The Bastard Legion

Hangman’s Daughter by The Bastard Legion

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Hangman’s Daughter available now for audio download

Hangman’s Daughter


Hangman’s Daughter by The Bastard Legion audio track. Available for digital download in .mp3 and .flac format.


Hangman’s Daughter by The Bastard Legion

Based on the Bastard Legion books by Gavin G Smith.

Written by Andrew Cunningham
Directed by Ceri Williams
Director of Photography: Cédric Hauteville
Edited by Matt Evans
2nd Unit Director & Art Department: Bill Thomas
Web Design by Brass Comet

The Bastard Legion are:
Vocals: Chloe Isherwood
Drums: Dan Tull
Bass: Andy Nuttall
Guitars: Andrew Cunningham & Matt Evans
Backing Vocals: Ceri Williams & Yvonne Cunningham

Kiera Thomas as Miska

Thanks To:
Tomás Almeida
Stevie Finegan
Craig Leyenaar
Britney Sankey
Rich Steedman
Tom Battock
Ed Gray
James Phillips
Mark Stay

The Bastard Legion Books are published by Gollancz.

Live your life, tryna’ make your own place,
Left a path of mayhem and slaughter,
Keep takin’ off, at your own damn pace,
Ain’t got no time for the hangman –

Kickin’ down in a dirty old bar and your
Tryna think if you been here before
Pretty sure you were in here drownin’
Find it kinda hard to tell anymore,

Everyone one o’ them knows they wanna ask you,
How many times you gotta hear the same rhyme,
They wanna know if you wanna get outta here,
You’ll be gone in your own down time,

But then you know that your past’ll catch up to you,
And you know it’s gonna want your head,
Do you know where you’re gonna go now?
Start to think you’d be better off –

Live your life, tryna’ make your own place,
Left a path of mayhem and slaughter,
Keep takin’ off, at your own damn pace,
Ain’t got no time for the hangman –

Another morning and you wake up thirsty,
-Then again you know it ain’t nothing new,
Make your choice and you set about working,
I guess you know you’ve nothing better to do

Heaven knows that the job ain’t easy,
Know you never woulda took it if it was,
No time for incorporated mercy,
You still focused on your own lost cause,

But then you know that your past’ll catch up to you,
And you know it’s gonna want your head,
Do you know where you’re gonna go now?
Start to think you’d be better off –

So many lives, layin’ at your hand,
Left a path of mayhem and slaughter,
So sick of running, time to make your stand,
Turn your guns, on the hangman –

You force a smile and nod of your head,
All laughs and threats when you’re one of the crowd,
When you’re alone and your speech is all said,
The chorus roars in the silence so loud,

With every verse you remember the sound,
And each note drops, while your memories drown,
They say what goes around comes around,
Your bed is made but you refuse to lay down,

But then you know that your that your past is calling you,
And you know it’s gonna want your head,
Do you know where you’re gonna go now?
Start to think you’d be better off –

So many lives, layin’ at your hand,
Left a path of mayhem and slaughter,
Start to think you’ll take your final breath,
‘Cause you can’t run from the hangman,
The hangman’s daughter,
The hangman’s daughter

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Friendly Fire (Bastard Legion Book 2) Audiobook Sample

Friendly Fire (Bastard Legion Book 2) is out in audiobook from Audible.  Narrated by the amazing Amy Finegan Miska’s band of Bastards find themselves on a crime-ridden colony world where the lines between black ops and violent heists blur…

Want to try before you buy? Check out the sample below.

You can find it in the UK here and in the US here.

Bastard Legion – Reviews Roundup


Award winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky had this to say over on Shadows of the Apt:  “The characters are well drawn, the action fluid, fast, and excellently written.”

Michael Dodd over at the British Fantasy Society (no less) had this to say: “If you like your science fiction fast-paced and explosive but also smart, sharp and witty, this is the sort of book you’ll love.” You can see the full review here.

