John Jarrold has concluded a three-book World Rights deal for Australian debut science fiction novelist Jeremy Szal with Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director of Gollancz.
The first book is Stormblood: Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a bio-enhanced soldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it also opened a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.
But when Harmony tells him that his former ally Reapers are being murdered, Vakov is appalled to discover his estranged brother is likely involved in the killings. They haven’t spoken in years, but Vakov can’t let his brother down, and investigates. But the deeper he goes, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes, and Vakov discovers that the war might not be over after all. It’ll take everything he has to unearth this terrible secret, although doing so might mean betraying his brother. If his own body doesn’t betray him first.
Stormblood is a character-driven adventure that combines the noir grittiness of Blade Runner and The Dark Knight, with the widescreen exuberance of Mass Effect 2, and appeals to those who like a strong element of mystery in their space opera.
Jeremy Szal said: “Stormblood is an incredibly personal book to me, and is packed with themes I love exploring: sibling relationships, human-alien interactions, the horrors of war, and facing personal trauma, all set in a wide-screen future setting. I had so much fun spending time with these characters and could not imagine a better way to introduce them to the world than with Gollancz, a publisher I’ve always admired. I would like to thank John, Gillian, and the entire team for making my dream come true and believing in me from day one.”
Gillian Redfearn said: “I’ve had my eye on Jeremy for almost a year now, thanks to John Jarrold’s remarkable eye for a talented writer, having been struck by the vividness and cinematic nature of his writing from his first submission. Stormblood was exactly the project I’d been looking for: action-packed, character-driven SF that really drives a story home, while still touching on issues of social exclusion, addiction and family. It’s a cracking read, and I’m so delighted to welcome Jeremy Szal to the Gollancz list.”
John Jarrold said: “As soon as I saw Jeremy’s writing I knew we had something special on our hands. Gillian Redfearn also saw that immediately and both Jeremy and I would like to thank her for work above and beyond the call of duty over several months on this project. Its successful acquisition by Gollancz owes a huge amount to her personal enthusiasm and thoughtfulness.”
Jeremy Szal was born in 1995 and was raised by wild dingoes. He writes about galactic nightmares, little traumas, and broken characters fighting for hope in dark worlds. His science fiction stories have appeared in Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, The Drabblecast, and have been translated into multiple languages. He is the fiction editor for the Hugo-winning StarShipSofa and has a BA in Film Studies and Creative Writing from UNSW. He carves out a living in sun-bleached Sydney, Australia, but prefers snowy weather. He loves watching weird movies, collecting boutique gins, exploring cities, and dark humour. Stormblood is his first novel. Find him at http://jeremyszal.com/ or on Twitter at @JeremySzal
STORMBLOOD | Publishing Spring 2020 |
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