Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year of Publications

The final tally is in – a total of 38 publications this year. I am amazed. Last year was my previous best at 16 publications. This year’s total includes:

7 flash ficiton stories
2 twitter ficton stories
21 translations
15 languages – 11 of them new this year
My 1st anthology appearance
4 reprints
2 reprinted translations
1 non-fiction article

I suspect I won’t be outdoing that next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Year of Writing

The biggest milestone in my writing this year – in fact the biggest of my writing carrer so far – was the completion of my first novel Roadmaker. I wrote ‘The End’ in March, then after much editing and revising sent it to its first agent in September. After that I started work on my second novel Gap Years and I’m over 10,000 words in so far.

The next biggest project has been Quivira, the story I’m writing in collaboration with Jonathan C Gillespie. It’s just about novella length and almost finished.

Aside from that I’ve written one flash fiction story, two microfiction stories for Twitter and my first three comic scripts. That’s a lot less wordage than usual on shorts, but it’s more than compensated for by the novel-length work.

I still have 5 short story ideas awaiting , so one of them will be starting off once Quivira is wrapped up. Plenty more to do next year then.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Favourite Stories of 2009

Yes, it's that time again already. By my count I've read 18 SF magazines and 8 anthologies this year. Most of the anthologised stories were from previous years though. I gave up trying to narrow this list down to a top ten a couple of yeas ago, and this year my list of favourites amounts to 13, presented here in chronological order:



Out Of Time by Jack Westlake – Murky Depths #8

Come-From-Aways by Tony Pi – On-Spec #76

Rescue Stories by Andrew West - Focus Fiction Special

Our Man in Herrje by Andrew Knighton – Jupiter #24

Ghosts in the Machine by Ian Whates – The Gift of Joy

Dusting Tycho by Vera Sepulveda – Jupiter #25

Silence and Roses by Suzanne Palmer – Interzone #223

Sublimation Angels by Jason Sanford – Interzone #224

The Festival of Tethselem by Chris Butler – Interzone #224

Palimpsest by Charles Stross – Wireless

White Wall by Tim Nickels – Midnight Street #13

Funny Pages by Lavie Tidhar – Interzone #225

Radio Man, Frequency Woman by Alex Kurnow – Murky Depths #10

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

International Writing

I've just got the latest issues of Albedo 1 (OK, it's from October - I'm a little behind). The editorial talks about the lack of opportunities for international authors to be translated into English and outlines a brilliant plan to rectify this.

The editors have already been in contact with magazines from abroad to arrange an annul mutual story-swap. In the case of Albedo 1, the winner of their Aeon Award will be translated into 4 other langauges and published by the other participating magazines. Albedo 1 will be publishing translations from Dutch and French so far. The organisers are hoping to widen this by including other national awards, or where none exist, a story chosen by the editors of a country's 'national magazine'.

What a brilliant idea! You may have noticed that I'm really excited already about translations. I shall be offering all of my knowledge on the subject to the Albedo 1 team.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pow!erful Tales Reviewed

Superhero anthology Pow!erful Tales has been reviewed at the prestigious Tangent Online site. Of my story The Ironic Man, the reviewer says:

a cute microstory about market branding and how difficult it is to come up with a superhero name that really captures the essence of the hero.


It's only a brief mention, but then it's only a brief story.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Novelette Milestone

Progress on my new novel Gap Years has been glacially slow up to now. This weekend I managed over 2,000 words though and crept past the 7,500 word barrier, into Novelette territory. I'll be off work for 10 1/2 days over the Christmas / New Year break. Is another 10,500 words possible? One can only hope.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review Archive: Novels

40 Years by Bernd Struben

A
Absorption by John Meaney
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Austral by Paul McAuley

B
Barsk: The Elephant's Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Breaking Point by John Macken
Blood and Iron by Tony Ballantyne

C
Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Clementine by Cherie Priest
The Coincidence Engine by Sam Leith
Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi 
Coming Home by Jack McDevitt
The Commons by Matthew Hughes 
The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo 
The Corporation Wars: Insurgence by Ken MacLeod
The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod
The Corporation Wars: Emergence by Ken MacLeod
The Cusanus Game by Wolfgang Jeschke

D
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
Dark Run by Mike Brooks
Death's End by Cixin Liu 
Diaspora by Greg Egan
Distress by Greg Egan
The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin

E
The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker
Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson
Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson
Everfair by Nisi Shawl

F
Final Inquiries by Roger McBride Allen
Flinx Transcendant by Alan Dean Foster

Fragment by Warren Fahy
Freefall by Mercurio D Rivera
From Darkest Skies by Sam Peters

G
Gardens of the Sun by Paul McCauley
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

H
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I
Incandescence by Greg Egan
The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds

J
Jacaranda by Cherie Priest 


Killing Is My Business by Adam Christopher

L
Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson
The Last Theorem by Arthur C Clarke & Frederick Pohl
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
Life, the Universe & Everything by Douglas Adams
The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
Limit, Part 1 by Frank Schätzing
Limit, Part 2 by Frank Schätzing

M
Made to Kill by Adam Christopher
Mammoths of the Great Plains by Eleanor Arnason
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett

N
The Nemesis List by R.J. Frith
New Model Army by Adam Roberts


O
The One-Eyed Man by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Our Memory Like Dust by Gavin Chait

P
Patient Zero by Jonathan MaberryPatrimony by Alan Dean Foster
Perfect Circle by Carlos Cortez
Permutation City by Greg Egan
Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons
The Prisoner by Carlos J Cortes
Provenance by Ann Leckie

Q
The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
The Quiet War by Paul McCauley
Quofum by Alan Dean Foster

R
Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts
Red Claw by Philip Palmer
Resonance by John Meaney
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

S
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Second World by Eddie Shah
Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams
The Soul Consortium by Simon West-Bulford
Starship Fall by Eric Brown

T
The Tel Aviv Dossier by Lavie Tidhar & Nir Yaniv
Teranesia by Greg Egan
The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts
The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
Time Siege by Wesley Chu
Troika by Alastair ReynoldsTrouble Magnet by Alan Dean Foster
Twisted Metal by Tony Ballantyne

U

V

W

X

Y

Z
Zendegi by Greg Egan



Monday, December 14, 2009

Review Archive: Anthologies

 A
After the Sundial by Vera Nazarian
Anthology of European SF by Cristian Tamas (Ed)

B
The Best of Larry Niven
The Best Japanese Science Fiction by John L. Apstolou & Martin H. Greenberg (Eds)

C
Can and Can'tankerous by Harlan Ellison
Celebration by Ian Whates (Ed)
Celebration - A Taster by Ian Whates (Ed)
Crises and Conflicts by Ian Whates (Ed)

E
Eclipse One by Jonathan Strahan (Ed)
Eclipse Two by Jonathan Strahan (Ed)
The Edge of the Country by Trevor Denyer
Engineering Infinity by Jonathan Strahan (Ed)

F
Fun with Rainbows by Gareth Owens

G
The Gift of Joy by Ian Whates
Go Forth and Multiply by Gordon Van Gelder (Ed)
Grand Crusades: The Early Jack Vance Volume Five