And from Karen Fishwick at the wonderful SF Book Reviews: “This is a fast paced, action packed novel with an intriguing, flawed, but human protagonist that makes for great reading.” Full review here.

Bastard Legion made Walker of Worlds Top 10 for 2017!

Brian Clegg gave Bastard Legion five stars on the Popular Science Blogspot! (and compares BL to Buffy, thus making a friend for life): “… the good news is that, just as Buffy the Vampire Slayer subverted the vampire genre, The Bastard Legion has so many twists on a straightforward ‘marines in space’ title that it does a brilliant job of subversion too.” Full review is here.

And finally Runalong Womble at Runalong the Shelves: “A major plus is the character of Miska. Short and prone to demonstrating her temper towards her team explosively she is a fascinating lead character. Neither you as the reader nor even herself seems to know what she should be doing next. With her nose ring and dream of dyeing her hair purple she could have been just a standard SF female fighter but there is more complexity to her which you don’t always see in similar action stories.” Full review is here.

US & Canadian Release for Bastard Legion!


Bastard Legion 1 has well and truly been released in the US in paperback!

This is what the Publishers Weekly had to say on Bastard Legion: “The complex plot twists and double-crosses are as exciting as the detailed descriptions of violent combat. Layers of complex tensions and loyalties all interact in intriguing ways. This series launch will keep readers turning pages, eager to see what bloody adventure awaits and how the legion develops into a force to be reckoned with.”

Bastard Legion can be found/ordered from your nearest independent bookshop or:


Barnes & Noble







The Veteran Omnibus is Out!


The Veteran Omnibus, containing the two Jakob Douglas novels: Veteran and War in Heaven, as well as four collected short stories and one A (K)Night in Hell, brand new story exclusive to the collection, is out now in Ebook!

You can find it here in the UK and here in the US.

So if you want to read about the events that shaped the universe of the Bastard Legion, give it a go!


My name is Jakob Douglas, ex-special forces. I fought Them. Just like we’ve all been doing for 60 bloody years. But I thought my part in that was done with.

Three hundred years in our future, in a world of alien infiltrators, religious hackers, a vast convoying nation of Nomads, city sized orbital elevators, and a cyborg pirate king who believes himself to be a mythological demon Jakob is having a bad day. VETERAN is a fast paced, intricately plotted violent SF Thriller set in a dark future against the backdrop of a seemingly never ending war against an unknowable and implacable alien enemy.

War in Heaven:

In WAR IN HEAVEN, the high-powered sequel to VETERAN, an unlikely hero makes an even more unlikely return to take the reader back into a vividly rendered bleak future. But a bleak future where there are still wonders: man travelling out into the universe, Bladerunner-esque cities hanging from the ceilings of vast caverns, aliens that we can barely comprehend.

Gavin Smith writes fast-moving, incredibly violent SF thrillers but behind the violence and the thrills lies a carefully thought out story and characters who have far more to them than first meets the eye.

Never one to avoid controversy Gavin Smith nevertheless invites you to think beyond the initial shock of what you have just read. But in the meantime? Another fire-fight, another chase another flight of imagination.

Bastard Legion Book 1 out in paperback.


The Bastard Legion (previously the Hangman’s Daughter) is now out in paperback! You can find it on Amazon here and in the US here, you can also get it from Waterstones, Blackwells, Foyles Forbidden Planet and the Book Depository.

“Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?”

Jamie Sawyer, the author of the incredible Lazarus War and Eternity War series has reviewed it here.

The inestimable Mark Chitty reviewed Bastard Legion on SFF World: “Some great worldbuilding, a varied cast of characters, and a take-no-nonsense anti-heroine make this a novel that is well worth checking out. Recommended.”

The brilliant I Should Read That also seemed to like Bastard Legion. Their review is here: “If you’re looking for an action-packed thrill ride that will sweep you far away from the ordinary, The Bastard Legion is the book for you.  It’s easily one of the best sci-fi books I’ve picked up this year.”

