The Next Big Thing

Big thing

Thanks to Riyria Revalations author Michael J. Sullivan for tagging me in the Next Big Thing meme, a mechanism for authors to talk about future writing projects. Basically, each author answers ten questions about their next book and tags someone else to do the same. I’ll post links to whoever I tag when their own answers go up, in the meantime here’s mine:

1) What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is a novella entitled Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My ideas normally take a long time to gestate. In this case the character name ‘Bad Jack’ popped into my head a long time ago. I knew he was some kind of criminal but it was several years before I formed a clear idea of who he was and what he did.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s the fourth story in my Slab City Blues SF-noir series which takes place in an orbital society which has gained independence from Earth after a bloody revolution.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I wouldn’t. Writers are notoriously bad at casting and there’s a reason why movie producers pay lots of money to casting agents. Plus, as a reader, I like to formulate my own image of how characters look. That being said, Janet the gene-spliced vampire in A Hymn to Gods Long Dead (the third Slab City Blues story) is just crying out to be played by Olivia Wilde.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The Bourne Supremacy meets Firefly.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll be self-publishing this one via the usual outlets on February 1st. Novellas are a tricky thing to sell, being too short to justify the expense of a print run and too long for magazines. Plus, I’m keen to keep hold of the series as it gives me room to enjoy the writing without worrying about a deadline.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Longer than it should. I was hoping to get it down in a month, in fact it took three. I started not long after finishing Tower Lord (Book 2 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy), and was frankly pretty exhausted after writing 2000+ words a day for six months whilst holding down a day job. Also, I ran into a few thorny plot-issues that took time to resolve.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I do owe a debt to William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, but that’s true of pretty much everything I write. Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs books are also a major influence.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to explore the more of the world I’d created in earlier Slab City Blues stories, all of which had been set on the same orbiting slum. This one takes us to the Asteroid Belt and provides an expanded view of the solar system beyond Earth orbit. However, the main inspiration was simply need to keep writing. I’m a full-time author now and I’m realising the more content I can produce, the greater the chance of continuing as such.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you’re a fan of hard-boiled crime fiction, armoured power-suits and space battles, then there’s probably something in there for you.

11 responses to “The Next Big Thing

  • chriscampfield

    I’m a huge fan. Raven’s Shadow got me hooked on your writing, which is absolutley fantastic. I’m reading your Slab City novellas now and can’t stop. Keep up the great work. I’ll be buying everything you write.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks Chris. Oonly 9,999 more readers like you and I can consider myself in secure employment.

      • Chris

        Keep the faith Anthony, I’ve no doubt you’ll get there faster than you think (especially if the publishers don’t keep holding you back with silly schedules). Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Thank you for the privilege and the pleasure of being able to enjoy the creative epics of your mind’s eye.

        9,998 to go.

  • John


    When are you gong to show off the cover art for the July hardcover ?

    • Anthony Ryan

      John, the cover art for both the US and UK editions is currently being prepped but I haven’t seen either yet. I’ll post it here whenever I’m allowed to.

      • John

        Oh,i did not know that there was going to be a UK hardcover,did a little digging and found out that your UK publisher is Orbit,expecting the cover to amazing looking as Orbit usually produce some excellent looking covers.So,we can now look forward to two different covers for your book,let’s see who manages to produce the better cover,Ace or Orbit.

      • Allan

        Hi Anthony,

        When was the Orbit UK deal announced? I haven’t heard of it at all. I was expecting to order the ACE hardcover from Book depository but now with Orbit UK, I’m certainly glad.

  • Anthony Ryan

    I blogged about the foreign rights sales for Blood Song in November last year but didn’t specify a UK publisher as Orbit hadn’t announced anything yet. However, judging by their website, they now have:

  • Allan

    Congrats Dr. Anthony, that’s a nice touch. Are you a PhD or a physician? Certainly admirable either way for being such a talented chap.

  • Cubert

    Speaking of Michael J. Sullivan – He just recently started a Kickstarter project for a Sci-Fi book he was having trouble getting published. It seems a lot of his fans are interested in seeing this project through. Maybe there is an Anthony Ryan novel that has been sitting in similar fashion. I’d love to support one of your books this way. If anyone wants to see the Michael J. Sullivan project head over to

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Cubert,
      Apart from my Slab City Blues stories, most of everything I wrote before Blood Song was so awful I’ve been scrupulous in burning or deleting it. I’m certainly not averse to using Kickstarter in the future for the right project. I’m also gratified to see Michael’s project was oversubscribed three times over.

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