Monday, June 30, 2008

Pantechnicon #7 Review

It’s always good to see our small press and webzines making progress, and the editorial to Pantechnicon #7 announces that the magazine now has an ISSN, and also that they will become a token paying market from issue #8. Meanwhile, what does this issue have to offer?

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest, the new home for my short fiction and novel reviews.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: Redcurrants

Issue 21 of Jupiter is due out in July. It's their fifth anniversary issue and will contain my fourth Roadmaker story: Roadruler. This week's FFF is a little interlude about one of the series' minor characters that takes place some time between Roadrider and Roadruler.

By Gareth D Jones

Gooseberries were a favourite in DeFrey. That and raspberries. Loveday Smith, Deacon of DeFrey, was fond of both; but redcurrants were his particular favourite. Especially when his wife made them into one of her fabulous pies. He plucked a small handful and popped them into his mouth one at a time as he wandered his fruit orchard.

His plantation occupied a sheltered location on the outskirts of the village, only a short walk from the Deacon’s home. Here he liked to escape from the cares of his office and spend some time with his plants. Sadly those times were few and far between nowadays. Not that his job was overly stressful, but there was an endless stream of villagers at his door who all wanted some of his time. Sometimes there were arguments to be mediated, sometimes just some advice was needed. Sometimes Loveday wondered why he had taken on the job instead of staying with his quiet occupation.

It had been a particularly stressful time recently, following the destruction wrought by the Roadmaker. It was an uplifting time too. The whole village had pulled together for the rebuilding work and the village’s spirit had been inspiring. Loveday was proud to be part of it, proud to represent the village. He breathed deeply of the fruit-scented air and turned to look over the sprawl of buildings. He was proud, but tired. He was beginning to think maybe it was time to retire from the job, to pass the responsibility on to somebody else.

The fruit seemed to be coming along nicely but sill Loveday eked his tour out as long as possible, enjoying the fresh air and the diversion. Eventually he sighed, pulled out his fob watch and sighed again as it confirmed his fears. Popping one last redcurrant into his mouth, he headed back home.

The End

My First ARC

I took a detour via the Post Office on the way to work this morning to pick up a parcel of two books. It’s my first consignment from SF Crowsnest, where my reviews will be appearing in future and includes an ARC of Greg Egan’s Incandescence, along with Mat Coward’s short story collection So Far, So Near. My review of Pantechnicon #7 will also be appearing there soon.

SF Crowsnest is the most popular SF site in Europe and the 2nd most popular in the world, with 800,000 visitors each month. That’s a big audience.

As you may know, Whispers of Wickedness is closing down. My final review for them, of Interzone 216, should be up in the next few days.

Monday, June 23, 2008

New UK-Based Sf Webzine

Concept SciFi is a new UK based webzine due to launch in July. The slick-looking site is already in place and has a few articles and discussions ready to read. Editor Gary Reynolds has hinted that he may bring the launch of issue #1 forward from its proposed date of July 31st.

After the disappearance of Darker Matter last year, it’s encouraging to see some new blood entering the market.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Travel by Numbers

My copy of Nature magazine has arrived, with my story Travel by Numbers featured in the Futures section. If you don’t subscribe to Nature, you can access the electronic version here. It's under 1,000 words so it can also count as this week's Friday Flash Fiction.

Nature magazine boasts some impressive stats. It was founded in 1869 and is now the most highly cited multidisciplinary science journal in the world. I can’t find the circulation figures, but the on-line version has 8 million subscribers. That’s by far the biggest potential audience any of my stories have had.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's a Long, Long Road

Roaring through another 1,200 words of the Roadmaker novel last night, I arrived at 45,000 words. This surpasses my previous half-written novel and makes this officialy the longest story I've ever written.