H
Hard-Luck Diggings by Jack Vance

I
Invisible Planets: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi
Invisible Planets by Ken Liu (Ed)

J
Journeys by Ian R Macleod

K

L
The Last Reef by Gareth L Powell
Luminous by Greg Egan

M
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk by Sean Wallace (Ed)
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures by Sean Wallace (Ed)
The Martian Chronicles - The Complete Edition by Ray Bradbury

N
Now We Are Ten by Ian Whates (Ed)

O
Oceanic by Greg Egan

P
The Peacock Cloak by Chris Beckett

Q

R

S
Shine by Jetse De Vries (Ed)
So Far, So Near by Matt Coward
Steampunk'd by Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg (Eds)
Subtle Edens by Allen Ashley (Ed)

T
The Turing Test by Chris Beckett

U
Up the Bright River by Philip José Farmer

V
Voices by Colin P. Davies

W
The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu
Wastelands 2: More Stories of Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams (Ed)
Wireless by Charles Stross
With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow
The World and the Stars by Chris Butler (Ed)
Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

X

Y



Friday, December 11, 2009

Reviewing my Reviews

As the number of reviews I've written approaches 100, I've realised that my review archive is turning into an unmanageably long list. I plan to split the archive into 3 different pages - for magazines, novels and anthologies. I'll then list the entries alphabeticaly by title to make them easier to find amongst the crowd.

The reviews secton on the right hand side bar will still contain a list of the most recent reviews, but I'll also add them to the archive as I create them, rather than after they scroll off the bottom.

This should all happen over the next few days.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Four Stories


Brazilian publisher Lusiadas have published their two flash fiction e-anthologies, I Lusiadas in Poruguese and I Antologio Luzidoj in Esperanto.


Both contain my stories The Gondolier and The Emporer's New Forcefield. That makes 4 published languages for Emporer and 8 for The Gondolier, though it's 26 languages in total for the latter.


I'm up to 17 published languages now - 13 of them new this year, and a grand total of 38 publications this year.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Entertaining Rejection

I received a rejection from a foreign-language magazine this weekend, with this comforting note:


Don't worry, our decisions are very unpredictable, depending on mood, weather, some people being outside for a cigarette etc.


They have asked me to submit again though. :o)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Magazine Review: Murky Depths #10


Many genre magazines fail to make it into double figures, so it’s especially exciting to see Murky Depths hit the magic tenth issue. With the launch of a writing competition that stretches to issue 14 and with plenty more artwork and stories already commissioned for forthcoming issues, it looks like the publishers plan to be around for a while yet.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Gardens of the Sun by Paul McCauley


Following on from The Quiet War, Paul McCauley traces the aftermath of the devastating events of that novel through the eyes of the same half-dozen characters we came to know last time. As Gardens Of The Sun progresses we’re taken on a grand tour of the solar system, from Earth to Pluto and almost everywhere in between. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable story and seems more relaxed and elegant than its predecessor while showing the same adherence to scientific realism.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Book Review: So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams


After three volumes of manic chaos and rambling anecdotes that are the most hilarious books I’ve ever read, we come to this the fourth volume and a distinct change of style. Neil Gaiman’s introduction to this new edition explains some of the reason behind this – the darker and more sedate tone, Arthur Dent’s love story and far more sentimentality than previously seen. Is it as much fun as previous volumes? The simple answer is no. But it’s still brilliantly witty and inventive.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


What has always struck me about Ray Bradbury’s short stories is the lyrical quality of his prose. The sentences seem to ramble, but always with purpose, always with poetic grace. Introductions by several authors make similar comments, and the introductions by Ray Bradbury himself display the same enthralling style.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams






Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: The Edge of the Country by Trevor Denyer


Trevor Denyer’s debut short story collection has an evocative watercolour landscape on the cover, one that makes you think of that mysterious place suggested by the title. This sets the scene for the entire collection: stories that take pace on the edge of our reality. For the most part the stories occur in mundane settings, where strange things happen, or stranger things live. People are haunted by memories of the past, and premonitions of the future as Trevor Denyer’s finely-crafted prose invokes captivating images of poignancy.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.




Note: This review should have appeared in last month's SF Crowsnest but the email was lost. :o(

Magazine Review: Interzone #224


Interzone #224 boasts another fabulous cover this time, again by Adam Tredowski whose work artwork has impressed me on previous issues. Internal artwork is also becoming more prominent, with full-page or even double-page spreads to accompany most stories. And what of those stories?


read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.




Note: This review should have appeared in last month's SF Crowsnest, but the email was lost. :o(

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hungarian Review

A review of Galaktika #236 has appeared on this SF Blog. The reviewer includes my story A Few Good Men as one of the two best stories of the issue. Still not seen my contributor copy, but I'm hoping it will arrive soon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spanish Reprint

My 100 word story The Emporer's New Forcefield, first published in Spanish in Efimeras, has been reprinted in Breves No Tan Breves.

All of my stories from Efimeras have now been reprinted, but there are still two new stories due to appear in Breves No Tan Breves.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Midnight Street Transforms

The latest issue of Midnight Street has arrived, and is to be the last print issue. From next year the magazine will be produced in PDF format, but editor Trevor Denyer is also planning to release an annual print anthology. This will contain original stories not seen in the PDF version.

I'll be reviewing this final print issue in due course.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Few Good Men in Hungary


Sooner than I expected, A Few Good Men has appeared in Hungarian magazine Galaktika.

This is the third langguage for this story - the Spanish translation appeared in La Idea Fija in June. Hungarian is the 15th language I've been published in and the 11th new language this year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Multi-Language Translations

I've spent quite a bit of time on the Unilang website recently, where I've found links to other language sites and friendly translators and proofreaders. Today I discovered someone looking for people to translate The Owl and the Pussycat. I visited their website, where the poem has been translated into 80 langauges so far - an epic undertaking that makes The Gondolier's 26 languages seem much less significant.

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Short Story Sale

Another Friday Flash Fiction idea that grew beyond its original bounds - Relativity has been through more incarnations than any other story I've written. This week I sold it to Escape Velocity, the hard SF magazine from Adventure Books of Seattle whose UK co-editor lives in Chester. It's due for publication some time next year.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Gondolier in Francoprovençal

My ongoing quest to discover new worldwide SF markets has led me to find out about many of the regional or minority languages spoken in Europe. One of those is Francoprovençal, spoken by 150,000 people in France, Italy and Switzerland, according to Ethnologue. Like many of these minority languages, I didn't find a publishing outlet in Francoprovençal, but I did find a friendly translator. So, here is The Gondolier in its 25th language:


Lo Gondolèro


Lo bot nè de ma gondola findet brâvamin les égues calmes dous canâs.
La jôya imbarcassion me sarvèsset depu bien de sèzons. Menâ pe le mans de mos anciens, l'ayet condu de rinches de monsus su los canâs de la citâ.
Le solè se couchâve su la viyi citâ. L'éga simblâve changia in na banda d'incra panchia intre los biôs imeûblos avoué you davans in pira. J'aspiri fôrtamin l'ar refredi dou devèssè.
O i ayet-o on qu'o fusse in indret plu biô que cela marviyeûza citâ de canâs? Dou tin que lo balancimin dou batiô s'amodurâve din son amarrajo, je chômi na brèza per apinchi lo ciar dou mè de Mâr à bôr de nè.


Translated by Claude Longre

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gondolier Bibliography

Many of the translations of The Gondolier appear on this site rather than an official publication. This is mostly because many of the languages don't have any SF magazines, or even any literary magazines in some cases. Here's a complete bibliography of The Gondolier so far. I'll keep this up to date and add a link on the side bar.


Afrikaans - Afrifiksie
Basque – The Science of Fiction
Breton – The Science of Fiction
Catalan – MLN Languages
Cornish – The Science of Fiction
Danish - Under Submission
Dutch – The Science of Fiction
English - Illuminations
Esperanto – I Antologia Luzidoj
Francoprovençal - The Science of Fiction
French – The Science of Fiction
Galician - Nova Fantasia
German - Exodus
Glosa - The Science of Fiction
Greek – Ef Zin #15
Hebrew – The Science of Fiction
Hindi – Vigyan Katha
Indonesian- The Science of Fiction
Irish - The Science of Fiction
Italian - Intercom SF
Latin - The Science of Fiction
Latvian - The Science of Fiction
Ligurian - Genoves
Macedonian - The Science of Fiction
Manx - The Science of Fiction

Mirandes – Flores Mirandesas
Norwegain - The Science of Fiction
Portuguese – I Lusiadas
Romanian – SF Era
Romansch (Puter dialect) - The Science of Fiction
Russian – The Science of Fiction
Scots - The Science of Fiction
Scottish Gaelic - Cothrom
Serbian - SF-Serbia
Slovenian - Jashubeg en Jered
Spanish - Efimeras #124 and Quimicamente Impuro
Swedish – The Science of Fiction
Thai - The Science of Fiction
Ukrainian - The Science of Fiction
Welsh – The Science of Fiction

Monday, November 02, 2009

Book Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


The first time I read the Hitchhiker books there was a gap of several months between each volume. Every time I started a book I struggled to remember what was going on and how Arthur Dent, still in his dressing gown, had ended up in his current situation. The second time I read the series it was almost one after the other, yet I still had the same problem. Eventually, and certainly by the third reading, I realised it doesn’t really matter. Almost everything that happens to the characters is bizarre and inexplicable, yet somehow follows its own quirky internal logic.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Red Claw by Philip Palmer


Far in the future, mankind is ruled with an iron fist by a galaxy-spanning corporation that breeds soldiers, terraforms planets relentlessly and routinely commits genocide. Red Claw takes place on New Amazon, a planet of rampant jungle and insidious wildlife. Professor Richard Helms leads an expedition sent to explore and classify the wildlife before it is wiped out during the terraforming process. Philip Palmer doesn’t hold back on extravagant plot twists, bizarre alien biology and larger-than-life characters. At the risk of sounding cliched, it’s a roller-coaster ride: through destruction, intrigue, murder and chaos.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is one of those books that made such an impact on its release that it has become a movement as much as a book. The new thirtieth anniversary edition continues the quirkiness of the trilogy, featuring a badge, postcards and a DIY cover with a selection of stickers. For those new to the Hitchhiker phenomenon and now slightly puzzled, yes there are five volumes in the trilogy.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Anthology Delay

My second anthology appearance of the year has been delayed until next year. Quantum Genre on the Planet of Arts, an anthology of quantum genre stories, will now be appearing in April 2010. It will include a revised version of my story Fluctuations.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Year Acceptance

A Few Good Men, my first professional sale, has been accepted by long-running semi-pro Hungarian magazine Galaktika. The reply came just over 2 years after I submitted the story - a lesson in patience to all authors. No confirmed publication date yet, but it looks like a fantastic print magazine.

This is the third langauge for A Few Good Men, having already been translated into Spanish for Argentine webzine La Idea Fija.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Now Reading

This week I've finished Trevor Denyer's excellent debut collection The Edge of the Country, and read Jupiter XXVI, in which I particularly enjoyed David Conyers' The Octagon.

Today I've started on Paul McCauley's Gardens of the Sun, and after much translatlantic delay, my contributor copy of Pow!erful Tales finally arrived. It's a shiny-looking book with lots of atmospheric pencil drawings to accompany the superhero stories.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Further Spanish Translations

The Spanish translation of Up To My Neck In It is now on-line at Aurora Bitzine, with a couple of great illustrations to go with it. This is my ninth story in Spanish. Five of these have been reprinted, and another three stories accepted for translation and publication.

I also had an email from a different translator at Aurora Bitzine who is working on Roadmaker for a future issue. I submitted this months earlier and never heard back, but apparently they now have an extra translator so they seem to be going through their submissions backlog. Not sure when that will appear yet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Gondolier in Mirandes

The Gondolier has been translated into its 24th language: Mirandes, a language related to Portuguese. The translation, along with the original English, appears on the Mirandes community blog Froles Mirandesas.

Many of The Gondolier translations appear on this site rather than having been published externaly, so this story is my 13th officially published language, the 6th for The Gondolier, and my 75th publication all together!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Twitterfiction

My twitterfic Imagine is out on Thaumotrope today. Technically it was out yesterday, but due to time differences I didn't see it till today. Of course, it's shorter than this blog entry!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Latest Magazines

Jupiter XXVI: Isonoe is on its way, which I'm looking forward to. Of all the magazines I've read, Jupiter most closely matches my taste in stories.

Also out this week is the latest issue of Estronomicon, described this time as being darker than usual.

Go, read, and enjoy yourself!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two More Magazines Are Lost

Sad news for the genre magazine world this week, though this is the first I've reported for quite some time.

Web-based fiction mag Pantechnicon is to cease publication. The final issue will be in December. The site has been experiencing technical difficulties, so the final issue will appear on the website of Theaker's Quarterly Fiction.

Also coming to an end after 21 issues is Death Ray, the news stand genre magazine, as reported at SF Crowsnest.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Strict Guidelines

Standard manuscript format for writing fiction is well-defined and well-established, though many short fiction markets aren't too strict on the details. I was looking at formatting for screenplays at the weekend, and it's a hundred times more exacting. There are so many rules for font and alignment, depending on what you're writing! Luckily you can download free screenplay writing software that keeps it all straight for you. That's only the begining though. There's also an endless list of abreviations, conventions and other rules.

Now you're all wondering why I was looking into screenplay formatting, aren't you? Well, that's another story...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Intriguing Tagline

The audio stories published on Hypersonic Tales can now be accessed via podcast site such as HuffDuffer and PodCastAlley. The tagline for my story Up To My Neck In It is:

Speculative fiction story about sewage.


Now, who could resist that?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Shooting Stars

Rufus Balikind, the galaxy's greatest hunter, appears on Big Pulp today in the flash fiction story Shooting Stars.

I have 2 other short stories featuring the inestimable Mr Balikind. Hopefully they'll also appear on-line one day.

Foreign Market Update

Doug Smith has updated his Foreign Markets List this week. It now includes several of the markets that I've had stories published in recently. It was this website that got me hooked on the idea of translations and Doug has done a great job of keeping it up-to-date for several years.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Update from Brazil

The Lusiadas website has been updated with more information about their upcoming flash fiction e-anthologies. The Gondolier will be appearing in the Portuguese anthology I Lusiadas and in the Esperanto anthology I Antologio Luzidoj.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Reveiw: Wireless by Charles Stross


I stood next to Charles Stross at Eastercon a couple of years ago. He was signing books in the dealer hall. I didn’t know who he was until he walked away and I could see which books he’d signed. At that point I’d not read any of his work, so I was relieved that I’d not spoken to him and had to admit as much. I was very pleased therefore to be reading Wireless, the new short story collection that showcases his work with stories ranging from flash fiction to novella length.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Catalan Gondolier

Linguist Jim Morrison has arranged for The Gondolier to be translated into Catalan. You can read and listen to the translation over on his website. This is the 23rd language for The Gondolier, and the first translation you can listen to.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Books I’ve read more than once

The 30th anniversary editions of the Hitchhiker trilogy arrived yesterday, some of the few books that I’ve read more than once. There’s always so much else to read I rarely have time for a second reading. Here’s my list of novels I’ve read more than once.



Three Times

The Last Legionary Quartet – Douglas Hill
The Chronicles of Narnia
Lord of the Rings (age 11, 13 & 15)
The Hobbit “
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy vol. 1-4



Twice

The original 2 Dune trilogies (re-read after reading the prequels)
The original Foundation saga “
Dragonflight – Anne McCaffrey





How about you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not Writing

I haven't written any fiction for a week or more. A new job and attempting to finish refurbishing my new house have left me with no time or brain power.

I have managed to finish reading Charles Stross' collection Wireless and written a review for SF Crowsnest. I'm now reading Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles - The Complete Edition (750 pages!). Lined up next I have Interzone #224 and Philip Palmer's Red Claw, plus the latest re-issue of the Hitchhiker trilogy (in 5 parts).

Hopefully, normal writing service will resume shortly...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comic Art

I've found an artist to work on with my new 2-page comic script. He's working on the rough sketches as we speak, so I should get my first glimpse next week. It's a brilliant feeling to know your ideas are being brought to life this way. :o)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spanish Dozen

Up To My Neck In It, published last month in Hypersonic Tales, has been accepted by Spanish webzine Aurora Bitzine. No confirmed publication date yet, but this will be my 12th story in Spanish.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Travel to Galicia

My story Travel by Numbers that first appeared in Nature magazine last year has been translated into its fifth language. You can now read it in Galician on the website Nova Fantasia. That's my ninth new language this year.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: U gondola-pe

If you ask about artificial languages, or constructed, auxiliary or international languages as they're also known, most people will mention Esperanto as the most widely-spoken. There are others with equally long histories too, and each has its advantages. One such is Glosa, known as the most scientific language.

This is the Glosa translation of The Gondolier - its 22nd langauge.


U gondola-pe

Ex Gareth D Jones

U melano nasa de mi gondola ki glisa trans no-turba aqa de plu kanali. U glabronavi fo-funktio tem poli anua. Mode id pa fero plu viagia-pe epi plu aqa-via decivita per plu duce-manu de mi plu pre-parenta.

Intra paleo civita, u heli-kata sti feno u aqa u melano tinta banda inter plueleganti domi ex arena-li. Mi fo-spira u fresko aero de vespera.

Qe ali-lo habe ma kali de u-ci mira civita de plu kanali? Kron u navi kine dulcead id statio, mi pausa te vide ana kon hedo u kresce-skoto urani de Mars.

U fini



Translated by Nick Hempshall

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A New Begining

After a week or two of editing, critiquing and researching I have begun work on Gap Years. Current total 1200 words. That's more than 1% complete already. :o)

Meanwhile, my collaborative story with Jonathan C Gillespie is coming on apace. Around 9000 words now and the good thing is it gets longer when I'm not looking!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Two More Languages

Two of my flash fiction stories, The Gondolier and The Emporer's New Forcefield, are to be translated into Portuguese and published in the E-anthology Lusiadas. I'm especially pleased as my previous Portuguese translation never came to light when Phantastes magazine ceased publicacation.

The publishers, Lusiadas Editions, also work in the Esperanto field and are translating The Gondolier into Esperanto too. Not sure yet where that will end up, but this takes The Gondolier to 21 languages.

The Emporer's New Forcefield has also previously been published in Spanish, in Efimeras #134.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

End of the Road

That's it. The third and final edit of Roadmaker is complete. All that remains is to polish up the synopsis, which is a bit long and waffly. Then to submit it. I now feel a strange reluctance growing inside me. After all this time and effort do I really want to send it on its way, to risk rejection and misery? It's like your child's first day at school: you know it has to happen, but does it have to be yet?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Book Review: Oceanic by Greg Egan



Greg Egan is well known for his high-concept stories that extrapolate the future of humanity to extremes of biology, technology and time. His ability to wield maths and physics as literary tools is unparalleled. In the collection ‘Oceanic’ he demonstrates both of these attributes while continuing to create interesting characters who help us to comprehend the incomprehensible. Twelve stories previously published in ‘Asimov’s’ and ‘Interzone’ among others make up this sturdy volume.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Magazine Review: Murky Depths #9



Opening the envelope is always a treat when ‘Murky Depths’ arrives. I sat for several minutes just inhaling the odour. The fabulous wraparound cover by Leonardo M Giron takes several minutes of looking to pick out all the detail he’s crammed in. The art is based on Richard Calder’s graphic novel ‘Dead Girls’, which features in a couple of articles too, before we’re treated to the opening chapter of the novel. The artwork for the comic, again by Leonardo M Giron, is beautifully drawn and highly evocative, the characters’ expressions and attitudes captured with remarkable realism.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Fragment by Warren Fahy



When a boat-load of reality TV scientists arrive at remote Henders Island, they discover an ecosystem from their nightmares. Isolated for aeons, the life forms they discover are stranger than any aliens and are potently inimical to the rest of terrestrial life. Warren Fahy has done his homework on the subject and ‘Fragment’ is packed out with anatomical detail and plausible-sounding scientific theories to explain the fantastic creatures. This academic detail, though, is just one aspect of a fascinating book.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Magazine Review: Interzone #223



Following on from the Chris Beckett special a few issues back, issue #223 of ‘Interzone’ focuses on long-serving contributor Dominic Green. He features in the editorial, an interview and bibliography along with three of his stories. I think this is a nice feature, focusing on authors who have become a part of ‘Interzone’ history and I hope to see others featured in the future.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Editors: Steve Upham

Screaming Dreams is an independant press producing paper and ebooks in all the speculative genres. Editor Steve Upham also produces the ezine Estronomicon. To find out about both of these ventures, I tracked Steve down to deepest Wales where we chatted among the valleys.


GDJ: Can you tell us how you came to be running a small press imprint and a genre magazine?

