aged 23, he went along to an audition for a new musical called Godspell and won the role (Jesus) that shot him to fame. Within a year he was starring in a smash hit film, That’ll Be the Day, and had written and recorded his first number-one single, ‘Rock On’. It was the start of Essex Mania, and a long journey of undreamt of adventure.

From Godspell to EastEnders, it’s been an amazing life. And here is David’s full incredible story – in his own words.

READ BY DAVID ESSEX

THE VOYAGES OF THE PRINCESS MATILDA – Shane Spall

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“Tim and I both understood we had done something really stupid. We had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft, or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots.”

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge, The Princess Matilda. After a summer on the Thames they head out to sea with only a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance – and it is absolutely terrifying!  On their travels, memories are triggered of childhood trips to the seaside, but also of more recent times.

As Tim and Shane explore the coast from the Medway to Cornwall, eventually they start to wonder: Could they make it out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to … Wales?!  Taking place over the course of five years, The Voyages of the Princess Matilda is a minor epic, charting a very personal, moving, and uplifting story of an everyday couple’s adventure around their much-loved homeland. The Spalls’ adventures have already been the subject of two BBC4 series.

READ BY FRANCES BARBER

WHERE HAVE I GONE? MY LIFE IN A YEAR – Pauline Quirke

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Pauline Quirke was a skinny child, a slim teenager, a curvy woman, then – according to her bathroom scales (curse them) – just plain fat. Yes, the “F” word. Tipping the scales at nearly 20 stone, with creaking knees and a dodgy ankle to boot, at the beginning of 2011 Pauline had reached a crisis point. Something had to change, and fast.

It was never going to be an easy ride, but with her trademark warmth and sense of humour, Pauline recounts the highs and lows of the roller-coaster year in which she whips herself, and her life, into shape – with a fair few tales from her celebrated forty-year acting career thrown into the bargain. She reveals all: from the strain of working long hours away from home on one of Britain’s most popular soaps to renewing her wedding vows and reuniting with her Birds of a Feather co-stars; from battling the bulge and facing the naysayers to rediscovering the joys of airline travel…without a seatbelt extension.

Honest and revealing, Where Have I Gone? is brimming with brilliantly funny anecdotes and truly moving moments. So put your feet up and join Pauline as she embarks on the most incredible year of her life.

READ BY PAULINE QUIRKE

THE BOOK OF EBENEZER LE PAGE – GB Edwards

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Ebenezer Le Page, cantankerous, opinionated and charming, is one of the most compelling literary creations of the late 20th century. Eighty years old, Ebenezer has lived his whole life on the Channel Island of Guernsey, a stony speck of a place caught between England and France yet a world away from either. Ebenezer himself is fiercely independent, but as he reaches the end of his life he is determined to tell his own story and the story of those he has known. He writes of family secrets and feuds, unforgettable friendships and friendships betrayed, love glimpsed and lost.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a beautifully detailed chronicle of a life, but it is equally an oblique reckoning with the traumas of the 20th century, as Ebenezer recalls both the men lost to the Great War and the German Occupation of Guernsey during World War II, and looks with despair at the encroachments of commerce and tourism on his beloved island.

READ BY ROY DOTRICE

PLANET OF THE APES – Pierre Boulle

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Greg Wise reads Pierre Boulle’s chilling, iconic novel about a nightmare world where apes rule over men. In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, except that on Soror humans behave like animals and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations have always been greeted by prejudice and fear… The inspiration for several acclaimed cult films, Planet of the Apes is both a gripping, disturbing fable and a classic of science fiction.

READ BY GREG WISE

SKIOS – Michael Frayn

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On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. So is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and his sense of reality – everything he possesses apart from the flyblown text of a well-travelled lecture on the scientific organisation of science…

READ BY MARTIN JARVIS

HOLLOW EARTH – John & Carole E. Barrowman

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Twins Matt and Emily Calder have imaginations so powerful that they can make art come to life. Their powers are sought by villains intent on accessing the terrors of Hollow Earth – a place where all the devils, demons and monsters ever imagined lie trapped for all eternity. If Hollow Earth is breached, the world will be plunged into chaos. If Hollow Earth is breached… the twins are as good as dead.

