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!


  1. James Mulholland

    The pleasure was all mine Sir.

    Enjoy the fruits of your labour and resume entertaining us once you’re good and ready, we’ll be waiting!

  2. Patty Blount

    *claps and then cries*

  3. Melanie Meadors

    Well, Jeff Somers, looks like you’ve accomplished something great :). It makes all that hard work worth it, doesn’t it?


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