SU: By accident really! Originally I wanted to pursue the artwork side of things and the SD website was setup as a personal homepage for my illustrations. Then along the way I got to know other artists and started to include a small showcase section on the site to display samples of their work too. From there I guess it was a natural progression to develop that further and the eZine idea was born, to feature the work of more artists.

I hadn't thought about including short stories in the eZine to begin with, but after attending WorldCon 2005 I started to get to know a lot of authors who seemed interested in submitting their work. So then Estronomicon took a different turn and became more of a fiction 'zine, but still retaining the artwork showcases in most issues.

Of course, it wasn't long before the authors (and readers) started to ask me if I would produce a print version of the magazine, but I didn't feel it was financially viable. But it did get me wondering about publishing paperback books, so I decided to give it a try and I haven't looked back since!


GDJ: The title ‘Screaming Dreams’ suggests you’re looking for perhaps darker stories, while Estronomicon always suggests Victorian SF to me. Do the titles reflect your reading preferences?

SU: It's actually a bit unfortunate that a lot of people think Screaming Dreams is just a horror publisher, as I also enjoy fantasy, science fiction, slipstream and humorous stories too. So the titles are probably not an ideal indication of my full preferences, but everyone seems to really like the SD name so I stuck with it.

The name Estronomicon is derived from the Welsh word 'estron' which means 'strange' (as I'm a Welsh-based publisher, I thought it would be nice to reflect that in the name). The rest of the title is inspired by the infamous Necronomicon, so the 'zine title means something like 'Book Of The Strange'. I thought this may be an appropriate description for the type of content that will be included.


GDJ: What is it you look for in a story when it lands in your in-box?

SU: Just something that's a little different or has in interesting storyline. I tend to like stories that are character-driven and build tension and suspense as they go along. As long as it's fairly well written and entertaining, that's the main thing for me.


GDJ: Do authors submit work relevant to the magazine or do you get completely random submissions?

SU: Most of the eZine submissions tend to be short horror or SF stories which are ideal, but I do get the occasional submission which makes me wonder if the author has actually read the submission guidelines! I think some authors will submit their work to every magazine out there in the hope it will get picked up, rather than carefully selecting the titles that are most suitable for their story.


GDJ: You produce both paper and e-books. What advantages does this offer and how do you decide which to produce for a certain book?

SU: Publishing paperback books is expensive, even doing short print runs using digital presses. So I'm limited to how many titles I can release each year in this format. E-books, on the other hand, are a great way for SD to expand the fiction titles available at little extra cost. So it makes sense for me to offer both types of books on the website.

How do I choose? I guess it's down to the submissions I receive, as some authors are willing to allow their work to be released as a free eBook for extra exposure, while others are obviously looking to earn royalties on a printed title. I think most authors would prefer to see their work in print, but it simply isn't possible for me to offer this to everyone as the funds for SD are very limited indeed!


GDJ: I hear you’ve been quite ill in the past year or so. How do you schedule your time to work on the ‘zine and the book imprint?

SU: The unexpected health issues have certainly had a big impact on my life, and obviously affected my plans for Screaming Dreams since then. As I haven't been able to work my day-job for the past year there's been little money coming in to help pay for the book printing, which makes things extremely difficult to say the least! But I'm doing my best to carry on regardless.

Although I'm not working, a lot of my time has still been taken up with hospital appointments and other things that need to be done, but the rest of the time has allowed me to carry on with the SD website, eZine and books over the past few months, so I have been making progress.


GDJ: What plans do you have for books and ‘zine in the next year or two?

SU: A lot will depend on how things develop with my health, so I can't say for certain yet. But if all goes well then the plan is to carry on publishing the next few book titles on my list and continue with the eZine as usual. So there are no major changes in mind for the next year or two, it's mainly just trying to catch up with my backlog of existing work.

After that, who knowS?!


GDJ: Thanks for your time.

SU: You are most welcome.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dog's Best Friend Reviewed

Jupiter has been reviewed at The Fix for the first time, and David Hebblethwaite has this to say about my contribution:

Rounding things off is “Dog’s Best Friend” by Gareth D. Jones. This is a very short piece (one page), attached to the universe of Jones’s “Roadmaker” stories, but it stands perfectly well on its own. It is a character study of Alf, who lives in a post-apocalyptic society, and would rather spend time with dogs than seek out human contact. The story is nicely effective within its limited parameters, and ends the magazine on a poignant and thoughtful note.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Anthologies

That's all I can say. Two anthologies that have got just beyond the 'I've got an idea...' stage. I may be involved somehow in both, assuming either of them progress any further. Admittedly, that's not much news, but I had to tell someone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Linked Stories

Several of my stories are set against the same backgrounds, though it’s not always obvious that they do. I never intended to do that, although there is a certain appeal in returning to a familiar setting.


The orbital habitat Astropolis is the setting for:

The Blind Collaborators - Aphelion
Travel by Numbers – Nature
Up to my Neck in it – Hypersonic Tales
Three AM – Golden Visions (Forthcoming)


The European Hadron Laboratory, based loosely on CERN, is the setting or background for:

Absolute Zero - Ennea
Fluctuations – Bewildering Stories
Turning Over a New Leaf – Aphelion

Turning Over a New Leaf was also set in Dan Hollifield’s Mare Inebrium universe, for Aphelion, along with Ten Years at the Bar.


My abandoned novel Galaxy’s Game, which sadly will never see the light of day, also shares a background with some of my stories, and obscure references to some of them were built into the storyline. I tried to resuscitate Galaxy’s Game recently, but it needs too much work to get it up to scratch. At least I know my writing has improved over the past five years. The stories that share it’s background are:

A Feast of Eyes – Static Movement
Blue Men - Friday Flash Fiction
The Alliterati – Illuminations


Finally, Rufus Balikind, the Galaxy’s greatest big-game hunter appears in three stories:

Shooting Stars – Big Pulp (Forthcoming)
Now You See Me - Friday Flash Fiction
Stone Quarry - Friday Flash Fiction

The latter is also a sequel to Delayed Reaction Illuminations, to be reprinted in Cat Tales.


My other 54 stories have nothing in common.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Novels

Roadmaker is in the final editing stages, though I have to admit I’m a bit weary of the task at the moment. I need a break so I can come back refreshed for the final assault.

To fill the gap that Roadmaker will leave, I’m already working on the next novel, entitled Gap Years. This started life as flash fiction, then was expanded to a 1500 word story. My Orbiter writing group liked the concept I’d come up with, but suggested I expand on the middle section. As I started thinking about it the possibilities and ramifications took off and I realised there was potential for much more.

This time I’m determined to follow all the advice I’ve been reading and plan the thing properly. Last week I wrote a synopsis of the proposed novel, fleshing out some of the concepts into a coherent plot. Next I wrote a plot summary, breaking it down into a series of scenes, each with just a few words. I’m now going through the summary and expanding each heading with thoughts and ideas about the locations, secondary characters, motivations etc.

I’ve written a ½ page biography of the main character. It has far more detail than I’ll likely need but will help to keep him consistent. I’ve also spent some time researching the small island that he comes from.

