Tag Archives: The Ghosts of Mercury

Steampunk Chronicles Awards

Not much to report in the worlds of Space: 1889 & Beyond, The Garden or The Scattered Earth. So, instead, allow me to direct you to the forthcoming Steampunk Chronicles’ Readers’ Choice Awards. The doors for nominations are opened on January 20th, and, naturally enough, I would love your votes for any of the Space: 1889 & Beyond stories. It doesn’t have to be mine, it can be either McAbee’s Vandals on Venus or Michalowski’s The Ghosts of Mercury. Alas the recent book doesn’t count, since it wasn’t released in 2011. I’ve no idea what other categories are going to appear, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunity to show your support for Space: 1889 & Beyond.

And, as a thank you, here’s a very rough version of the prologue from my forthcoming Shattered Earth novel, Cast From the Heavens.

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Days had passed since Hefina ferch Gwynfor had left Coeden, but she was determined to succeed. She gripped the harness that was tightened to her adar cluk’gwin, and surveyed the land far below.  Finally the trees had given way to a moor of grass and rock, empty of people, as was to be expected. The thraeeg gok was said to live in these lands, although to the best of her knowledge, no one had laid eyes on such a dragon. Hefina would not have been surprised if it was a rumour started by the Lords of Tir themselves, a deterrent for the criminals sent to Coeden and the other small villages of Claunoboble. The moors were close to the seas that separated Claunoboble and Deegonoboble, the two land masses that made up the world of Avunar, and it would serve the Lords well to keep the criminals as far from the seas as possible. Fearful of the wrath of the thraeeg gok, they would remain in the villages, no longer a concern of the Lords. And a continued strain on the land of Claunoboble.

Cover Mock-Up

Hefina sighed, all her sadness erupting in one spurt of air. Her own people had been driven to the trees a long time ago, the only way to remain safe from the madness that reigned on the land below. That was why her village was now called Coeden, the village of trees. The land below, filled to bursting with criminals expelled from Deegonoboble, no longer had a name, at least as far as Hefina was concerned. It did not deserve one.

Her reverie was disturbed by an unusual sight miles below. She spoke to her adar cluk’gwin.

“See that?”

The adar cluk titled its head and its red eyes blinked.

“Take me to it.”

Immediately the great bird darted to the moor below. Hefina let out a whoop of joy as the wind blasted her hair back. This was real freedom. Away from the land.

The adar cluk’gwin landed gently, its giant talons gripping the grass. Hefina patted its coarse feathers, and dismounted. “Keep watch,” she said. She did not believe in the rumour, but she was no fool. If the thraeeg gok really did live on the moor then she would have to take to the air quickly. As she approached the object that had caught her attention, Hefina idly wondered if her adar cluk would be a quicker flyer than the thraeeg gok.

The object looked like a tree, only this one seemed to be made partly of metal and glass.  It was thicker than any tree she had seen before, at least a hundred spans in diameter, and fifty in length.  She walked the length of it, careful not to step to close. The grass around the fallen tree was scorched, burned by a great fire. Perhaps the thraeeg gok had brought it here? Hefina knew the thraeeg gok was supposed to breath fire.

She stopped.

At the top the tree was hollow. A piece of metal, almost gold in colour, hung from the top of the tree. It was the same size as the hole, as if it was some kind of door.

Hefina stepped closer, her curiosity overriding her sense. She pulled back quickly, glanced around, then stepped ever closer.

Yes, she had seen true.

Covered in metal shaped to fit its body, was a man.

Hefina had never seen the like. But she did know her beibal.

She looked up to the skies, and what existed beyond.

This tree had come from the Heavens, and the person inside was not a man at all. He was a god.

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Space: 1889 & Beyond – Best Selling Series

Doctor Arnaud Fontaine uncovers secrets on Mercury...

It is with GREAT pleasure I write this entry.

Space: 1889 & Beyond continues to be a hit for Untreed Reads Publishing.

The best-sellers list for November is in, and I can reveal that at #1 is Mark Michalowski’s ‘The Ghosts of Mercury’. An impressive e-début for Mark! For the third month in a row my own ‘Journey to the Heart of Luna‘ remains in the top ten, rising to #4, while KG McAbee’s ‘Vandals on Venus‘ enjoys its second month in the top ten, currently at #6.

A big thank you to all who’ve been following the adventures of Nathanial and Annabelle, but please, don’t let this mean you can rest on your laurels. Go and tell all your friends about this best-selling series, and help us dominate the steampunk genre! 🙂 And, as an incentive, all three titles can be purchased directly from the Untreed Reads Store with 15% off the RRP until December 15th!