And finally the superb Peter Mclean author of the Burned Man series had this to say on Goodreads: “…this is a belter of a story and I’m looking forward to the next one.”



My Shameful Fictional History

Well now, this is going to be tricky. Special Purposes: First Strike Weapon is a shameless tribute to all the cold war paranoia, post-apocalyptic fiction of my youth. Over on the Rebellion blog I recently wrote about the music of the era and how fears of a Third World War permeated even the poppiest of pop songs. (Nuclear war flavoured music wasn’t just for the angst ridden goth or metalhead). So what’s so shameful about the fiction of the era? Well let’s just say some of it was a bit… dodgy and you can make up your own mind as to why.

So first up:


The Survivalist, by Jerry Ahern, tells the story of CIA weapons expert and I-told-you-so-survivalist John Rourke. Rourke is a man who still finds himself searching post apocalyptic America for his wife and kids despite having made painstaking preparations for the inevitable nuclear war. (Which is just poor planning if you ask me: “Honey, if WW3 breaks out can you and the kids meet me at the survival retreat?” Job done.) During his quest for his family he befriends mild-mannered, everyman Paul Rubinstein (and teaches him to become a prolific killer), there are romantic complications with the deadly KGB major, Natalie Tiemerovna, and he finds himself battling bikers, mutants, cannibals, and of course the invading Russian army. (Why the Russian army would want a radiation scarred wasteland of bikers, mutants, cannibals and well armed recalcitrant survivalists, however, is beyond me.)

Now I loved these books as a kid, thankfully I grew out of them pretty quickly. I suspect one of the reasons I liked them was that, despite their pulpiness, the characters weren’t nearly as cardboard as they could have been. There were strong female characters, particularly John’s wife, Sarah, and later his daughter Annie. There were also positive Jewish and African-American supporting characters. The Russian/Soviet characters could very easily have descended into grotesque caricatures, and the villain of the piece, Vladimir Karamatsov, is evil with a capital E. There were, however, sympathetic Russian characters like the aforementioned Natalia, and her uncle, General Ishmael Varakov. There was an understanding that the Russians/Soviets were people, rather than the objectified subhuman monsters they are depicted as being in a lot of other books in the Survivalist Fiction sub-sub-genre. (And if you want to see an example of this, then the Doomsday Warrior is breath-taking in its racism)

So where do we go next? Well how about a film were the stars of the burgeoning Brat Pack meet libertarian politics, a film that, upon it’s release, was considered the most violent film ever by the Guinness Book of Records, a film so notorious that the USSR actually complained about it. I am of course talking about:



I love John Milius, there I’ve said it. I couldn’t care less about his politics. He’s responsible for the TV series Rome, he wrote Apocalypse Now, he directed the surf film Big Wednesday, and he gave a certain Austrian muscle man his first big screen break in Conan the Barbarian. (Ever wonder why people my age like Conan? It’s because we didn’t grow up with the likes of LOTR. Conan was the only good fantasy film around.) Red Dawn is the story of a group of plucky American teens, members of the Wolverines high school football team. They form a resistance unit when their small Colorado town is, somewhat inexplicably, invaded by the Russians, and their Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. As you can imagine all sorts of heroic hijinks ensue, but despite the jingoism (even Milius felt it was too jingoist) it has something of a zero-sum-game ending. To my mind Red Dawn is one of most iconic of eighties movies. It perfectly sums up the ridiculousness of the propaganda of that particular era of the Cold War, the Reagan years. Ironically Milius has since stated that the Communists in the film are actually supposed to represent centralised government.

Gun nut, surfer, libertarian, maverick film maker, John Milius is a fascinating character. I would very much recommend the documentary Milius directed by the same Zak Knutson who gave a donkey a blowjob in Clerks II.

It should go without say that you should ignore the remake (the film that I suspect Chris Hemsworth wishes didn’t exist). It’s difficult to imagine anything dumber than North Korea invading America.