READ BY JOHN BARROWMAN

WHY SPENCER PERCEVAL HAD TO DIE – Andro Linklater

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On the afternoon of May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the all-powerful prime minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot at short range in the lobby of Parliament by John Bellingham, a Liverpool businessman. Perceval polarized public opinion: Revered by some and hated by others for his fight against the lucrative slave trade, he domineeringly kept Britain at war against Napoléon and was driving her into war with the United States despite the huge economic drain of each, raising taxes to new heights to finance his decisions. Bellingham was not alone in blaming Perceval and his government for their ruinous policies; indeed, he claimed to have killed Perceval “as a matter of justice,” and believed he would not only be exonerated, but also applauded for his action. But he was not to enjoy relief; within a week, granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.

READ BY STEPHEN RASHBROOK

THE HUNT – Andrew Xia Fukuda

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Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing… A gory, gripping thriller for young adults from acclaimed author Andrew Fukuda.

READ BY TREVOR WHITE

COMING SOON

OLIVER TWIST – Charles Dickens – Read by Dominic Cooper

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Rudyard Kipling – Read by Alistair McGowan

DOCTOR WHO & THE LEISURE HIVE – David Fisher

WHEN HOOPOES GO TO HEAVEN – Gaile Parkin

MISSING PERSONS – Nicci Gerrard

DOCTOR WHO: SNAKEBITE – Scott Handcock

LIONEL ASBO: STATE OF ENGLAND – Martin Amis

PAINTER OF SILENCE – Georgina Harding

NEUROMANCER – William Gibson – Read by Jeff Harding

So as you can see, it has been a busy 6 months, and the titles are building up already for the next 6 months, with two new trilogies we are producing with SNK Publishing for Audible, and some exciting new titles for AudioGO.  Keep on supporting audiobooks and do let us know what you think of any of the titles we’ve produced.

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Sci-Five Shorties 02 – “Saya’s Last Gasp”

Did you know I co-present a podcast called SCI-FIVE where we investigate all things SF in approximately 5 mins?  No, well, I do, and it is up to episode 62 already…you should go take a listen:

CLICKY HERE FOR THE PODCAST SITE

Recently we have launched the SCI-FIVE SHORTIES, a series of 4-8 minute new SF themed short stories.  I’ve written a few, and for those interested here is the second one, plus the audio link if you are interested in listening:

“SAYA’S LAST GASP” by Neil Gardner

          ‘Bugger!’ Saya shouted as her fingers, encased in their heavy-work gloves, slipped another few inches. ‘Bugger, bugger, bugger!’ Slip, slip, slip.

There are few, if any, good places to find yourself hanging on to by your fingertips, but for Saya, right now, she couldn’t think of any that could be worse.

‘THREE MINUTES TO ACTIVATION’ the robotic computer voice sounded in her ears, her telepathic communication link to the ship still working in one-direction.  Damn it, why couldn’t they hear her?!

‘Buggeration, buggery, bugger!’ she continued to swear, loudly.  She knew no-one could hear her, but the profanity helped keep her calm, and she kind of enjoyed the idea of what someone would think if they were to suddenly be able to hear her.  The thought of a stream of invective roaring around the ship’s telepathic PA system gave her a momentary diversion, before her mind refocused on her predicament.

This was such a stupid, typically-her way to die.  ‘It couldn’t happen to anyone else, could it?’ Saya thought to herself, the joints in her fingers screaming in agony, the gloves gradually slipping further. Why had she even volunteered to do the job?  She was no system specialist, and she certainly wasn’t the best at zero-g working.  Then there was her habit of losing all sense of direction once outside in space, and of course her general dislike of the cumbersome heavy-work space suits.  Combine all that with her clumsiness, lack of balance and all-round inability to do anything right, and Saya quickly realised just why she was stuck where she was stuck.

