Tag Archives: BSFA

Friday Photo Blogging: the Brandenburg Gate

Once a sorry marker of the division of East and West, the restored Brandenburg Gate is once again a focal centre for Berlin… especially tourists.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

You may be able to notice the huge swarm of bikers between the gate and the point-of-view; I have no idea what the occasion was, but it obviously had something to do with blatting off through Tiergarten in a big cheerful gang with a police escort. ‘Twas a nice day for it, too.[1]

Writing about music

The music industry is slowing down for the Allegedly Festive Season (or at least the bits of it that release music I’m actually interested in), so things are winding down a bit at TDP – which is fine by me, and I doubt will cause any great complaints from my writers, either. That said, still plenty of interesting titles to get through before the year is done.

Album of the week

Not strictly an album but more an EP (and I’m slightly biased because they’re a local outfit) but I wholeheartedly recommend You Are Goldmouth by Munroe Effect. Because that’s how progressive post-hardcore is supposed to sound: sharp and pacey and powerful, full of light and shade, never overstaying its welcome. Go check ’em out, and go see ’em if they play near you. Tell them I sent you. Buy them a beer. Nice lads, good band.

Writing about books

THE STEAMPUNK REVIEW IS FINISHED. Well, it needs a final polish and error-check, but the thing is actually fully compiled.

It is also nearly three thousand words long, which may explain why I didn’t just rattle it off in an afternoon… though it also demonstrates one of the phenomena of procrastination when applied to large tasks done piecemeal, namely: “the longer you leave it, the larger it will seem to look[2]“.

Now, which of my leviathan queue of reviews should I write next?


Nothing special to report here, really. Nearing the end of The Pretty Big Project (indeed, hoping to have it nailed by Monday, or at least the bulk of it), and the long-awaited artwork for The Other Project has been chopped into a header bar (with some decorative bits) and raided for a colour scheme. It’s going to be a very interesting pallet to work with, too – quite different from the others, with the potential to be very striking[3].


The good ship Futurismic sails on much as ever. Monday sees a new piece of fiction go live, of course; it’s from a writer who has published at Futurismic more than once before, and it’s definitely an example of the Positive SF manifesto in action. But it’s also a neat little story, and I’m sure it will get a reaction.

Advanced warning for those of you who read here – we’ll be shutting submissions over December, because poor Chris needs a holiday away from other people’s writing and a bit more time with his own. Plus he might want to, I dunno, see his loved ones or something. I know, I know, a bit selfish… but as I don’t pay the guy anything I guess I have to cut him a bit of slack, right[4]?

Books and magazines seen

I’m not going to mention any names, but it appears Orbit aren’t the only publisher who send me wildly inappropriate books; this week saw the arrival of – among other things – a ‘romance thriller’ involving werewolves with a very tacky cover indeed. Seriously, I think if I never see another undead/lycanthropy novel during the next decade, I’ll be a happier man for it.

However, my delightful clients at PS Publishing have sent me over a bunch of our latest titles, and the latest issue of Talebones has arrived – a pleasant surprise, as I’d completely forgotten it existed, let alone that I had a subscription to it. Huzzah!

Talebones Magazine #37

Not only that, but it has a story by James Van Pelt, who is one of my very favourite internet-based avuncular dispensers of writerly wisdom. Go check him out, if you don’t already.

London calling

Wednesday was nice – a day of culture-vulturing up in the Big Smoke. Myself and Justin Pickard met up at the Tate Modern and hoovered up some surrealism, impressionism and Viennese actionism (the latter of which is, erm, a trifle severe). We then (well, it was actually me) decided we could probably walk from there to Gower Street for the Battlespaces lecture. I was quite correct, but it took us the best part of two hours… still, we had a good natter and soaked up the hustle and bustle.

The Battlespaces lecture itself was excellent; I’ve commended Geoff Manaugh‘s BLDGBLOG to you many times before (so if you’re not subscribed to it already, I want a good reason why), and I shall now be looking out for the arrival of Antoine J Bousquet‘s forthcoming book, The Scientific Way of Warfare[5]. This was the sort of brain-food event that makes you remember why you wanted to write science fiction in the first place… and that makes you despair of ever doing anything as weird and complicated as reality.

Then it was off to the BSFA shindig; it had peaked before we arrived, I think, but there were still a fair few people around and it was nice to catch up with some of the figures of fandom who I don’t get to see often enough. Then I had to make my way from Holborn to Seven Sisters to find my crash-spot for the night… thankfully I had help from a local, otherwise I might not be typing this now. All in all, a great day out – thanks to everyone who helped make it so.