And on to tabletop roleplaying games… Games Designer’s Workshop was a war and role-playing game company started in 1973. GDW published simulationist-style games, the most famous being Traveller, which, if it wasn’t the first science fiction RPG, then it was certainly the most influential. Their naval warfare miniatures game, Harpoon, was influential in the writing of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. GDW released Twilight 2000 in 1984. The players were members of various military units who had banded together to survive and return home in the aftermath of a ‘limited’ nuclear war, which had resulted the break down of society. Depicting a Broken-Backed War (as does Special Purposes), Twilight 2000 had ‘realistic’ rules for everything from PTSD to dysentery, bubonic plague to radiation poisoning. (Fun huh!?) Upon its release, however, it was subject to criticism for it’s perceived flag waving, pro-West/anti-Russian stance. Now I’m actually going to defend Twilight 2000 here. It is my honest belief that the point of the game was an accurate (if playable) depiction of a possible WW3 scenario. I never really picked up on the politics. It had much more in common with the likes of Band of Brothers, Platoon, Saving of Private Ryan etc., than Rambo, Commando or even Red Dawn. The drama came down to playing characters in a very difficult situation trying to survive, rather than ideological battles. (Though for an example of a much more jingoistic role-playing game see The Price of Freedom, which I never played.)

Moving away from the troubling nature of 80’s pulp fiction and into the much more ideologically sound world of the flesh eating undead, I give you my favourite zombie film George A. Romero’s follow up to Night of the Living Dead: 1978’s Dawn of the Dead:

A number of the reviews of Special Purposes have pointed out how tired the zombie sub-genre has become (whilst going on to make it clear that First Strike Weapon rises above the ennui currently associated with the walking corpse oeuvre). I wonder if this has to do with fear. Zombies used to scare the living shit out of me (children and mirrors still do). Now, however, zombies are so commonplace in pop-culture that they’ve become familiar. It’s what I call the plushCthulhu effect. Actual contemplation of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, it’s alien terrors and the vast horror of the cold, unfeeling cosmos itself, is actually pretty grim. If, however, we condense that all down to a small cuddly toy, then we no-longer have to contemplate the meaninglessness of our existence in the face of a hostile and uncaring universe. With all the parodies and zombie rom-coms we’ve done the same thing with undead hordes. (This is why we must burn plush Cenobites on sight.)

Mini-C says: “FEAR ME!”

Dawn of the Dead tells the story of a group of disparate survivors of the IZA[1] who take refuge in a shopping mall. Despite special effects that might not stand up to today’s exacting standards, despite it’s dated look and arguably hokey acting, Dawn of the Dead comes from a time when zombies were still frightening. This was all the more so because they held a mirror up to our consumer society. They frightened us because they were the mob that, through our fantasies of social alienation, we suspect will eventually turn on us, and that’s good horror.

28 Days Later isn’t my favourite horror film (that’s The Thing if you’re interested) but for my money it is the most effective. It has just the right mix of visceral unpleasantness, jump scares, and most important of all: tension. During the early scenes of Cillian Murphy wandering around a deserted London (to the discordant sound of East Hastings by the superb Godspeed You! Black Emperor) I found myself praying for something horrible to happen, just to break said tension. To my mind 28 Days Later is an extension of the works of the Splatterpunks of the 80s and 90s, in the truest sense of the movement: that of unflinching horror that reflected “the moral chaos of our times”[2] rather than how it was depicted by its detractors, as gore for the sake of gore. (Zombies are inexorably tied to the Splatterpunk sub-genre.)

If nothing else then Special Purposes: First Strike Weapon has this in common with Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later and all good zombie stories. The zombies aren’t the enemy. The zombies are more like a destructive force of nature, something to be endured, survived. The real malign intent, the real evil in these stories comes from us, humans. Perhaps that’s the irony of the pulp survivalist fiction of the eighties, most of which involved heroic gun-toting, white guys fighting the cruel oppression of the communists in the radioactive ruins: once the word is a destroyed, smoking mess wouldn’t that be the moment to reflect that perhaps conflict has already gone too far?