‘This is the Captain speaking,’ the warm, mellifluous voice had come over the PA. ‘As you all know we are soon to enter Relativity Drive for the jump to our next destination.  However, the onboard systems tell me that we have 1042 minor faults that need to be repaired before we make the jump.  Since we are on a strict schedule, and the engineering teams need to focus on the most complex tasks, I need volunteers to help fix the small stuff.  If you would like to help, and earn a gratitude chit for your assistance, please telpath my office before 0600. Captain out.’

Saya was a good person.  She cared about her job, her ship and her crewmates.  But sadly she hadn’t made a good impression, ever since she joined up four Relativity jumps ago.  She had been hired as a junior systems analyst and assistant, but it had become very clear, very early on that she had lied on her application.  She had basic systems knowledge, gleaned from years spent in salvage yards and on steamer ships doing the intra-system runs, but she had no clue how a Relativity Cruiser worked.  So she had been downgraded to second assistant environmental systems apprentice, lost two-thirds of her pay, been forced to move in to a shared dormitory with 5 other apprentices, and generally got the scummy end of the hydro-mop.

‘TWO MINUTES TO ACTIVATION’ the computer droned.

She had jumped at the chance to show the Captain and crew that she was made of better stuff, and to earn that gratitude chit.  She was already at MINUS 16 gratitude chits (a new ship record) and desperately wanted to break even before she was inevitably thrown off the ship.

And so she had telpathed her request to volunteer, and then she had waited.  And waited, and waited some more.  Eventually the Captain’s office telpathed to say there was one job left, it was on the outside of the ship’s hull and needed next to no skills except the ability to hold on, turn a spanner clockwise and climb back aboard before the jump occurred.

Saya, although scared and worried about a zero-g external excursion, headed for the appointed airlock, got her instructions from the bored and less-than-amiable engineering assistant, climbed into her heavy-work space suit and headed out in to space.  Sadly she banged her helmet on the steel-girdered airlock door, and broke her telpath antennae, thereby missing the engineering assistant’s hurried warning to ‘Stay clipped on to the guide rail’.

Once outside the ship, Saya had worked her way towards the small hatchport that needed 3 of its 4 locking bolts refastened.  She had a small digital heads-up display in her helmet counting down the minutes until the ship would blast in to Relativity Drive and span the vast distance to its next port of call.  She sill had 30 minutes to get the job done and get back inside the ship. ‘No worries, easy as anything,’ she had told herself.  But while confident in her ability to tighten 3 locking bolts in no time at all, she was starting to get concerned as to why she couldn’t hear anything from the ship’s telepathic PA system.  She should have been getting all sorts of messages and updates.  She ran a quick diagnostic on her suit and was dismayed to see that it was damaged.  The telpath comms system was broken.  the onboard diagnostics was able to get the system working in one-direction only. ‘Oh well, its not like they need to hear from me, is it?’ Saya had told herself.

‘ONE MINUTE TO ACTIVATION’ came the voice of the computer

Quite how she had forgotten to attach herself to the guide rail, Saya couldn’t think.  And why she hadn’t remembered that she was using a power-wrench, she really couldn’t say.  But put those two things together, add in the build-up momentum of the ship as it prepped for its Relativity Jump, and you ended up with Saya, gripping on for her life, to the exterior hull of a spaceship, slipping towards the engine mounts and about to be either [a] left behind to float in space until she died of asphyxiation, or [b] fall into the engine mounts just as the Relativity Drive powered up and she was atomised in an instant.

‘Bugger me, bugger me, bugger me! Won’t SOMEONE hear me?  Please, I need help! Don’t fire up the engines. I’m still out here….’ she screamed, gasping for breath, desperate to be heard.  She felt the vibrations in the hull building, her gloved hands slipping.  She screamed once more…

‘Oh come on you bastards, you must know I am here…help!’

The Relativity Drive powered up.

‘Oh bugger,’ she gasped.

(c) Neil Gardner, 2012

Sci-Five Shorties 01 – “The Sound Within”

Did you know I co-present a podcast called SCI-FIVE where we investigate all things SF in approximately 5 mins?  No, well, I do, and it is up to episode 62 already…you should go take a listen:

CLICKY HERE FOR THE PODCAST SITE

Recently we have launched the SCI-FIVE SHORTIES, a series of 4-8 minute new SF themed short stories.  I’ve written a few, and for those interested here is the first one, plus the audio link if you are interested in listening:

“THE SOUND WITHIN” by Neil Gardner

          Inside the space was cavernous, a behemoth of structure, its size close to unfathomable for the untrained mind.  Within the space there seemed to be no height, no width and no breadth.  The space itself appeared limitless, without end…without start.

