Tag Archives: fiction

Pirates of the Plastic Ocean, plus LonConnery

I can finally fully announce some very agreeable publications news: my story “Los Piratas del Mar de Plastico” appears in this year’s Twelve Tomorrows, which is MIT Technology Review‘s annual all-fiction special. (On Stateside newsstands in August, I believe — though I know next to nothing about UK/Europe/global availability. You can sign up on that page to be alerted when copies go on sale, though.)

Cover art for Twelve Tomorrows-2014

It’s an astonishing list of names to see myself alongside, and no mistake: Bruce Sterling (who took the editorial chair, and shoulders any blame for inviting yours truly to play alongside the grown-ups), William Gibson, Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Chris Brown (no, not that Chris Brown), Cory Doctorow, Warren Ellis. Receiving the invitation to contribute prompted the most intense burst of Imposter Syndrome I think I’ve ever had; it’s still not quite faded away, either.

Like most of my writing (yeah, yeah, I know), “Los Piratas… ” is not amenable to easy “what’s it about?” summary; that said, if you’ve read Keller Easterling’s Enduring Innocence, you’ll understand the choice of location (and the title ). As usual, I ended up trying to cram a novel’s worth of plot and ideas into a short story, and I’d have loved to have let it stretch out to novella length by expanding the aftermath section, which is necessarily summarised in broad strokes. But it was always intended as something of a polemic, and sometimes literary concerns have to take the back-seat when you’ve got a particular something to say to a particular audience. All that remains is to see how the audience reacts, I guess…

… and I expect I’ll get to find out at LonCon3 next month. (See? That’s how us pros make a segue, y’all.)

At the moment, it looks like I’ll be haunting the ExCel Centre (and, presumably, other significantly less monstrous venues in the same locale) in London from early afternoon Friday 15th August until the afternoon of Monday 18th. I’m on a handful of panels and giving a paper on the academic track, so if you want to come heckle a cyberhippy, these are the dates your diary needs:

  • Saturday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL): “Body Modification – From Decoration to Medication and Augmentation”

“From piercings and tattoos to laser eye surgery, we now have a world where decorative or voluntary medical body modifications are common. Modifications that add to our capabilities are starting eg. magnets implanted in fingers provide a magnetic sense. What more is coming? Zoom lenses for eyes? Enhanced muscles? Who is going to be the first with these and why, and will anybody want to install Microsoft Windows for brains?”

[Justina Robson (M), Paul Graham Raven, Jude Roberts, Frauke Uhlenbruch; no prizes for guessing how I ended up on this one]

  • Saturday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL): “50 Years After: Asimov predicts 2014 World’s Fair”

“In 1964, Asimov wrote a set of predictions for the 2014 World’s Fair. What did he predict, what did he get right and wrong, what did he say that was useful, and what did he miss completely?”

[Gerry Webb (M), Madeline Ashby, Stephen Foulger, Paul Graham Raven, Ben Yalow; I’m guessing this’ll be a bring-some-popcorn type of panel.]

  • Sunday 09:30 – 11:00, Capital Suite 6 (ExCeL): “Science Fiction from the Outside (academic track)”

“Three academics each give a 15 minute presentation. This is followed by a jointly held 30 minute discussion with the audience.”

Dan Smith, “Science Fiction and Outsider Art”
Paul Raven, “The rhetorics of futurity: scenarios, design fiction, prototypes, and other evaporated modalities of science fiction”
Andrew Ferguson, “Zombies, Language, and Chaos”

[John Kessel (M), Paul Graham Raven, Dr. Dan Smith, Andrew Ferguson; one for the inside-baseball crowd only, probably.]

  • Sunday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL): “Speculative Design”

“Assuming a new technology, like synthetic biology, works, what products might come out of it? Speculative design is both a new artistic approach and a way of looking at problems and issues in a different way.”

