Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Reviewette – Q & A: Echoes of the Future – Conduit © Kate Cotoner

Echoes of the Future

Authors: A.B. Gayle, Aleksandr Voinov, Jude Mason, Kate Cotoner

Publisher: Noble Romance


Buy Link

Conduit by Kate Cotoner

Ismail and his ex-husband Toki are divided by class and circumstance. Toki is a cybernetic upgrade human and part of the city elite, while Ismail is a baseline human and a cop. Their brief marriage failed when Toki walked out, but now he's back, asking for Ismail's help against Hanuman, a malicious cyber-intelligence who plans to poison the water supply of all baseline humans in the city. Now Ismail and Toki must find the underground reservoir targeted by Hanuman before time runs out for them both.



Just as Aleksandr Voinov is a new voice to me so is Kate Cotoner. When I read the title of her book CONDUIT – the dictionary meaning jump right to the front of my thoughts - “how would the author use this word to be futuristic material, and why that word?

You may ask why think about it, just dive in – well BURN left me in a crazy mood, so there was I trying to think cyber world and espionage. However what I got was so much more.



Ismail is old school cop through and through and a base line human – the lowest form of human/cybernetic there is. Ismail has lived, and he has loved and none of those two things has been the pinnacle of his life so far – well maybe the love – but his feet are firmly placed on the ground.

When he is send to investigate a matter of grave importance, the last person he expects to see is his ex-husband - Toki. Toki comes bearing bad news and as it stands only Ismail can help, not only him but the entire city from this threat.

Ismail is not the kind of guy who rolls over, accepts and serves – nope. Ismail is all about protect and serve – yes, but he is also attitude and Dirty Harry code of ethics all rolled into one, so some surprises were in store for Toki.

Toki is not the same man that left Ismail years ago – he looks just about the same and his very strict oriental manner is still as rigid as it as always been but yet there are some immediate differences that Ismail can’t get his mind around.

Both men need to work together to catch this cyber criminal, but with Ismail protective instinct kicking in as well as their old attraction flaring its head – things were bound to go wrong and as smart as Ismail may be he may have just handed the criminal the one thing he needs to carry out his plan – Toki’s body.

I love CONDUIT – not only was the concept one that works for me but it had all the stereotypical things that I like in a book,  Ms. Cotoner however not only made it better but much, much more intriguing…

There’s the old school cop who just refuse to give up or conform, but smart enough to get out of life what he can to survive.

The class structure is excellently detailed – (Glad to know “the us and them factor” will never die out)

Pride and attitude was all over the place in CONDUIT – loved it, both men made me smile at some of the things they got up to.  

There was smut, and I quite like the few emotional scenes that the author intertwined into the plot.

This concept worked for me because of the backdrop to this book – The rain slick streets, the rotting museum that is hardly ever used – but the trek from the plusher part of the city to what can only be classed at the slum was well worth the journey and made the book for me.

Need to hear a new author’s voice as well as try something different  -  ECHOES OF THE FUTURE is the book to try.



Conduit by Kate Cotoner

1. Can you divulge anything about the background behind the concept of this, and how long have you been wanting to write this book?

‘Conduit’ was an accidental story. Aleksandr Voinov had reviewed one of my previous short stories and since we have a shared interest in the history of the Crusades, we got chatting and he mentioned he was putting together a sci-fi anthology for Noble Romance. I’d never written sci-fi before – in fact, I’d always said it was the one genre I’d never write – so I took it as a challenge and thought, well, if it’s rubbish at least I know I’m not cut out to write sci-fi. After a false start, I ended up really enjoying the characters and the plot. So essentially this was a story I never expected to write in a genre I never expected to write!

2. What kind of research did you do for this book? In CONDUIT your class structure (people & places) was a big plus for me, as it feels the same yet it is different.

Honestly? None. No research whatsoever. I lived in Edinburgh (Dunn Eideann) during the process of political devolution, and when I wrote the story the movement for Scottish independence was being discussed again in the news, so that was at the back of my mind.