Author’s own (somewhat dusty) shoebox of post apocalyptic pulp fictional shame.

Special Purposes: First Strike Weapon can be found on Amazon UK in paperback and Ebook, Amazon US in paperback and Ebook, Barnes & Noble, Google, iBooks, Kobo and the Rebellion Store.

[1] Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

[2] Rob Latham, “The Urban Horror”, in S. T. Joshi, ed., Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: an Encyclopedia of our Worst Nightmares (Greenwood, 2007), (p. 591-618)

The C Word

No not that C-Word, you made it dirty in your own head. I’m talking about the most denigrated of sub-genres. That 80’s flash in the pan. That triumph of style over substance. That word you must never use when trying to sell your shiny new SF novel. That genre movement that was over before it started. That backlash conducted with more ruthless efficiency than the British music press savaging the last big Indie band. I am, of course, talking about (cue sinister electronic music): Cyberpunk. 

Influenced by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Alfred Bester, JG Ballard and Harlan Ellison (if you haven’t already, then go and read Deathbird Stories, now!) Cyberpunk burst out of the shattered rib cage of new-age SF like an angry infant alien… Okay it didn’t happen quite that way: some people wrote some stories, Bruce Bethke coined the phrase, which Gardner Dozois popularised. Then Blade Runner was released. Then William Gibson wrote Neuromancer. Then marketing people cottoned onto to it, and then an arguably disparate group of writers got lumped together. Then the imitators started. Then the old guard became frightened. Then the backlash kicked in, and Cyberpunk became a dirty word.

But between birth and so-called death, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Walter Jon Williams, Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan and friends took us to dark near futures of virtual reality Robin Hoods, fighting monolithic corporations in a pseudo-free market feudalism. They walked us across bleak urban landscapes that were looked down on from orbit by humanity’s elite.   The new life forms weren’t aliens. They were Artificial Intelligences born in digital wombs. The heroes were criminals who did a lot of drugs and the villains all had good jobs. They fused flesh with metal and plastic, and dragged Post and Transhumanism down into the muck with the rest of us. They may not have destroyed the Utopian ideals of 1950’s SF but they certainly suggested that it needed a bit of a rethink. They even, briefly, reclaimed the ninja from hokey nonsense.



Whilst the critics where screaming Cyberpunk is dead, the sub-genre was influencing style, design, art, advertising, technology, film, television, music, comics, gaming, even lifestyle and arguably criminality. Not to mention many other writers who daren’t mention the C-word.

Blade Runner’s a bit of a chicken and egg story with Cyberpunk but the influences of the sub-genre can be seen with films like Aliens, both Tron films, the Matrix trilogy, the first two Terminator films, Hardware and more recently Elysium. It can be seen in Anime like Akira, and the haunting Ghost in the Shell, and in other animation like the excellent, if painful to watch, Renaissance. Personally I think its influence can also be seen in non-genre films like Michael Mann’s Blackhat.

Wild Palms, Dark Angel and Dollhouse are the most blatantly Cyberpunk television series but its influences can be felt in the X-Files (William Gibson co-wrote two episodes of the show, Kill Switch and First Person Shooter), Fringe (because if it’s good enough for the X-Files…) and numerous other genre and non-genre shows. More recently Cyberpunks’s presence has been felt in the excellent Expanse TV series, adapted from the books of the same name, and of course Mr Robot.


Cyberpunk without the SF?

The sub genre has inspired numerous role-playing games, including of course R.Talsorian’s Cyberpunk 2020, which dominated role-playing in the late 80’s, and FASA’s Shadowrun.  The latter successfully mixing elements of high fantasy with the sub genre. It also influenced White Wolf’s World of Darkness games, particularly their Mage line.