Check out the list HERE!

Become a Villain Competition Results

And it’s all over. Our first Space: 1889 & Beyond competition closed yesterday. A big thank you to all who took part and sent your answers in. The question we asked was simple enough; “which world bookends series one?” and the answer was, of course, Luna (featured in both the opening and closing stories of series one)! We had many responses, some wrong and some right. But, as is the way of things, there could only be one winner. And with the help of Mark Michalowski, author of this month’s The Ghosts of Mercury, we picked out three names at random.

The 1st Prize was a chance to be immortalised in literature by becoming a villain in the second series of Space: 1889 & Beyond, and receive a free copy of the new book, The Ghost of Mercury. And the winner of that first prize is… LISBETH LARIVIERE!

The two runner-up prizes were free copies of The Ghosts of Mercury, and the winners of those are… GASPAR QUELHAS LIMA TAMEERIS and JASON HILTON.

Well done and congratulations to all three winners, and a final big thank you (again!) to all who took part. 🙂

Read the wonderful reviews of the latest book, at Sci-Fi Bulletin.

 

Mark Michalowski is BACK… with ghosts!

Thank you all for bearing with us, but now, at long last, we can announce that The Ghosts of Mercury is live!

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Born in 1963 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Mark Michalowski studied sciences at school with the bizarre idea of becoming a parapsychologist. He studied psychology at Sheffield University for two years and then hung about for a couple of years, having decided that his future lay in graphic design, and moved to Leeds.

He worked as a graphic designer for three and a half years before deciding that his future lay in teaching, so he got a BEd at Leeds Metropolitan University before doing a year’s teaching – which convinced him that his future certainly didn’t lay in teaching.

So, together with his then-partner, Mike, he started up Shout!, a gay paper for Yorkshire, which has been going steadily since 1995.

His first paid-for piece of writing was a short story, Digging Up The Past in the anthology, The Dead Men Diaries in 2000. Since then he’s written several more novels, short stories, magazine article – and even a comic strip! These works includes the likes of four Doctor Who novels, and a novel based on the hit-BBC TV series, Being Human.

You can discover more about Mark’s varied career at his official website, www.markmichalowski.co.uk

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I recently asked him a few questions about his work on Space: 1889 & Beyond

AF-A: What interested you in Space: 1889 & Beyond in the first place?

MM: There was something fascinating about the mash-up between the Victorian era, with all its rampaging colonialism, repression and desire for exploration (and assimilation) – and space travel and futuristic technology that appealed to me. And once I started thinking about it, it seemed to fit perfectly with the philosophy of ‘The Big Bad’ in The Ghosts of Mercury. And what philosophy was that, you ask? Spoilers!!!

AF-A: What difficulties did you face in converting a Role-playing Game scenario into a fully-fledged prose novel?

MM: To be honest, I’d never played the game, but I’d heard – and loved – the Space: 1889 audio adventures – they had a real sense of wonder and derring-do about them. And, for me, there’s always something more interesting about confronting a cast of characters with things utterly beyond their previous experiences, and having their worldviews challenged in a way that there isn’t with experienced space-travellers.

AF-A: Who are your favourite characters?

MM: All of them have their fascinating sides, but – and I’ll just take my modesty hat off for a moment and sit it on the desk beside me – I adore Arnaud Fontaine, a character that you asked me to create specifically for the series. In fact, I may be a tiny bit in love with him: he’s irreverent, cheeky and seems to be the perfect foil for Nathanial.

AF-A: Your three favourite moments in The Ghosts of Mercury are…?

MM: Three favourite moments, hmmm…? There are so many to choose from (he says, eyeing up his modesty hat) – not necessarily great big whopping moments, but lots of little conversations and moments. I love writing dialogue more than action scenes, and my favourites are quiet scenes where the characters show us a little bit more about themselves.

It’s really hard to choose, but I’ll go with…

The first scene between Annabelle and Nathanial, as they’re unpacking, seems to sum up the relationship between the two of them: a little bit sparky but with humour and real compassion for each other. They bicker like a married couple – almost like newlyweds on their honeymoon.

Annabelle’s first proper encounter with a ghost – because it seems to sum up Annabelle’s pluckiness with her genuine surprise and fear.

Our heroes’ encounter with Hermes – where I get to have lots and lots of philosophising and talking! Science fiction, for me, is a genre of ideas, rather than action, so to have a whole chapter which is little more than dialogue is lovely.

And, of course, any scene between Nathanial and Arnaud! Ask me again in a few weeks and I’ll probably find different scenes to pick.

AF-A: So, what can your fans expect next from you?

