content by

Adam Christopher

Fiction and Excerpts [9]

Fiction and Excerpts [9]

Five Books About Strange Cities

There are lots of rules about writing, but few worth paying any heed. But one concept I would argue for is that character is everything—without character you have no story, you have no plot, you have no consequences, no changes, no desires, no obstacles, no goals. Everything—and I mean everything—in a great novel comes from great character.

And character doesn’t need to be limited to those who walk and talk and have their adventures between the pages of your favourite novel. Some of the best books use setting as character—the place in which the action unfolds can be just as important as the people (or robots or aliens or super-intelligent shades of the colour blue) whose trials and tribulation we follow.

Here are five books where the setting—in this case, strange cities—is key.

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Series: Five Books About…

Killing is My Business

Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape and assignment for intrepid PI-turned-hitman—and last robot left in working order—Raymond Electromatic. But his skills may be rustier than he remembered in Killing Is My Business, the latest in Adam Christopher’s robot noir oeuvre, available July 25th from Tor Books.

Read chapter 2 below, or head back to the beginning with chapter 1 here, along with an excerpt from Ray Electromatic’s novella-length adventure, Standard Hollywood Depravity.

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Standard Hollywood Depravity

The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about.


As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar.

But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal—or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?

Just your standard bit of Hollywood depravity, as tracked by the memory tapes of a less-than-standard robot hitman.

Standard Hollywood Depravity is a Ray Electromatic mystery by Adam Christopher, available March 7th from Publishing. Read an excerpt below, and check out a teaser for the next Ray Electromatic book, Killing is My Business, publishing this July with Tor Books!

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Black Holes and 4-D Wars: The Doctor Who Stories of Alan Moore

Doctor Who has a fine comic tradition, one stretching right back to the First Doctor’s debut in the pages of TV Comic in November 1964. Sixteen years later, the first bona fide professional work of writer Alan Moore—who would go on to become one of the most important and iconic comic creators of the modern era—appeared in the pages of the new Doctor Who Weekly magazine.

Moore wrote just five back-up strips for Doctor Who Weekly between June 1980 and October 1981—a grand total of just 28 pages, each (save four) rendered in beautiful monochrome by David Lloyd. Lloyd would later collaborate with Moore on what can be argued as the latter’s first truly great work, V for Vendetta, which first appeared in the pages of the weekly anthology, Warrior, in March 1982.

Although Moore never worked on Doctor Who Weekly’s primary comic strip, his work in the back-up pages represents some of the best of that Golden Age of British comics, a period of around a decade that began with the publication of the short-lived Action in the mid 1970s, and was followed by many others, including Starlord, Tornado, and of course, the legendary SF anthology, 2000AD. While Alan Moore is well known for his contributions to 2000AD, his work on Doctor Who Weekly, while largely overlooked, provides a fascinating look at his early development as a writer.

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Made to Kill

Raymond Electromatic—the world’s last robot—is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency—except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray’s inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he’s inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own. Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen—and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Made to Kill is the first book in a new trilogy, a thrilling new speculative noir from novelist and comic writer Adam Christopher—available November 3rd from Tor Books!

[Read an excerpt]

Brisk Money

Raymond Chandler famously hated science fiction, saying “They pay brisk money for this crap?” However, it has recently come to light that Chandler secretly wrote a series of stories and novels starring a robot detective. He then burnt all the manuscripts and went on writing his noir masterpieces. Unknown to Chandler, his housekeeper had managed to save some of these discarded manuscripts from the grate in his study,  preserving the tales for future generations.

The first of these stories was recently unearthed by author Adam Christopher. On the topic of how the manuscript made its way from Chandler’s study in California to Christopher’s home in England, Christopher is suspiciously quiet.

This novelette was acquired and edited for by editor Paul Stevens.

[Read “Brisk Money” by Adam Christopher]

The Burning Dark (Excerpt)

Check out Adam Christopher’s The Burning Dark, available March 25th from Tor Books!

All is not well aboard the U-Star Coast City. The station’s reclusive Commandant is nowhere to be seen, leaving Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland to deal with a hostile crew on his own. Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic. Alien shadows and whispers seem to haunt the lonely corridors and airlocks, fraying the nerves of everyone aboard.

Isolated and friendless, Cleveland reaches out to the universe via an old-fashioned space radio, only to tune in to a strange, enigmatic signal: a woman’s voice that seems to echo across a thousand light-years of space. But is the transmission just a random bit of static from the past—or a warning of an undying menace beyond mortal comprehension?

[Read an Excerpt]

The Age Atomic (Excerpt)

Take a look at The Age Atomic, sequel to Empire State by Adam Christopher, out on March 26 from Angry Robot Books:

The Empire State is dying. The Fissure connecting the pocket universe to New York has vanished, plunging the city into a deep freeze and the populace are demanding a return to Prohibition and rationing as energy supplies dwindle.

Meanwhile, in 1954 New York, the political dynamic has changed and Nimrod finds his department subsumed by a new group, Atoms For Peace, led by the mysterious Evelyn McHale.

As Rad uncovers a new threat to his city, Atoms For Peace prepare their army for a transdimensional invasion. Their goal: total conquest – or destruction – of the Empire State.

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Seven Wonders (Excerpt)

From the author of Empire State, Adam Christopher, comes a brand new take on superhero tales. Take a look at this excerpt from Seven Wonders, due out from Angry Robot on August 28:


Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be…

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Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good: 10 Reasons Why Ghostbusters Has Such an Enduring Legacy

Citizen Kane? The Godfather? Blade Runner? Keep ’em. The best film ever made, hands-down, is Ghostbusters.

In 1984 I was seven, and I loved Ghostbusters so much I saw it three times in one week. Twenty-seven years later, I sat in a cinema watching a brand new digital projection, re-released for Halloween, knowing every line, every tick of Bill Murray’s face, every giant dollop of melted marshmallow.

But what makes Ghostbusters so enduring? The film spawned a huge franchise of toys, cartoons, and video games; and lines from the title song—like the instantly recognisable “Who ya gonna call?”—have entered the common lexicon. There’s clearly something different about this film, and here’s my list of ten things that not only make Ghostbusters great, but make it a film well deserving of its ongoing legacy.

[“Aim for the flat top!”]

Empire State (Excerpt)

In honor of Noir Week, please enjoy this excerpt from Empire State by Adam Christopher, out December 27th from Angry Robot Books.

“A daring, dreamlike, almost hallucinatory thriller, one that plays with the conventions of pulp fiction and superheroes like a cat with a ball of yarn.”

-Eisner Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kurt Busiek


“What kind of a name,” asked the man in the gas mask, “Is ‘Rad’, anyway?”

Rad shuffled on the alley floor a little, trying to get more comfortable when more comfortable meant a rectangular brick digging into your back instead of a triangular one. It was wet, and Rad was sitting in a puddle. He half-wondered how much the cleaning bill would be for his one and only suit.

“’Rad’ is my kind of name, is what,” said Rad. He didn’t bother looking up at his assailants. The masks and hats were a great disguise. Kooky. Instead he stared ahead and dabbed at his bottom lip with a bloody handkerchief.

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Series: Noir Week on

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