And that’s about it, really – a busy week, but not an astonishingly interesting one from an outsider’s perspective, I’d imagine. But then I imagine they must all be like that, but the statistics show that you weirdos still read my blather every week, so I feel obliged to continue the ritual. That’s the kind of giving, caring guy I am, you see. 🙂

But I am also a hungry guy, so I shall now go fetch myself a Friday Curry. Yeah, I know, I had one last week. But I’m cold – that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. Enjoy your weekend, happy Thanksgiving for you American types, and take care of yourselves – auf weidersehn!

[ 1 – No prizes for guessing that yours truly spent most of today wishing he were somewhere (and somewhen) else. ]

[ 2 – And the more you will come to dread the thought of returning to it. You know, like when you suspect you may have left the gas on before going to the shops? ]

[ 3 – Provided the guy doing the design makes a good job of it, of course. Ahem. ]

[ 4 – Just in case it isn’t abundantly clear, I’m frankly in awe of Chris’s inhuman mental stamina in dealing with the Futurismic slush pile, and (if I could) I’d pay him a living wage to do nothing else. ]

[ 5 – If Mr Bousquet’s publishers are reading, a review copy would be very gratefully received. ]

Making a day of it – BSFA 50th anniversary bash, plus other stuff

OK, so this is primarily a kind of double-barrelled heads-up message to anyone considering going to the British Science Fiction Association’s 50th anniversary shindig on Wednesday 26th November.

Alert level 1: It looks like I’ll be going. So if that’s off-putting, best cancel your attendance; if that’s a thrilling prospect, book your train ticket right away!

poster for Battlespaces 1 (click for full size)Alert level 2: Other Stuff Is Afoot In London. Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh is doing two talks on the 26th; the details for the earlier one aren’t out yet, but the evening one has been fully announced: entitled ‘Battlespaces 1’, it runs between 7pm and 9pm at the J Z Young Lecture Theatre at UCL, inside the Anatomy Building on Gower Street (which is about a mile or so from the BSFA bash venue, if my map-fu is any good). Full details are available at the Complex Terrain Laboratory, but to sum it up briefly:

Contemporary political discourse on armed violence and insecurity has been largely shaped by references to spatial knowledge, simulation, and control: “human terrain,” “urban clutter,” “terrorist sanctuaries,” “failed states,” “core-periphery.” The historical counterpoint to this is to be found in the key role the successive technologies of clock, engine, computer, and network have all played in spatializing the practice of warfare. In this context, what implications do “feral” Third World cities, “rogue” cities organized along non-Western ideas of urban space and infrastructure, and “wild” cities reclaimed by nature, have for the battlespaces of today and tomorrow?

Mmmm, Zeitgeist – and very sf-nal, I think you’ll agree; Manaugh was briefly the most interesting poster on io9 before the inevitable economics of search terms ousted his speculative architecture pieces in favour of more Ten Craziest Battlestar Who-Heroes Chronicles SPOILARZ!!-type stuff.

As you may have guessed already, it is my intent to attend this talk (and the earlier one, if it proves to be temporally and spatially accessible), and to drag Mr Manaugh along to the BSFA party afterwards if he’s not too tired/busy/sane (no kidnapping required, as he has already expressed an interest).

If this sounds like something you’d like to come to as well, drop me a line and we’ll make a mission of it. After all, days out in London should be crammed with as much interesting stuff as possible, if only so as to maximise on train fare value. AMIRITE?

BSFA short fiction shortlist to be podcast

Now this is a good idea. The StarShipSofa boys are going to podcast all five of the short stories on the shortlist for this year’s BSFA Awards.

The first one will appear on Monday 10th March, with one daily after that – which means they’ll all be ready well in advance of voting time at Eastercon.

So none of your “I was too busy to read ’em” excuses*!

If you aren’t too busy to read them, here are the links:

So, who’s psyched for Eastercon, eh? 🙂

[ * OK, to be fair, this is usually my excuse. ]

Your yearly dose of sf critic carping starts here! No BSFA award for non-fiction … again!

Well, we might have guessed this would happen:

“Nominations were also invited for the [BSFA Award for] best non-fiction of 2007, but although a number of works were nominated there was no consensus and so no shortlist could be formed. A non-fiction award will therefore not be presented this year.”

I suppose there are a lot of ways to look at that – I’m going to take the charitable view and assume they knew that the limited number of us who care about such things would rather thrash it out for ourselves than submit to a consensus we couldn’t agree with.

In which case, ladies and gentlemen – start your engines! 😀

[Historical note – we had a pretty good beef session chat about this last year. But if any smart-arse starts a web-based crit mag in the next five months, I’m not touching it with a bargepole.]


UPDATE 23/01/08!! This just in from the wonderful Farah Mendlesohn – a new LiveJournal community to discuss issues non-fictional in the genre scene, lest the above occur again.

And please, LJ people, no private posts on that one. It’s hard enough for me to stay in the loop as it is!


[tags]BSFA, award, non-fiction[/tags]