An interlude for gratitude

Posted by Paul Raven @ 09-10-2012 in General

I went to see an old friend for lunch today.

Jeremy Lyon is the guy who founded Futurismic, back in the day. He was also the first person (other than me) who was willing to publish my writing back in 2006, when he took me on as the site’s daily blogoid.

Six and a half years… it seems a lifetime ago, but at the same time, like just yesterday.

It felt like the perfect moment to finally meet Jeremy in person. We’ve not been in touch much since he handed over Futurismic to me; at the time, he’d just landed a gig in UI at Palm and had his second child, so he’s been all colours of busy. Long story short, he’s now involved with UI development for Android, posted over here in London for a year, so he invited me to lunch at Google’s L4 building near Victoria Station[1], and I got to thank him for setting me on what was, with hindsight, the long and winding path that got me to where I am right now.

So: thanks again, Jeremy, for taking a shot on a guy whose ambitions and ideas far outstripped his native talent at the time[2].

Like Jeremy, you may be wondering what’s happening with Futurismic. Right now? Nothing much. But I have plans. Plans, I tell you. The ‘zine shall rise again, phoenix-like, transformed and transcendent, like itself but much much moreso…

… just as soon as I can suss a way to fund it, or find a hidden three hours in the day that I was heretofore unaware of. :)

(But seriously, stuff’s gonna happen. Watch this space.)

1 – Thanks to the plague I picked up from being coughed all over on a train last week, I was unable to avail myself of the plentiful catering options, though I can inform you that I had a Granny Smith apple, and it was very nice.

2 – Before you accuse me of false modesty, have a trawl through the earliest posts on this very site. I learned in public, and am proud to have done so.

Friday Photo Blogging: second on the bill

Posted by Paul Raven @ 19-06-2009 in General

This time next week, I’ll no doubt be sound-checking in preparation for this:

Second on the bill

Yup, Aeroplane Attack‘s first appearance at The Wedgewood Rooms, a former place of employment for three members of the band and the premier live music venue in Velcro City. And it’s a free gig on a Friday night – so if you’ve got no plans, head on down! Promises to be a night of goud loud tuneage, and I’m really looking forward to it… especially as I’ve borrowed a new echo box and am itching to deploy it over a large PA.

So, likely no FPB next week, much like last week (although my excuse last week was a train journey up to Manchester). It’s all go in my universe, as I do keep mentioning… so I’d best get on with it, eh?

Album of the week

Actually from last week, but easily good enough to carry over… it is, of course, The Eternal by Sonic Youth. If you’re a Sonic Youth fan already, you’ll be wanting to pick this up. If you’re not yet a fan, it’s accessible enough to be a good contemporary introduction to an utterly original band who’ve been gigging and recording almost as long as I’ve been alive. Go listen to ‘em.


Yeah, look at me compressing a number of sections into one. Such is the manner of my life at the moment, and – during the scant seconds I get to sit and consider it – I’m quite enjoying it that way, thank you very much!

No review writing has been committed for a while, but I’ve been getting a decent amount of reading packed into the schedule; currently about a third of the way through China Mieville’s The City & The City, which is a good story whose premise is handled with subtlety, though I’m finding the narrative voice a bit odd at times – often enough, in fact, that I may shift to reading the published version rather than the ARC in case what I’m seeing is a pre-copyedit state.

Still plenty on my freelance plate, though the light is visible at the end of a few tunnels (even as another seems to stretch itself out further). Futurismic is rolling along nicely; we got linked to at MetaFilter the other day, and while it didn’t bring an avalanche of traffic I’m really chuffed to see us there, because I’ve been following the MeFi feed for almost as long as I’ve had an internet presence – and hence appearing there is a little like getting to have a drink in the Cheers bar would be for television fans of a certain age.

Wireless by Charles StrossWhat else has been happening? Well, adventures Northward, band practices and meetings (and plain old hang-outs), live shows (like the mighty Clutch), hunting down cardboard boxes so as to ship seventy-odd kilos (SRSLY) of unwanted books to a buyer… from the sublime to the mundane, it’s all go, basically.