Outside of the space was darkness.  Inside the space was limitless light. The boundary between the two was at once indistinct and yet as undeniable as the space itself.

Determining the structure of the space, the purpose of the space, the meaning of the space was a daunting task.  Where would you start? And how would you know when you had finished? From where would you begin the task, and where would you conclude it? By what criterion would you attempt to define the space? And to what would you make comparison?

The space was.  The space is. The space is everything.

Yet within the space there was nothing.  No up or down, or left or right.  The space, while illuminated by the fiercest white light, was utterly devoid of anything to see by that light. The space existed, but it was impossible to describe such existence using any explainable distinguishing features.  The space was just…the space.  It existed, therefore it was.

The space from within appeared devoid of function or purpose.  In fact it seemed devoid of anything, except the light, and its own existence. From without the space was an all encompassing light that defined the darkness around it.  The darkness was, because the space was.  One defined and delineated the other.  Without one there might not be the other.  Did the space, therefore, describe the darkness? Or did the darkness inform the space, give it substance and form?

Outside the space was silence.  The darkness said nothing. No sounds emerged, no sounds escaped. The darkness remained inviolate.

Inside the space the nothingness of the light was considered to be the completeness of existence.  Light was the space, and the space was the endless bright, furious light.

And then something extraordinary happened.  From deep within the space, from the very heart of the light, there came a sound. It lived for but a heartbeat of time, and then it was gone.  Gone, but not forgotten.

An eternity of space and light passed.  And just as the sound became a nano-spot of a fragment of the merest suggestion of a memory…it happened again.  This time it lasted for a whole second.  It defined the time of its duration and gave life to speculation.  Was sound going to supplant the light within the space? Did the light create the sound? Why was the sound longer this time?

Before answers could be formulated, the space rang out with the sound once again.  It grew in strength and volume, in amplitude and tone.  The sound ran laughing around every part of the space and back again, seeking the edges of the space and marking the boundaries of its existence.  The light, previously everything within the space, exploded in to a myriad colours, refracting through the lens of the all-encompassing sound.  Together the sound and the spectrum of light burst and fractured and exploded throughout the space.  The space had no time to come to terms with this new experience, as sound and light, sharing and joining and merging and mutating, reached the place where the darkness lived, and with one sudden gasp of momentum…spewed forth from the space into the darkness.

Now the space and the darkness are joined.  A river of sound and light gushes between them.  Space is defined by its birthing of colour and the reflections and echoes of the sound.  The darkness is now no longer entirely dark, and knows the joy of both light and sound.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the space and the darkness are creating something new, something different, something else.  In time there will be no more space, there will be no more darkness.  Then…what will be, will be what has come before, and what will come next, will be a space all of its own.

(c) Neil Gardner, 2012

All Aliens Like Burgers – Audiobook Release

IT’S HERE! “All Aliens Like Burgers” is the first in the much anticipated TRUXXE TRILOGY by Ruth Wheeler. Published by HIRST BOOKS (click here to buy the book), this exclusive unabridged audiobook edition is read by star of Dr Who, We Are Klang, Tittybangbang and Calendar Girls, Debbie Chazen. Featuring new music from award-winning radio, film & TV composer Jon Nicholls, and produced by multiple-award winning radio & audio director Neil Gardner.

CLICK HERE to visit the Spokenworld Audio site and buy the download

CLICK PLAY to hear a sample


An exciting, funny adventure in space, for late teenage – adult readers.

Young, polite and intelligent Tom Bowler has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. Hes surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lola. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets – just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

 

 

Reviews of the book (courtesy of Hirst Books)

5 product stars

5 stars – gemma walton – 21 June 2010
really enjoyed the book – it was very descriptive, whilst still being a compelling read. ruth has an amazing imagination and makes the unbelievable sound perfectly plausible and believable. i loved the humour especially with the crystal growing and retrieval – and also the spottooning (which im hoping it wont become a new sport on earth!!)the door is opened really nicely for a sequel with more of toms adventures…. burger ingredients …. alien relations….a home visit with the new found tablets or new found friends…… looking forward to the sequel!!

