It’s taken three years for all four books of the Apollo Quartet to appear – three novellas and one short novel: Adrift on the Sea of Rains, The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself, Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above and All That Outer Space Allows. It’s been a strange journey, and I’ll happily admit what I’ve ended up with is not what I’d pictured back when I started writing Adrift on the Sea of Rains. I’m proud of what I’ve written – and I think they explore science fiction, and comment on the genre, in new and interesting ways. They were ambitious – both in terms of story and structure – and the amount of research I put into them even astonished me at times.
I certainly never expected Adrift on the Sea of Rains to win an award and be nominated for another. Of the four books, it still remains the most popular, and has sold more than double the next highest. It is also the only one whose limited hardback edition is out of print, and whose paperback edition went to a second print-run (before I put together the second editions). Although, to be fair, for books 3 and 4 I had to use CreateSpace for the paperbacks as my previous printer, Biddles MPG, went into administration; and the second edition paperbacks are all printed by CreateSpace.
Currently, I’m focusing on getting my An Age of Discord space opera trilogy out. It’s a more commercial work – and in less than a month has already out-sold three of the Apollo Quartet books. The first book, A Prospect of War, is currently available on Kindle (UK | US). A limited edition hardback will be launched at Edge-Lit 4 in Derby on 11 July 2015; and a paperback edition will follow afterwards. The second book, A Conflict of Orders, is planned for release in October. The book is written but needs a good going over before I submit it to my publisher. The final book, A Want of Reason, I have to write from scratch… for a March 2016 launch.
As for Whippleshield Books… I plan to keep it going. Next year I’ll be publishing a short collection of my alt space stories. The working title is Dreams of the Space Age, and it will contain five or six stories, most of which have been previously published. After that… who knows? I’d sooner not self-publish everything I write, because it’s a complete faff getting word out and about. Not to mention mostly ineffective. If there’s one thing publishing the Apollo Quartet has taught me it’s that no matter how much a piece of fiction aligns with a person’s interests they’re more likely to ignore it than they are to read it. You’d think Apollo programme enthusiasts or space nuts would be interested in the Apollo Quartet… but apparently not (and I’ve sent review copies to space-related websites, to no avail). And All That Outer Space Allows is actually about women writing science fiction during the 1960s, but I’ve seen no commentary on that except from people who have been following the quartet since the beginning. Ah well.
So, the Apollo Quartet is over. All four books are available at the Whippleshield Books online store and at a popular and near-monopolistic online retailer. Buy them, read them, tell people about them.