So there’s just time to trumpet happily about the arrival of Charlie Stross‘s new short fiction collection, Wireless, which arrived in the mail this week (and will be shouldering its way up the TBR array in the days to come).


Now, I’ve got stuff to be doing, so I’ll bid you all a good weekend. Take care!

Friday Photo Blogging: stupid bloody England

Posted by Paul Raven @ 01-05-2009 in General

I have the same love/hate relationship with the country I live in as I have with Velcro City itself. On a day like today, with clear blues skies and a gentle breeze, I’m pleased to be sat here calmly, typing to the sound of traffic and birdsong with a long weekend approaching me; how could one find fault with England this afternoon?

Well, sometimes the bad things are literally too big to ignore:
Beneath the skin of every 'patriot' lies a fascist

Vermin and shysters; the BNP, only with better tailors and their mouths stuffed with plums. British-grown plums, of course. Wankers.

“Why worry about them,” people tell me. “No one takes them seriously.” Well, plenty of people take these seriously:

Broad and factually unfounded statements! Buy stuff! Hate difference! There's always someone to blame!


Sorry, just needed to vent; it’s a common response to having left the building during the daytime. We now return you to our scheduled programmes.

Album of the week

One for the serious metal-heads this week: Daath are supposedly into Kabballah (the Hebrew mystical malarkey, rather than the wackadoo cult based upon it from which Madonna buys blessed mineral water) and all sorts of other stuff, but exactly how that affects their music I have no idea. Suffice to say that their new album The Concealers is that rarest of birds – a consistently powerful and heavy modern metal album with no filler and no gimmick-of-the-day. Go ahead, give your neck a workout.

Writing about books

The This is Not a Game review is half-written, as I managed to bash out one and a half thousand words on the train to London on Wednesday night. This is progress, not to mention the worst part of the process completed; now I just need to edit it up, supplement with quotes and digressions, polish and send. So, that’s an afternoon of the coming weekend taken care of…


Hey hey hey – it’s the first of May! Which is something to celebrate even if you disregard revitalised pagan festivals and political holidays spawned by a dying metanarrative, because it means there’s new fiction at Futurismic. This month I got to publish someone who lives little more than a stone’s throw away from me by comparison to our Stateside contributors; Stephen Gaskell’s “Under an Arctic Sky” is a geopolitical action-escape story done right, and you should go read it before leaving a comment to say what you thought of it. G’waaaaan.

PS Publishing

So, as most of you who’ll be interested will already know, I was up in the Big Smoke on Wednesday night, watching Ian R MacLeod take the 2009 Arthur C Clarke Award for Song of Time, a book published by PS Publishing, for whom I am contractor-publicist. It was quite a moment, and even more so for Pete and Nicky (and Ian, obviously) than myself. It’s a very prestigious title for a small press like PS to accrue, and for it to happen in the company’s tenth year of business seems fitting, somehow.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to work with people who care deeply about what they do. Seeing Pete’s face as the winner was read out has pretty much made my month. :)


Work, work, work… there’s been a lot of catch-up this week as I recover from the setbacks of the beginning of April, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I think. My server is up and running, and I’ve pretty much sussed the essential basics of running the thing, so now I can start using it properly as both a hosting and development environment. Some minor projects and tasks have been cleared off; some larger ones have mutated (mostly for the better), and a few more are looming on the horizon like braking supertankers. LIVING THE DREAM, YO.

