Reactions to 'News from' books 1 & 2.

There is always a slightly tense period of calm after you release a book into the wild. I'm just coming out of one as I start to meet people or hear their reaction to the book. I've spoken with many people now at readings and bookshop events, sci-fi conventions and once just walking along the street. So far it's been wonderful, people seem to really like the ideas behind the strory as well as the books themselves.

Instead of the relentless dirge of dystopian horror, News from Gardenia and News from the Squares attempt to predict a future world we might actually look forward to.

So, to share the joy I am currenty experiencing here's a small selection of tweets I've received recently.





Adam Johnson ‪@thisadamjohnson

@bobbyllew damn you Llewelyn just finished News from the Squares your gonna leave me hanging another 2 years #greatread

melancholyscientist @melancholysci

I must admit though @bobbyllew News From The Squares was shorter than I imagined or perhaps I just couldn't put the bloody thing down?

Nick McGill @nickmcgill 

@bobbyllew just finished #NewsfromtheSquares. Brilliant. V thought provoking, touches of Orwell. I wonder how women will view it.

Mark Cockshoot @mcockshoot

Just finished reading "News from the Squares" by @bobbyllew - even better than "News from Gardenia". Roll on book 3!

Mark Cockshoot @mcockshoot

@bobbyllew I loved the fact that you created a sense of tension but didn't resort to "blowing stuff up". A right riveting read.

loving it has a kind of Inquisitor from feel to it when Gavin is justifying man. Great work!

Simon Garland @chefchezsimon

@bobbyllew #NewsFromTheSquares is out of stock on @amazon means I'm going to have to let my missus use my kindle now! Great read. 

Hilary Gallo ‪@hilarygallo

@bobbyllew Finished #NewsfromtheSquares last night - loved it -  a real timely thought provoker - missed party though!

Darren Ashby @DASHBY1979

Just finished reading News from the squares by @bobbyllew Awsome book can’t wait for the next in the trilog.

Paul Golder ‪@eddiecurry

Enjoyed News From The Squares, another winner from @bobbyllew

Karen H ‪@GeekyK

Just finished #NewsFromTheSquares by @bobbyllew. Great story, brilliant concept and very thought provoking. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

David Wright ‪@wright_de

@bobbyllew reading News from the Squares. V. Good. Style is somehow reminiscent of Jules Verne, a wonder for the technology.

Matt White @mattwhite

Just finished @bobbyllew 's News from Gardenia, quick read, nice to read some non-apocalyptic SciFi for a change.

Sal Page @SalnPage

Enjoying News from the Squares by @bobbyllew Love 'Utterly to live for' for something baked. Let's all start using it NOW!

Neill Harper
@bobbyllew just finished #NewsfromtheSquares. Brilliant. My only criticism is you can’t write books as fast as I can read them. #3ql

Dolly Maude @dolbird

@bobbyllew thanks to Gavin Meckler and by default YOU, I never seem to sleep at the moment! #newsfromthesquares #cantputitdown

tony ‪@xobman

@bobbyllew Just finished NFTS. Loved it, really felt inside Gavin's head and a gripping ending to boot. Cheers, I eagerly await part 3!


David Bradley ‪@sciencebase

@bobbyllew Really enjoyed "Squares", my review is cued up and ready to go on Can't wait for part 3 ;-)


Adrian Stewart ‪@AdrianCStewart

@bobbyllew Just finished 'News from the Squares'.  Really enjoyable & very thought provoking. When can I sign up for book 3?


Paul Davison ‪@paulydee2103

@bobbyllew just finished Squares, fabulous read! Such a clever plot, sounds mad at first, but the more you think about it... Thanks Robert!


Graeme Fullerton ‪@abz_gwf

@bobbyllew Robert - Just finished "News from the Squares" great story, thought provoking. Found my name at the back as well which was nice!


