Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elephant on the Road

On the blog The Elephant Forgets, Richard Horton has an impresively comprehensive roundup of the year's short fiction. In his review of Jupiter he calls the Roadmaker series 'mostly enjoyable'.

Excellent. I mostly enjoyed writing them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Year of Translations

It’s been a good year for translations – particularly Spanish. I had three pieces of flash fiction in Efimeras again this year, and four reprinted in Breves No Tan Breves and Quimicamente Impuro.

That’s the only translations published this year but I’ve had several more accepted that should appear early next year:

Inside Every Succesful Man - Intercom SF - Italian
Roadmaker - Bli Panika - Hebrew
A Few Good Men - La Idea Fija - Spanish
Launch - Quimicamente Impuro - Spanish
Frozen - Breves No Tan Breves - Spanish
Roadmaker - Catarsi - Catalan

I’ve posted 2 Scottish Gaelic translations of my own flash fiction this month and there are translations into Scots, Manx and Cornish under way, to be followed by Welsh and Irish.

Only about 6000 languages to go…

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Last Adam Again

Sneaking in just before the end of the year, my shortest story The Last Adam has been reprinted in Spanish in Quimicamente Impuro, this time with artwork by Salvador Dali.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Cat is Back

Reaccion Tardia, the Spanish translation of Delayed Reaction that first appeared in Efimeras in March has been reprinted in Quimacamente Impuro today.

The End of Phantastes

Some bad news today, though it is the first bad news I've received for quite a while. I had an email from the editor of Portuguese fanzine Phantastes to say that they have ceased publication. This means that A Word in the Right Place will now not be appearing in Portuguese.


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Year of Flash Fiction

Little did I realise when joining the Flash Fictioneers in July 2007 what an impact it would have on my writing. I discovered that writing flash fiction is great fun, giving me the chance to experiment with form and style while using up all those little ideas floating round my head that otherwise would stay in orbit for a very long time.

I was posting them here on my blog and getting some nice comments on most of them, and didn’t really expect them to go much further. This year my flash fiction has really progressed, even though I haven’t been posting Friday Flash Fiction regularly since the summer.

• At Eastercon I co-hosted a flash fiction workshop with the other Fictioneers.
• We launched Illuminations, our flash fiction anthology in which 8 of my favourites were reprinted.
• During the workshop I wrote It’s A Sign which this month was published in VW Camper and Commercial, my third professional sale.
Travel by Numbers was intended as a FFF story, but I expanded it to just under a thousand words and sold it to Nature – my second professional sale.
• I sold The Ironic Man to the Pow!erful Tales anthology, due out in February.
Dog’s Best Friend will be appearing in a future issue of Jupiter.
Delayed Reaction is currently being considered by another editor – watch this space.
• My multilingual flash fiction project has led to me contacting a number of friendly translators and several of my stories are being translated into the languages of the UK and will be appearing here in the coming weeks.

That takes me on to translations, but I have so much to say about that too that I’ll need to write a separate post.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: An Dùsgadh Dàlach

This week the second of my flash fiction stories, Delayed Reaction, is translated into Scottish Gaelic.

An Dùsgadh Dàlach

Na staid suaineach, b’ fhada an creutair mòr dà-chlachach a’ mothachadh na thachair. Mu dheireadh thall, bha buille nan nèarbhan air a h-eanchainn faoi gheilt a ruigsinn leis an teachdaireachd uamhasach: gun deach’ a sròn a ghearradh gu tur dheth.

A’ mosgladh gu h-obann, leum i chun a spògan le gaoir cràidhte a chualas bhon a’ Mhuir Mheadhanach gu ruige A’ Mhuir Dhearg, a’ cur aognaidheachd ann an cridhe na h-uile a chuala e. Ruith gaineamh mar eas thar a cliathaich ‘s i a’ tionndadh ‘s a’ leum le gràs àlainn nan cat thar a’ bhior-stùc a b’ fhaisge, a’ dol à sealladh ann an teas ceòthach Fàsach an Sahara.

A’ Chrìoch.

Eadar-theangachadh / Translation: Niall Gordan

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recent Happenings

An amazing amount has happened this month with regard to translations and publications. Four stories were accepted for translation and two new translations appeared in Spanish, plus two Spanish reprints and my third professional publication, in VW Camper magazine. I’ve reached 14 publications for the year, equalling last year’s total and I still have an unprecedented 11 stories awaiting publication. I also spotted today that both Spanish reprints have received positive comments - which is always an added bonus.

Meanwhile I’m coming to the end of Michael Cobley’s enjoyable Seeds of Earth so I’ll have reviews of that and Interzone #219 ready for January’s SF Crowsnest. I’m currently perusing the list to see what’s available to review for next month.

