Friday, May 25. 2012
I have a number of writing related gigs coming up so I reckon it's time to list them here ...
7th July – Clevedon Community Bookshop have kindly invited me to do a reading, sign some books and answer questions/give a short talk. Page down for more on that.
14th July – I'll be amongst many interesting guests at the Edge-Lit festival in Derby. Panels, readings and workshops - probably one of each from me. More details to follow.
28th - 30th September – FantasyCon in Brighton; not sure what I'll be up to there but I'm hoping for another chance to do a reading whilst disporting myself upon a chaise lounge, which worked out well last year.
20th October – BristolCon. A fine little one-day con which I'll be attending and hopefully participating in.
9th - 11th November – Novacon. At which I am the Guest of Honour, a prospect I'm looking forward to a lot.
In other, related, news: I have a sekrit project coming to fruition which I'll be officially announcing here soon.
In other, unrelated, news: after weeks of relative silence, those surreal spam-bots have been at it with a vengeance today, with a variety of random comments ranging from a defence of Highland Cattle to discussions about city planning. Only one comment on my taunt to the Indian Floral Spam-bots though, which was probably not from one of the aforementioned, on the grounds it is in French. I think it relates to marmalade. The internet is not getting any less weird.
Sunday, May 20. 2012
I have an ambivalent relationship with hard (or, as some people call it 'proper') Science Fiction. I know I can't write it (for I am greatly afeared of equations) but I like to read it because This is the universe! At its most amazing! However, I sometimes find reading hard SF a matter of virtue as much as pleasure because I like fiction about people; when I say 'people' I count post- and non- humans, but only if there's something in their story I can relate to and care about, if they have an existence beyond their role of delivering The Idea Behind The Story.
Given the above I wasn't entirely sure I'd enjoy Rocket Science, but I found I had nothing to fear. The editor was, quite rightly, rigorous about scientific accuracy but the canvases the contributors chose were small ones: none of the stories take us beyond the confines of our home system or into 'deep time'. I had also been mildly concerned that there might be a degree of backward-facing stubborn whimsy – by which I mean the kind of 'man (and it was always a man) against the harsh alien environment' stories you see in magazines like Analog. However, although the settings and set-ups could have gone that way – the perils of off-world environments feature strongly – the overall tone and issues explored belong in our century, not the last one, and this I applaud.
The inclusion of appropriate factual pieces worked well, although given some of the fiction was presented as pseudo-fact and some of the factual pieces were slightly dramatised, an indication of whether a particular contribution was fact or fiction (even just a note in the table of contents) would have been useful. Occasionally I spent the first few sentences trying to work out whether I was being informed or told a tale.
Several of the fiction pieces were quite slight, little more than atmospheric vignettes, but this worked in the context of this anthology. Stories I particularly liked – not necessarily because of their relevance to the theme or literary merit, but just because they appealed to me - were 'Fisher's Gambit' by Stephen Gaskell, 'The Taking of IOSA 2083' by C J Paget, 'Sea of Maternity' by Deborah Walker and 'The Brave Little Cockroach goes to Mars' by Simon McCaffery. Of the factual pieces, the stand-out was Karen Burnham's essay 'The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit' which more than any other piece in the book brought home just how much ingenuity and perseverance apes like us need in order to get off our rock and out into the universe.
Thursday, May 10. 2012
Sunday, May 6. 2012
I'm hoping anyone reading this will agree with the above sentiment on principle, but if you want to make the sentiment practical, and you live in the West Country, then I invite you to come down to Clevedon Community Bookshop, Clevedon, Somerset, on July 7th. Actually, just visit anyway – they've got rooms and rooms (I exaggerate not) of second hand books.
I'll be there on Saturday the 7th of July, from 6pm to 7.30pm, doing a reading, signing some books and answering questions/giving a short talk (haven't decided exactly which yet; possibly both). Tickets for the event cost a mere £5 with includes a drink and tapas (mmm, tapas). If you fancy coming along, or want directions to the shop in order to visit in your own time, please contact Carol on 01275 218318 or email email@example.com.
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Consorts of Heaven
"A potential star in the making" SF Crowsnest