I imagined a Britain that had devolved into independent city-states, and that made me think of Renaissance Venice and its oligarchs, so that was the basis of the story’s class structure. From there it just made sense to have genetic and cybernetic upgrades as the ruling elite and ‘normal’ humans as the underdogs. The stuff about Ismail living in the underground close-houses is all real, too – Edinburgh has an entire subterranean city in the Old Town, and in the 17th-18th centuries thousands of people lived in this very dark and crowded accommodation. So everything that’s in the story has its basis in history – I just put a bit of a futuristic spin on it.

3. The main protags were barely introduced to me before the book was over - would you or will you revisit them in the future...

I don’t usually revisit characters once their story is told, but maybe because of the unusual-for-me circumstances of their creation, I do want to write about Toki and Ismail again. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the rest of the world would look like, and I have ideas that should make for a couple of novels. Toki is probably the most dysfunctional of the couple and he’s got one hell of a backstory. Ismail is far more pragmatic.

I’m glad I made him half Scots, he’ll need that dour attitude to get him through some of the plots I’m planning! I’m hoping to write the first of the novels in the second half of this year, and all I know for sure right now is that the story will involve steampunk as well as cyberpunk.

4. What do you hope the readers of this anthology will feel or experience from reading CONDUIT?

First of all, I hope the readers are entertained. What I like so much about this anthology is that the four stories are each very different in tone, so there’s something for everyone: action, humour, suspense, romance... As for ‘Conduit’ specifically, there’s the line where Ismail says “Everything changes but nothing changes”, and that’s probably the central motif for the story. If you think about the massive technological advances humankind has made in the last couple of centuries, it really is a case of everything’s changed but so much has stayed the same. I imagine we’ll stay locked in that pattern, too. Utopia is a great ideal to aspire to, but dystopia is our more likely future!


To find out more about Kate Cotoner


Coming up for Kate

Coming April 2010 from Torquere Press as part of the Color Box line!

Wu Jin has both brains and beauty. Though poor, his family are noble enough for Jin to sit the imperial examinations in the hope of obtaining a high-ranking government position at the court of Tang Dynasty China. When his parents are killed and his home destroyed in a fire, Jin clings to his dreams and travels to the provincial capital for the exams. Pursued by a sinister horseman into the forest, Jin seeks refuge at a tumbledown inn, little realising that he's entered the abode of a fox-spirit.

Tian Zhen is a huxian, a transcendental fox of immense power and considerable seductive charm. He's startled when Jin sees through his illusions, and believes it's Jin's destiny not only to become his lover, but also to help him find a lost talisman - the symbol of Zhen's heavenly role as the Guardian of Thunder. But convincing Jin won't be easy, and the search for the talisman turns dangerous when Jin discovers it's connected to the man who murdered his parents...



Other books in the Anthology 

BURN – Aleksandr Voinov +  Q&A 


8 Speak To Me:

Heidi V on 17 March 2010 at 17:38 said...

This sounds like another good one! Thank you much for the interview and the recommendation...

Jude Mason on 17 March 2010 at 18:22 said...


Another awesome review. I have to agree with you, Conduit really was an amazing story. It's hard to believe this was Kate's first science fiction story.


Chris on 17 March 2010 at 20:44 said...

You've already sold me on this and there's still two authors to go?!

Erotic Horizon on 17 March 2010 at 21:17 said...


You are welcome hon.. The best is still yet to come..


Erotic Horizon on 17 March 2010 at 21:18 said...


It's hard to believe this was Kate's first science fiction story.

I know what you mean - she hit this one out of the park...

I loved it..


Erotic Horizon on 17 March 2010 at 21:19 said...


I had too much fun with this book - I had to share...

So you have to enjoy...


Tracy on 17 March 2010 at 22:52 said...

I looked at this one the other day and debated whether to pick it up or not. I didn't buy it - I'm kicking myself now. Off to purchase!

Erotic Horizon on 18 March 2010 at 16:54 said...


I do hope you get it..

Let me know what you think of it when you get through with it...

Also make sure you catch up on the other three reviews of the book...