[high-grade-geekery]I’ve finally abandoned all hope of learning to do anything with Drupal before the next ice age happens (if even that soon), and am defecting my loyalties to MODx, as recommended by good buddy Adam at Mallmus Media. In a nutshell, MODx looks to be a CMS that does everything all the others can do, but actually makes it possible for you to find all of the relevant options in one place without referring to a degree in database architectural philosophy that you don’t have. Plus it has a moderately revolutionary approach to theming and templates that fits much better with my personal design methodologies for larger projects… or, in other words, it makes more intuitive sense to me than the others I’ve tried before, and I think I’m going to enjoy development jobs much more as a result. Yay![/high-grade-geekery]

Aeroplane Attack

People tell us that our first gig went pretty well, despite some sound issues. The problem in a nutshell: the girl running the sound desk has never encountered a band who request that they not bother mic’ing up the amplifiers and simply run the kick, snare and vocals through the PA. End result: we didn’t sound quite right, but we still put in a decent showing and had a lot of fun. In case you were wondering how we sound, well, here’s a video recorded on a mobile phone. Horrible sound quality, but you’ll get an idea of where we’re coming from (and how loud we play); the tune is called “Song for Joseph”.

See? We don’t use the Vulcan bomber as our logo for nothing. :)

The next show is Monday 11th, and the sound guy will be someone we know a little better, so those debut issues should be sorted. We’re really looking forward to it; if you’re in the area, come along. I have tickets, if you’d like to buy one at the super-cheap advance rate of £2…

Books and magazines seen

No time for sourcing images today, but there’s a fresh hardback copy of China Mieville‘s The City & The City sat on my sofa alongside a trade paperback of Sean Williams‘ latest Astropolis novel, The Grand Conjunction.

A more unusual score comes in the form of How to Build Your Own Spaceship, a pop-sci book by Piers Bizony about “the science of personal space travel”, which the publisher was nice enough to send me after I emailed them about it[1]. Nice Jetsons vibe to the cover art:

How to Build Your Own Spaceship by Piers BizonyLovely. Now all I need is the time to read it…


Well, there you have it – it’s been a busy few weeks, but then I always say that, don’t I? But hey, the weekend’s here, and that’s got to be a good thing. I think I’ll wrap this up, finish the Futurismic free fiction round-up and spend a few well-earned hours sat on my arse with my nose in a book… I hope you find something nice to do as well. Laters!

[ 1 - And many thanks to the man DT for the tip-off on that one, too. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: commerce recolonising the death-strip

Posted by Paul Raven @ 10-10-2008 in General

A cheery title, no? The Wall’s destruction brought as many contradictions to Berlin as it removed, if not more, and they grow in sharpness over time. This is one of the last remaining sections of the “death-strip” that was caught between the two layers of the wall, in this particular case just next to the River Spree, a few minutes walk from the Ostbahnhof:

Graffiti on the "death strip"

This area is best known as “The East Side Gallery“. The side of the wall facing the road (to the left of this shot) was painted by many famous graffiti and mural artists just after the Wall fell; their art is now scabbed over by the felt-tip scribblings of tourists. Here in the former death-strip, however, the other side of the wall is where the more hardcore painters would come to work without the legitimacy that the post-Wende hysteria leant to the Gallery.

Looking in the opposite direction to this shot, you would now see tent-town beach-bars bristling with brand names. Then, further still, the crowning irony: a section of the Wall that has been fenced off completely from public access, pending the arrival of more entertainment and retail venues. This is prime land for development, and commerce will have its way, despite the (arguably justifiable) resentment of those with long enough memories. Selah.

Writing about music

This week has been a bit of a screwed one for The Dreaded Press, largely due to me dropping a few balls in favour of other priorities. But that’s just the way I’m currently doing things; businesses with incomes come first, which puts TDP way down the list.

Album of the week

Still got some writing done though, and without any doubt the greatest pleasure was derived from reviewing Tail Swallower And Dove by These Arms Are Snakes. Fantastic and nigh-unclassifiable heavy music with rich inscrutable symbolism and brooding malice… something to watch stock tickers to.

Writing about books

To my shame, I’ve made no inroads over the last week on the reviews I have waiting to be written. That said, it’s probably be better to be in a position where I have four books that I’ve finished and just need to write about rather than four books waiting to be read and clamouring for a review as well. Silver linings, silver linings.


