Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 Authorial Activities

 So what have I been up to this year in terms of writing?

I've had 19 reviews published in SF Crowsnest which as usual, is more than I remember writing. I've only written 2 short stories however.

It's been a good year for publications though: 15 stories published in 7 languages, including 3 new languages: Occitan, Korean and Vietnamese. Another 4 stories have been accepted too, for future publication.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Book Review: London Centric edited by Ian Whates

In this new collection from NewCon Press, editor Ian Whates has drawn together tales of future Londons that range from near-future versions of the city that could be the city as we know it, to far-future glimpses of dazzling architecture and stunning technology.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The A to Z of First Contact

 Five years after I last had a story published there, I've sold my flash fiction story The A to Z of First Contact to Abyss and Apex magazine. The story takes the form of a guidebook for starship captains, another one of my non-standard format stories that I enjoyed devising.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Book Review: The Evidence by Christopher Priest

We return to the enigmatic Dream Archipelago in Christopher Priest’s new novel The Evidence, the location of many of his novels and short stories. It’s a world of hundreds of islands in which strange things tend to happen and where Christopher Priest takes advantage of the temporal and gravitational anomalies to weave wondrous and multi-faceted tales.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Book Review: Nucleation by Kimberley Unger

An intriguing blend of hard SF, corporate espionage and conspiracy theory, ‘Nucleation’ is a solidly enjoyable novel from Kimberley Unger that picks up several recognisable SF tropes and combines them into a relatable yet refreshing tale.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Expenses Claim for Snowdonia Bigfoot Expedition

My non-prose story Expenses Claim for Snowdonia Bigfoot Expedition is out today in issue #51 of Neon Literary Magazine

I'm very excited about this story, inspired as it was by real life. Though not everything in this story obviously actually happened to me. Except for the submitting of an expenses claim, which I have done on numerous occasions.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Three Vietnamese Stories

 Three of my short stories have been published in Vietnamese this week at ZZZ Review, all translated by Do Quyen:

Englebert, which has previously been published in English and Hungarian.

The Gondolier: the 19th language this has been published in and, including the translations posted on this site, its 50th language altogether!

The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat, which has previously been published and podcast in English and also published in Spanish and Estonian.

Vietnamese is my thirtieth published language!

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The Good Ship Munders Sets Sail

 The Good Ship Munders, a collaborative story conceived by Alex and hijacked by Haydn and myself, is now out at Aphelion.

Several of my earliest stories were published at Aphelion and it's very nice to be back there.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Book Review: Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu’s second English-language shorty story collection, Hold Up The Sky, comes to us via a selection of various translators, presenting stories from almost two decades of the Chines SF master’s work.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Escapades in Argentina

 I'm rather pleased that my short story Escapades in Time has been published by Argentinian webzine Axxon and now appears in issue 295.

The story first appeared in audio form on the Tall Tale TV podcast and has also been published in Galician at Nova Fantasia. This is my twelfth story in Spanish.

Monday, September 28, 2020

In the Centre of the Floor, a Body

 A blog called Ontos, which discusses SF and mystery fiction, has published a neat little article about my alien murder mystery story The Sound of Death.

It's got some great quotes and  a character list and has pointed me towards an interesting looking short story collection that I think I'll track down.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Polish Review Quote

 My review of Cixin Liu's The Wandering Earth has been quoted in Polish for the new Polish edition of the book. I've seen it quoted in several places in fact. 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Book Review: The Compelled by Adam Roberts and Francois Schuiten

The Compelled is a gorgeous-looking e-book written by Adam Roberts with wonderfully atmospheric illustrations by Fran├žois Schuiten that have an almost retro-Victorian look to them. The book is set in modern times, but I kept finding myself viewing it through steampunk goggles as I immersed myself in the world of the Compelled.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Aurochs, Cave Bears and Other Charismatic Megafauna

The Hungarian translation of my new story Aurochs, Cave Bears and Other Charismatic Megafauna is out now in issue 366 of Galaktika magazine. 

