This Week’s World’s Best Reader

Fantastic Fan Art

You might recall that John Paul Cokes sent us some amazing Monk art about a year and a half ago. He sent me this note today, and thank god, cause the new ones are AMAZING:

“I just wanted to send these to you. I’ve had trouble finding inspiration lately so I turned back to The Electric Church for ideas to keep me busy. I’m a huge fan of these books and would love to see them adapted for the big screen or series. I’ve always imagined Avery Cates with short hair in the first novel and then longer hair in the second one.”


The Psionic The Psionic
The Psionic

Dear Magnificent Bastard…

The Final EvolutionYou know, you write books, you manage to sell them to a publisher, and then sometimes all you get back are reviews and royalty statements (and if you’re lucky, actual royalties). And then once in a blue moon a reader writes you a note that makes you tear up in a manly way. One such email came from James Mulholland today after he’d read The Final Evolution (which has been available in the UK for a few weeks now [minor spoilers here for those who have not read the book yet]:

“Dear magnificent bastard:

Thank you for the Avery Cates books. Sincerely.I read a lot of sci-fi from a variety of the popular authors of the day, nothing compares with the Avery Cates books in terms of sheer ease and joy of consumption. I do not mean ‘ease of consumption’ in a derogatory way at all, there are some complex themes and ideas in there. I mean it in terms of raw, “it’s 3am and I’ve been reading for how long!? Holy crap, I consumed it whole in two days!?!”, page-turnability. Yes, I’m inventing words now.

Rip-roaring, roller-coaster-ride, page-turnability.

That’s how I describe your work to those friends of mine I beat around the head to purchase your books.

I’ve been following Avery’s adventures since I stumbled upon a copy of The Electric Church not long after its UK publication on a windswept trip, to the windswept Scottish coast, in a windswept Scottish towns one small windswept Scottish bookshop (the scifi section consisted of a grand total of 2 shelves. Short on choice, high on quality it would seem!

Since then, the publication of a new Cates novel has gotten a spot on my calendar and a pre-order at the bookshop, without fail.

While I lament the loss of Mr Cates and his delightfully grizzled, hilarious and fatalistic ways (I suspect the narrative arc may have run its course with the final book, although I of course live in hope) I am grateful for having been along for one hell of a ride on the way.

So Mr Somers, I suppose that’s all I really have for you; thanks and unsolicited praise from a fan.

And while I lament that Avery Cates may not be back to shit-kick another day (or, for that matter, doom what’s left of his own species again) I am happy and excited to read any and all material you produce in the future; be they set in this universe or any other you chose to concoct.

Congratulations on creating a fantastic (and wonderfully bleak) universe, which contained compelling, relatable and intriguing characters and all took place across a fantastic story arc culminating in what I think is your best work to date.

I particularly liked your treatment of Wa Belling. After years of Avery stewing and plotting this once willy, powerful, master-manipulator and living-legend is finally brought low by simply running out of years (not to mention mutilation at the hands of his insane once-ally)… All of this is viewed and filtered through Cates’ increasingly tired and aging perspective.

I found that more poignant, satisfying and relevant to Cates’s character than any protracted (roon-based) gun battle or simple revenge fantasy could ever be.

To paraphrase, the “Fuck, well after all that, do I even want to kill this worn out geezer anymore…?” moment was just perfect.

P.S: First ever fictional character to inspire me to pause mid-read, fetch a glass of malt, and toast as a result of his inglorious demise: “Fuckin’ Grisha!” *Glug*”

Emails like that make my month. Thanks, James!

Monks Don’t Need Zippers

I almost forgot to post this pic from fan of the Cates novels John Paul Cokes:

John Paul Cokes

John writes:

“I am a huge fan of the Electric Church series and I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Attached is an illustration of my concept for the monk character from your books. I plan on doing one more design. I’m an aspiring concept and storyboard artist so this is to help my portfolio and to show my love for the stories. I hope you enjoy.”

Wo0t! Thanks to John for sending it, and for letting me post it!

Avery Cates Intro Music

UPDATE: Fixed the link. Stupid Jeff.

One of the great benefits of your books being translated into other languages is, of course, being contacted by readers from that part of the world. The fantastic and quite German Stoif has emailed me a couple of things recently and has been really very cool, but this takes the cake:

The Gweat and Tewwible by Stoif

Just a short piece but I think it’s great, and I like the mood.

This Week’s World’s Best Reader

Sometimes the folks who read my books turn out to be amazing, talented people themselves. Case in point: AMMSII from the forum, who sent me this:
Tempting Christ

Writes AMMSII: “The Electric Church influenced 2 songs for my band, and when we performed on mischief night, I had my keyboardist dress and act like one of the Monks. I’m the dude singing. One song is called Pusher, and it’s about the scene when Kev pushes the monk. The other song is like persuading people to join it.”

Hot shit, that looks like a band I’d like to go see. AMMSII also sent me this kick ass piece of audio, which is “?a reading from The Electric Church, page 122.” This kicks ass as well:

TEC Page 122 (with apologies to AMMSII as I reduced the quality to make it a better size for streaming etc).

Wow! I’m amazed.

This Week’s World’s Best Reader

Friends, over on the forums someone asked me about subscribing to my zine, The Inner Swine, which I’ve been publishing since 1995 (damn, I am old), and I told everyone that if you’re a member of the forum you can have half price subscriptions. Yesterday I got a check in the mail, along with this note:

And THAT, my friends, is some real nice letterhead. So Blueman is my World’s Best Reader this week, and you are. . .not.