Blog

New Book! And this time, the suicide bombings are for fun

October 27, 2014

Category: Fiction

Okay, it's official -- this week sees the publication of my new book.

First things first: it is called Cronix, and is available as of the end of this week on Amazon, as an ebook.

Secondly, for those expecting a direct follow-up to Spiders of Allah, this one is science fiction. But don't be too surprised: the ideas for the book emerged directly from my time covering the holy wars in the Middle East and my research into the religions and mythologies of the region. After all, what better sci-fi monster than an unstable, adolescent god trying to impose his will on often reluctant subjects? It is also based on the extensive research I did into evolutionary psychology and the reasons we believe in gods, afterlives and, ultimately, ourselves.

The idea came to me as I was writing about all the people who fundamentally believe in an afterlife, and I thought: what if one actually existed? If it was somehow man-made? And what if evolution was still at work in this afterlife? From there, it just went wild. Here's the publisher's blurb:

"Recreational suicide bombings are on the rise, revellers in fancy dress are throwing themselves from the heights of the Empire State Building in increasing numbers. When scientists break the final frontier of Death and find a way for the soul to live incarnate forever, humanity leaves Earth with a bang, bound for a man-made paradise. On the Orbiters, supercomputers riding beyond the edge of Earth's atmosphere, these Eternals live out their wildest dreams or build fantastic idylls, free at last from the tyranny of Evolution.

Back on Earth, however, the man known to history simply as the Missing Link, has been hiding out in the woods. Luis Oriente was the product of an experiment to capture and synthesize the human mind. In ultra human form, Oriente has spent centuries fleeing his past, living a quiet life away from prying eyes.

But when a giant wolf disrupts the rhythm of his forest to deliver a cryptic message, Oriente is dragged back into the turbulent currents of the history he has tried so hard to avoid. Something is broken in paradise, and Evolution is not quite done with humanity yet."


show

ethical dilemma

September 18, 2014

Category: Non Fiction

I had a piece of shrapnel go straight through my left arm during one of the many, endless battles for Fallujah a decade ago. The wound left almost no scar tissue at all. Three months ago, a vicious but very small bee stung me on almost exactly the same spot on my right arm, and there's still a big red mark there. So should I tweak the truth and present the bee sting as the battle scar when...
see more

Come to the Dark Side

August 21, 2014

Category: Non Fiction

I haven't blogged on this site for a while, partly because I was so busy -- covering the Arab Spring, having a kid and then moving to Brazil, after a brief stint in Miami -- but now I am returning to it. I had hoped, standing on Tahrir Square and then covering the frontline battles with Libya's rebels, or talking to Syrians standing up to their terrifying government, that the Arab Spring might...
see more

Booklist Editors Choice 2009

January 15, 2010

Category: Non Fiction | 2 comments

"Spiders of Allah" was picked this month as an Editors Choice for 2009 by Booklist Magazine, the publication of the American Library Association. Every year, they pick 100 books published in the United States and recommend them to US libraries.http://www.booklistonline.com/default.aspx?page=show_product&pid=3928202
see more

Huffington Post review

August 19, 2009

Category: Non Fiction | 1 comment

Flying Rabbis, Lady Gaga and the "Spiders of Allah"Fifty flying rabbis recently took to the sky in an aircraft, blowing on sacred ram's horns in an effort to purge swine flu from the airspace over Zion. And now Lady Gaga has arrived in Israel, wearing a spiked Star of David on her black leather fetish gear. Truth can be far weirder than fiction on the frontlines of holy war, whether the fight...
see more

Mother Jones review

July 28, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Having spent the last month travelling in South America, I have missed posting some of the latest reviews that accompanied the US launch of Spiders in June, most notably this from the July/August edition of Mother Jones magazine:"It's a bloody miracle James Hider isn't dead. But then, Hider, the Middle East bureau chief for the Times of London, doesn't believe in divine intervention. Dumb luck...
see more

Time Out review

April 23, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Time Out magazine has published a review of the book, calling it "gripping" and "required reading". Here is the full review:As the cyberpunk author William Gibson once said, 'the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed.' The past, on the other hand, writes Times Middle East bureau chief James Hider, 'seems to be mostly squeezed into a narrow belt of hot lands between the eastern...
see more

US rewiews

April 17, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Time Magazine has reviewed Spiders on their Middle East blog:The Spiders of Allah Strike AgainBy Tim McGirk/JerusalemHow do you end a conflict when everybody fighting thinks that God is on his side? It's impossible, especially when the line between faith and superstition wobbles and breaks apart. Shortly before I came to Jerusalem, Israel's seemingly indestructible Prime Minister Ariel Sharon...
see more

South African Review

April 17, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

First review of Spiders from South Africa, published by The witness, the country's oldest newspaper.On the frontline in the Middle East15 Apr 2009David PikeIf you want to know what has really been going on in the Gaza Strip and particularly in Iraq for the past few years — indeed, for the past few 1 000 — this is the book for you. It is also rivetingly absorbing, a page-turner,...
see more

New Zealand review

March 15, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

The book came out this month in Australia and New Zealand, and has its first Antipodean review courtesy of the Otago Daily Times.  This one comes with a health warning:  "This is a book those of delicate disposition should avoid...As well as writing stylishly about the complicated fabric of Middle East quarrels, this brave author also dips into the past history of a region which is...
see more