Latest JJLA news


A terrific quote from Ken MacLeod for Hannu Rajaniemi’s SUMMERLAND, published later this month by Gollancz in the UK and Tor in the US:


Some great scientists were mesmerised by Spiritualism and psychical research – but what if they’d been right? That’s the premise of this intriguing spy thriller set in a 1938 where aetheric science has built a very British afterlife and Bolsheviks have turned Lenin literally into a god. In this coldest of all wars, both sides forget they have built on the abyss, which has not forgotten them. A tense and twisting tale full of delightful allusions and ingenious ironies.

• June 8th, 2018 • Posted in News


Some further reviews and quotes we’ve had so far for SUMMERLAND by Hannu Rajaniemi, published in late June by Gollancz in the UK and Tor in the US:

I burned through it in two days. Great book: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spook. (Ian McDonald)

Summerland: As if Alfred Hitchcock had made a movie with HP Lovecraft . . . A vision so original it deserves its own subgenre. And all worked out with the diamond-hard logic of a great SF writer. After Summerland, the thriller has a new geometry (Stephen Baxter)

One of SF’s leading lights. (SFX MAGAZINE)

A beautifully written, well realised supernatural spy thriller, John le Carré as a ghost story. (Gavin G Smith, author of The Bastard Legion)

Engaging writing, tight plotting and fantastic imagination. (Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing)


• June 6th, 2018 • Posted in News

Brilliant LOCUS review of Hannu Rajaniemi’s SUMMERLAND

from Gary Wolfe in the June issue of LOCUS:

Those who are as impressed as I was with the coruscating style and dense information environment of Hannu Rajaniemi’s Quantum Thief trilogy might be a bit taken aback at the very different sort of world of his Summerland, which is essentially an espionage procedural set in 1938 Britain. It quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t our 1938, and Rajaniemi’s England is only tangentially connected to recognizable history, with a handful of familiar figures that include a few real-life spies like Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt, and even Josef Stalin – who in this world is a Russian dissident trying to seize power during the Spanish Civil War. By far the most dramatic difference, though, is that the spirit world is a major player in the espionage games following the First World War, in which Germany was defeated with the assistance of ‘‘ectotechnology,’’ which includes such supernatural weapons as ‘‘ectotanks’’ and ‘‘aetherguns.’’ The Pope, named Teilhard, promotes a vision of universal evolution, which sounds a lot like the ideas of the famous French philosopher. Most important is the presence of Summerland, a luxurious metropolis for the recently dead – although, like the chocolate factory, you need a ticket to get in, or else face just fading away. Designed by ‘‘aethertects’’ to look like upscale neighborhoods of London, it houses millions of newly dead, most of whom hope eventually to join an Oversoul-like ‘‘Presence.’’ Just as Rajaniemi initially wrapped his phenomenally inventive Quantum Thief world around a rather straightforward master-thief tale inspired by Arsène Lupin, he reveals this bizarre world through a version of the classic British spy narrative, with its double agents, betrayals, secret agendas, myopic bureaucrats, class tensions, and worn-out idealists. The central point of view characters are Rachel White, a 20-year veteran of the Secret Intelligence Service, who saves a valuable Russian asset from getting killed in a pointless duel only to have him blow his own brains out during a cat-and-mouse interrogation – but not before revealing to her that he’s been running a secret agent in Summerland named Peter Bloom. When Rachel tries to report this, her superior – one of those addled, thoroughly sexist bureaucrats – is so convinced that she’s been duped that he demotes her to the finance section. Needless to say, she sets about continuing her own investigation in secret. Meanwhile, we follow Peter Bloom’s own adventures as a ghost – whose perceptions of the world are quite different: ‘‘the material world was invisible, except for electricity and the soul-sparks of the living.’’ Like other newly dead, though, the spirits can be reached by mediums and can for short periods of time inhabit host bodies among the living. As different as this world of ectoplasm and aether might seem from the gevulots and oubliettes of Rajaniemi’s earlier trilogy, it turns out to serve some similar functions as a form of information technology. Rachel’s ‘‘ectophone’’ may be a 1930s-style contraption of Bakelite and rubber, but she can use it to call a spirit clerk, who in turn can ‘‘thought-travel’’ to the ‘‘aetheric stacks,’’ in a ghostly version of data-mining. ‘‘Aethertects’’ can construct what is essentially a virtual world out of ectoplasmic materials, and the newly dead gradually develop ‘‘hypersight,’’ which amounts to a kind of augmented reality, enabling them to perceive new directions. ‘‘Soul-stones’’ carry people’s memories into Summerland, not all that different from the supertech ‘‘gogols’’ of The Quantum Thief, just as Summerland itself has some qualities in common with the ‘‘spimescapes’’ of that novel. In other words, Rajaniemi may have traded in his fabulous posthuman mindscapes for the vocabulary of spiritualism, but he works out the details in much the same SFnal way. The reader may on occasion get so tangled in the convoluted details of Rajaniemi’s espionage melodrama that juggling them with the parameters of this new cosmology and the subtleties of alternate history can get daunting, but in the end Summerland is in its own way as persuasive an example of Rajaniemi’s disciplined inventiveness as his better-known hard SF. The concepts may have been swapped out, but rules are rules.


