Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Next Novel

I now have a 1500 word outline of my next novel, having taken note of various pieces of advice on actually making some proper plans this time. This is great save for one question:

When am I ever going to get time to write it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Listen to This

My first story to be podcast is now available from ClonePod. It was a strange but enjoyable experience hearing somebody else reading my work aloud.

Listen along to Inside Every Succesful Man, which will also be appearing in Italian on Intercom SF later this year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Some good news today to help me recover from the 2 rejections earlier this week. I’m very pleased that my flash fiction piece The Ironic Man has been accepted by Peryton Publishing for inclusion in their POW!erful Tales anthology of superhero stories due out in February 2009.

That's my first publication scheduled for next year, though I'm still expecting another eight this year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Magazine Musings

Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Chris Beckett’s collection The Turing Test (review pending), I was very please to discover that Interzone #218 contains not one but three new Beckett stories. There’s also an in-depth interview with him as well as an interview with Founding Flash Fictioneer Gareth L Powell.

Coming up next month will be Jupiter XXII, containing the last of my Roadmaker tales: Roadbuilder.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Nays in Three Days

Like the proverbial Number 9 bus, three rejections arrived in quick succession. Two were form rejections, which are bad enough, and both of them were from postal submissions, which somehow makes it even worse after the extra effort compared to email subs.

The third was much more cheering though. It was from a small-press anthology and wasn’t just the usual ’didn’t fit current editorial needs’. Here are a few of the comments that dragged me back from the doldrums:

...it was a very good story, and this was the most difficult editorial call I've had to make so far...

I really enjoyed your writing and I think the anthology would benefit if I could find a way to include some of your work.

That made everything seem more positive again.

I need to adjust my expectations somewhat now. I’ve decided to set myself higher goals in terms of the markets I’m going to submit to. This may mean in the short term that there’ll be more rejections, but I’ll know that anything that gets accepted has met more stringent editorial requirements. I’ll either improve as a result, or never have any more stories accepted. I’m hoping for the former.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Domain

In another bold technological step, I've transferred this blog to my new domain: www.garethdjones.co.uk. The old blogger adress will still redirect here, but any new bookmarks, RSS feeds etc should be to the new address.

Sharing the Glory

I'm very proud to be have been part of the Whispers of Wickedness Review Team, who collectively, under the guidance of Peter Tennant, have won the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Non-Fiction.

I can't claim too much credit for this as I only wrote six reviews on the site, but I can still share some of the glory.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: Grammar

As predicted, inspiration struck last week so that I have a little tale to share with you for the first time in several weeks:

Grammar will be appearing in the 2011 Daily Flash anthology from Pill Hill Press.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Double Roadmaker Review

A new review has appeared at SF Site dealing with Jupiter XX and XXI:

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.

There is a danger that the stories are becoming a bit unweildy due to their huge scope, but this will all be tidied up nicely in Roadbuilder, due in Jupiter XXII next month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weekly Report

Well, I call it weekly, but actually it’s no such thing. Just a random selection of what I’ve been up to recently.

I’ve finished Chris Beckett’s collection ‘The Turing Test’ in the past week. This was launched at the same time as the ‘other’ Gareth’s collection from Elastic Press last month. I couldn’t make the launch as I was at a wedding, but now I would have liked to have talked to Chris too. Though of course, had I been there I would still have yet to have read his book and therefore wouldn’t have had much to say about it.

You see why time travel would be so useful?

So now I’m on to Paul McCauley’s ‘The Quiet War’, having sandwiched Concept Sci Fi #2 in between.

I started work on the penultimate section of the Roadmaker novel this weekend, after a fortnight off for editing and catching up with reviews. The previous section has gone off to my Orbiter writing group to be mauled.

I even wrote a 300 word story that will appear this Friday after inspiration struck unaccountably.

Who knows what else may occur?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Relevant Fiction: Fluctuations

All this talk of the CERN experiment, and Neil Beynon’s post on the subject in particular, has reminded me of my 2005 story Fluctuations. That dealt with the dire consequences of the European Hadron Laboratory investigating the fundamental nature of the Universe. I have to say it’s a story I’m especially pleased with, and it got a great review too.

See what you think.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Say what?

In the new issue of Concept SciFi, Gary Reynolds offers some useful tips on how to write realistic dialogue.

This is something I always struggle with. I used to write stories entirely devoid of dialogue to get around the problem. When I'm writing a story I spend far longer working on the dialogue than on other sections of prose. Yet I've had several people comment, both in forums about published stories, in rejection letters from editors and in reviews, on how they enjoyed my dialogue. So it's worth spending time getting to grips with it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review: Incandescence by Greg Egan

If someone were to ask you to recommend a book for a first-time reader of science fiction, this would not be it. However if you love far-future mind-bending concepts then Greg Egan is your man. Like all of his other novels, ‘Incandescence’ is not short of fabulous ideas with cutting-edge physics to back them up.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Book Review: Celebration - 50 Years of the BSFA

‘Celebration’ is a wonderful-looking anthology with seventeen new stories commemorating the 50th anniversary of the British Science Fiction Association. The cover art by Vincent Chong is certainly eye-catching and the stories are from some of the UK’s best known genre authors.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Permutation City by Greg Egan

I must say the new issue covers look rather smart, in a minimalist kind of way. Greyscale with yellow writing, you don’t really get the full effect unless you have the whole set. Which I do of course.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Magazine Review: Midnight Street #11

‘Midnight Street’ is doing rather well for itself, having been recommended in three categories for the British Fantasy Awards this year. It publishes SF, fantasy and horror stories in an A4 format with a matte coloured cover and B&W internal illustrations. The non-fiction includes book reviews, interviews and editorials. Of these I particularly enjoyed the interview with Andrew Hook of Elastic Press who discusses the joys and challenges of writing and publishing. There’s also a single poem that as usual went over my head. The bulk of the magazine is devoted to nine short stories:

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: The Last Theorem by Arthur C Clarke & Fred Pohl

Ranjit is a maths student at a University in Sri Lanka, where the high and lows of his life form a backdrop to his obsession with solving Fermat’s last theorem. As a backdrop to this are regular updates on the world’s steadily worsening news, a depressing state of affairs that has an effect not only on Ranjit but also on the Grand Galactics, a race of almost omnipotent beings who have taken it upon themselves to keep order in the Galaxy. As in so many other tales, they decide humanity needs to be wiped out. But what an endlessly entertaining tale Clarke and Pohl have woven out of these threads with a humour that reminded me of Pohl’s ‘Gateway’. It’s a story that often reminded me of other classic novels, but at the same time highlighted how those same themes can be used with verve and originality.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Roadmaker Map

Next month the final episode in the Roadmaker saga will appear in Jupiter magazine. Roadbuilder will bring the tale to a satisfactory conclusion, though of course the Roadmaker novel is well under way.

Those of you who have been following the story will know that the Road is getting rather long and the stories are full of place names and a huge number of characters. I've had to keep quite a lot of notes to help me keep track, and thought they might be useful for you too. To start with, here's my Roamdaker map. It's not great - I drew it on MS paint. It's also not to scale, but it gives an idea of what's where.

I'll put up some other useful references when I've tidied them up a bit.

Hmm, can't get it to display any bigger. Any suggestions?

Don't worry, I've found out what to do. You can view the map here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Another Favourable Review

Another belated review of Murky Depths #1 has appeared, at the UK SF Review website. Of Looking In, Looking Out it says:

Looking In, Looking Out written by Gareth D. Jones is an unorthodox piece, set across a double-page spread, read anti-clockwise in chunks of days. In centre there is a neat bit of art of a baby in front of a planet which reminded me in part of the film 2001.

Each day text is in the form of a report from an alien on his attempted communcation with humans on Earth. An easy read, which packs a not so obvious sad ending when it’s realised just what the alien is communicating with, and why communication ends.

The layout and presentation, and the diary form of the story makes it a compelling read; a truly memorable story.

Monday, September 01, 2008

August Poll Results

I suspect my small sample is not statistically significant, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Space Opera was the most popular type of SF, with 20 % of the votes.

Cyberpunk and science fantasy tied second with 12% each.

The only category to receive no votes was TV / Movie tie-ins. Is that really true, or are people just unwilling to admit it? I read all the Dr Who books by the time I was 12, and a few of the early Star Trek books, up to about no.12 of the original series. The only Star Wars book I read was Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which pre-dated the other spin-offs by several years. Oh, and the Han Solo books. Those were the days…