MM: Next? Well I’m already working on a story for the next season of Space: 1889 & Beyond in which I get to pick up one or two threads from The Ghosts of Mercury and take them a little bit further. I’ve been sprucing up my website, too, and have been asked to pitch for a short story collection edited by Paul Magrs, which, as always, should be great fun.

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And so, now, allow me to share with you an excerpt from The Ghosts of Mercury

There was a sudden, sharp knock at the door. Nathanial looked from one colonel to the other. There was a moment of awkwardness before the ghost colonel suddenly caught on.

“Oh, you think I should go?”

“Probably wise,” said the Shawbridge with a curt nod. “Whoever it is, seeing two of us in here might be a bit much—for now at least.”

The ghost nodded. “Fair enough. I’ll, um, see you chaps later then?”

“I do hope so, Colonel,” said Nathanial.

And then, without a sound, the ghost simply winked out of existence. There was another, firmer, knock.

“Come in,” said Nathanial, and the door was opened by Iris McConnon, looking very pale and shaken.

“Colonel,” she said. “Professor Stone. Sorry for the interruption, but something very strange is happening and I thought you ought to know.”

“What is it, Iris?”

“These ghosts, sir…”

“What about them?”

“You need to come and see. They’re everywhere.” Her eyes were wide and her face pale. “It’s like we’re being invaded.”

*

Shawbridge and Nathanial followed Iris out into the gloom; in the distance, they could hear much muttering and a few astonished cries.

“They’re everywhere,” Iris said as they reached the main square of Princess Christiana Station. Little huddles of people were standing around, pointing and crying. Some of them were shouting, their fists raised.

And around each little group, there were ghosts.

Some of them were as solid and concrete as Shawbridge’s own ghost had been earlier, but most of them were hazy phantoms, displaying the same flickering and shifting that had been reported in earlier sightings.

“Right!” bellowed Shawbridge at the top of his voice. “There’s no need to panic.”

A woman in a nurse’s uniform with a coat wrapped around her shoulders came running over. “Sir,” she said, her voice heavily accented. Nathanial caught sight of her name badge: Nurse Juanita Lopez. “I have seen one—and it was me!”

Shawbridge threw a glance at Nathanial. “Is that so, Nurse? Well trust me, there’s no need to worry—”

“But it was me!” she repeated, patting her chest. “I am going to die, aren’t ? I’m going to die!”

Mercury: a planet of two faces – one side cloaked in eternal darkness, the other blistered by eternal sunshine. And balanced between the two is the World River, encircling the globe.

Professor Nathanial Stone and his ward, Annabelle Somerset visit Mercury for what they imagine will be a pleasant trip to visit Annabelle’s uncle.

But tragic death precedes them – a death that provokes a chain of mysterious and terrifying events that challenge Nathanial and Annabelle’s long-held beliefs. Before long, they – with the assistance of French geologist, Arnaud Fontaine – discover something ancient and powerful that has designs on humanity.

“Michalowski inserts some soul into this latest steampunk adventure.” – Sci-Fi Bulletin

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The Ghosts of Mercury is now available from the following e-stores;

The Untreed Reads Store (http://bit.ly/sGWqDu)

Amazon.com (Amazon Canada, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon UK)

Scribd

DriveThruFiction.com

OmniLit.com

Barnes and Noble

Apple iBookstore (32 countries)

Lightning Source (a distributor, primarily North America)

… and will soon be available in every other e-book stockists out there.

The Ghosts of Mercury © 2011 Mark Michalowski and Untreed Reads Publishing.

Space: 1889 & Beyond © & ™ 1988/2011 Frank Chadwick.

All Rights Reserved.

In the meantime…

First of all, apologies. We were hoping to have ‘The Ghosts of Mercury’ released over Halloween, but a technical hitch to do with acquiring the ISBN has prevented us from doing so. The issue will be resolved soon, so I hope you’ll bear with us all in the meantime.

So, a brief update of things relating to Space: 1889 & Beyond. First of all, as you can see, the cover has been unveiled. Once again it’s by the excellent David Burson, this time featuring Doctor Arnaud Fontaine, Corporal Paul Heath and, finally, in the middle, our hero, Professor Nathanial Stone! In related news, the author, Mark Michalowski, has released his brand new website, so why not pop over and have butcher’s at his other works.

There’s also a new review of ‘Journey to the Heart of Luna’, from best-selling author of The Shadows Trilogy, Julieanne Lynch, which can be read here.

Author of story #6: ‘Dark Side of Luna’, JT Wilson, has two short stories out today, in the anthology Re-Vamp, about which more can be read here.

