Friday, February 29, 2008
Gardner Dozois's 23rd Year's Best.
Though it's been on my shelf for a while, I've just started delving into this and full of good reads it is too. It also contains 'Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck' so maybe I'm just a little biased.
Just found this in my files - my prediction (I think it appeared in Interzone) for the year 2005...
Costs at Virgin Galactic spiral out of control as the company tries to comply with HSE guidelines for interplanetary spacecraft. However, the killer blow comes from the new Equalities quango with its demand for wheelchair access and toilets for the disabled on SpaceShipTwo. Rumours that the same quango will ban zebra crossings as racially insensitive are much exaggerated, ministers say, they only intend to change the colours.
According to detractors, the 100% pass rate in A levels this year is due to social engineering and manipulation of the figures. The education minister replied, “The idea that pupils might fail these exams is old-fashioned. Everyone is equal … oink.”
Since the bombing of the Iranian nuclear facilities petrol prices have passed £1 a litre. Since their marginal electoral victory, Labour have introduced twenty new initiatives that have achieved nothing and twenty new taxes to pay for them. Meanwhile, it has come as no surprise to anyone that Tony and Cherie Blair are co-directors of ASBO™ – the new ‘street accessories’ retail outlet.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Crete Adventure (delayed)
Now is that cool enough to set teeth gnashing?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Article 11: Music Please
Here's another one of my old articles. You can see it's old because I was still having to do other work to support myself. As I recollect this caused much annoyance in certain circles...
I have a friend who is in the music business just as I am in the writing business i.e. we’re contenders, but we both have to work for a living. In the winter we work together and much of our time is spent discussing our respective arts while sipping coffee and staring out of a truck window at the rain. When we each manage an ego bybass we agree that our pursuits and our attitudes are similar in many respects. Perhaps it is that
My friend likes music that is clean, distinct, and not amenable to obfuscation. I listened to him play A Whiter Shade of Pale on the alto sax and understood what he meant. He does not like bad jazz. Many musicians claim to play jazz because it gives them ‘freedom of expression, man’. The truth is that they play it because it gives them freedom from discipline; from the necessity of getting it right. And thus, by a round about route, we come to the plotless writing that you often find under the slipstream label.
This writing is easy to spot. The protagonist usually spends most of his time wandering round an urban landscape pursuing a dysfunctional sex life while some vaguely weird things happen, just, happen. The piece you will read – I shall not call it a story – starts, runs for a few pages, then stops. There is no real beginning, middle, or end. It is authorial masturbation that leaves the reader thinking, ‘Well, what about me?’. Raymond Chandler said that when he felt a story was flagging he’d walk in a man with a gun. In slipstream the man remains on the other side of the door, nothing is resolved, and the reader wonders if there ever was anything to resolve. I get a lump of frustration developing in my stomach when I find myself reading one of these pieces and it slowly dawning on me that it is not going to have an ending, that the characters will not have changed and their squalid existence will just ... continue. Why, then, is this stuff published?
If you listen to a piece of badly played modern jazz you will, if you have any sensibilities, wonder where the melody is. You’ll wonder why you’re listening to this disjointed annoying racket when the guy on the stool next to you will say, “Wow, ... scale!” and you’ll nod your head knowingly and reply, “Yeah ... man.” We all hate to appear ignorant. It is this hatred of ignorance that allows such idiocies as a soiled bed in the Tate gallery. It is the very same that allows the above described rubbish to appear under the slipstream label. People will remain silent about it because they are frightened of admitting that they haven’t got the point. There is no point. And those guilty of perpetrating it, writers and publishers, are very often those who get a bit too arty for their own good, and are cringing at the prospect of being accused of something so demeaning as science fiction. My goodness.
You are a story teller are you? If such you are then put yourself in front of an audience and tell your story. If, when you have finished, your story requires justification then it was not a story. A story completes. What you read was very likely slipstream. I am not saying you should not write this stuff. It is one of the better methods of beating the block and freeing up the creative faculties. Sometimes you’ll end up with a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph, that you can use in a real story.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Intelligent (snigger) Design?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Signing at Forbidden Planet.
Work Work Work.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Potugese Cowl Cover.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
The Gabble & Other Stories
Woot! Here we go...
Oh, and lest I forget. George Mann posting on here has reminded me that you can find two of my Mason's Rats stories in the The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction.
Writing News Update
4. Garp and Geronamid
6. Alien Archaeology
7. Acephalous Dreams
8. The Veteran
9. Snow in the Desert
13. The Gabble
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Writing News Update
My Czech publishers - Polaris - have offered for rights of The Voyage of the Sable Keech. Publication will be within 12 months, licence limited to 4 years.
Nightshade books are publishing Shadow of the Scorpion on May 1st this year. This is a book (longer than Prador Moon) covering some early episodes of Cormac’s life:
Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn’t remember. In the years following the war he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment. There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by war-time genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries to stay alive.
As for writing done while in
The Old Captain, Orbus – a sadist in charge of a crew of masochists – became a reformed character at the end of The Voyage of the Sable Keech and took over the captaincy of the spaceship the Gurnard. Meanwhile, the Prador Vrell, mutated by the Spatterjay virus into something powerful and dangerous, had seized control of a Prador dreadnought, killing its entire crew, and was heading back to the