[Gary Ehrlich (M), Nic Clear, Scott Lefton, Paul Graham Raven, Sarah Demb; these are mostly new names for me, so I’m hoping to learn new things on this one.]

I’m sure I’ll attend a fair few other panels and things, too, but mostly I’m planning to keep my schedule open and flexible; I’ve done enough cons now to know how best to make them work for me, and it turns out that running around with a timetable isn’t it. Very much looking forward to this rare opportunity to see some long-term Stateside friends and colleagues in the flesh; if you’re one of them (or, indeed, one of anyone), do drop me a line so we can arrange to meet.

Otherwise, the best way to locate me on the fly will probably involve triangulating between Twitter, the bar, and the smoking area. See you there? Good.

Fables from the Fountain

Fables from the Fountain - Ian Whates (ed.)From the NewCon Press press release that just hit my inbox:

Fables from the Fountain (ed. Ian Whates) is a volume of all original stories written as homage to Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart, featuring many of today’s top genre writers…

… and some other guy with a silly name. How’d he sneak in there? Item five in the TOC, look:

The Fountain, a traditional London pub situated in Holborn, just off Chancery Lane, where Michael, the landlord, serves excellent real ales and dodgy ploughman’s, ably assisted by barmaids Sally and Bogna (from Poland).

The Fountain, in whose Paradise bar a group of friends – scientists, writers and genre fans – meet regularly on a Tuesday night to swap anecdotes, reveal wondrous events from their past, tell tall tales, talk of classified invention and, maybe, just maybe, save the world…

  1. Introduction – Peter Weston
  2. No Smoke without Fire – Ian Whates
  3. Transients – Stephen Baxter
  4. Forever Blowing Bubbles – Ian Watson
  5. On the Messdecks of Madness – Paul Graham Raven
  6. The Story Bug – James Lovegrove
  7. And Weep Like Alexander – Neil Gaiman
  8. The Ghost in the Machine – Colin Bruce
  9. The Hidden Depths of Bogna – Liz Williams
  10. A Bird in Hand – Charles Stross
  11. In Pursuit of the Chuchunaa – Eric Brown
  12. The Cyberseeds – Steve Longworth
  13. Feathers of the Dinosaur – Henry Gee
  14. Book Wurms – Andy West
  15. The Pocklington Poltergeist – David Langford
  16. The Last Man in Space – Andrew J Wilson
  17. A Multiplicity of Phaedra Lament – Peter Crowther
  18. The Girl With the White Ant Tattoo – Tom Hunter
  19. The 9,000,000,001st Name of God – Adam Roberts
  20. About the Authors

Yup, that’s actually a real story by me. In a real book. Alongside writers who… well, just look at that list.

Holy shit.

(Yeah, I’ve known about this for a while, but it’s still crazy as hell seeing it in real words.)

Anyway, don’t let my presence in that TOC put you off, because this is for a Good Cause:

2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Arthur C Clarke Award.  This volume is produced in part to raise funds for the Award, which lost its sponsor last year due to the closure of Sir Arthur’s publishing company. The book will be released May 2011.

Available as an A5 paperback or a dust-jacketed hardback, limited to just 200 copies, each individually numbered and signed by all the authors. Cover art by Dean Harkness.

Price: Paperback, £9.99; Signed Limited Hardback, £29.99

The NewCon Press site is currently offline pending the resolution of some rather troublesome domain registration SNAFU, but I’m told you should be able to pre-order Fables… from Amazon in the fairly near future. More details as I get ’em.

Holy shit.

Yours truly interviewed at Bibliophile Stalker

Yes indeed; the tables are turned on me as Charles Tan of Bibliophile Stalker puts me to the question, primarily about stuff I do in the genre fiction world but veering off into other stuff as well. Reading it may make you understand why I tend towards reticence around new acquaintances; I’ve seen the looks on faces when I just open up and waffle at full bore. As such, replying to Charles’ questions was a lot of fun.