This is the third in this series of stories, and my fifth story in this magazine altogether. The story follows Yorrick and Sandy in their third adventure together after Squirrels, Foxes and Other Fine Specimens and Haggis, Rhino and Other Unexpected Wildlife. Also back for this story are Arkady and Lucja who appeared in Haggis..., with Arkady having also inexplicably appeared in Accountability that was recently published in Hybrid Fiction magazine. Joining the crew this time is Dr. Ellen West who you will also see in the forthcoming Expenses Claim for Snowdonia Bigfoot Expedition to be published in Neon literary magazine in November.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Book Review: Two Tribes by Chris Beckett

There’s something comforting about starting a Chris Beckett novel. Not that the subject matter is necessarily comforting but, as soon as I delve into the first page, I feel in safe hands. I feel that the novel knows where it’s going, knows its own pace and is capable of whisking me there in perfect safety while I remain oblivious to the world outside.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Putting the Science in Korean Fiction

The Korean edition of writing handbook Putting the Science in Fiction has been publisehd by Gufic Press. The book includes my chapter on Waste Management in Science Fiction, and takes my total number of published languages to 29.

I'm hoping to get a copy to add to my collection.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The Sound of Death in Estonian

My alien murder mystery story The Sound of Death, which was first published at IGMS, is out today in Estonian at Reaktor magazine. This is the first translation of this story. 

It's my second story in Reaktor and my third to be translated into Estonian, following Travel by Numbers in Algernon and The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat in Reaktor last year.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Venus of Venus Published

The July issue of Shelter of Daylight magazine is now out, which includes my story Venus of Venus. It's an interplanetary tale of reality TV and geology.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Book Review: Zodiac by Neal Stephenson

Written in 1988 before the publication of his other various well-known, award-winning and huge novels, Zodiac is Neal Stephenson’s fast-paced and irreverent eco-thriller that mixes organic chemistry with environmental campaigning and zany humour to produce an indefinable cocktail of a novel.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Review: Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

I met Jeremy Szal briefly at WorldCon in Dublin last year. That’s all there is to that story I’m afraid. 

Stormblood is his debut novel, a 500-page military, crime, action, slightly gothic, space opera thriller of epic scale and gritty detail. The front cover presents a futuristic Gotham-Cityesque panorama with the brooding figure of Vakov Fukasawa facing it head on.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Vietnamese Trio

I'm very excited to announce that a trio of my stories has been accepted for publication by Vietnamese literary webzine ZZZ Review.

I don't have confirmed dates yet, but these three stories will be making an appearance in Vietnamese at some point:

The Gondolier
The righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Book Review: Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman

It’s difficult to come up with a truly original and unique human society in which to set your story. Even when writing about other planets and other times, we tend to end up with societies that have some basis in current or past human cultures. Authors who invent new alien species can often have more scope in the variety of cultures they create but, in general, humans are humans and their societies are comfortingly familiar to us. 

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book Review: Critical Point by S.L. Huang

Critical Point is the third Cas Russell novel by S.L. Huang, a mathematics graduate and stuntwoman who has used her experience to create the unlikely yet fabulously effective mathematical genius mercenary/private detective Cas Russell.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Observers Audio Version

The audio version of my flash fiction story Observers is out now at Tall Tale TV

This is my third story there, following on from Escapades in Time and The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat last year, all read by the entertainingly talented Chris Herron.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Book Review: Sea Change by Nancy Kress

In the not-too-distant future, the world is looking rather fragile following an economic crash, rising sea levels and massive food shortages that have followed on from a backlash against genetically modified organisms.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Book Review: The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann

A book of wonderful imagery and almost mystical storytelling, Phillip Mann’s The Disestablishment of Paradise takes us on a magical journey of the far future where one of mankind’s colony worlds is being abandoned and left to nature. It’s not for the sake of nature that this disestablishment of the colony is taking place. After three generations of mining and agriculture and the extinction of several large species, it comes down to economics. The colony is to be deconstructed and all humans relocated.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Venus of Venus

I'm very pleased to have sold my 5000 word story Venus of Venus to Shelter of Daylight magazine, where it will appear in July. It's a story about an interplanetary expedition and reality TV.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Book Review: Of Ants and Dinosaurs by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu is well known for his big concept novels, hard Science Fiction and far-future extrapolations: The Three Body Problem, Ball Lightning and The Supernova Era being the novels already translated into English. His latest work to be translated, Of Ants and Dinosaurs comes as somewhat of a surprise then.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Book Review: Immobility by Brian Evenson

I’ve read quite a few post-apocalyptic tales and there are certain things you come to expect: bleak landscapes, dust, desperados eking out an existence, rubble and debris. Brian Evenson’s novel Immobility has all those things but starts from a unusual position and paints a dire picture of the future that is more bizarre than most.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Haggis, Rhino and Other Unexpected Wildlife

The sequel to Squirrels, Foxes and Other Fine Specimens, my new story Haggis, Rhino and Other Unexpected Wildlfe is out now in Hungarian magazine Galaktika.

