Friday, February 17, 2006

WITCHLORD WEAPONMASTER second edition now on sale

Buy WITCHLORD WEAPONMASTER second edition, a paperback book in a standard paperback size, 6 inches wide by nine inches tall. Ready for purchase now.

Ended up as a 6 inch x 9 inch book ... the 8.5 inch x 11 inch description somewhere on the site is wrong, sorry. 6 x 9 is a standard paperback size .

And so it's done. A second edition of THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER sees the light of day, after being out of print for many years.

It's available now from


Unfortunately, while would like to be a child-safe site, something like THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER or the suicide bomber novel TO FIND AND WAKE THE DREAMER is not a child-safe book, so to see this "mature" content you have to certify yourself as adult, as follows:-

To see the mature content (1) sign up to make a free log-in identity then log in; (2) go to "MY ACCOUNT"; (3) click on "manage content access level"; (4) assuming you are 17 or older, choose "Mature" as the consent level, and save that preference.

Returning to you discover that a number of books which were previously invisible are now visible.

I originally thought it would be impossible to fit the 250,000 words or so of the text into a single 6 inch x 9 inch volume, as the technical limit for the print-on-demand process used is 740 pages.

However, after a little fiddling with margins, it proved possible to get it in using, for the body of the text, the same 12-point Garamond font which I have used for all my other projects done via

There is a PDF sample (opens with Acrobat Reader / Adobe Reader) at

Just point your browser there and you will find a link to the PDF file.

Alternatively, a direct link to the sample file would be:

The sample file consists of the front matter (including maps) plus the text of the first chapter.

Later in 2006, second editions of THE WORDSMITHS AND THE WARGUILD and THE WORSHIPPERS AND THE WAY should also become available from the storefront.

With that done, all ten of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS books will be in print, as stocks of the original Corgi paperbacks are still on sale via

The stocks were remaindered some years back by Transworld Publishers, owners of the Corgi Books imprint, but were purchased by Colin Smythe of Colin Smythe Ltd, the original publisher for the CHRONICLES series, who published some of the CHRONICLES books as hardbacks.

Colin bought the Corgi stocks, rebadged the books with new ISBN numbers, and still has them on sale as of this writing, February 2006.

It's a pleasure to have THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER back in print, and I hope the new edition will meet the needs of those readers who strongly desire to read the missing books, but for whom the extortionate prices some of these volumes have been fetching on the second-hand market have put them out of reach.

To close up here, just a note of thanks to fans of the series who have e-mailed me with messages of support during my medical troubles over the last year or so. At such a time, it's been good to be online and plugged in to the wider world.

In February 2006 the three volumes of the OCEANS OF LIGHT trilogy also became available from, the books in question being WEST OF HEAVEN, EAST OF HELL and NORTH OF PARADISE.

This fantasy series is set in the alternative reality realm of Chalakanesia, an archipelago which stands athwart the metapsychic faultline, a structure which tends to make reality head in some distinctly alternative directions.

Also in the pipeline, some time this year or early next, are:

THE SUCCUBUS AND OTHER STORIES, a book of short fiction. Short fiction, but I'm aiming for a pretty solid book, maybe about 700 pages.

THIS IS A PICTURE OF YOUR GOD: A HUGH COOK READER. A book of random writings, a book to sample by dipping into it rather than to read as a coherent unit: poems, stories, blog entries, essays, journal entries.

THE SHIFT. A short SF novel (about 60,000 words) published some years ago. This is going to be, then, a new edition of an old book. It's a short fast-paced book including aliens, a machine which changes the world, sex and violence. I'm very fond of this book.

PLAGUE SUMMER, workmanlike novel about drug smuggling in New Zealand against the background of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, a novel written by a young man, me, who grew up in the New Zealand countryside just across the road from a cow farm.

Okay as a novel in the "plot connects, characters work" sense, but, that said, only for the absolute compleatist, I think.

Central character is a minor thug called Oberth, a prototype of larger and more dangerous thugs to come.

And, finally, THE DEATH OF BIRDS, a book of poems on the subject of death and dying, and of the absurdities of the world in which that death and dying takes place.

Thanks to Stephen Wilson, a close reader of WITCHLORD/WEAPONMASTER, for proofreading tips. Stephen has built a great CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS fan site at and his enthusiasm has recently extended to commissioning art work depicting characters from the CHRONICLES books.

The artwork I have seen so far includes what is, to my way of thinking, a stunningly effective drawing of Jon Arabin, one of the characters in THE WALRUS AND THE WARWOLF.

It gave me great pleasure to see the man himself, in the flesh, so to speak.

A closing note of thanks to the guys who put together OpenOffice 2.0.

For TO FIND AND WAKE THE DREAMER, I used Microsoft Word to build the book, but, as Word struggled to handle a file of 200,000 words, I ended up spending way too much time staring at an hourglass.

By contrast, OpenOffice 2.0 effortlessly handled a file of 250,000 words in its native ODT format, which it then allowed me to save painlessly as a Word document, the format required by

Other software used in this project for various purposes included the open source FTP program FileZilla; the Irfan View image manipulation program; a Microsoft program with collage capability which is called Microsoft Premium 10; the little Paint program that comes with Windows; and my trusty text editor, UltraEdit.
To resolve weird formatting problems that I encountered in trying to work with old files that go back to the days when I was using DOS, I also pressed into service NoteTab Light, a highly capable free version which I've used on and off for some years now.

(If you want some extra bells and whistles, such as a spell checker, then you can pay a few bucks and pick up the everything included version.)

UltraEdit and NoteTab Light are both text editors, the kind of thing you would use to write a computer program rather than do fancy style stuff using pretty fonts and pictures.

Also used at various times was PrintKey, a program which captures the screen with options including to save what you have captured or print it out.

PrintKey installed and ran fine for me under Windows 98, but, under Windows XP Professional, I ended up having to go hunt down the executable and copy it onto the desktop. Thereafter, after the executable was clicked, the "PrtSc" (print screen) key which, back in the days of DOS, used to dump the contents of the screen to the printer, becomes enabled as a hot key.

So you get back the functionality of the print screen key. You can hit it, capture the screen and send it to the printer. Or capture just a selected rectangle and either print or save that.

Browser used for this enterprise was Mozilla.

Adobe Reader was used to check various trial PDFs, which I made with OpenOffice 2.0, which has a simple EXPORT AS PDF option on the FILE menu.

I'll add here, at the end of this blog entry, the words which are at the end of the second edition of THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER, a kind of "final last words".



This book, the second edition of THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER, is a kind of monument to the early part of my life, the time when I dreamed dreams and saw visions. Whatever happens from now on, that phase is over. Putting together this second edition, then, is an act of conclusion, so I think it an appropriate place to record my last words, despite the fact that my funeral is not on the calendar yet. My life was good, and I regret nothing. Win or lose, I am satisfied. Many thanks to those of you who chose to accompany me, in person or in spirit, on some part of the arc of my life.