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Roberson, Chris

Entry updated 26 February 2024. Tagged: Author, Publisher.

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(1970-    ) US publisher and author, who founded Clockwork Storybook, a print-on-demand (pod) publisher, in 2000, through which he published his first books, Voices of Thunder (coll 2000), Cybermancy Incorporated (coll of linked stories 2001), and the first of his Celestial Empire sequence most of whose episodes are set in an Alternate History dominated by a China that had never isolated itself from the rest of the world. The sequence continues with Set the Seas on Fire (2001); Any Time at All: The Lives and Time of Roxanne Bonaventure (coll of linked stories 2002; exp vt Here, There & Everywhere 2005), the Temporal Adventuress protagonist of the latter touring painlessly through a variety of worlds; Paragaea: A Planetary Romance (2006) (see Planetary Romance); The Voyage of Night Shining White (2006 chap); The Dragon's Nine Sons (2008), which employs a Dirty Dozen [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] crew in a complex Space Opera mission on behalf of the expanding Chinese imperium; Iron Jaw and Hummingbird (2008); Three Unbroken (27 November 2007 and later Solaris; 2009); and End of the Century (2009). The sequence is agreeable and inventive, but earlier episodes tend to treat the sometimes taxing implications of its storylines with undemanding good cheer, ludic fiction (see Johan Huizinga) without teeth; this cannot be claimed, however of the human-sacrifice element in The Dragon's Nine Sons. A second sequence – the Shark Boy and Lava Girl Adventures tales Tied to the Disney-connected film Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl (2005) with 3-D effects – includes The Day Dreamer (2005) and Return to Planet Drool (2005), both with Robert Rodriguez, director of the movie, which was ill-esteemed. Of Roberson's short fiction, "O One" (in Live Without a Net, anth 2003, ed Lou Anders), won a 2003 Sidewise Award.

After terminating Clockwork Storybook, Roberson founded Monkeybrain Books in 2003, which concentrates on nonfiction texts about the literatures of the fantastic. [JC]

see also: Apergy.

John Christian Roberson

born Memphis, Tennessee: 25 August 1970



Celestial Empire

Shark Boy and Lava Girl Adventures

Warhammer 40,000

Spencer Finch

  • Voices of Thunder (Austin, Texas: Clockwork Storybook, 2000) [coll: Spencer Finch: pb/Mike Fitelson]
  • Book of Secrets (London: Angry Robot, 2009) [coll: Spencer Finch: pb/Argh! Nottingham]


  • Firewalk (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2016) [Recondito: hb/Claudia Noble]
  • Firewalkers (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2018) [Recondito: pb/]

individual titles


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