5 product stars
– david – 21 June 2010
all aliens like burgers is the dabut novel from author ruth wheeler and its a cracker. the basic plot concerns tom bowler who applies for a job at a “local” service stations fast food restaurant – which turns out not to be what or even where it seems. i wont go into any more details and ruin your enjoyment. ruth wheeler has created and enjoyable story with interesting and well fleshed out characters. the narrative moves at a good pace and makes an ideal read for anyone, like me, who enjoys a good science fiction novel with a twist.i was lucky enough to meet the author at a local book signing and found her to be charming and very down to earth. ruth also told me she is working on a sequal to this book. i for one, will be waiting with eager anticipation for more adventures of tom bowler.

5 product stars
Five Star Read – Ed – 07 September 2010
A most enjoyable debut novel from ruth wheeler in which she chronicles the mis-adventures of young tom bowler who is a fish out of water in his new job at a galactic burger bar ! Fast moving,funny and imaginative,this is highly recommended to all fans of douglas adams and comedic sci-fi.

4 product stars
All Alians like burgers – A robinson – 17 January 2011
Really enjoyed this book I bought it for my youngest son but landed up reading it myself and could’nt put it down – very funny well worth the read

4 product stars
burgers in space! – mike cook – 17 June 2010
this is a light-hearted story of a teenager taking up a job in a less than usual location. the story takes us on a journey of discovery for a young man leaving home, with some excellent imagery. includes one of my favourite one-line observations of recent years. one to sink your teeth into for a little light entertainment.

4 product stars
– victoria kahl – 21 June 2010
a real fish-out of water story, its interesting to think how i would cope with a situation like this. most of the time the main character accepts what he sees and gets on with things, i think this is because he is still a teenager and things roll off him!amongst the pure sci-fi there are plenty of comedy moments and even a sprinkling of romance. i look forward to the rest of the series and to finding out where toms adventures will take him.

 

Sci-Five Podcast Ep 2 – We Want Mecha!

Ep 2 is here and Neil & Tanja demand a kick ass mecha movie!

Send in your Sci-Fives to: scifive@ladbrokeradio.com

ENJOY!

Sci-Five Podcast – Ep 1 – The Force Unleashed Movie

Welcome to the first of the new daily episodes of SCI-FIVE…a five minute easy to consume podcast that looks at the whole world of Sci-Fi.  From movies and TV to toys, games and books…each ep deals with one topic and is all over and done with in 5 mins (give or take a bit!).

Presented by me (Neil Gardner) and my other half, Tanja Glittenberg.

We invite you to submit your own Sci-Fives – you can agree, disagree, or chat about anything sci-fi you like.  Just keep it clean and keep it to 5 mins.

You can get in touch by emailing scifive@ladbrokeradio.com

ENJOY!

Hurrah For A New Publisher

Champagne?!  Wheres the cake?!!!

Champagne?! Where's the cake?!!!

Hearty congratulations from me to Lee Harris and all the team at the fantastically titled ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS, which officially launched in the UK and Australia today (apparently there was cake!)

Here’s what they say about themselves:

Angry Robot ™ is a new imprint from Harper Collins dedicated to the best in modern adult science fiction, fantasy and everything inbetween. Its book line will launch in July 2009, with both physical books across a wide variety of formats, and online versions, both e-books and audio.

British-based but selling worldwide, its mission is to produce books that appeal to everyone, from post-Dr Who and Xbox fans to long-time genre enthusiasts.

So I say a resounding hurrah for Angry Robot and Harper Collins from bringing something new to the market, for supporting new writing, and for taking a chance of genre writing at a time when so many other publishers are ‘back-sliding’!

If you wanna learn more about the company, the peeps involved and even the books (!) pop over to their website by clicking here

Now…I wonder if they’ll publish some of my sci-fi flavoured poetry?!? 🙂

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