And, finally, a new addition to this blog can be found on your right. A list of all my professional works, which also happen to be links to places from which they can be bought (except for Sedna, which seems to be particularly hard to find).

So, while we’re all waiting on the release of ‘The Ghosts of Mercury’, why not entertain yourself by visiting the websites above, and also enjoy the trailer…

Exclusive Excerpt from “The Ghosts of Mercury”

 

 

I’m very excited about this release. We don’t have a definite release date yet, but we’re looking to getting the next Space: 1889 & Beyond book out for Halloween. In the meantime, please do enjoy this very exclusive excerpt…

He was there. Again. Standing silently in the corner of the room. There but not quite there.

When Corporal Heath looked directly at him, he seemed to jump, as if instantly whisked to some other part of the room that was now at the edge of his vision. Heath couldn’t help but still try to catch it out, hoping that, just once, the ghost might forget to jump.

Heath ached—not only with the pain in his leg and ankle and chest, but with frustration. He had lost count of the number of times the ghost had vanished completely, and he’d found himself staring down at his white hands, balled up into fists, clutching the hospital sheets. He sensed something not altogether right, not happy about the ghost. There was a darkness there that he didn’t like at all. Realising how tense he was, Heath consciously relaxed and let his chin drop to his chest, triggering a jolt of pain from the torn muscles around his collarbone—before looking up suddenly, another bolt of pain shooting down his left arm from his shoulder. There was something going on in the corridor; he recognised Doctor Schell’s voice. The door to the ward was flung open and in swept the doctor, in his wake a slim, striking woman with black hair and the most hypnotic eyes Heath had seen for a long time. She had a healthy tan which immediately marked her out as a newcomer to Mercury. In her arms, she carried a large, buff folder, holding it close like it was the most important thing in the world. Behind them, hands flapping and a look of intense annoyance on her face was Nurse Lopez. She shot a glance at Heath as if to apologise for letting Schell and this new woman in.

“Heath!” beamed Schell coming to a sudden stop at the side of the bed and folding his arms. “How the devil are you, man?”

“Can’t complain sir,” Heath replied, knowing that an angel must surely have been looking out for him all those weeks ago.

“Good man,” Schell said. “Good man. Been through the wars, haven’t you? Good to see you on the mend, though. Bearing up, hmm?”

Schell turned to Nurse Lopez who stood there, glowering at him. By all accounts, Nurse Lopez’ parents—and in particular her mother—were possessed of fiery Latin temperaments that their daughter had clearly inherited.

“This man is sick, Doctor Schell. I do not think you really need me to tell you that, do you? You are a doctor after all. He needs rest and time to recover, not being interrupted during dinner.” Her English was impeccable with barely a hint of a Spanish accent. Doctor Schell looked up and down the bed and at the side-table. There was no sign of any meal, either fresh or half-eaten.

“Not hungry, Heath?”

“Not really, sir, no. Sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologise for not being hungry, you know,” interjected the dark-haired young woman who sounded, from her accent, like an American. She smiled at him and gave him a wink.

“Well that just won’t do,” said Schell with a firm shake of his head. “You need to get something inside your belly. No man ever got better from not eating, now did he? And many have gotten much, much worse.”

“Maybe later, sir.”

Schell raised an eyebrow and glanced back at Nurse Lopez. “Well make sure you do—and if he doesn’t, Lopez, I’ll be wanting to know why.”

“Corporal Heath is doing very well, doctor. He’ll eat when he wants to.”

The doctor nodded as if he’d just won that round and turned to the woman he’d arrived with. “Corporal Heath, this is Miss Annabelle Somerset. She arrived on Mercury today. She’s a close family friend of the colonel, so make sure you show her some respect. She’s here…” He paused and looked at Nurse Lopez. “That’ll be all, thank you, Lopez. I’ll shout for you if I need you.”

Nurse Lopez pulled a sour face, looked Miss Somerset up and down as if appraising her as a potential rival—as women, in Heath’s opinion, were wont to do—and then turned on her heel and left, letting the door bang behind her as a final gesture.

“Sorry about that,” Schell apologised to Miss Somerset. “She gets very protective about poor Heath here. Good thing, I suppose, considering she’s a nurse. But still… Anyway, the colonel says that Miss Somerset here would like to talk to you, if you feel up to it.”

“What about, sir?”

“About your accident,” said Miss Somerset. “And…and what’s been happening to you since then.”

Copyright 2011 by Mark Michalowski

Space: 1889 © & ™ Frank Chadwick 1988, 2011

All Rights Reserved.

The Ghosts of Mercury by Mark Michalowski, soon to be available from Untreed Reads Publishing.