My multilingual flash fiction project is going well, with the first Gaelic story on line last week and at least 2 more to come. Translations are currently underway in Cornish, Manx and Scots too. Irish and Welsh translations are still pending.

I received a rejection yesterday but wasn’t too bothered on two counts. First due to the astounding run of acceptances and publications this month, and second because a couple of days after I submitted this story I spotted a new anthology on Duotropes that it would be perfect for. I’ve excitedly submitted to it today.

As for writing anything new – hmmm. Don’t seem to have done much. I do have an idea for a new flash fiction story though.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Return to the Canals

The Gondolier makes another appearance today, this time in Spanish. El Gondolero originaly appeared in Efimeras last year and has today been reprinted in Quimicamente Impuro (Chemically Impure), the new Argentinian flash fiction webzine.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Road to Catalonia

Not the title of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby film, but news that Roadmaker is being translated into Catalan and should appear in the first issue of new magazine Catarsi in April.

That will be three languages for Roadmaker, having already been accepted by Hebrew magazine Bli Panika.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Flash Fiction: Fear a’ Ghondòla

This week I present a translation of my story The Gondolier, which was my first Friday Flash Fiction entry in July 2007. As far as we know, this is possibly the first science fiction short story in Scottish Gaelic:

Fear a’ Ghondòla

Sgolt sròn dorcha mo ghondòla slighe rèidh tro uisgeachan ciùine nan sruth-chlaisean. Bu mhath a bha an culaidh slìom seo air m’ obair a dhèanamh fad iomadh bliadhna, a’ giùlan luchd-siubhail tro sheòlaidean-uisge na cathrach fo làmh-stiùiridh mo shinnsrean.

Bha a’ ghrian a’ dol fodha thar na cathrach aosta, a’ fàgail uachdar an t-uisge mar ribean dubhadach na laighe eadar na togalaichean clach-ghaineamhach cuimire. Ghabh mi tarraing-analach d’ osag fhionnar an fheasgair.

An robh àite na b’ àille na cathair annasach seo nan sruth-chlaisean? Mar a chaidh am bàta gu socair a-steach gu caladh, stad mi gus amharc suas le sonas air ciaradh speuran Mhàrs.

A’ Chrìoch.

Eadar-theangachadh / translation: Niall Gordan

You can read this story in English in the Illuminations anthology, or in Spanish as El Gondolero on the Efimeras webzine.

Coming up in the next couple of months I have more stories in Gaelic, plus Cornish and Scots. I'm still working on Irish, Manx and Welsh.


Two publications within a day - four in one month; both new records for me. My flash fiction story It's A Sign, that I originaly wrote at the Eastercon flash fiction workshop, appears today in VW Camper & Commercial.

My family have three campervans between them, so VW & SF is an ideal combination!

Return to the Mare Inebrium

The Mare Inebrium is a wonderful spaceport bar where anything can, and quite often does, happen. It was created by Dan Hollifield, the editor of Aphelion and has been featured in numerous stories over the past few years. My first small contribution to the Mare Inebrium universe was Ten Years at the Bar that featured in Aphelion’s tenth anniversary issue in April 2007. It was translated into Spanish as Diez Anos en el Bar and appeared in Efimeras in June 2007.

It’s just been republished in Breves No Tan Breves, the new Spanish flash fiction webzine from Argentina. This is my 12th publication of the year (including translations and reprints), achieving my annual goal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Latest BSFA Mailing

The latest BSFA magazines arrived this weekend and included the third Special Editions booklet. This one contains three stories from recent Elastic Press anthologies, two of which I’ve read. At the end of each story there are a couple of quotes from reviews – including a quote from my review of The Turing Test.

I feel all important now. :o)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Translations and Publications

No sooner has Spanish flash fiction webzine Efimeras come to an end, than a trio of new webzines appear:

Rafagas Parpadeos for stories up to 39 words

Quimicamente Impuro between 40 and 149 words

Breves No Tan Breves from 150 to 750 words.

I immediately sent off 2 of my stories – Launch and Frozen - and they were accepted in record time. That will take my total of Spanish stories up to 9 when they appear. The new webzine have also agreed with Efimeras to reprint some of their stories, so El Gondolero, Reaccion Tardia, El Ultimo Adan and Dios Anos an el Bar will be reprinted too.

The Catalan SF society Ter-Cat have launched their new fanzine Catarsi and plan to publish their first issue in April. I've already sent in a submission.

Meanwhile over at Murky Depths there’s a special 3 for 2 offer on the first 3 issues. If you missed them along with Looking In, Looking Out that received several positive comments then they’re definitely worth picking up.

