Friday, March 30, 2007
Popular and prolific British writer Neal Asher gives us a ringside seat for a fast-paced, suspenseful, and violent game of intrigue, double-cross, and double-double-cross, as a hunt for a stolen alien artifact of immense value forces a former agent out of retirement and into a tense chase across interstellar space into hostile landscapes where wiser humans would never dare to venture, with life or death hanging in the balance at every turn, for some hard lessons in “Alien Archeology.” This one is a full-blown, flat-out, unabashed Space Opera, and a thriller of the first water, so don’t miss it!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Hey, come and be my friend - I'll look a bit sad if there's only one or two listed.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Couple of bits here:
Over the last year or so I’ve only written two short stories … or rather novelettes. One of these is called Alien Archaeology which is to be published in Asimov’s sometime hence. I look forward to that one especially, because Brian Beiniowski of that magazine was asking me for a description of a gabbleduck. Apparently they were looking at using the image of one for the front cover, though whether that will happen I don’t know yet.
The other story was called Owner Space. This is set in a future covered by none of my full-length novels, but will be familiar to those who have read The Engineer or The Engineer ReConditioned, for it is the same setting for stories there called Proctors, The Owner and (only in the latter collection) Tiger Tiger. Owner Space has now been accepted by Gardner Dozois for his anthology titled Galactic Empires. Excellent stuff.
And finally, there’s now an interview with me up on fantasybookcritic.
Friday, March 23, 2007
What a silly sod I am. The picture here was taken from a picture of a full dust jacket, so of course there's going to be a hard back. Damn, I must drink less wine - brain cells dribbling out of my ears.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I found this joke submitted to the Normal Bob Smith site (link down on the right) by one of his fans. Not to everyone's taste, but I laughed.
Four Nuns die in a car accident and are waiting to get into heaven through the pearly gates.
St Peter, being the gatekeeper, asks if any of them have had anything to do with a man’s penis.
“Yes,” says the first, “I've seen one.”
“Go wash out thine eyes in the holy fountain and yea may enter the gates of heaven.”
“Well, I've touched one,” says the second nun.
“Go wash thine hands in the holy fountain and yea may enter the gates of heaven.”
St Peter now turns to see the last two nuns beating the shit out of each other, so runs over to separate them and demands to know what’s going on.
“Well,” says the third nun, “I want to gargle before she washes out her arse.”
Here's the raw truth:
All the computer models are wrong. They have not only failed to predict the future, they can't even predict that past.
That is, when you run their software with the data from, say, the 1970s or 1980s, and project what should happen in the 1990s or 2000s, they project results that have absolutely nothing to do with the known climate data for those decades.
In other words, the models don't work. The only way to make them "work" is to take the known results and then fiddle with the software until it finally produces them. That's not how honest science is done.-- Orson Scott Card
You can read the whole thing here, and very good it is:
Friday, March 16, 2007
One fly in the ointment was the assumption by the interviewer that since we were all there to see Mr Banks then we all had to be lefty liberals. Mr Banks claims to be a committed socialist who when given a chance always votes for the most left-wing candidate. I was stifling my cynicism since only a few minutes before he’d been telling us about the two Porsches and the Landrover Discovery he’d sold now he was going ‘green’. Mmm, right.
That aside it was still an enjoyable evening. At one point I was tempted to fire off a question at him after he said he hates and avoids research. I was going to ask if that avoidance of research extended to his book about whisky: Raw Spirit. I somewhat doubt that, since it certainly seems to be a passion with him. After he finished talking he sat at a table in the theatre lobby signing numerous books – the queue certainly looked satisfyingly long.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Couple of things I need to update here. A while back I slammed the latest series of Battlestar Galactica and that criticism now needs to be balanced. After the first few crappy episodes set on New Caprica, the series improved hugely with only one or two turds in the punch bowl (‘punch’ being the operative word here with an episode I can only describe as ‘boxing and relationships’ – one of those marking time episodes). Certainly I’ve been enjoying Battlestar lately, though I do feel the Gaius Baltar/ Number Six thread is flapping in the wind and the behaviour of the zylons has descended into the ridiculous. Where will it all end? Will it end?
Smoking. Well, I’m still off the cigarettes, though I did lapse yesterday and have about three puffs on one. I have to say that the graph of cigarette cravings I put on here is complete bullshit. It’s claimed on the website that came from, and others, that cravings last only a few minutes and the worst of them are over after the first 72 hours. I got through the those first three days quite easily and it is now that I’m having difficulties. The few puffs I had yesterday (along with some nicotine gum) where the consequence of a craving that lasted hours.
Writing and so forth. Been a bit of a struggle lately what with the outfall of a death in the family and this attempt at stopping smoking (maybe, like the guy in Airplane, I just chose the wrong time) but I’m still putting down those words. Line War is now approaching 100,000 words with the endgame building to its climax. Nothing much else to add to that really, since the writing life is hardly romantic and consists of sitting staring at a screen for hours on end until beads of blood appear on the forehead (bit too dramatic that, but I couldn’t resist it).
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
When I read in the local paper that he was signing copies in a local bookshop I felt beholden to go along. I paid my money, got my signed book, but then came the dread of reading work by someone I know, because it’s a right bastard having to turn round and say (if asked), “Well, it was a load of rubbish really.” Fortunately I won’t need to say that with this book since I motored through it in no time and very much enjoyed it. It was almost Brysonish in places. Nice one.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Time since quitting
Beneficial health changes that take place
Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.
Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body.
Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
There is no nicotine left in the body.
Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.
Breathing becomes easier.
Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
This is not necessarily in the order of the table here (snaffled from the ASH website), but not far off. Within a day my sense of taste improved, within two days it had improved frighteningly and I saw the barriers preventing me becoming as large as Ayres rock just evaporating in the sunshine. However, something else has improved to counter that: I enjoy exercise a lot more. This isn’t often mentioned in the preachy give up smoking sites and perhaps should be. Yes, heavy smoking can result in you being out of breath, but in that respect light smoking isn’t so bad really. What the light smoker does experience is a complete lack of an endorphine rush from exercise – it is just perpetual hard grind to him. Cycling and weight-training have now become less of a chore and more of a pleasure to me.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I was taking a look at the Richard Dawkins site, which is sometimes good for a laugh when a tambourine thumper appears to try and save some souls, when I found a link to this: http://www.normalbobsmith.com/ I really do like this site. After you've had a little go at dressing Jesus up as Elvis or dressing Mohammed as a Hasidic Jew, move on to reading some of the hate mail and the replies to it. Hilarious! And it seems that an ability to spell must be confined to atheists.
Monday, March 05, 2007
A few weeks back I visited
Thursday, March 01, 2007
This is an eclectic collection of all-original science fiction stories from some of the foremost luminaries in the genre. Featuring new tales of far future murder, first contact, love and war from such well-regarded and award winning authors as Peter F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter,