Not much there yet, but it's early days.
I'm abandoning this blog, but not for any apocalyptic reasons. I've decided to start a new one which will hopefully be less clunky to maintain. I will post a link here when the new blog is active.
In the meantime, I've overhauled the website:
and made a note on the site to the effect that I won't be (and never was going to be) attending the SFX Weekender, even though I seem be listed here and there as a guest.
I'm back. Many thanks for all the emails - I am slowly beginning to return to some kind of normal activity and will be responding in due course. They were all hugely appreciated during a difficult time.
OK - some time ago I mentioned one or two stories I had been working on, and alluded to one without saying anything about the title or destination of the finished work. I can now reveal to an anxiously waiting world that the story in question is entitled "At Budokan" and has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming Shine anthology. Jetse de Vries, editor of the Shine anthology, asked for me (and other contibutors) to keep quiet about our story acceptances in light of a competition he planned to run. That competition launches on Monday November 30th, and this blog entry may be of some help if you're thinking of entering.
Shine is due out in April 2010. More information here:
Jetse's worked very hard on this so good luck to him - I hope it's a massive success.
Good to see the Ares 1-X rolled out of the VAB today. I just hope there's some money in the pot to actually do something with it. I'm all for the Ares program, even if in many ways it looks like a throwback to the Apollo era (and in terms of some of the hardware, that's pretty much what it is). Granted, it would have been nice if the shuttle concept could have been evolved, rather than (as it seems to me) largely discarded. Perhaps we'll come back to reusable spaceplanes later in the century. Not for the first time, though, I can't help wondering where we'd be if Gerry Anderson was in charge of all human spaceflight operations on Earth. For a start, I don't think Gerry would have been satisfied with merely rolling out the Ares 1-X. No, Gerry would go for something much more impressive, like having - for no readily apparent reason - the entire VAB move backwards instead. And - although the Ares 1-X won't be carrying people - if it did, there'd be some insanely complex procedure for putting the crew inside it, probably involving slides and underground tunnels. And then, of course, the Hood would get aboard it with intentions of sabotage. We can't have everything, though.
ps - many thanks for the words of support received through email; it's much appreciated.
I lost my father last week so please bear with me until I'm back up to speed around these parts. Obviously not the best of times, but I'm fortunate to have a wonderful wife and family around me, not to mention many good friends.
I've disabled comments for now, not realising that this would delete all existing comments in previous entries. However it may well be that I keep it this way from now on, as I wasn't brilliant at responding to comments to begin with, and - let's face it - this isn't really a blog in the usual sense. I can still be emailed, so there's still a communication channel open for feedback.
Finished and delivered "The Old Man and the Martian Sea", which should appear in Jonathan Strahan's forthcoming YA anthology "Life on Mars", sometime in 2010. Also: "Sleepover", which will appear in "The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF", edited by Mike Ashley, again in 2010.
Enjoying: "Kingdom of Rust", Doves.
Apologies for my absence here these last few weeks. Thanks to everyone who came along to the talk at Greenwich, and to those who made the trek to Bristol. It was a most enjoyable way to spend half a day and I know everyone came away very enthused by the idea of doing something similar next year. All credit to the organisers both for making things run smoothly, and for picking such an excellent venue.
It's been a busy few weeks, for various reasons. By now word seems to be out on the street that Terminal World is not going to appear until March 2010. I'd been aware of this as a possibility for some while - first it was on, then it was back to October 2009, then it was back to 2010 again - and it seemed unwise to make any definitive statements until I knew where we stood. The book is finished, though, and I understand that proofs should be out there before too long. After some deliberation, my editor and I decided not to include around 12,000 words of new material that had been written late in the day. Good on one level - it keeps the book relatively lean - but it's always painful to cut stuff that you worked hard on, sometimes under the gun. Never mind, maybe I'll put the deleted scenes up here one day, when the dust has settled.
In among bursts of editorial rewriting, and work on the new book, I've surprised myself by finishing another couple of stories - fairly long ones, too. That's six already this year, and we're only just into October. By any rate I think 2009 will turn out to be my most productive year ever in terms of short fiction. Of course one of those stories no longer exists in the English language, but I still wrote the thing.
I keep going on about music around here - as opposed to books and films, which I almost never have anything sensible to say about - so I keep thinking that maybe what I ought to do is split things off and create a separate music-related blog. Or not. Right now, though, I'm really enjoying a couple of things. Largely on a moment of emotional weakness, I bought Green Day's new album. Green Day? Hate 'em. Rubbish cartoon punks, all posture and no depth. But ... it's brilliant. Really fantastically good. I'm also enjoying the second album by Swedish electronic group Little Dragon, entitled Machine Dreams. It's lovely, swooning synth-driven dance pop, like all the best bits of Goldfrapp, Air and Bjork mixed together and reprocessed for 2009. I'm so hopelessly smitten that I've named a character in one of my stories after the Swedish-Japanese lead singer.
I'll probably hate it in a few weeks but that's what all good pop should be like.
Four things I should have mentioned sooner:
On Tuesday September 15th I'll be talking on the subject of science anfd science fiction (with the slant on astronomy) at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. My talk runs between 7pm and 8.30pm and admission costs eight pounds.
On saturday September 26th I'll be guest of honour at Bristolcon, a small, one-day convention being staged by the Bristol Fantasy and SF Society at Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa, Redcliffe Hill (not far from Bristol Temple Meads station). The organisers are hoping that if this event goes off well it could become a yearly fixture, so if you're in the area, why not give it a shot?
More information here:
Next month, I'll be talking to the Birmingham SF group on the evening of Friday 9th October.
Finally on Friday 23rd October - also at the Royal Observatory Greenwich - I'll be participating in a panel discussion at Sci-Fi London's Oktoberfest event. The panel should start at around 8.00 pm, but it'll be part of an evening of events which includes a screening of the new(ish) Star Trek film in the planetarium.
Here's the website for Oktoberfest:
That's it for now.
It's been nearly another month, hasn't it. Sorry all. Really I've just had my head down, getting on with stuff. Edits and queries on TW, including about 12,000 words of last minute additions and substitutions. A new story done and dusted, and another finished today, both novellettes (although at 17,000 words today's is nudging into short novella territory). Both stories, incidentally, are set on Earth - no spaceships! More on these in due course. I need to write at least one more story this year for a commissioned anthology, and then ideally another one after that for an above-top secret project, and of course, I need to make substantial progress on book 1 of 11K.
Just finished: House M.D. season 3, 24 season 5. Half way through Rescue Me season 2, West Wing season 3, Sopranos season 2, Green Wing season 2, Deadwood season 2, NYPD Blue season 2, Monk season 1. So now you know...
Watched this week: Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Cybermen: classic Troughton era Who. So much better than the new cybermen, the old ones. I'm sorry, but cybermen just aren't meant to stomp around really quickly and look like metal robots. They're meant to be slow and plastic-looking and just ever so slightly pathetic.
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