Tom's latest novel, the weird science fiction adventure The Translation of Bastian Test, is available now from fantasy author Storm Constantine's exciting new publishing house, Immanion Press.
Tom has worked on The Translation of Bastian Test for twelve years. "I put it aside many times to write other things, but the characters kept drawing me back. I loved the mystery and the weird comedy, and I had to discover how it would end. It was a book that seemed to be written already, waiting for me to uncover it. I had to be patient, but I think it's been worth it. I think it's one of my best books."
Tom adds: "Mind you, I've had a hell of a time getting this book out. Publisher after publisher turned it down, saying it was 'just too weird' or 'too difficult to categorise'. So far as I'm concerned, both those comments are high praise. I'm thrilled that the book is finally appearing from Immanion Press."
So what is the book about? Here's what is says on the cover:
"On a rocky Scottish coast lies Castle Drumhallurick, ruinous home of a long-lost laird. But who is the reclusive millionaire who has taken over the castle? And what is it that links him to a fantastical alien world, circling the faraway star system of Antares?
"It is 1926, and a horrifying scientific experiment is about to unfold, altering forever the life of a boy called Bastian Test.
"For all his life, Bastian has been kept in seclusion, shut away from the world by his eccentric artist mother. Now, after her sudden death, Bastian learns that he has a guardian he has never heard of before, and a mysterious destiny that lies in wait for him on the rocky shores of Drumhallurick.
"Cast into the world, Bastian meets one peculiar character after another: cocktail-swilling flapper-girl, Magnolia Touch; pin-striped lawyer Mr Quench, who dresses after hours in the strangest of ways; Sir Farley Elphinstone, florid Shakespearean actor-manager, with his unnervingly odd twin son and daughter. There is stuttering bird-watcher Mr Bridie, and Jolly, the former cannibal from the heart of Africa. There is a woman who stares from a window with a mask-like face. There is the crazed sadistic scientist, Dr Feuer. But who is really good and who is evil? And will Bastian find out, before it is too late?
"From the author of offbeat fantasy epic The Orokon comes a bizarre science fiction adventure, rich in mystery, malevolence and something close to magic. Erotic, moving, hilarious and disturbing, at once coming of age story, gothic mystery and macabre phantasmagoria, The Translation of Bastian Test is a haunting, atmospheric work of visionary imagination that will haunt the mind forever."
Tom adds: "Well, it's certainly haunted my mind for long enough! If you like my previous work, I think you'll like this. If you like science fiction with a gothic twist, I think you'll like this. This is the weirdest thing I've ever done. It actually disturbs me."
Read the first chapter online, and order now from Immanion Press
The entire OROKON series is now available in paperback
with the publication this month of EMPRESS OF THE
ENDLESS DREAM, the final OROKON book, in Gollancz
paperback at £6.99.
Meanwhile the first volume, THE HARLEQUIN'S DANCE,
is now available in large-format Gollancz paperback
in the US (a special US trade paperback edition),
priced at $14.95, and Canada, priced at $22.95.
OROKON translations are so far available in German,
Russian and Czech.
Tom's novel SHADOW BLACK, a bizarre gothic comedy-drama
about a famous ex-movie star and the crippled media
baron who holds her prisoner in his remote mansion,
is now available for £8.99+p&p; from independent publisher
Tom says: "SHADOW BLACK isn't really a new novel.
It was my first-completed novel, written in 1992,
but I was never able to publish it at the time. Publisher
after publisher said the same thing -- it was good,
but 'too difficult to categorise'. Well, perhaps --
but I thought that was a good thing. I think it's
one of the best things I've ever written and I'm really
glad that it's finally available."
Is it SF? Fantasy? Horror? "Yes, yes, and yes. And
no, no and no. Ultimately, I suppose, it's a satire,
filled with grotesque characters and weird situations.
I often get people telling me that the wicked Aunt
Umbecca, from the OROKON books, is their favourite
of my characters. In that case, I think they should
read SHADOW BLACK, because I'm pretty sure they'll
love the double act of Sunset Boulevard-style Hollywood
goddess Yardley Urban and her outrageous pantomime-dame
of a best friend, Mrs Van Voyd ..."
Tom's next project has recently been announced. Here's
the press release
from Telos Publishing:
DOCTOR WHO: NIGHTDREAMERS
By Tom Arden
Introduction by Katy Manning; Deluxe Edition Frontispiece
by Martin McKenna
Perihelion Night on the wooded moon Verd. A time
of strange sightings, ghosts, and celebration before
the morn, when Lord Esnic marries the beautiful Lady
Ria. However Ria has other ideas, and flees through
the gravity wells which dot the moon to meet with
her true love Tonio. When the Doctor and Jo arrive
on Verd, drawn down by the fluctuating gravity, they
find themselves involved in the unpredictable events
of Perihelion. But what of the mysterious and terrifying
Nightdreamers? And of the Nightdreamer King?
Nightdreamers is an impressive fantasy/science fiction
tale from Australian author Tom Arden. 'I've always
loved Doctor Who,' said Tom, 'and it was one of the
influences on The Orokon, my five-volume fantasy series.
To have the opportunity to take the third Doctor and
Jo off on an adventure of my own creation was a wonderful
Nightdreamers will be available in two editions:
a standard hardback with cloth-effect cover and foil-stamped
logo and title; and a signed and numbered limited
edition deluxe hardback. The deluxe edition features
a full colour frontispiece by acclaimed fantasy and
horror artist Martin McKenna. Both editions feature
a foreword by Katy Manning, the actress who played
the Doctor's companion Jo Grant in the television
Nightdreamers is published in May 2002 and is available
for ordering either worldwide by credit card through
the publishers' website at www.telos.co.uk,
or, for the UK only, by mail order by sending a cheque
or postal order for £10 (for the standard edition)
or £25 (for the deluxe edition) plus £1.50
postage and packing to Telos Orders, c/o 5a Church
Road, Shortlands, Bromley, Kent BR2 0HP. Overseas
orders please send two International Reply Coupons,
email [email protected] or check the website for
postage rate information for mail order. Details of
special subscription deals are also available on the
website and on request from the above address.
Empress of the Endless Dream is available
now in hardcover, so the Orokon series is finally
complete. Tom promises the ending is both apocalyptic
and unexpected. He also declares that this is definitely
the last Orokon book.
Meanwhile, Sisterhood of the Blue Storm, the
previous volume, is out in paperback.
In other news, Tom has just written an sf tie-in
book, based on a famous TV series (but can't give
details until early next year), and he's just started
work on a new project which, typically, he refuses
to describe, but says will take him in a whole new
Watch this space.