It also took me around three hours. What can I say? I type slowly.

Briefly donning the meta-hat of intellectual narcissism, it’s interesting to see that snap-shot of my mind, taken as it was right at the end of last year, before I’d made the decision to go freelance full time. So many things have changed in just four fast months. Time flies when you’re living the dream, AMIRITE?

Friday No-photo Blogging: Resolution

You can breathe easily this week, as I’m not going to embarrass myself by running around looking for something vaguely photo-worthy at the last minute. An FPB with no P… what in the world next, eh?

There’ll not be a great deal of the usual reportage either, because I actually did very little of a practical nature in the last fortnight (despite trying to, in a few cases). Instead, there has been a lot of that festive and seasonal stuff going on. You know – going out, seeing family and friends, eating too much, drinking to excess. And hell knows I suffered for the latter yesterday…

Resolutions

However, I’ll not be suffering that way again for some time. After various experiments with shorter terms of abstinence in recent months, I have decided that 2009 will be Year of the Not Beer – I will not be drinking alcohol at all in the next twelve months. Why? To prove to myself that I can; to improve my health; to save money; to waste less time.

Other resolutions include:

  • getting back to a daily routine of writing fiction or poetry, which has slipped rather terribly in the last six months
  • re-stopping smoking (I haven’t really re-started, but I’ve become a terrible “I’ll just have one or two at the pub” scrounger, and it would be a shame to drift back to it full time for many of the reasons listed above)
  • maintaining a decent exercise regime (the swimming thing has definitely helped, but got pretty much dropped in December – you know what it gets like at that time of year)

Why trumpet these here? Not through any sense of self-righteousness or virtue, I assure you. Quite the opposite – I’d like to ask you all to help keep me honest on these things. Words of support or castigatory nagging are equally welcome; the usual channels of contact are open.

There are other resolutions, too – mostly business related and hence of little public interest – and another big one that I can’t mention just yet for reasons that will become clear very shortly… so watch this space, eh?

Publications

Well rust my bucket – the Steampunk review is finally up at SF Site! Crivens!

Books and magazines seen

The postbox has been pretty much empty in recent weeks (but for a scattering of greetings cards and the inevitable bills, natch), so nothing new to report in that respect. However, I did manage to win a little something in the raffle at Tongues & Grooves this month:

A F Harrold - Postcards from the Hedgehog

A F Harrold is a performance poet of the knowingly eccentric and English type; he is characterised by a beard, a bowler hat and a fair amount of hilarity. He was poet-in-residence at Glastonbury festival last year, which in his own words “was a lot like spending a weekend surrounded by utter tossers”. If you get the chance to see him perform near you, make sure you go. We all need an occasional dose of silly in our lives, and Harrold brings the justice.

Coda

And that’s about all you’re getting this week, I’m afraid. I’m still trying to stitch my wrecked bodyclock back together in the face of continuing darkness and an unhinged upstairs neighbour; as such I’m very tired right now, and I’m not going to even attempt to entertain you.

Given the date, I very much doubt many of you are in the mood to be entertained anyway, and so I’ll just say Happy New Year to you all. Let’s make it a good one, shall we?

New fiction at Futurismic: The Right People by Adam Rakunas

So as usual, I’m balls-to-the-wall busy, but not so busy I can’t point out that we’ve got an awesome new story up at Futurismic called “The Right People”.

It’s apparently Adam Rakunas‘ first fiction sale, but if he can write this sort of gonzo stuff consistently I don’t think it’s going to be his last. I’m really chuffed we’re running it, and also pretty chuffed that we got a plug for it over at BoingBoing. w00t – happy Wednesday! 😀

Other news – I’ve cropped up in yet another SF Signal Mind Meld, which gave me the opportunity to trot out my theories on the inherent fuzziness of subgenre boundaries. As usual, other people have more rational and interesting replies on offer, so don’t let mine put you off. 🙂