Unusualy, this story hasn;t yet been published in English, but as Galaktika had already published Squirrels... they were keen to have the sequel too.

My name is on the cover again, which is always nice.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Accountability Out Now

My hybrid story Accountability is out now in issue 3 of Hybrid Fiction magazine.

In an office in Chelmsford there's a tea room that leads to an alternate reality, and there's a man who can't stop counting...

Friday, April 17, 2020

Estonian Stalker Award 2020 Voting List

The voting list for the 2020 Stalker award has appeared. It includes my story 'The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat' along with, I presume, every other SFF story translated into Estonian last year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Accoutability Teaser

As part of their countdown to the April issue of Hybrid Fiction, there's an introduction and a teaser to my story Accountability.

The little section in the teaser is a perfect introduction into this odd little story.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Book Review: By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar

In recent years there were a couple of films that purported to tell the more historically accurate stories behind such legendary figures as King Arthur and Robin Hood. For those who like a Robin Hood or King Arthur story, they were a bit of a disappointment. In By Force Alone, Lavie Tidhar retells the legend of King Arthur in a completely different way.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Book Review: War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

There’s a real sense of wonder right from the beginning of Paul McAuley’s new novel War Of The Maps. Set in the far, far future among an ancient, worn-out civilisation on an artificially created world, it seemed first of all medieval, then maybe Wild West or possibly a little bit steampunk.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Good Ship Munders

The space opera novelette The Good Ship Munders that I co-wrote with Alex and Haydn has been accepted by Aphelion, the home of several of my earliest stories. It won't be appearing there till the end of the year, but I'm looking forward to this fun story seeing the light of day.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Review: Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling

Translated from the German by Jamie Lee Searle, Qualityland is Marc-Uwe Kling’s satirical novel of a future where everything is controlled by algorithms. Set in a European country now known as Qualityland, it’s like living inside Google: adverts, deliveries, partners, jobs and every other aspect of each person’s life is assessed, rated, personalised and provided by all-knowing computer algorithms.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Accountability Accepted

My short story Accountability - a kind of literary / science fiction / urban fantasy tale - has been accepted by Hybrid Fiction and is scheduled to be published in April.

This story started out as an attempt to write something Claire-Northesque after reading Claire North's astounding novels The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, 84K, Touch and The Sudden Appearance of Hope.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Book Review: The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham

When I decided to jot down my initial impressions of John Birmingham’s ‘The Cruel Stars’, I was surprised to find myself half-way through the 480 page book already. This was not because I had been reading particularly fast but because I didn’t feel like much had yet happened.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Observed Again

Following on from the wonderfully-read versions of Escapades in Time and The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat, I'm thrilled that Observers is also to receive the Podcast treatment at Tall Tale TV.

Observers was first published at Emerging Worlds and has appeared in Galician at Nova Fantasia. This new audio version will be available in June.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Three Occitan Tales

Rather excitingly, three of my stories have been accepted for publication by Diu Negre, a website of science fiction, fantasy and horror in  Occitan.

The three stories to be translated are The Gondolier, Englebert and The Righteous Indignation of the Naked Mole Rat.

Occitan will be my 28th published language.

The Gondolier, being the shortest, is up first and you can read it here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Neon Yeti

Long-running UK literary magazine Neon has accepted my non-prose story Expenses Claim for Snowdonia Bigfoot Expedition. I'm really excited to see how this will look in print as it's a decidedly unusual format.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Galician Observers

My short story Observers, recently published in Emerging Worlds, has been accepted by Galician webzine Nova Fantasia - my fourth story in Galician. They work pretty quickly at Nova Fantasia, so you can read it here already!

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Magazines Review: Visions #2: Visions of Humanity

The second issue of Visions magazine landed on the doormat with a solid thud: a chunky, serious-looking magazine of 256 pages in red, black and white with monochrome illustrations, innovative fonts and unconventional layout. I had been very impressed with the first single-themed issue when it came out earlier in the year, so I was intrigued to see what this second volume would bring under the title Visions Of Humanity.

Read the rest of my review at SF Crowsnest.