The scene I finished last night was ~2,500 words, half the length of any of the Roadmaker short stories, yet it didn't seem that long when writing it. The end is seeming more and more attainable.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reviews Pending

I’ve completed my review of Pantechnicon #7, so that should be appearing on a website near you soon. Meanwhile I’ve started reading Interzone #216, the mundane SF special. My review of that will turn up on Whispers of Wickedness in the next week or two.

I’ve been surprised at the amount of comment and controversy on the subject of mundane SF, though to be honest I haven’t really followed it too closely. As far as I can see it’s another sub-genre. I like a bit of space opera, some old-fashioned Victorian SF, hard SF, far-future mind-blowing SF, almost anything in fact. Mundane SF does seem to be more well-defined than other categories in terms of what can or can’t be included, but that’s no more restrictive than when I invent a setting and then have to stick to my own internal restrictions that I’ve created.

I’ve probably read lots of stories that you could call Mundane SF without really thinking about it. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve finished reading the issue.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day at the Museum

On Saturday we went in to London and visited the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. The trip reminded me of an early lesson writing fiction, from when I was 10:

We had been on a school trip to the same two museums and the next day were asked to write a story about the museum. Thinking I was being cunningly original, I wrote a story about how the dinosaur skeletons came to life and chased us around the museum. Of course, it turned out almost everyone else in the class had written the same story. The teacher chose to read out one girl’s story about getting trapped in the lift. That made a real impression on me, and from then on I always gave a lot more thought to any subject we were to write about and tried always to avoid being obvious.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Roadmaker Reviews

I thought I'd gather all of the reviews of the Roadmaker stories in one place:


Whispers of Wickedness

There are five stories in this issue, each of at least 5000 words in length, and the first is Gareth D. Jones’s Roadmaker. Something’s happened. Civilisation has collapsed but in one village it’s not too bad. People reminisce about the old days but are reluctant to get things going again. Then, one day, some probes start appearing that initially seem like space probes. It turns out that they’re scouts for an automated road-making system that is heading straight for the village. It’s a gorgeous story, reminiscent of Ian McDonald’s Desolation Road or of Ray Bradbury, and it’s the highlight of this issue.


Whispers of Wickedness

Roadwalker by Gareth D Jones takes us to another future-primitive society through which an intimidating, enigmatic road has been carved by a mysterious machine. No one knows where it leads, who built it or why. So, cheek still damp from his truelove’s kiss, a young farmhand sets off to find out. This is one of an occasional series but stands alone as a yet another warmly compelling piece.

SF Revu

The last story is "Roadwalker" by Gareth D. Jones. This is a sequel to a story called "Roadmaker" that appeared in issue #16 but it's not necessary to have read that (I haven't) to enjoy the story. It takes place in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world which has few machines. In the previous story, a road-making machine had come through the village of DeFrey and had paved a road going north. In this story, one of the young villagers named Luke the Hand decides to travel north to see what lies beyond. Thus starts an amusing journey that I want to see more of.

Computer Crowsnest

'Roadwalker' by Gareth D. Jones is the sequel to a previous story and, on reading this, it seems likely that there is something farther down the road in the future. The story could go on and on but, thankfully, it's well-written and there is mileage in it. An entertaining tale set in the future after civilisation has collapsed, it concerns the building of a road through the wilderness and the reaction of the people who encounter it.

SF Site

Gereth D. Jones's "Roadwalker" seems set in a post-holocaust, or at least post-collapse, future -- for some mysterious reason a road has been built through a small village, and a young man decides to walk it, to see where it leads. Modest but pleasant -- and not finished: the story is a sequel, and clearly it will have sequels of its own.


SF Revu

Next comes "Roadrider" by Gareth D. Jones, the third in a series ("Roadmaker" and "Roadwalker" are the first two). Luke, Hubert and Zak continue down the road that has been built linking towns. Things get more interesting and they encounter a cave that will set off more events down the road. I look forward to the next installment.

Computer Crowsnest

Returning to the magazine, 'Roadrider' by Gareth D. Jones concludes a trilogy of stories concerning the aftermath of an unspecified collapse of society where a road-making machine cuts its way through villages and towns of a community. The relatively simple people are astounded at the appearance of the road and it is the young, spurred on by curiosity, who decide to investigate.