• June 1st, 2018 • Posted in News

Trapeze signs two more books from ebook bestseller David M Barnett

Sam Eades, Editorial Director at Orion, has acquired World Rights (All Languages) for two more novels by David M Barnett in a deal struck by the John Jarrold Literary Agency. David’s first novel for the imprint Calling Major Tom has sold in 10 territories around the world and has been optioned for film by Vision3.


The first book in the deal Who Do You Think You Are? follows elderly churchwarden Arthur Calderbank as he tries to solve the mystery of who leaves flowers on his wife’s grave every year. Set against the backdrop of the 1990s with Britpop, the Spice Girls and Cool Britannia, he receives unlikely help from a group of teenage misfits who are each desperate to defy their teachers’ low expectations and leave their small town. Who Do You Think You Are? is a funny, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting novel about the loneliness of life and the power of a little kindness.


David Barnett, author said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sam Eades and all the team at Trapeze again, and over the moon that they’re going to help me bring not one but two new novels to the readers who so enjoyed my previous books. All at Orion have been hugely supportive of my work and it’s great to be working with those so enthusiastic about getting these new stories out there.’
Sam Eades, editor said: ‘David has been a member of Team Trapeze since launch and occupies a very special place on the list. He a large and passionate fanbase inhouse, who are committed to growing his readership both here and around the world. His writing is reminiscent of the late Sue Townsend – funny, wise and with affection and kindness for his characters and their lives.’


Krystyna Kujawinska, rights said: ‘I was thrilled to hear we’d signed another contract with David.  My rights colleagues and I love his books!  They are a joy to pitch and work on, with their meaningful themes, intriguing and loveable characters and pitch perfect dialogue.  We can’t wait for Who Do You Think You Are? to be delivered!’


John Jarrold, agent said: ‘Since our initial deal was concluded early in 2016, I have been extremely impressed by the thought and enthusiasm that has characterized Sam Eades and her colleagues in the sales, marketing, publicity and rights departments at Trapeze/Orion. The warmth and humour of David’s writing has clearly struck a chord with the readers. He is an outstanding novelist.’


David Barnett is an author and journalist based in West Yorkshire. After a career working for regional newspapers he embarked upon a freelance career writing features for most of the UK national press. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Gideon Smith series of Victorian fantasies, published by Tor Books, and the writer of the Punks Not Dead comic series from Black Crown/IDW. David was born in Wigan, Lancashire, in 1970 and is married to Claire, also a journalist. They have two children, Charlie and Alice.


• May 31st, 2018 • Posted in News


A great Library Journal review for SUMMERLAND by Hannu Rajaniemi, published by Gollancz in the UK and Tor in the US in June:

In 1938 Britain, the Queen is dead but still ruling the living from afar in Summerland, the city of the afterlife. Stakes of “life or death” no longer have meaning, and the most important commodity on both planes of existence is power. What matters in life if it does not stop at death? Rachel White is a secret intelligence officer with a penchant for interrogating Soviet spies and avoiding her suffocating marriage. She uncovers a mole in Summerland, but her fears are dismissed by her superiors. Humiliated and demoted, Rachel embarks on a rogue mission to bring down the mole and clean house in both the living and dead British Empire. Finnish-born Rajaniemi (“Jean le Flambeur” series) takes a familiar premise (Soviet vs. British spies in the 1930s) and turns it into something new, a complex philosophical espionage story interwoven with mathematical theory and ghosts, taking great care to make Summerland an intricate and vivid world of technological and spiritual wonder.
VERDICT: Recommended for the author’s fans and readers who enjoy Ben Aaronovitch and Adam Roberts.


• May 16th, 2018 • Posted in News