The flurry of new signings to Angry Robot continues unabated, with not one but two new deals announced today.

First up, we have a matching pair of extraordinary near-future thrillers, EDGE and POINT. In the former, we find ourselves in a decaying UK. The government’s response to decades of uncontrollable knife crime has been to legalise duelling, turning fighting with blades into a legitimate activity. The pinnacle of this new “sport” is the primetime TV show Knife Edge, in which have-a-go members of the public can compete against trained knifemen for ever greater rewards. So you know just what our ex-soldier hero Josh Cumberland will have to do to get to the bottom of his hunt for a missing child…

Thomas Blackthorne-ishIts equally extraordinary sequel, Point, takes us deep into the razor-wielding world of the Cutter Circles. But even in these Last Days, who the hell would want to deliberately cause the UK’s teenagers to self-harm and commit suicide? It’s up to Josh Cumberland to find out.

These vicious but deeply moral books are being penned for us by Thomas Blackthorne. You might not know the name, because it’s a new pseudonym for noted SF author John Meaney. The new name is to keep these searing satires apart from his more futuristic series. And as you might expect with books dealing with such hotly contemporary topics, they’ll be on shelves real soon: February and August next year in the UK and Australia, with US editions to follow.

Matthew HughesOn a somewhat different tack, we’re equally delirious to welcome Matthew Hughes to the Angry Robot fold. The Canada-based writer of the acclaimed recent Henghis Hapthorn series brings us a trio of novels featuring mild-mannered actuary Chesney Anstruther. After he accidentally summons a demon (as you do), the canny Anstruther refuses to go ahead with any soul-selling, which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world… with disastrous consequences. When Satan offers him his heart’s desire to sort the whole mess out, our hero seizes his chance, and becomes a caped crimefighter, with a very unwilling demon for a sidekick.

Volume one of Anstruther’s outrageous shenanigans will be with you in August 2010, with at least two more to follow at six-month intervals. The titles themselves… well, we’re going to keep you in suspense a little longer on those. Bring it on!

Both deals were done with the lovely John Parker and John Berlyne of Zeno Literary Agency by AR’s publishing director, Marc Gascoigne.