It’s not as silly as it sounds! Well okay it is, but it’s still awesome.

The Industrial and Techno music of the 80’s and 90’s provided the soundtrack for Cyberpunk, particularly bands like the Ministry (anything up to and including the Psalm 69 album) and their spin off band the Revolting Cocks, Front 242, Front Line Assembly (and other bands with Front in their name?), the Future Sound of London (particularly the album Dead Cities), Nine Inch Nails (anything before the Fragile album).

(I should point out that the above is far from an exhaustive list, I didn’t even mention computer games, but that ‘s what Wikipedia’s for.)

Cyberpunk also influenced other subgenres:

Steampunk is Cyberpunk’s less challenging, homely, buck-toothed, red-haired, country cousin who whispers comfort lies about Empire whilst charging into battle screaming: “Jolly Hockey Sticks!” (This description will probably be responsible for me being chased down the cobbled streets of our nation’s capital and given a thorough kicking by Dickensian hoodlums wearing brass goggle and steam powered top hats.)

Splatterpunk is a more worrying and less comforting, red painted, relation. The sort of relative that we never talk about, lock in the basement and beat with staves so they’ll keep quiet when we have guests over. (Incidentally I’ve heard tell but never managed to track down literary Cowpunk, if anyone can suggest titles/writers worth reading in this western subgenre I’d greatly appreciate it.) Of course there is an argument sometimes people just put the word punk on the end of something to make it sound cooler. Erotic Gingerpunk for Rupert Grint fan fiction for example.

In fact I struggle to think of another movement in genre fiction that has had such a strong influence on culture. Space Opera and High Fantasy may be given a lot of lip service in terms of pop cultural references thanks to Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter but their effects on style, design, clothing, lifestyle and music are at best jokey, and at worst a little worrying. (Cybergoths look cooler than cosplaying Klingons, Storm Troopers, and Daleks, I’m sorry but they just do.)

And what of the imitators? Well like all cheap carbon copies nobody ever heard of them again. After all do you know who Neal Stephenson, Richard Morgan or Lauren Beukes are? (I should point out that calling the above three authors cheap carbon copies, or indeed imitators, is meant ironically to prove the influence of Cyberpunk, not to denigrate their excellent work, I’m a fan of all three.) But Stephenson, Morgan and Beukes are post-cyberpunk! I hear you cry. Sure, I mean there’s little discernable difference between what they’re doing and what the originators of the Cyberpunk sub-genre were doing, but the narrative is that cyberpunk is dead, so hey-ho.


Okay, even in the eighties I had my doubts about this cover.

I got to Cyberpunk a little late, round about the time William Gibson’s third novel in the Sprawl Trilogy, Mona Lisa Overdrive, was released. It’s not my fault I was only 11 when Neuromancer came out and my SF at that age tended to be more Keill Randor: Young Legionary flavoured. By the time I got to Cyberpunk it was all over bar the shouting. I was left to play with the sub-genre’s still warm corpse, but what a corpse! (This paragraph’s gone somewhere I didn’t quite expect. I don’t want people thinking that I’m a literary necrophiliac, or indeed any kind of necrophiliac.)

To me this was SF that was grounded, gritty, had the feeling of realism that was more in line with what I’d been reading in 2000AD, and less to do with the fluffiness of Star Wars, or the shininess of Star Trek. It made sense in terms of what was going on around me in 80’s Britain. These stories weren’t comfortable. They were often critical of various aspects of both society and the SF genre, and they frequently had a nasty edge to them.

Other sub-genres that kicked off at roughly the same time, such as the New Space Opera and Steampunk, have weathered better. I wonder if this is because they are less challenging, more comfortable, and more escapist. After all I would rather live in Iain Banks’ Culture than in one of William Gibson’s Sprawls. On the other hand perhaps Cyberpunk was just too cool for school. I wonder if, as genre fans, we’re just too comfortable in our anoraks, with our flights of fancy. Maybe Cyberpunk went too mainstream, too quickly, and we preferred to live in our genre ghetto, enjoying obscure underground SF like Star Wars.