Another idea that I’ve adopted is to include photos of the characters in the summary. I’ve got some famous people pasted into the plot now. This helps to maintain consistent descriptions throughout the book. I’ve found photos of spaceships and boats too that I can base descriptions on.

Not too much more preparation and I’ll be ready to begin…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Focus on Writing


The latest edition of the BSFA's Focus magazine for writers has arrived. It always has a nice mixture of articles - advice on writing techniques from succesful authors, and articles on all kinds of writing-related subjects. This issue includes my article What Are They Thinking? in which I've selected comments from numerous editors whom I interviewed last year. I'm very proud to be appearing in this specialist publication.

Friday, August 07, 2009

New Collaboration

Over the past couple of weeks I've been working on a collaborative story with Jonathan C Gillespie, whose stories have twice appeared in Murky Depths. Paston, Kentucky appeared alongside my own Looking In, Looking Out in issue #1 and his more recent contribution Best in Class is a finalist for the Parsec Awards.

We're working on a science fiction / fantasy hybrid that's just reached the 4000 word mark. It's probably going to be closer to 10,000 words by the time we finish. It's a novel and fun experience having another author to bat ideas around with. I'll let you know how we get on.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

In the Post

The postman has been very kind over the past few days. Murky Depths #9 arrived, with another fabulous cover. I just sat and inhaled the aroma for several minutes. Then my latest delivery from SF Crowsnest came. I have Greg Egan’s new collection Oceanic, Charles Stross’ new collection Wireless and the new special edition, huge Ray Bradbury collection The Martian Chronicles from Subterranean Press and PS Publishing. I have an ARC, but the final version will be a hardback signed limited edition, priced at $300, or a super-limited edition at $900. Wow!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New Flash Fiction Sale

My flash fiction Shooting Stars, featuring the Galaxy's greatest big-game hunter Rufus Balikind, has been accepted by Big Pulp. It's scheduled to appear on the website at the end of September, with a PDF version due in October.

Monday, August 03, 2009

New Text and Audio Story On-Line

My flash fiction Up To My Neck In It is now on-line at Hypersonic Tales, where you can both read it and listen to it. It’s set aboard the orbital habitat Astropolis, the same location as The Blind Collaborators, Travel by Numbers and the forthcoming Three AM.

As with several of my other stories, this one isn’t written in a standard format. This time I’ve written it as an article from the station newsletter.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Gondolier in Greek





My contributor copy of issue #15 of Greek small-press magazine Ef-Zin has arrived. It includes the translation of The Gondolier. There's a great illustration to go with it and the cover art is based on the story too.


The Gondolier has now been published in English, Spanish, Romanian, Hindi and Greek. Plus I've posted on this sites translations in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Manx, Breton, Latin and Basque. Cornish and Welsh translations will published elsewhere later this year. I have translations in French, Dutch, Hebrew, Russian and Swedish still looking for homes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: Gondola Gidatzailea

Incidents highlighted in the news this week made me realise that the only thing most people in this country know about the Basque people is that there is a seperatist group called ETA. Of course, there is much more to Basque language and culture than that. To illustrate this, I present the Basque translation of The Gondolier.


Gondola Gidatzailea


Nire gondolaren branka beltzak kanaletako ur lasaiak gurutzatu zituen leunki.
Ontzi txukun hark beti lagundu izan dit urte askotan, bidaiariak hiriko kanaletatik zehar eraman izan ditugu belaunaldiz belaunaldi.

Eguzkiak hiri zaharraren gainean dizdiratzen zuen egun hartan, hareharrizko eraikinen artean; Ura tinta itxurako zinta bat bihurtuz. Gaueko haize freskoaren erdian egin nuen orduan hasperen sakonki.

Izango al da inon honako hau baino hiri harrigarriagorik?
Ontzia amarralekura iristerakoan, Martitzeko zeru gero eta ilunagoa begiratzen gelditu nintzen gogotsu.


Amaiera.



Translated by Itziar Aldaregia.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parallels

A revised version of Parallels is published on Flashshots today. You'll be able to read it for the next 10 days before it disappears from the archive.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: The Tel Aviv Dossier by Lavie Tidhar & Nir Yaniv




‘The Tel Aviv Dossier’ has to be the most enjoyably bizarre novel I’ve read. The authors have woven a complex story of catastrophic destruction, psychotic characters and religio-political apocalypse (in both senses of the word) into a story that never ceases to amaze and confound from page to page.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Book Review: Twisted Metal by Tony Ballantyne



Forget Asimov. In fact, forget anything you’ve ever read about robots before. In ‘Twisted Metal’ Tony Ballantyne has reinvented the robot and takes us in a new and startling direction.


Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Flash Anniversary II

It's 2 years this week since I joined the Flash Fictioneers and started regularly posting flash fiction on Fridays. I've not actually done much of that this year, with only 2 new stories, both near the begining of the year:

I've also posted several translations during the year, which you can find listed on the left-hand sidebar.

Many of my earlier stories have received a second chance during the year. Six translations have been published in various magazines, and eight have been reprinted in English. I'm expecting another five translations and two reprint later this year as well as a comic strip adaptation. Flash fiction has definately been a great way to get lots of ideas onto paper and out to the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Up To My Neck In It

It’s almost like somebody was reading yesterday’s post. I’ve sold Up To My Neck In It to Hypersonic Tales, a relatively new flash fiction webzine that publishes each story in both text and audio format. I’m looking forward to listening to it in next month’s issue as it’s only my second audio story.

This story is based on my real-life experiences from when I worked on a trade effluent plant, though of course that was on Earth and not aboard an orbital habitat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Three AM

My 2600 word story Three AM has been accepted by Golden Vision, the magazine that recently published White Out. It will appear in the January 2010 issue, my first acceptance for next year.

The story is set aboard the orbital habitat Astropolis, the setting for my earlier stories The Blind Collaborators that appeared in Aphelion and Travel by Numbers that I sold to Nature. My as-yet-unsold story Up to my Neck In It is also set there, if anyone is interested...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Celtic Polyglot

Having had The Gondolier translated into all 6 Celtic languages, I thought it would be interesting , for the scholarly minded, to present them all alongside each other. All of the trasnlations were done independantly with varying amounts of poetic licence, so this polyglot is presented for illustrative purposes rather than as a definitive document.