In this part of the story, the boys reach the conclusion to discover the identity of the road-maker. However, it's not the end which is important, it is the journey. Jones has created a certain ambience with this work, almost quaint in nature, which is compelling enough for one to want to read more. I would certainly suggest that if you have missed the previous 'Road' stories then it might be worth looking at the purchase of back copies.

Whispers of Wickedness

Gareth D Jones’ Roadmaker series continues with Roadrider, self-contained enough to be enjoyed – and understood – on its own, but a neat episode in a larger tale. Again, an easy-to-read yarn that hammers along at a cracking pace, it contains a satisfying mix of humour, imagination and a cast of affable characters.


SF Site

A continuing series of stories that I've enjoyed is by Gareth D. Jones, about the effect of an automated road-building machine that was accidentally (it seems) activated in an apparent post-holocaust type of world. The third and fourth stories appear in these two issues: "Roadrider" and "Roadruler." In "Roadrider" some adventurous men discover the source of the machine, as the links between various cities are enhanced. And in "Roadruler" a political dimension is introduced, as the potential abuses of the road use system are lightly touched on; as well as the stresses of uniting several villages under a single ruler. These remain enjoyable, but they have become a bit sketchy, and not quite unified enough as stories.


Next up, we have the latest in Gareth D Jones' "Road" stories. This one is "Roadruler" and we are told is the penultimate one. Here, the Road has linked many towns and the Mayor of Pallas has proclaimed himself Comptroller of the Road and imposed onerous taxes. Jones gives us a look at many people on one end of the road or the other and how their lives are changing. This is all told in a breezy, fun style and makes us hungry for more. Only one more chapter? I'd like to read more!


SF Revu

The third story, "Roadbuilder" is, alas, the last installment in Gareth D. Jones' "Roadmaker" series. In this one, we get updates of the characters we have come to love from the other installments and more old technology is discovered and made to work. Things get wrapped up somewhat but I do hope that sometime Jones will turn this into a novel. He is talented at creating characters and has a style I enjoy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pointless Waffle

I thought I should clarify my statement in an earlier comment that Roadmaker is pointless waffle. Of course, I didn’t mean that the story is pointless waffle. It’s about the way you’re supposed to write short stories, as opposed to writing novels. Now that Roadmaker is destined to appear in both forms it’s given me pause to think about the way you go about writing either.

For me, writing a novel is quite liberating. There’s plenty of space to develop characters, build up background and ancillary points that support the plot and put in lots of descriptive work. I can write for my Roadmaker novel far more quickly than I do with a short story, because I feel freer to just get on with it. Of course there’ll be revising later, but I’m not worrying about that yet.

Short stories take more time though. You might write a few thousand words, but then you need to delete the pointless waffle, get to the point, develop a limited number of characters to a specific point and make sure that point has, well, has a point. Then go back and look at rephrasing to make it more succinct, possibly combining sections to eliminate slow episodes that add nothing. It all takes quite some time.

That leads me on to the Roadmaker short stories. The style of the saga is quite rambling. The plot develops at a steady pace, but detours off into irrelevant anecdotes at frequent intervals. Short stories are ‘supposed to have’ a limited number of characters, and only one or two POV characters. The Roadmaker stories have over 50 characters, and as many as 20 POV characters. I love it. The world of the Roadmaker is my favourite creation, and as is often the case with fiction, seems to work despite having ignored several rules.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Great Typo

The latest short story I’ve been working on is ~1100 words and is called She Drives Me Crazy. At least, it was until my Orbiter writing group came back with the general consensus that they hated the title.

One member also pointed out a brilliant typo. After an inspection by the captain, 2 crewmembers are supposed to turn back to their work. I actually wrote ‘they turned back to their wok’, which gives an entirely different picture of what goes on in the navigation section of a starship!