So I have heard it said that SF is dead, and as I sit next to an alien, travelling on an in-system cutter to the wormhole gate orbiting Ganymede, for my holiday to the icy wastes of Proxima IV I am forced to admit these people are right. There are no more SF stories to tell…oh no wait a minute. If we were living in a Type 4 Kardashev society, maybe there would be no more SF stories to sell, maybe. Claiming SF is dead is a little like suggesting that the US patents office should b eclosed because everything has been invented (like Charles Holland Duell didn’t). One of the reasons that people have suggested that SF is dead, however, is due to the geometric rate that technology is advancing. Now as an SF writer it can be difficult to keep up with the rampaging advance of science and technology but the idea that SF is dead is of course patent nonsense. If we were living in an interstellar society then some aspects of SF might lose a degree of relevance. This criticism does, however, hold up a little better for Cyberpunk. No I’m not plugging my computer into a jack at the back of my neck but my phone can do all sorts of wondrous and mostly baffling things. (I suspect it’s sentient and plotting against me!) We are connected to a global communications network (at least the small percentage of us in the world that have regular computer access are). Virtual Reality seems to be on the cusp of coming into its own. Big business does make far too many decisions for us. Robots are starting to fight wars and whilst society is pretty far from collapse, it is being given a thorough kicking at the moment (and Putin seems determined to turn Eastern Europe into a Jack Womack novel.)

So maybe Cyberpunk ‘died’ because history caught up. Except I still see it flourishing. I see it in the works of writers like Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynold’s and in Hannu Rajaniemi’s amazing Jean de Flambeur sequence.   They are not Cyberpunk stories in themselves, but the influence is two-fold. Firstly it seems difficult to get away from Cyberpunk when dealing with any street level SF culture. Secondly much modern futuristic SF seems to point to a Cyberpunk-style era in the setting’s its fictional history, and perhaps that’s the era we’re living in now.

The observation that Cyberpunk is a self-fulfilling prophecy is of course neither a new or original idea. But of course Cyberpunk is dead. This would explain why this year we’ll see Blade Runner 2 (never have I more nervously anticipated a film), the live action adaption of Ghost in the Shell and the TV serialisation of Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon.

Cyberpunk looks pretty good despite it’s apparent death.

All I’m trying to say is go easy on the C-word. It’s still okay to write Cyberpunk fiction. Cyberpunk’s still with us, it didn’t die it got sneaky, it subverts from within. It’s worm malware on the genre, but in a good way. So put on the mirror shades, play Front Line Assembly’s Tactical Neural Implant album (I find it slightly ironic that I have it on vinyl), try and forget about Keanu Reeves as you re-read Johnny Mnemonic, and perhaps have a little bit of a re-evaluation of this cruelly maligned sub-genre.

So Bastard Legion Book 1: The Hangman’s Daughter is out on Ebook now and I’m happy to report it has been heavily influenced by cyberpunks, young and old!

Audiobook Sample on SoundCloud for the Hangman’s Daughter (Bastard Legion Book 1)


“Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?”

Tomorrow the first book in the brand new Bastard Legion series: the Hangman’s Daughter, is out on Kindle (the hardcopy will be coming in October) in the UK here and in the US here from Gollancz.

The Audiobook is also available from Amazon and .com.  You can hear a sample from the Audiobook below.

The Hangman’s Daughter: Book 1 of the Bastard Legion series released on Ebook on the 26th of January



The Hangman’s Daughter, Book One in the all new Bastard Legion series is out on Ebook on January the 26th (paperback to follow later in the year) and it is also available as an audiobook (!) from here.

Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?

Suicide Squad/the Dirty Dozen for lovers of Aliens, a thrilling new down-and-dirty military SF series set in a world of mercenary actions and covert operations.