BRETON / BREZHONEG – Translated by Loic Cheveau
CORNISH / KERNEWAK – Translated by Neil Kennedy
WELSH / CYMRAEG – Translated by Lili Fach
MANX / GAELG – Translated by Robard Y Charlsalagh
IRISH / GAEILGE – Translated by Abigail Mitchell
SCOTTISH / GAIDHLIG – Translated by Niall Gordan



Ar goñdolour
An Gondoler
Y Gondolïwr
Yn Gondoleyr
Fear an Ghondala
Fear a’ Ghondòla




Penn a-raok ma goñdolenn a oe waet dousik tre doùr sioul ar c'hanolioù. Ar vag lintr en noe jervijet diñ a-feson a-bad ur bochad blezadoù, kaset voaiajerion tre hentoù-doùr ar gêr-sen, renet get daouarnoù rummadoù ma zadoù-kozh.
Pedn dirag du ow gondola a droghas leven der dhowr kosel an gwerdhowrow. An lester smoth re servyas dhebm lies bledhen ha degi trethyji dre dhowrhensyow an cyta 'ter dornow sur ow hendasow, henath war henath.
Torodd trwyn du fy ngondola yn esmwyth trwy ddŵr llonydd y gamlas. Roedd y llong lefn wedi fy ngwasanaethu’n dda am lawer blwyddyn, yn cludo teithwyr trwy ddyfrffyrdd y ddinas, dan ofal cenedlaethau o’m cyndadau.
Skeab gob doo my ghondoley dy rea trooid ushtaghyn kiune ny ammyryn. Va’n baatey s’keylley shoh er chooney lhiam dy mie ’syn obbyr aym rish ymmodee bleeantyn, as er n’arraghey troailtee trooid bollee ushtey yn valley ard fo laueyn stiuree sheelogheyn my henn ayraghyn.
Shlis gob ciar mo ghondala trí uisce ciúin na gcanálacha go séimh. Is maith mar a d'fhóin an bád slim dom le blianta anuas, maith mar a d'iompair sí paisinéirí ar uiscebhealaí na cathrach faoi stiúir lámha mo sheacht sinsir.
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.



An heol a oe é vont da guzh a-dreist ar gêr gozh, é lakat an doùr da vout ur seizenn du a-hed batisoù brav a vein-krag. Analet em moe don avel fresk an abardaez.
Th era an howl ow sedha dres an cyta goth, ow treylya an dowr maga tewal vel funen dhu 'ter treven fin derhevys a grag. Me 'anellas down ayr yeyn an gwyns gorthuher.
Roedd yr haul yn machlud dros yr hen ddinas, yn troi’r dŵr yn ruban inciog rhwng yr adeiladau tywodfaen. Cymerais anadl ddofn o awel oeraidd yr hwyrnos.
Va’n ghrian goll dy lhie harrish yn valley ard feer henn, as va’n ushtey myr rybban doo currit ny lhie eddyr troggalyn cumir ass clagh-gheinnee. Hayrn mee stiagh ennal dowin jeh fynneraght yn ’astyr beg.
Bhí an ghrian ag dul faoi in éadan na seanchathrach, an t-uisce á fhágáil ina ribín dubh leagtha idir fhoirgintí galánta gaineamhchloiche. Tharraing mé lán scamhóige de leoithne fhionnuar an tráthnóna.
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.



Daoustoc'h ma oe ur lec'h bravoc'h eit ar gêriad varvailhus-sen get he c'hanolioù? Pa oe ar vag é tizh hec'h amarroù, em moe gwraet un arrast, da sellet get plijadur doc'h oebl Meurzh é tañvalhaat.
Era teller y'n bys o tekka 'vel an cyta varthys-ma a werdhowrow ? Ha'n skath ow tos es dh'y theller yn porth, me a sevis malja'ma miras der vaner lowen ort an ebren a vis Meurth yn tewlwolow.
Oes yna harddach le na’r ddinas ryfeddol yma yn llawn camlesi? Wrth i’r bad orffwys i’w hangor, syllais lan yn fodlon i wybren dduog Mawrth.
Row ynnyd ny s’aaley na balley ard yindyssagh shoh ny ammyryn? Choud’s haink yn baatey dy aashagh gys e voaral, scuirr mee dy yeeaghyn seose lesh aigney jeant magh gys speyryn conghorraghey yn Vart.
An raibh áit ar bith ab áille ab iontaí ná cathair seo na gcanálacha? Shleamhnaigh an bád isteach ina poll feistithe agus bhreathnaigh mé uaim go sásta, suas ar spéir chrónta Mharsa.
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.


Achiv.
An Diwedh
Y Diwedd
Yn Jerrey
An Deireadh
A’ Chrìoch.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reading Jupiter

Just finished reading Jupiter XXV and I must say it's hard to pick a favourite from the bunch. At least 3 of the 5 stories were particularly effective and had strong emotion-filled conclusions. Just pipping them for me was the final story of the issue - Vera Sepulveda's Dusting Tycho.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

X Factory

My flash fiction X Factory is now on-line at Labyrinth Inhabitant, added as part of the summer edition rather than waiting for autumn.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Editors: Ian Whates

NewCon Press has produced a number of anthologies to critical acclaim in the past couple of years. I tracked down editor Ian Whates to the Mauna Kea observatory where we gazed at the stars and talked about writing, editing and publishing.


GDJ: Your first NewCon press title was a fund raiser for the NewCon convention. Did you intend to continue the imprint, or did it take on a life of its own?

IW: Very much the latter. NewCon Press was born in order to produce just one book, the fund-raiser Time Pieces, and the intention was to stop there. This was the first time I’d ever attempted to edit, lay out, get printed and then publish anything, so it was an incredibly steep learning curve, greatly helped by two of the authors featured in the book – Mark Robson who had started out self-publishing and so knew the ropes on that front, and Ian Watson on the editorial side. I was immensely proud of the book and the attention it garnered – selling out in little more than a year while Fangorn’s wonderful cover won the BSFA Award for best artwork – the first of three successive wins in that category for NewCon Press covers, which is incredible. At the end of that process, I seemed to forget all the traumas and disasters experienced along the way and thought: “Hey, that was fun! I could do this again…” And so NewCon Press became an ongoing concern.


GDJ: You’ve published mostly anthologies of commissioned pieces so far. Is that what you intend to continue with, or are there other plans?

IW: I’m a great lover of short stories on several fronts. As a new writer, they’re a great way to hone your skills and perfect your trade before attempting longer works. As a more experienced writer they remain a means of letting off steam and producing bursts of concentrated imagination in contrast to the sustained sometimes marathon-like effort of novel writing. From a reader’s perspective, they’re wonderful to dip in and out of and can be enjoyed for their own sake, while, in the case of anthologies, they are a perfect means of discovering new authors without having to invest the time needed to read a novel.

I’ve been very fortunate with the anthologies to date, persuading authors I greatly admire to produce original work for me while also showcasing some lesser known but gifted writers and so introducing the reader to fresh talent which they might otherwise have overlooked. Each collection has featured a ‘stellar’ line-up which would attract me to read it, plus some newer voices, all worthy of attention.

A few years ago, when I started NewCon Press, there was a lot of talk about the short story dying, about declining markets and shrinking opportunity, so producing original anthologies was a very deliberate move. I’m not sure that holds as true today as it seemed to then, but I still have a further three anthologies planned for the next few years. After that, we’ll see. In the meantime, I have branched out this year, publishing my own short story collection, The Gift of Joy, the weird and wonderful The Beloved of My Beloved – a collaboration between Ian Watson and Italian Surrealist Roberto Quaglia, and a limited edition novella, Starship Fall, from Eric Brown. That last is a wonderful ‘planetary romance’ and is intended as the first in a new series of original novellas from different authors. So yes, the anthologies will continue, but they won’t be the only things NewCon Press produce in the future.


GDJ: How important are small / independent press imprints to the genre markets?

