Sean Williams

Humble Bundle bonus METAL FATIGUE offer

posted on 21 Aug 2014 at 10:44 pm

The latest Humble Bundle deal(for 12 DRM-free e-books!) includes Twinmaker (the only YA title! excitement!) but excludes some books from some territories thanks to international rights hijinks. It’s still a good deal . . . but . . . sigh.

metal fatigueAs compensation for anyone stiffed over this, I’m unofficially offering a copy of my award-winning first novel Metal Fatigue. It’s not the same thing as a Neil Gaiman novel but maybe it’ll take some of the sting off. Blurb, endorsements, and excerpt below.

If you’d like one, shoot me a line via the contacts page, specifying which format you prefer.

Metal Fatigue

Kennedy Polis weathered the collapse of global civilisation thanks to innovative technology designed to make the city completely self-sufficient, plus walls high enough to keep out the worst of the monsters. After forty years of isolation, though, the cracks are beginning to show.

When Kennedy is invited to join a nation claiming to be the reborn USA, not everyone approves. A series of political murders places the proposed alliance in jeopardy, compounded by data thefts that might be the work of a spy. Tensions inside the city put Kennedy’s security forces on high alert, ready for anything. They think.

With the deadline for reunification looming, Phil Roads, the investigator assigned to solve the robberies, is under increasing pressure. Caught between an unstoppable assassin and an uncatchable thief, and with dangerous secrets emerging from his own past, his life and career are on the line.

Winner of the Aurealis Award
Nominated for the Ditmar Award

“A fascinating post-apocalyptic police procedural and thriller that I couldn’t put down.” Garth Nix

“remarkably absorbing, with enough twists and turns to keep the jaded and mirrorshaded eyes of the post-post-modernists wide open.” Eidolon

“solid suspense and intriguing characters … an assured and often compelling take on Sam Spade meets Bladerunner.” The Australian

“[a] ripper of a post-holocaust thriller” The West Australian

“a good, solid read.” Interzone

“joyously profligate exuberance of ideas” Sydney Morning Herald

“The plot crackles … [a] well-thought-out SF thriller.” Aurealis

“a most satisfying read. I recommend it on its merits as well-written SF, and also historically– as the solo debut of one of the future stars of Australian Science Fiction.” Science Fiction

“Williams shows enough verve at plotting and action writing that it’s a safe bet he’ll turn into another of Australia’s impressive sequence of major SF discoveries.” Locus



Friday, 14 September, 2096, 11:15 p.m.

“I am Lucifer,” said the voice.

He woke with a start, and opened his eyes.

The room was lit by second-hand streetlight, an indistinct, yellow haze which spilled through the curtains and lapped at the damp-stained walls. The curfew had not yet fallen, which placed the time at before twelve o’clock; still, the faint electric light was not quite enough to fully dispel the night. Shadows crowded about the bed, whispering black secrets in the distant voice of the city.

He sat up, letting the sheet slip from his shoulders to his lap. The humid air, stirred by the sudden movement, brushed the rigid bulges of his muscles with the electric caress of an approaching thunderstorm. The woman beside him snuffled to herself and rolled over. There was a subtle tension in the air, an expectant pause, a moment waiting to be filled.

He listened . . .

People stirred in the buildings around him: someone screamed, another laughed, a third raised her voice in anger. A nearby couple made love with abandon, oblivious to his prying, sensitive ears. Far away, the languid tongue of the river licked its lips and tasted the rotten teeth of Patriot Bridge.

When the voice spoke again, it did so without sound or expression. It whispered directly into his mind a second time, “I am Lucifer,” then fell silent again, waiting.

He closed his eyes, concentrated, and visualised a reply, parcelling the soundless words into a bundle of electric thought and hurling it outward into the night.

The response was instantaneous: “Remember your duty.”

He slid from beneath the sheet and stood upright. In profile and near-darkness, his naked body was sexless and smooth skinned. His chest and shoulders were massive, and his limbs gifted with both power and grace. His poise balanced, trembling, on the brink of blinding motion.

He remained that way for some time–frozen, indecisive, reluctant to commit himself to any course of action–until movement through a part in the curtains caught his pinprick eye. Leaning closer to the window, he peered out and down at the empty street below. As he watched, a shadow moved, stepped onto the littered roadway and into a wash of street-light.

The man stood a full foot shorter than he, with wide shoulders and a wrestler’s build not yet soft with age. Receding mouse brown hair exposed a high, proud forehead and generous ears. A thick moustache bristled beneath the snub nose, lending the man an air of familiarity that defied the best efforts of his memory. He might have seen this man somewhere before, although he wasn’t sure where.

It didn’t matter. The man, whoever he was, was irrelevant. Curiosity had been carefully bred out of him, replaced with an inescapable compulsion to obey orders.

There was something about the man’s silent watchfulness, though, that made him nervous. Something indefinably wrong. The man was so still, he hardly seemed to breathe . . .

The woman stirred again, not quite awake. Her voice was muffled by sleep. “Cati?”

He turned away from the window. The blackness of her hair formed a puddle on the pillow, a pool of darkness deeper than the shadows. Reaching down with one massive hand, he touched her reassuringly on the shoulder. The trembling of his fingertips eased as he gently caressed her soft skin, even when the voice called a third time. She was Sanctuary in a world he could not begin to understand, queen of a haven called Peace; he would protect his Sanctuary every way he could, even if it was his own nature that threatened her.

Slowly, her breathing deepened, became more regular, until she finally returned to sleep.

He went to the bathroom, where he would not disturb her further, and opened his mind to the insistent touch of the one who called himself Lucifer.

When curfew fell at midnight, he was leaping from rooftop to rooftop high above the streets, hunting. And the silent man who had stood on the street under his window had long since disappeared.


  1. Cool, send me a copy in .mobi or .epub thanks!

  2. Steve says:

    Are you still giving these away? I loved the book in school. Never could find a bloody copy of it.