Ah, now this is where all this week’s effort and energy has gone! Should have a new author site to launch early next week, and have been doing some design preliminaries on a new project that promises to be a lot more visually ambitious (and hence tricky and lengthy) than anything I’ve done as of yet. But hey, guy’s gotta raise his game, right? It’s a challenge, and I’m feeling confident about nailing it, too.


Nothing out of the ordinary to report at Futurismic, except an exceptionally persistent spammer who seems to bear a rather nasty grudge against a certain New-Yorican singer-songstress. The weird and omnidirectional obsessions these people possess never cease to amaze and appal[1].

Books and magazines seen

It’s been another week of high volume and low interest on the books front, with yet more care packages from both Orbit and Tor/Macmillan packed full of stuff that drew nothing more than a resounding “meh”[2].

But there’s one title that does look quite appealing, namely Lou AndersFast Forward 2 anthology from Pyr, which as some interesting contributors on its contents page as well as a garish but undeniably eye-catching Picacio cover:

Fast Forward 2 anthology - ed. Lou Anders

Another brick for the to-be-read wall. Life’s such a chore, isn’t it?


Well, that was the first no-gig week in what feels like months[3]. And as them what follows me on Twitter will already know, this week I got my lazy arse out of the house and down to the swimming pool – twice! The end results are a much clearer knowledge of just how horrifically unfit I’ve become[4], and calf muscles that feel like someone’s clamped them onto my legs with an immense bulldog clip. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.

And the weekend starts right here; most of it will involve the ceaseless battering of CSS and PHP into this very keyboard, but there’s band practice to look forward to on Sunday as well as beers with friends this evening. And as I’ve been a good boy this week – staying in in the evenings, eating cheaply, getting work done and exercising, no less – I’m going to indulge in The Friday Curry. Biweekly is better than weekly, after all… :)

So have a good weekend, and do yourselves a favour – don’t watch the news, because worrying won’t make any difference. Auf weidersehn!

[ 1 - Although, now I come to think about it, they're amazing simply by merit of being as banal, bigoted and stupid as the ones you encounter in real life. Go figure. ]

[ 2 - Especially since the postman got me out of bed half an hour early for them both this morning. Grumble grumble. ]

[ 3 - Looking at my calendar, I think it actually is months. Blimey. ]

[ 4 - When I was nine or thereabouts, I could swim for literally hours at a time - if you lived in an ex-pat compound in Saudi Arabia, there was little else to do for kids. Currently, twenty lengths of a definitely-not-Olympic-size pool has me stiff-limbed and breathing like a nylon fetishist at an Ann Summers evening. ]

New fiction at Futurismic: The Right People by Adam Rakunas

Posted by Paul Raven @ 01-10-2008 in General

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! :D

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. :)

Friday Photo Blogging: glassware

Posted by Paul Raven @ 08-08-2008 in General

We’re going a little bit meta on FPB this week, thanks to this morning’s arrival of this little fellow:

Wide aperture lens

That – in case you were wondering – is a wide-aperture fast lens for my camera, which should alleviate the “one usable shot in every hundred blurry smears” syndrome that dogs my gig photography.

It should also make it possible to shoot fast non-blurred images in low-light conditions without the use of the built-in flash, which should come in handy very soon indeed…

Writing about music

It’s been a very slow week for releases, so I’ve only posted three reviews at TDP this week. This is a good thing, as it has enabled me to get on with some other unrelated gubbins, but I need to start ramping up to give myself a week’s worth of material before I head off on holiday.

That said, I’m quite happy with the results of the last seven months of near-daily reviews, in that TDP has a decent page-rank. I think it may be time to scale back and focus on quality rather than quantity in times to come… not to mention get the damned site redesigned.

Album of the week

It’s a close call, so I’ll give the honourable mention to the new Levellers album, Letters From the Underground[1], but the real stand-out stonker was definitely Funeral Mixtape by The Pack A.D. – a two-girl band playing ragged, powerful and authentic blues with a little hint of hipster cool. Well worth hearing, if only for Becky Black’s incredible voice.