Jenny Dee ‪@JennyDee_57

Finished #NewsFromtheSquares @bobbyllew Some disturbing undertones re: privacy. I felt as uncomfortable as Gavin while reading. Excellent!


Jonathan Davison ‪@jacker1976

@bobbyllew really enjoyed 'squares' - more disturbing than 'gardenia' but very thought provoking. Any idea when the audiobook is coming out


Owen ‪@emelano

Just finished #NewsFromtheSquares by @bobbyllew. THX1138 meets Logan's Run + The Prisoner + Johnny Ive. Not sure how else to describe it J


Owen ‪@emelano

@bobbyllew Didn't have enough words in my last tweet to say thank you for #NewsFromtheSquares! Can't wait for book 3. #GavinMecklerFan.


teve T ‪@Glory_Hornet

@bobbyllew News from the squares has really altered my view of life.  Loved their views on Religion, that's how I've always seen it.


Hugh Scantlebury ‪@HDPMS

@bobbyllew BTW whilst looking forward to #3, I am very much enjoying News From The Squares. Great writing and thought provoking concepts.

Zoe Laughlin @zoelaughlin

@bobbyllew just finished News From The Squares. Most enjoyable & great future material references. Looking forward to The Clouds.


Gareth Lean @gareth_lean

@bobbyllew just finished News From The Squares, a cracking follow up to Gardenia, thoroughly enjoyable. Many thanks #acrackinggoodread


Jimmy Johnson @JimmySid6H

Just had a lie in with "News from Gardenia" by @bobbyllew . Utopian futures are a refreshing change!



To support News from the Clouds check out the Unbound pitch page.




Words coming out of my eyes!

I have spent the past few days recording the audiobook version ofNews from the Squares
I think it's fair to say this process is one of two things.
An act of desperate insanity
A labour of love.
So far I have recorded 6 hours and 3 minutes and I'm on Chapter 22. There are 37 chapters.
Obviously the chapters are not of uniform length, some are fairly short, some very long.
Also, this isn't the first audiobook I've recorded.
I've done two on my own before, The Man in the Rubber Mask and News from Gardenia
I used to record audiobooks for the BBC, I've done probably 20 over the last ten years. Young adult fiction, they never let me do grown up books.
However when I record them on my own, I also edit the sound file.
I use GarageBand, it's a bit of a faff but I'm used to it and I already had it, knew how to use it and it's fine...
I know I'm going to get suggestions for better audio recording software, oh well.
Anyway, I'm experiencing two conflicting emotions as I read through the book.

The first is definitely excitement as I'm generally really pleased with how the book is shaping up, how the central character of both News from Gardenia and News from the Squares, Gavin Meckler  is developing as a character, how his observations of the worlds he visits are revealing of our own times as well as the future.
However to balance this there are sentences and notions that I read through, slump in my chair and think...'damn, I could have expressed that more clearly, I could have made that point come across more dramatically, I could have written it more better.
That was a joke by the way.
So, the paper book, the e-book, Kindle, and audiobook come out in late September, I'm doing some book tour type things, not much, popping up here and there but I'm very anxious/excited to hear what people make of this work of non dystopian science fiction.


News from Gardenia paperback.

A lovely box of books just arrived from Unbound. The paperback version of News from Gardenia

I really love the cover design, the sequel to Gardenia, News from the Squares, which also comes out in September, has a similar feel, I posted the rough versions earlier on Google +.

Anyway, it made me happy.


The BBC rehearsal Rooms, Acton

There was some tweeting taking place today about Tony Robinson, (now Sir Tony) and the fact that we used to occasional have lunch with him during the recording of Red Dwarf series III.

Now long gone, when I started working on Red Dwarf in 1989, there was a 7 storey building in Acton, West London run by the BBC.

It was here that all the entertainment shows and sit-coms rehearsed. Each floor contained 3 large rehearsal rooms and on the top floor was a lovely canteen where everyone had lunch.