Monday, June 09, 2008


I made significant progress on the novel this weekend, finally breaking the 40,000 word barrier to make it now officialy a novel. Only a short one, but it's a giant step. It's taken a long time, hence the working title Eternity that I've been using up 'til now.

As hinted a couple of times on this blog, and as revealed to a limited number of people at Eastercon this year, I can now reveal further details. I am, in fact, working on a Roadmaker novel, for me the most enjoyable of the settings that I've so far created. The title is undecided, but from now on I'll refer to it as Roadmaker. I'm very excited about the way the plot is developing, and now I'm really getting into some serious progress I suspect my FFF contributions will become even more patchy than they have been of late. I'll still post on the occasional Friday, but Roadmaker is the way forward at the moment.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: Never Talk to Strangers

If all goes to plan, it should now be Friday. This is my first use of Blogger's new post-dated posting, so even though I'm away from my computer today, there's no excuse any more.

Never Talk to Strangers will be appearing in the 2011 Daily Flash anthology from Pill Hill Press.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Proofs of Nature

I received the PDF proofs of Travel by Numbers from Nature today to check over, including a black & white illustration. I always feel particularly privileged when a piece of artwork has been commissioned based on my story, and it's interesting to see how someone else has envisioned it.

I also signed the contract and sent that back. No confirmed publication date yet, but I'll let you know when I hear.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Editors: Trudi Topham

Pantechnicon is a UK based ezine that can be downloaded in PDF format, but also has various articles and stories to be read within the website. Editor Trudi Topham gives us a great deal of insight into producing a webzine in the latest of my series of editor interviews:

GDJ: There are lots of options for a new magazine – paper, PDF, webzine etc. How did you decide on the look and feel for Pantechnicon?

TT: When Pantechnicon was initially conceived, there was no consideration for it to be anything other than electronic. We simply didn’t have the resources available to create a paper-based publication, and we both had prior experience with producing web-based content.

We felt the most important thing to get right (once the name had been chosen) was the logo. From there I could design a website, Andy could produce a PDF, and future marketing materials could take their lead from those.

The logo was a team effort. We spoke to two young designers, Luke Spillane and Tom Webster, and explained that we wanted a logo that was readable and distinctive, yet which could be rendered in black and white if necessary. They worked together to produce the logo that we use today – after several which were rejected along the way, of course. Once they came up with one that all four of us were happy with, I went on with the website design.

As the content available on the site has grown, and the number of writers authoring the content has multiplied, the site itself has evolved. While initially the design was centred around a file-based content structure, it became apparent after only one year that we’d be much better off moving to a content management system. The site’s current look and feel is very much down to trying to keep it simple and clean so that visitors can find content quickly and easily.

The PDF, too, is evolving. The original layout was constrained by being produced in a word processor and converted to PDF via PrimoPDF. After a daytime job shift, though, InDesign and Adobe Acrobat 8 became available to me, so Pantechnicon is a far more complex PDF with hyperlinks, layers, and all the fun stuff that makes a magazine more readable.

Of course, I’m not content to leave it there. But I’m evolving the PDF slowly now, trying to avoid jarring changes whilst including better features as I learn more about InDesign.

The whole process has been a steep learning curve, but one that I feel can only benefit our readers.

GDJ: There were originally two editors before you continued on as sole editor. What are the advantages and disadvantages of running the show yourself?

TT: Andy and I had a very diplomatic editorial process. A story didn’t have to please both of us to get published: So long as one of us believed in it and was willing to stand by it, we’d go ahead with it.

The most obvious disadvantage, then, of putting Pantechnicon together by myself is that stories which may have previously been selected would now face rejection.

The other main disadvantage is load-balancing. When I have a holiday, there’s no-one to pick up the slack. If I’m ill, I have to crawl out of bed and work on Pantechnicon. There’s no secondary proof-reading of a final edit, and no time off.