My multilingual flash fiction project is also steadily making progress with contacts now established with speakers of various languages. Still,let me know if you can help.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


It’s that time of year again when I start compiling my list of favourite stories of the year. I have 14 so far – stories that I’ve found entertaining, enjoyable, touching or just fantastic. I’m trying to whittle this down to a shorter list to nominate for the BSFA award.

For the first time ever I’ve actually read some novels that were published this year so I may nominate one of them too. I’m usually reading books that are up to 50 years old.

I’ve had five stories published this year too, four in the Roadmaker series published in Jupiter and Travel by Numbers in Nature, should you fancy nominating any of them.

Not that I’m kidding myself into thinking they have much of a chance. Jupiter is a small press magazine so presumably doesn’t have as great a circulation as some magazines. Nature has a circulation in the hundreds of thousands, but how many of those readers are also BSFA members? It may seem unfair that good stories from some venues will be overlooked (and I’m not talking about my own stories here), but that’s just demographics. Awards that rely on nominations will naturally receive more nominations for publications with higher circulations. The alternative is an award decided by judges, but this is equally unfair as it depends entirely on their personal choice. I’m sure when you see my list of favourite stories at the end of the year you won’t have liked half of them.

I guess it’s best to be philosophical about awards. If at some point in the future I ever receive one, I’m sure I won’t be worried about how it was decided. So I’ll put in my nominations and see if many others agree with my choices.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Multilingual Flash Fiction

Six of my flash fiction stories have now appeared in Spanish, and as I mentioned a while ago I’m also hoping to have one published in Catalan in the near future. As you may know I’m half Welsh, so for a while I’ve been looking into Welsh SF markets in the hope that one of my stories could be translated into Welsh. I’ve drawn a blank on that front, but I haven’t given up.

Instead I’ve been inspired to launch a new mulitilungual flash fiction project.

If there’s no Welsh SF market, then I’m sure I can find someone to translate one of my flash fiction stories and post it on this site. Partly for fun, partly for my own satisfaction, but also to see what interest there is in Welsh SF.

Then I started thinking about other languages native to the British Isles. Is there any SF published in Cornish, Irish, Manx, Scots or Scottish Gaelic?

The answer seems to be no in each case.

So I’ll find someone to translate and post flash fiction in all of those languages here on The Science of Fiction.

I’ve already made some progress in contacting interested translators, but if you speak any of those languages and fancy translating a short story to appear here, then please contact me. Equally if you have any information about SF markets in any of those languages, let me know.

This Friday will see my return to Friday Flash Fiction, with what is possibly the first ever science fiction short story to appear in Scottish Gaelic.

Don’t miss it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Spanish Double

Spanish flash fiction ezine Efimeras came to an end this week with a bumper posting of its final five issues. Issue #135 is the last and had a touching editorial consisting of a single word: 'gracias'.

Issue #132 includes Paralelismos, the translation of Parallels.

Issue #134 includes El nuevo campo de fuerza del Emperador, the Spanish version of The Emporer's New Forcefield that you can read in the Illuminations anthology.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Sign Soon

Publication of my flash fiction story 'It's A Sign' has been brought forward by an issue and will now appear in the January edition of VW Camper & Commercials magazine. I've seen the proofs and it looks fantastic - a full page illustrated spread with excellent graphics. I won't have long to wait to get my hands on a copy either. It's due to be published in the next week or so.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A New Continent

My first professionaly published story A Few Good Men that appeared in Cosmos last year has been accepted by Argentine webzine La Idea Fija. This will be my first foray into South America, but my 7th story in Spanish.

The 'zine is planning to change format next year so I'll be appearing in their final issue in the spring.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Book Review: Perfect Circle by Carlos J Cortes

In the middle of Africa an ancient yet advanced artefact is discovered far beneath the Earth’s surface and Paul Reece, heir to a huge mining corporation, leads the mission to uncover its mysteries. ‘Perfect Circle’ is an engrossing adventure that mixes ancient mysticism and philosophy with modern business and politics, intriguing characters and interesting relationships, mining technology and social observation. It’s Cortes’ first novel and I’m suitably impressed.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Magazine Review: Murky Depths #6

In between receiving issues of ‘Murky Depths’ I always forget quite what the magazine is like. This means that every time I open the packet and pull out a new issue I’m stunned again at the vibrancy of its production. Full colour cover, glossy, high quality paper throughout, a rich medley of artistic styles, the clean and professional layout and that subtle smell of quality.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Second World by Eddy Shah

Set in the year 2044 when the virtual reality ‘Second World’ is indistinguishable from real life a la ‘The Matrix’ and the American President’s virtual avatar has been kidnapped, this book is surprisingly not science fiction. It’s a thriller, which gave me pause to wonder how a thriller writer’s treatment of the subject would differ from an SF author’s.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.