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

Absorption by John Meaney 
A Candle for Malka by Louise Carey 
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear 
A Strange and Brilliant Light by Eli Lee 
Austral by Paul McAuley

Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu
Barsk: The Elephant's Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen 
Blindspace by Jeremy Szal 
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Breaking Point by John Macken
Blood and Iron by Tony Ballantyne
By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar
By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
By the Pricking of Her Thumb by Adam Roberts

Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Central Station by Lavie Tidhar 
Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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  
Skyward Flight by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson 
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
The Smoke by Simon Ings
So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams
Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley
The Soul Consortium by Simon West-Bulford
Spaceside by Michael Mammay
Starship Fall by Eric Brown 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Review Archive: Anthologies

2001: An Odyssey in Words edited by Ian Whates & Tom Hunter

After the Sundial by Vera Nazarian 
AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Quifan 
Anthology of European SF by Cristian Tamas (Ed)

The Best of Larry Niven
The Best Japanese Science Fiction by John L. Apstolou & Martin H. Greenberg (Eds)
Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor
Broken Stars by Ken Liu (Ed)

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)


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)

Fun with Rainbows by Gareth Owens

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

Hard-Luck Diggings by Jack Vance  

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.