The advantages, though, are quite interesting. Being the sole person responsible for selection and editing of content, it’s been relayed to me that Issues Five and Six are far more cohesive than issues 1-4 were – that they have a far more unified feel to them.

There’s also no breakdown in communication when there’s a single editor. I can keep track of what’s expected when, which pieces I’ve accepted and when the next drafts are due, and how close to deadline things are getting.

The workload is the main problem. To strike a balance between maintaining that cohesive single-editor feel and not being able to take a break, I’ve taken on a sub-editor; freelance writer Alasdair Stuart, who co-edits Hub, has previously worked for SFX, Death Ray, SciFiNow, and Neo, and produces podcasts for Pseudopod and Escape Pod.

GDJ: Producing a magazine is obviously a lot of hard work. What inspired you to give it a go? In fact what possessed you to also join the Hub editorial team?

TT: Andy used to produce a Doctor Who fiction site called Doctor Who: The Legacy. Rather than simply churning out fan fiction, his mission was to create a whole alternative universe and invite both new and professional writers to create “seasons” of novellas. The goal was to produce professional-quality fiction and promote new writers alongside established ones.

One day, over lunch, we hit on the idea of doing roughly the same kind of thing, but for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. After some nailing-down we came to the conclusion that short stories, rather than novellas, was the way to go.

Hub is a very different publication from Pantechnicon. Whereas Pantechnicon is a quarterly, and usually comes to around a hundred pages, Hub is a weekly PDF which is emailed out to subscribers and contains either a story, an article, some flash fiction, and sometimes some reviews. It’s like a mini-Pantechnicon in some ways.

Lee Harris and I were always communicating, right from the start (both Pantechnicon and Hub sprang into life at roughly the same time). After a year of Pantechnicon, I wanted to see what life on the rapid-fire end of publication was like. Lee and I discussed several options (including a potential merger of the two publications), which resulted in him offering me an editorial post on Hub.

What possesses me to do any of it? I must have the crazies. It’s the only reason that I can think of.

GDJ: Have you always enjoyed ‘speculative fiction’? Do you have a favourite genre or author?

TT: For as long as I can remember, science fiction and fantasy have been my genres of choice. Well, and Biggles.

I could have a favourite, but it would change every week. I tend to favour individual stories more than obsessively following an author: Bester’s The Stars My Destination is a classic, as is The Demolished Man, but it’s widely accepted that these are his two finest works. Similarly I’m far more keen on Michael Marshall Smith’s SF and short stories (which span most speculative genres, not just horror) than I am of his crime novels.

I do read a great deal of Manga, too, wherein it’s far easier to follow a particular author, as they tend to stick to one or two series at a time. Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is a particular favourite of mine, as are Ken Akamatsu’s Negima!, Aki Shimizu’s Qwan, and Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto.

GDJ: You’re an ardent advocate of short stories. What appeals to you about them?

TT: Short stories can be incredibly powerful. Whereas a novel may build up emotional resonance and characterisation over the course of 140,000 words, short stories require an author to be so meticulous and skilful with their writing that they can deliver the same emotional punch in a far more constrained format.

For the reader there’s a tremendous advantage to be gained from reading short stories. One can absorb a whole tale in an evening, dip in and out of a book or magazine of short fiction and come away with a complete story in a single sitting. Stories can delight and entertain, they can be cathartic and desperately tragic, and the short story is the fictional equivalent of a chocolatier’s finest hand-crafted Grenache – who wouldn’t want that in place of a 1Kg bar of Dairy Milk now and then?

GDJ: What is it you’re looking for in a story, and how do Hub and Pantechnicon vary in style?

TT: The key’s in the question. What I look for in a story is, well, a story. It seems obvious, but I’ve seen so many submissions which lack any actual narrative, or which are merely snippets of a far larger story. I look for a beginning, a middle and an end (in whichever order suits the story best), which to me is pretty fundamental if you’re going to call it a “story” instead of “fiction”.

