British Fiction Focus

Chu’s Day

In something of a show of force, Angry Robot—the British base of “SF, F and WTF?!?” which was bought by Watkins Media in October, shortly after the sudden shuttering of its sister imprint Strange Chemistry—has signed a six-figure deal, reportedly the biggest in its history, for another three novels by Wesley Chu.

Chu might be new—his Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award-winning debut, The Lives of Tao, was only released in 2013—but according to Angry Robot’s Managing Director Marc Gascoigne, he’s made quite an impression in the brief period he’s been on the scene:

Wesley Chu’s Tao series has been a runaway success for Angry Robot, and we’re delighted that he has re-signed for us for this brand new trilogy of novels. He manages to combine lofty science fiction themes with pure Hollywood pacing, and quite frankly his novels just rock. With Angry Robot recently moving to new owners, Watkins Media Ltd, we’re delighted to have the resources to take Wes’ sales to a whole new level. His world domination is now only a matter of time.

Having read one of Chu’s two Tao books myself, I’d suggest that this isn’t such an improbable possibility. The dude is good!

Though his new series is set in the same warring Genjix and Prophus universe as The Lives of Tao trilogy—the third novel, The Rebirths of Tao, is on track to arrive in April—it’s said, in the same breath, to stand alone. The new trilogy will open Chu’s wonderful world to new readers while satisfying those of us who’ve been with him from the beginning.

A tall order, to be sure, but I don’t imagine this deal would have been done if Angry Robot were even a wee bit worried that Chu couldn’t follow through. This, thus, is a man with a plan. Also, Chu said, an army of super-sharks:

Batteries recharged. OS upgraded. Sharks with frigging lasers fed. It’s time to kick some ass! When I first made my strategic alliance with the metal overlords to take over the world, I didn’t think humanity stood a chance. Now with Watkins Media joining the team, victory is inevitable! Still dibs on New Zealand!

Chu’s next trilogy will begin with The Rise of Io:

Ella Patel—thief, con-artist and smuggler—is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants. The man freezes, leaving the woman to fight off five attackers at once, before succumbing. As she dies, to both Ella and the man’s surprise, the sparkling light that rises from the woman enters Ella, instead of the man. She soon realizes she’s been inhabited by Io, a low-ranking Quasing who was involved in some of the worst decisions in history. Now Ella must now help the alien presence to complete her mission and investigate a rash of murders in the border states that maintain the frail peace.

With the Prophus assigned to help her seemingly wanting to stab her in the back, and the enemy Genjix hunting her, Ella must also deal with Io’s annoying inferiority complex. To top it all off, Ella thinks the damn alien voice in her head is trying to get her killed. And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?

The Rise of Io is to be released in August 2016—which, admittedly, is ages away. But in advance of that, Chu’s fans will have plenty on their plates, including The Rebirths of Tao from Angry Robot and Time Salvager from Tor, the cover of which Irene Gallo recently revealed.

The more I think about this, the more certain I become that we’d be wise to take the bull by the horns and hand over New Zealand in advance…


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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