Writing about books

Hey, I got the Snow Crash essay finished and submitted last weekend! Huzzah! I got an acknowledgement from Rodger at SF Site for the submission, but I’ve not heard back since so I guess it must be OK[2].

I have a number of potential things to write about this weekend (Snake Agent? The Night Sessions? The long-overdue Nightmare in Silicon? something else?) but given I’m out of town for most of Saturday, hell only knows whether anything will actually get done. Maybe I’ll surprise myself!


With the exception of some PS Publishing newsletters and blogging, this week’s freelance work has largely been administrivia, which always takes more time than you expect it to. However, I got my tax return finished last night, which is an albatross I’m pleased to see the back of. Now all I need to do is catch up with this year’s accounts so far and then keep on top of them[3].


I’m still eagerly anticipating your comments on “Dry Frugal With Death Rays. I mean, you’ve obviously all read it already, and you’re just thinking of the right way to respond. This is not a question or a suggestion. Read that damned story, or there’ll be trouble.

Anyway, Bruce Sterling reads Futurismic. So should you.

Books and magazines seen

You’re not going to believe this – I certainly don’t. But I’m still receiving F&SF. Perhaps Gordon Van Gelder is a big fan of FPB and likes seeing it mentioned every time? Or he’s using my postbox as a very small supplementary warehouse? I dunno… September issue, anyways:

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September 2008

Hell only knows when I’ll get round to reading it (or any of the last half dozen or so, for that matter, which is the main reason I didn’t renew the sub).

Just retrieved from the Post Office depot this morning (along with the lens in the picture) were two Mike Resnick titles from Pyr – namely the classic Stalking the Unicorn and its recent sequel Stalking the Vampire – as well as Robert Silverberg‘s Son of Man:

Robert Silverberg - Son of Man Mike Resnick - Stalking the Vampire

I bought some non-fiction titles from Amazon this week, too. The Linux command line guide and WordPress theming textbook are not exactly entertainment reading[4], but I’m looking forward to tucking into the Rough Guide to Berlin[5]

And a box of limited edition rarities from my benevolent employers at PS Publishing, too – an embarrassment of literary riches, forsooth!

Elastic Press book launch

As mentioned above, it’s a trip beyond Velcro City’s borders for me tomorrow. Elastic Press are launching books by Gareth L Powell and Chris Beckett – two lovely blokes and super sf authors to boot – at the bizarrely named Citte Of Yorke pub on High Holborn on Saturday afternoon – details and maps on the Facebook event page. Maybe see you there?


With that in mind, there’s stuff I need to be getting on with, so we’ll make the coda into more of a James Brown-esque hit-it-’n’-quit this week. It’s time for The Friday Curry, of course, and probably time for you to start doing weekend type stuff as well – so have a good one! Hasta luego…

[ 1 - Y'know, it's a Levellers album, basically - though somewhat of a return to form as far as songwriting is concerned. They don't have the fire they had in the old days... but then nor do I, so I can't complain too much. ;) ]

[ 2 - Or, just as plausibly, the sheer density of my pontification caused the poor fellow's head to pop, which means I'll have to bear the burden of being the first person to commit manslaughter with a piece of science fiction criticism. Which, come to think of it, would be quite an accolade... though probably not the sort that gets people asking you to write for them more often. ]

[ 3 - This will be much easier now I've finalised and tested my "Mammoth Freelance Accounting Spreadsheet (for Persons Who Deal Both Through Paypal and Their Bank Account and Occasionally in Other Currencies) of Justice". All it needs now is a snappier title. ]

[ 4 - That said, bash commands are conveniently bite-sized; the Linux Toolbox might sit on the cistern for a few weeks. ]

[ 5 - Three weeks to go! :D ]

Holding a Wolfe by the ears

Posted by Paul Raven @ 04-06-2008 in General

Oh yeah – in all the excitement*, I forgot to mention that my review of Gene Wolfe’s Severian Of The GuildSF Site omnibus went up at a few days back**. I haven’t dared re-read it yet, to be honest. The review, I mean. Though I haven’t re-read the book, either. I might one day, though. Maybe.

