Monthly Archives: July 2012

James Herbert goodness

Ash cover

James Herbert fans, this second half of 2012 is yours. Not only do we have a new book with a familiar character but also a TV adaptation due to hit our screens.

Firstly, the 30th August sees the return of his character David Ash in a book called, ummmm Ash. His two previous appearances were in The Ghosts of Sleath and Haunted. In this new novel, Ash is investigating an old abandoned house in the Scottish highlands in which a man was found crucified. The locals won’t talk about the place and while Ash is there he experiences some strange events. Continue reading steampunk offer

Just a quick heads-up people. yesterday started a Kindle Reading Marathon with the best part of 600 books on sale from 99p upwards. Despite this large selection, there are only four in the science fiction genre.

I bought two of them for the grand total of £1.98. Nothing else in the collection interested me though if I hadn’t already read it, I’d have bought Rivers of London for £1.99

These were The Mammoth Book of Steampunk and The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards.

I’m still eager to explore steampunk a little more. I’m still very much the beginner and I’ve come to the subgenre through the artwork… someday I will discuss some of my favourite examples even though it is off-topic for this blog.

Character Feature: Batman

Riddle me this, riddle me that. Who’s afraid of the big. black. bat?

I began work on this about ten days ago and until a few hours ago, I almost didn’t post this for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, here is my summary for why Batman is my favourite masked avenger in the month that Nolan’s trilogy ending The Dark Knight Rises hits cinema screens.

People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.

Identity Crisis

Continue reading

Competitions and long term goals

All of this rewriting of old material and recognising how much my writing has improved has created a new hunger to create new material. I do miss it right now despite other things that take up my time. I know I’m planning to release my compilation for the end of the year but I’m ever conscious of the two major competitions I have entered before and how much I want to keep up with the game by continuing to enter them.

I’m thing ahead already to the James White Award (deadline January) and wondering whether my dinner date story which I had initially intended to send to the Arc 1.1 competition could be suitable. It has the right feel based on their guidelines and my understanding of previous winners.
Continue reading

Second short story for ebook edited

The second short story in my intended ebook anthology has now been edited. I’ve been beavering away today to get it finished. Herrenvolk 2, unsurprisingly the sequel to my Nazi-era spy thriller that explores genetic technology. Again, I was largely happy with the content of this work so the changes that have been made are superficial.

Back in those early days, I had too many of something. Fragmented sentences. There were lots of them. I was hoping for short and punchy but now the reading grates. This was written during a time of improvement in my style so there were not as many as some of my other stories. Continue reading

Nerd overdrive – Baxter and Pratchett talk “The Long Earth”

I rarely take interest in The Guardian podcastsbut this one caught my eye. It is an interview between Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett on their collaboration The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter talk to Alison Flood about their new collaborative science fiction work, The Long Earth. Prachett and Baxter hold court on the writing process, the nature of collaboration, the beauty of hard science-fiction literature and creating the start of a trilogy

Continue reading

Costa’s new short story award!

UK coffee chain Costa has started a short story competition that you can enter!

Their book award has been running a few years now and this year they have announced a short story competition that will be open to unpublished writers too.

The prize is a wapping £3500. Competition rules and further details can be found here. Continue reading

Book Review: Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds

One day I will eventually get around to re-reading Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space books so that I can post thorough reviews but the truth is, at the moment they are such a distant memory that I couldn’t do them justice from half-remembered scenes and a clear understanding of the implications of the climax of each novel. They are complex books that really do require a re-read. Until then, I’m afraid you are going to have to make do with this collection of eight short stories and novellas set in the same universe. This is my first re-entry back into Reynolds’ universe for a few years.

The first short story, The Wall of Mars, is the first chronologically according to wikipedia so it makes sense to have this first in the collection. It features Nevil Clavain, butcher of Tharsis, the complex and interesting sort-of-hero character from the original books arriving on Mars with a proposal of peace between The Coalition and the Conjoiners. The early part of the short story includes a brief reminder of how the Conjoiners, Coalition and Demarchists came to be (reminder for those who have already read the main body, an introduction to those that haven’t – though I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this collection). Continue reading

Book Review: How to Fossilise Your Hamster (New Scientist)

This, the third in the collection of New Scientist books, focuses not so much on responding to letters sent into the magazine of those odd scientific queries and compiling them into a volume with comprehensive answers, but on the more practical aspects of what you can learn for yourself. It is a book of experiments based on queries they magazine has received.

The experiments are of course straightforward and encourage you to recreate every day phenomena. Because of this, it is not so much a book to read cover to cover but one to dip into from time to time in case they are able to answer a particular query. One for the shelf then. Continue reading

Margaret Atwood on Wattpad

Margaret Atwood stunned the literary world by defending Wattpad this week. For those who have not heard of it, it is an online story sharing community that has a reputation for being full of YA romance fiction and thinly-dressed-as-original-yet-clearly-fanfic. It has not been considered a viable vessel for spreading your written work, until now.

I discovered it when I got my first smartphone (BlackBerry) and downloaded it. I had it for a few weeks and saw that the quality of work was pretty poor. I didn’t have the patience to give it more of a shot than that. Continue reading