IW: I think the small/independents are important. They’re a great potential breeding ground for new talent and I know from past conversations that many of the majors keep an eye on the small presses for that very reason. Though let’s not get carried away here; not everyone featured by the independents is destined to sign up with a major international publisher.

I also think the independents are vital in that they can provide an outlet for established authors who, for whatever reason, find themselves suddenly overlooked by the big boys. I know Pete Crowther’s PS Publishing hardly deserves to be considered ‘small’ these days, but to see one of their books winning the Clarke Award this year was a tremendous thrill; not only because Ian R. MacLeod is one of the very best writers around, but also because the book’s success highlights yet again how important the small presses can be when it comes to producing quality genre fiction.


GDJ: How do you balance being an editor and a writer, especially when publishing your own stories?

IW: Hah! Now there’s a question. The simple truth is that the writing has to take precedence, because it pays! I’ve recently completed my second novel, which is set for release early in 2010, so that should be interesting. I’ve also been commissioned to write a sequel, so it’s head down, beavering away at present.

I’ve yet to make any money from NewCon Press, in fact quite the opposite, though some of the titles have now paid for themselves and are inching into profit, so hopefully that will change in the future. For now, though, the editing, along with all the other activities I’ve involved myself with on a voluntary basis – as director of SFWA, director of the BSFA, editor of the BSFA’s Matrix magazine, convention organiser etc – have to fit in around the writing. They still get done, but perhaps not as quickly as they used to.


GDJ: Your first stories were published around 20 years ago and then there was a bit of a lengthy hiatus. What brought you back to writing?

IW: Two things: a love of genre fiction and the love of writing. That’s the short answer. To expand on that slightly: I think, at the back of my mind, I always intended to return to writing ‘one day’. Certainly in later years that was the case. During my hiatus from writing, I read avidly – something I regret not having the time to do as much now – and never lost my love of science fiction. One day, I sat up and thought, “Well, if you’re ever going to do this, it might as well be now!” I’d come to hate the field I was working in – my own business of 19 years – which paid the bills while destroying the soul, so I made the decision to throw it all in and concentrate on writing.

Brave and/or stupid, no doubt; but I’ve yet to regret that decision. Not something I’d recommend to the faint-hearted, though.


GDJ: Although your stories cover a wide range of topics, they have a definite style, though I couldn’t define what that style is easily. How would you describe your work?

IW: Not sure I could define it in a neat sentence either, to be honest. When it comes to reading, I’d describe myself as a science fiction fan who also enjoys fantasy rather than the other way around, and the same holds true of my writing. Yet some 40% of my stories aren’t SF, but veer from unabashed fantasy to urban fantasy, stopping off at dark fantasy and horror along the way. As for my first two novels, one is space opera with, I hope, a few original twists, the other urban fantasy with strong steampunk and SF overtones… I enjoy stories that surprise me, and many of those I write contain a twist or two, though by no means all…

I think the one thing I can say is that I invariably write about people first and foremost. I try to make my characters accessible and put them at the very centre of the narrative. My writing tends to focus on how the protagonists are affected by what’s going on around them and how they respond to things, so that even cataclysmic events are broken down to a personal level and, hopefully, made all the more immediate and gripping as a result.


GDJ: What advice have you found helpful as a writer?

IW: So much good advice from so many knowledgeable people; and the sad truth is that I probably paid far less attention to any of it than I should have done, going ahead and learning the hard way by making my own mistakes. Only in hindsight did I consider the words of wisdom offered and think: “You know, they were right after all.”

I think the three most important things I’d say to any would-be writer (I know, that’s not what you’ve asked, but I probably got all these from someone else, so in a sense it is) would be:

1. Read lots. And when you read, don’t simply enjoy the story but pay attention to what the author does to make this such a good read. Learn what works for you and try and see why.
2. Join a writers group. Feedback from your peers is invaluable. So too is the exercise of critiquing others’ writing since this often enables you to recognise in their work faults you yourself are prone to. The BSFA run a series of excellent online writing groups, the Orbiters, so the excuse of ‘I can’t find one local to me’ doesn’t wash anymore.
3. Be thick skinned. Remember that a rejection is nothing personal and may not even be a criticism of the work as such. Your story may have been the sixth best out of a hundred when the editor only needed five. I enjoyed a fair bit of success when I returned to writing in 2005, selling more than two dozen stories in two years, but I can’t tell you how many rejections I received in that time. Particularly very early on, when I was getting ten or eleven for every sale. Be persistent. If your work is any good, it will pay in the long run.


GDJ: Thanks for your time.

IW: My pleasure.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Enter the Labyrinth

I've just sold a reprint of my flash fiction X Factory to Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine,
The web's first magazine devoted to stories about life in giant artificial structures created by forces beyond human comprehension.
It's a narrow remit, but the interpretation is broad.

Over a dozen of my Friday Flash Fiction stories have now been accepted for reprint or translation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: Ar Goñdolour

This is the Breton translation of The Gondolier, one of six Celtic languages. There was a Breton SF magazine until fairly recently, but it has ceased publication as far as I can tell.



Ar Goñdolour


Penn a-raok ma goñdolenn a oe waet dousik tre doùr sioul ar c'hanolioù. Ar vag lintr en noe jervijet diñ a-feson a-bad ur bochad blezadoù, kaset voaiajerion tre hentoù-doùr ar gêr-sen, renet get daouarnoù rummadoù ma zadoù-kozh.

An heol a oe é vont da guzh a-dreist ar gêr gozh, é lakat an doùr da vout ur seizenn du a-hed batisoù brav a vein-krag. Analet em moe don avel fresk an abardaez.

Daoustoc'h ma oe ur lec'h bravoc'h eit ar gêriad varvailhus-sen get he c'hanolioù? Pa oe ar vag é tizh hec'h amarroù, em moe gwraet un arrast, da sellet get plijadur doc'h oebl Meurzh é tañvalhaat.

Achiv.


Translated by Loic Cheveau


See the left-hand side bar for other translations of The Gondolier.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Second Edit

I've sent the last two sections of Roadmaker off to my Orbiter writing groups to be critiqued. Both of these have already been edited by me so it'll be interesting to see what else they find. The last sections didn't get too many comments on the text itself, but mostly general comments on parts of the plot and the characters. I've actioned many of the comments that were straight-forward to fix, but some will need a bit more work - the excessive number of POV characters for example. I guess 26 is too many!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Falling on Twitter

My first twitter fiction Falling appears on OutShine today. Most twitter stories aren't given titles and none appear on OutShine, but I couldn't leave it without a name. Appropriately I've limited it to one word.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Parallels

A revised version of my flash fiction Parallels has been accepted by Flashshots and is scheduled for July 30th. I originaly submitted it along with The Last Adam and Launch, only to discover that it was longer than 100 words. I'd written it down wrong at some point and didn't check before submitting. Let that be a lesson to you! I've edited it down to 100 words for its appearance on Flashshots.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New Jupiter Review

A new review of Jupiter XXIV has appeared, on SF Site. Of my story Dog's Best Friend it says:


To begin at the end, with the shortest story, Gareth D. Jones offers an enjoyable snippet, a little character sketch, in his Roadbuilder sequence.


:o)