And hey – new fiction at Futurismic! “Veritas Nos Liberabit” by Kristin Janz, in fact – please go read, leave feedback, and let me know what you think. Lots of new blogger action over there, also. Good times!

And finally, your headline-of-the-day:

Zombie caterpillars controlled by voodoo wasps

Ribofunk meets the Hammer House Of Horror. Ain’t nature awesome?

[ * By 'excitement' I quite obviously mean the gripping twelve hours a day I spend sat at a computer keyboard. Just by way of clarification, you see. ]

[ ** I've had no emails from angry theists, so I guess I didn't offend anyone; this is the result I was aiming for. ]

UXO, BOMB DOG – fresh fiction at Futurismic

Posted by Paul Raven @ 03-03-2008 in General

We have promised; now we have delivered.

I am as proud as anything to see the first piece of new original fiction go up at Futurismic – it’s been a long time coming, but I think it’s been worth the wait.

It’s a great story, too – I certainly think so. A study in the development of narrative voice, with just the right blend of tragedy and triumph.

Go read “Uxo, Bomb Dog” by Eliot Fintushel and tell me what you think.

Freeconomics and Futurismic

Posted by Paul Raven @ 26-02-2008 in General

In lieu of anything more substantial for the time being*, anyone wanting to know where I’m coming from with my plans for Futurismic would do well to read Chris Anderson‘s piece at Wired about the economics of free:

“From the consumer’s perspective, though, there is a huge difference between cheap and free. Give a product away and it can go viral. Charge a single cent for it and you’re in an entirely different business, one of clawing and scratching for every customer. The psychology of “free” is powerful indeed, as any marketer will tell you.

This difference between cheap and free is what venture capitalist Josh Kopelman calls the “penny gap.” People think demand is elastic and that volume falls in a straight line as price rises, but the truth is that zero is one market and any other price is another. In many cases, that’s the difference between a great market and none at all.

The huge psychological gap between “almost zero” and “zero” is why micropayments failed. It’s why Google doesn’t show up on your credit card. It’s why modern Web companies don’t charge their users anything. And it’s why Yahoo gives away disk drive space. The question of infinite storage was not if but when. The winners made their stuff free first.”

Actually, I think everyone should read that article whether they’re interested in Futurismic or not. But it explains why Futurismic will never have a pay-wall, for a start.

And it’s probably too much to hope for, but I hope lots of musicians who up till now have been chasing after a record label to sign them up and make them famous will take note of this bit:

“On a busy corner in São Paulo, Brazil, street vendors pitch the latest “tecnobrega” CDs, including one by a hot band called Banda Calypso. Like CDs from most street vendors, these did not come from a record label. But neither are they illicit. They came directly from the band. Calypso distributes masters of its CDs and CD liner art to street vendor networks in towns it plans to tour, with full agreement that the vendors will copy the CDs, sell them, and keep all the money. That’s OK, because selling discs isn’t Calypso’s main source of income. The band is really in the performance business — and business is good. Traveling from town to town this way, preceded by a wave of supercheap CDs, Calypso has filled its shows and paid for a private jet.

The vendors generate literal street cred in each town Calypso visits, and its omnipresence in the urban soundscape means that it gets huge crowds to its rave/dj/concert events. Free music is just publicity for a far more lucrative tour business. Nobody thinks of this as piracy.”

OK, back to the grindstone – this week is one of those crunch points where everything peaks at once. Which makes it all the more frustrating that I appear to have picked up some kind of minor illness from PicoCon**. Selah.