I look for stories with engaging characters and interesting plots. Stories which will evoke an emotional response in the readers. Stories which people will want to read.

Stylistically, Pantechnicon and Hub aren’t too dissimilar. Hub tends to pick shorter stories, whereas Pantechnicon has recently published one that came in at around 15,000 words. Also with Pantechnicon I have to consider not only each story, but how it will fit with the other stories and articles within the same issue to keep a tone that isn’t too relentlessly dark overall (balance Victoria Snelling’s Innocent with Jens Rushing’s Blankenship & Dawes in: The Island of Ignominy, for example).

Hub has a far freer rein when it comes to story selection, as each issue is a small, self-contained item, usually featuring a single story (the recent Flash Fiction special is obviously an exception) and a couple of reviews or an article. It’s more bite-sized, and we can be a little more experimental, as if a reader doesn’t like one week’s instalment, they may love the next.

GDJ: Several small press and webzines have come to a finish in the past year, while several others have started up. Do you think there’s an answer to be found, or should we just look on the bright side – there’s always something new to read?

TT: This is a very difficult one to answer, as there are so many factors at play. I’ll try to cover them as best as I can.

1: Time. Most small press and web-based publications come to an end within their first year, and a great deal of this is down to the founder not realising just how much work would be involved, losing enthusiasm once it’s been underway for a few months, or simply having a change of lifestyle that means something else has to go. Like most things in life, this can be overcome with adequate research, forethought, and determination, but a lot of newcomers don’t do the research, don’t see what else is available out there, and don’t realise that generating, formatting, and presenting so much content on a regular basis requires a lot of effort.

And, sometimes, life just gets in the way. New relationships, changes in living circumstances, bereavement and a thousand other factors can all get in the way. A true love for their chosen task can keep some people going (witness Trevor Denyer’s fantastic work on Midnight Street, for example), but many choose to drop their newly-started time-eater of a project.

2: Cost: Doing this isn’t free. For the small press there’s the horror of printing costs as well as time and effort, and for the webzine there’s hosting costs, man-hours, marketing, and all kinds of minor trickles of cash out of the wallet. And that’s just for the publications who don’t pay their authors.

Paying authors is a highly contentious issue. Most new zines absolutely cannot afford to do so, and fail to accumulate readers as a result (I’ll go into this later). The low readership can be soul-crushing to the person or people who set it up, and so the publication folds, cancelled due to lack of interest.

3: Payment: The thorny issue. As previously mentioned, paying authors is something most startups cannot afford to do. Instead, they offer exposure and experience, but there exists a peculiar snobbery amongst readers that if authors aren’t getting paid, the product isn’t worth reading. This results in the authors not getting the exposure that may help begin their careers, and causes so many zines to fold before they can even think about sourcing funds to pay writers with.

Some argue that not paying authors is exploitative. This can be true if the publication is making a profit by presenting the unpaid author’s work – whether through selling advertising, selling the publication itself, or a combination of the two.

I contest this, though. Pantechnicon costs nothing to the reader, and carries no advertising. I work with each and every author to polish their story before publishing it, and I honestly believe that each story is of a quality that readers would be happy to pay for. Pantechnicon operates at a fiscal loss, but the product you get is, frankly, one of the best available online today. And, yes, ultimately I hope to be in a position to pay our authors – later this year, in fact.

Hub, on the other hand, has always paid, right from the start. And what’s interesting is that whereas Pantechnicon has a regular readership of around 700, and has been snubbed repeatedly by reviewers who refuse to even read it because it doesn’t pay, Hub has around 7,000 subscribers who receive the magazine every week via email, and has no problem at all getting reviews (which, as we all know, is what can get your publication read by more readers). Even more interesting is that Hub receives around twenty submissions per week, whereas Pantechnicon garners around one a week, but Pantechnicon’s submissions are, proportionally, far higher quality than Hub’s. We can reject twenty stories on Hub just to get to a single publishable one, whereas Pantechnicon’s hit ratio is more like 40%.