On the 5th floor, Red Dwarf was in one room, Blackadder was in the other. We didn't have much to do with each other but occasionally Tony would appear and join our bedraggled table.

I have just dug this section out of The Man in the Rubber Mask where I mention this experience, but, sadly now I realise I never mention Tony. This was written about 5 years after the event which for my memory is a long time so I'm not that surprised.

     Danny, Hattie and I spent quite a lot of time in the BBC canteen as Chris and Craig learned reams of lines. The BBC canteen is on the top floor of the building, and on any given day in here, you can see the stars. Ahem. You can see a few actors who are in a few BBC sit coms. The actors from 'You Rang M'Lord' are all dressed as if they are about to go and play golf, which is no doubt what they do. The people from Blackadder all look professionally depressed, which is probably how we all looked too, that being the trendy look for our generation.

     During lunch break Craig and Chris would join us and we devised this thing called a luvvie-ometer' which would sound when we spotted a major league 'love' entering the room.

     Luvviedom is a very specific complaint that it is horrifyingly easy to catch, which is why the Blackadder and Red Dwarf actors appear so morose. A miserable countenance seems to be the best way to counteract luvvieness.

     A luvvie is always pleased to see everybody, always 'up' always 'exhausted (i.e. working a lot) and always has a string of anecdotes a mile long. . . . .which have . . . . beautifully timed pauses . . . and exquisitely timed delivery. They also never have a point or a punch line at the end of their stories. Merely a raised eyebrow and a knowing expression. The end of a long and dull anecdote is when most actors realise they need writers.

     I know of very few performers who have not been struck down with luvviedom at some time, I know I've had it, try as I might to avoid it.

     "Hello there Robert, how are you." says a very nice floor manager I worked with a year before.

     "Oh God." I say looking to the heavens, "Utterly exhausted," head shake, "really it's because I'm crap," stare at person and nod vigorously, "I'm a crap actor, I shouldn't be allowed in here."

     The nice floor manager knows the score and responds thusly. "You're a very funny actor, I saw your show in Edinburgh, it was excellent."

     "Oh, that's very kind, that is so, so kind, you saw it. Oh thank you, that is so, so kind. But anyway, no, I'm shagged. Utterly drained, but it's really nice to see you, how are you . . oh, there's Ben (Elton) I'd better say hi." Walk walk walk . . ."Hi Ben."

"Do I know you?" says Ben Elton. "Guards, take this man away!"

     No, that's not true, I don't know many famous people, but I do know Ben Elton. Sort of. Well, can I truly say I know anyone, do we even know ourselves? Rarely. Anyway, Ben used to do his set before the Joeys in salubrious gigs like Chats Palace in Hackney, and the Covent Garden Community Centre. He's a very nice man, and there's an end to it. I'm not going to do some big luvvie number about me and Ben going way back because it's not true. 



The Man in the Rubber Mask

The new, fully updated publication of 'The Man in the Rubber Mask'  has just been released. Yes, the back stage life of the rubber headed bog-bot is now in bookshops and on Amazon and The Book Depository etc.

It will also be an e-book and Kindle book and those will be released very shortly.

The book gives a graphic and intimate glimpse behind the scenes on the small rouge one covering the period from 1988 when I first heard about the part of Kryten, up to series X in 2012. This is a total period of 25 years.

'25 years' has become Craig Charles' catch phrase every time we have to wait for Danny John Jules...... which is every time we meet.

There is an audio version here which is where it all started. Originally I was just going to release it as an audiobook but then so many people asked if it would be a proper, paper type book I decided (along with the wonderful folk at Unbound) to do a paperback, e-book and Kindle version as well as the audiobook.

I will be signing copies at various events in the coming months. The dates so far are:

May 25th Collectormania Milton Keynes

May 26th MCM Comicon London 

August 24th Collectormania Glasgow

August 31st Comic Con Cardiff

8th September NorCon Norwich