Last Chance…

candle copyAs the candle of time gutters away in the candlestick of Christmas gift lists, you may be relieved to know that you can still order from IndieBooks for delivery before Christmas after today: but you’ll need to select the Royal Mail next day special delivery option when you get to the checkout. (Our free postage offer is still running, but that’s only First Class and if you select it the chances are your lovely books won’t arrive in time to light up someone’s Yuletide…)

The illustration, by the way, is by the inimitable Richard Sala and comes from The Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic by Richard Bayne.

One That Got Away: Mandrake by Susan Cooper

2491_SUSAN_COOPER_Mandrake_1966You’ll know Susan Cooper as the author of the Dark is Rising sequence: one of the finest series of fantasy writing for you people of the last fifty years; and you may have read some of her other books, such as the wartime story Dawn of Fear or the time-travelling adventure King of Shadows. But we’ll make a modest wager that Mandrake may have passed you by. Which is a great shame. It’s a powerful and imaginative piece of writing, written in the tradition of thoughtful post-war British science fiction yet in many ways ahead of its time. One of the book’s themes is the earth resenting and at last resisting the domination of mankind: yet it predates James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory. The style is plain, but the subject-matter is at times very peculiar and always thought-provoking. It’s been out of print for years, and was one we’ve long wanted to bring to a new audience. It’s no a curiosity, though anyone familiar with Susan Cooper’s later world find it fascinating. It’s a very good book in anyone’s terms – if it had come in as a submission from an unpublished writer, we’d have snapped it up. Sadly, we have yet to find our way through the copyright maze to actually secure the rights – but for this one, we’ll keep on trying. Meanwhile, if you’re browsing a second-hand bookshop and see this jammed in alongside the usual mounds of Georgette Hayer and copies of Richard Adams’ Shardik, grab it!

Spot the Difference? (Amazon Can’t…)

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We had a stern lecture from Amazon the other day when we were uploading  the e-book of our brilliant new children’s adventure, King’s Company. Amazon warned us that we were trying to break the terms of our agreement or something equally naughty: and eventually we worked out that it was because we had used the keyword “King Stephen”. Now the book is called King’s Company, and it’s set in the reign of King Stephen, so it seemed reasonable to us: but Amazon were having none of it, presumably because they thought we were trying to pinch sales from legendary master-of-all-things-gory Stephen King. We asked Amazon what we should do to avoid the problem: no answer. We also asked if they really thought that we were trying to win extra sales by snaffling readers looking for the latest Stephen King gore-fest, and presenting them with a mediaeval adventure story for children aged 8-12 in which no-one is eaten by any kinds of animals at all (if you ignore the odd flea-bite). No reply to that either. In the end we found a way round – Amazon’s computers will accept “King Stephen of England” as a keyword – and the King’s Company e-book is up on the Kindle store and selling very nicely. But really.

The one person we thought might see the funny side is Stephen King – so if anyone out there happens to know him…

Sala and Kindt: What are they up to?

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Time for a round-up on what two of our favourite artists have been working on…

MIND MGMT is the current project of Matt Kindt, who illustrated our new edition of the girls’-own hero Worrals. It’s a graphic novel in monthly form, published by Dark Horse Comics, with a hugely inventive and gripping storyline that’s picked up critical praise and a loyal following. It’s also gained new admirers for Matt’s spare line-and-watercolour style. The early issues have been collected in two hardback books, and a film version is in pre-production with Ridley Scott producing.

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Continuing the spy theme, Richard Sala – who has illustrated our just-out Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic – has a new graphic novella out called Super-Engimatix, who is every 60s super-villain rolled into one and then some (underground bunker, world domination, tank full of sharks – they’re all there). The colours are sumptuous, the action delirious. It’s contained in Richard’s new book In A Glass Grotesquely from Fantagraphics (soon to feature in our ‘publishers we love’ series).

So that’s a couple of Christmas presents solved – or treat yourself!