People who are in it for the money send only to publications which pay. People who are in it for the love will work for both. But this means that non-paying publications will:
- See far fewer submissions, which can be disheartening in the first year.
- Receive next to no publicity or reviews, which makes increasing the readership incredibly difficult.
- Attract considerably fewer readers, which can also lead to the publisher giving up.

Obviously some terrible zines have gone the way of the dodo within their first year. But some blisteringly good ones have, too.

4: Bloomsbury: As in, small presses aren’t. Another level of snobbery is the attitude that if something’s worth publishing, the big publishing houses would have snapped it up. We all know this isn’t true. Big publishers have to buy very carefully, and they can’t afford to take the risks that the independents can. They also are in the business of making money, so if something’s out of fashion right now (as, alas, short stories are) they won’t touch it with a shitty stick, no matter how much the commissioning editor loves it.

There is an answer to be found, but it’s not going to happen. People who are in a position to support the small presses often choose not to because of some of the reasons outlined above, and with thousands upon thousands of zines available, coming and going with distressing regularity, often what a reader looks for is longevity – something they can begin reading, safe in the knowledge that it won’t vanish in three months time.

That or you just get a famous author with a huge fanbase to endorse your publication. Which as we all know is child’s play, right?


Why, yes. I am still waiting for a response from Stephen King…

GDJ: You seem to be quite involved in the BSFA and Eastercon. What attracts you to these, and do they help with your job as editor?

TT: It’s all smoke and mirrors. I’m not as involved as it seems.

I’d been meaning to join the BSFA for several years, but you know how these things slip. I finally got my arse in gear in January, so I’ve only actually been a member a couple of months. I even successfully failed to attend Eastercon this year, as I’d previously arranged to meet up with some friends on an arbitrarily-chosen Saturday which eventually turned out to be a ludicrously-early Easter.

Hopefully they’ll help with my job of editor at some point, but these things take time.

GDJ: What plans do you have for this year, in Pantechnicon or SF in general?

TT: The first Pantechnicon Anthology is due out later this year, with all-new stories for which we’ll actually be paying money!

This is a huge step forward for Pantechnicon. It’s always been the magazine’s goal to find and promote new writing talent, but also to work toward our goal of becoming able to pay those authors who we publish.

Outside of Pantechnicon I attended Alt.Fiction in Derby, catching up with friends and making new ones, and I should be at FantasyCon later in the year. I also maintain a blog which features regular advice and tips for new writers.

Finally, I’ll be reading a lot, and keeping an eye on the competition…

GDJ: Thanks for taking part.

TT: You’re welcome.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Roadrider Reviews

Two more reviews of Jupiter XX have appeared, both with nice things to say about Roadrider.

The review at Computer Crowsnest reads:

Returning to the magazine, 'Roadrider' by Gareth D. Jones concludes a trilogy of stories concerning the aftermath of an unspecified collapse of society where a road-making machine cuts its way through villages and towns of a community. The relatively simple people are astounded at the appearance of the road and it is the young, spurred on by curiosity, who decide to investigate.

In this part of the story, the boys reach the conclusion to discover the identity of the road-maker. However, it's not the end which is important, it is the journey. Jones has created a certain ambience with this work, almost quaint in nature, which is compelling enough for one to want to read more. I would certainly suggest that if you have missed the previous 'Road' stories then it might be worth looking at the purchase of back copies.

That's the first time I've been referred to as Jones!

Over at Whispers of Wickedness the reviewer writes:

Gareth D Jones’ Roadmaker series continues with Roadrider, self-contained enough to be enjoyed – and understood – on its own, but a neat episode in a larger tale. Again, an easy-to-read yarn that hammers along at a cracking pace, it contains a satisfying mix of humour, imagination and a cast of affable characters.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Latest 'Zine News

There's now a new website for Neon magazine, which I shall update in my side bar.

Also today the new issue #7 of Pantechnicon is available to download.