Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Wastelands 2 - More Stories of the Apocalypse

Who doesn’t like a good post-apocalyptic tale? ‘The Postman’, ‘Waterworld’ and ‘I Am Legend’ are among my favourite films. In a short story collection, like ‘Wastelands 2’, there is plenty of opportunity for broad, sweeping adventures, including the original version of David Brin’s ‘The Postman’ as well as shorter, more individual and quirky tales that focus on a specific person or incident or scenario.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Author Interview: Frank Roger

Frank Roger has been my friendly nemesis for some years. Every time I have a story translated into a new language, Frank has stories in two new languages. I decided to catch up with him in the hopes of capturing the secret of his success...
How did your first translated sale come about?

I had been writing for a number of years and had a series of stories published in Dutch, in various Belgian and Dutch magazines and the odd anthology. For a few years I was happy to see my work published in those small magazines. However, I quickly understood that if I continued this way, little else would happen for the rest of my life. Somehow I felt there had to be more to writing, that there had to be a way to reach a bigger readership. I needed to break out of the relatively small part of the world where Dutch was spoken. After all, why limit oneself?

So when I had a story in French, I submitted it to a fanzine put out by a Walloon friend, the late Alain le Bussy, and it was published in 1990, my first publication in another language than my native Dutch. I tried a few more magazines: some stories in French ended up in French fanzine Octa, a story submitted in English was published in Finnish magazine Tahtivaeltaja in 1991 – my third language. Then I discovered German magazine Solar-X, which ran a whole bunch of stories by me over the years. Lithuanian magazine Dorado Roganos followed, and I just kept going as I knew by then that there was an interest for my work abroad.

Do you write in both French and Dutch, and does your style vary depending on the language?

I usually write in English, and afterwards make a Dutch version (rather than a translation) of the story – sometimes it’s the other way round. Occasionally I translate my stories into French. I think my style is the same regardless of the language I’m working in.

Did you set out to lead the way in translations, or did it just happen by accident?

I submitted to magazines and anthologies in other languages on a regular basis, and as it seemed to work, I just kept going. There was no plan behind it really, but after a while I grew curious as to how many languages I might reach, and I actively started looking out for new markets. I’m still doing so, with (at the time of writing) work published in 44 languages.


Is there another language you’d really like to be published in?

Basically, all the languages I haven’t been published in so far. Japanese would be fine, for instance, or some African languages. Some European languages are still missing, like Czech. We’ll see how far I can take this.

You write stories in a variety of genres. What appeals to you about writing in those different styles?

Although my work is quite varied, I don’t feel as if I’m working in different fields or styles. I tend to think of my work as a big jigsaw puzzle - each story is a piece of that puzzle, and each piece may have a different shape, size or colour from the rest, but all the pieces together form the puzzle, the complete picture.

Which publication are you particularly proud of, or excited about?

I’m proud of all my publications, but naturally of the professional ones especially, such as my twenty or so stories in Greek magazine Ennea, or my stories in magazines/anthologies in France (Galaxies), Poland (Nowa Fantastyka), South Africa, India, China… And of course my story in the anthology “Chilling Horror Short Stories” from a major UK publisher.

What do you have planned for next year?

As always, I hope to do more and better work. And I may add a few more languages…



Saturday, November 07, 2015

120 Stories

This week I finished writing my 120th short story - a 7000 word complicated time travel story - which added together brings my total word count to almost 1/4 million words. That doesn't include my 3 completed novels.

Must write more...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures

This is my second large dollop of steampunk in recent weeks, having polished off ‘The Mammoth Book Of Steampunk’ in short order. I’m optimistic about this volume, simply due to the addition of the word ‘Adventures’. I like steampunk but I find many of the stories in anthologies I’ve read are more fantasy or romance stories than the Science Fiction or adventure-type steampunk that I particularly enjoy.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

It’s been a while since I had any steampunk to read, so the chunky 500-page ‘Mammoth Book Of Steampunk’ was, I decided, an excellent opportunity to catch up with a wide selection of authors and stories. The volume contains 30 stories, including a handful original to the collection, gathered together by regular Mammoth editor Sean Wallace.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Review: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I shared a Table of Contents with Adrian Tchaikovsky in the NewCon Press anthology ‘Looking Landward’ a couple of years ago. His story was about ants and mine was about worms. I subsequently met him briefly at EasterCon this year and stood next to his wife while ordering a sandwich. I’d not read any of his ‘Shadows Of The Apt’ fantasy series though because I only read Science Fiction. ‘Children Of Time’ is definitely Science Fiction and also includes ants.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson

Dave Hutchinson’s novella ‘The Push’ was nominated for the BSFA award a couple of years back and was a very fine piece of space opera indeed. His new novel ‘Europe In Autumn’ was also nominated for the BSFA award. It’s of a completely different style and sub-genre but is a very worthy nominee.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Mammoth Reprint

I discovered today that Gord Sellar's story The Clockworks of Hanyang that first appeared in The Immersion Book of Steampunk edited by my very self, was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures, published last year. The elephantine anthology also includes Aliette De Bodard's Memories in Bronze, Feathers and Blood that appeared in my anthology too, though as a reprint there.

It's a pleaseing affirmation of my taste in stories to have two of them reprinted in such a well-respected anthology series.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

I enjoyed the film ‘John Carter’ a lot, even though the critics didn’t seem to like it. I enjoyed it so much in fact that it prompted me to buy the three-volume omnibus edition of the entire Barsoom series, comprising all 11 books, which I then read over the course of the following year. Towards the end of last year, I picked up the omnibus edition of the first three Pellucidar books, too. I didn’t enjoy them as much as the Barsoom novels, but having got a taste for Edgar Rice Burroughs I was intrigued to see ‘Worlds Of Edgar Rice Burroughs, edited by Mike Resnick and Robert T. Garcia, Baen’s anthology of new ERB-inspired stories set in all of his famous series.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Gondolier

A comment yesterday made me realise I don't really know where you can read The Gondolier in English any more, so here it is again:

The black prow of my gondola cut smoothly through the calm waters of the canals.  The sleek craft had served me well for many years, carried passengers through the city’s waterways under the guiding hands of generations of my forebears.

 The sun was setting over the ancient city, turning the water to an inky ribbon lain between elegant sandstone buildings.  I breathed deeply of the cool evening breeze.

 Is there any place more beautiful than this wondrous city of canals?  As the boat eased into its mooring I stopped to gaze with satisfaction up into the darkening skies of Mars.

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