[ * Busy. Sorry. Unavoidable. Your patience is appreciated. ]

[** It's OK, Farah, I forgive you - I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather catch an illness from. ;) ]

Friday Photo Blogging: beams and sky

Posted by Paul Raven @ 15-02-2008 in General

Digging in the crates this week, I’m afraid. Here’s the awning frame at the front of South Parade Pier …

South Parade Pier

I’ve not gotten round to doing any photography, as you may have guessed – I’ve been too busy with other more urgent concerns.

It’s a shame, as the weather has been bright and sunny up until this morning. Selah.

Writing about music

Well, I got all the overhanging deadlines for other people out of the way as promised, and with a few lingering exceptions (mostly situations wherein I’ve been offered albums or interviews I couldn’t get on my own), the decks have been cleared.

So now it’s a case of gradually ramping up to a steady turnover at The Dreaded Press – which, given the amount of stuff I’m getting sent through already, shouldn’t prove difficult.

Writing about books

No literary scribbling this week, to my shame.

I did, however, discover that I’ve been accepted for the SFF Masterclass for the second year running. Which is super news; now all I have to do is work out how I’ll be able to afford it!

I’m pretty sure I can claim it as essential career development and training, so at least I can write it off against tax …

That said, the day I’m earning enough outside my day-job to warrant me actually paying any tax on it will be a happy day indeed.


After last week’s revelation (and thank you all for the good wishes, both public and private – it’s excellent to know that people believe in me), it should be obvious that Futurismic has been chewing up large chunks of my time this week.

Most of it is the sort of tedious web-admin stuff that no amount of pre-planning can make easier, involving as it does wrestling with the support systems of web hosts and registrars. It’s been … interesting, let’s say.

I meant to post some of my thoughts and plans right here over the course of the week, but time has not permitted; this weekend may see them surface.

But the good news is that we’re on track for the 3rd March relaunch – so watch this space. Or rather, watch that space!

Velcro City disruption possible

While on the subject of web hosting and domain registration*, I’m currently waiting on the transferral of control of this domain to the registrar that holds and hosts all my other sites.

As I’m moving away from UK2 (who are a notoriously grasping bunch of shysters that I won’t honour with a link), this has cost me a lot of time and money, and caused me no amount of frustration so far**.

Thankfully, as with many such processes, Google was far more helpful than the company themselves (not to mention damning). The web is still very much a frontier town – it pays to ask around before you go into business with someone.

I believe the process is in action now, but if VCTB disappears for a few days, at least you’ll know what happened. Fingers crossed, everything will work out fine.

Books and magazines seen

Only the one incoming title this week, the result of me exercising my editorial privileges as Reviews Kaizer at Interzone:

Solaris Book Of New Science Fiction Volume 2

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol. 2ed. George Mann

Literally fresh from the press, no less – they’d just received the ARCs when I requested it. Cheers, George! :)

I think I may well end up bouncing in and out of it over the next few weeks as a way of breaking up the Wolfe omnibus – not because I’m finding it boring (which I’m most certainly not) but because it’s bombarding me with so much imagery and so many set pieces to absorb that I’m finding it hard to concentrate on reality***.


With the sheer amount of BUSY I’ve had this week****, I’ve totally failed to say how nice it was to meet some of the gang at TTAcon last Saturday (and to put some faces to the names and email addresses at long last), as well as briefly meeting Pat Cadigan and Ellen Datlow and catching up with my great friend Liz.

As a side note, Jetse mentions a conversation we had at the time regarding McDonald’s Brasyl; for the record, I don’t remember claiming Brasyl was an inferior novel to River Of Gods, but I’m sure I said that it wasn’t as immediate a story (as I put that very phrase in my recently submitted review). We’d both had a beer or two, though, which may explain the crossed wires*****.

Anyhow, go read Jetse’s analysis – because in addition to being an amiable Dutch man-mountain and beer-machine, he’s a damn good writer and an exceptionally clever fellow as well.

That aside, I’m going to keep FPB short this week and forgo the normal blathering, as I have a gig to attend this evening (EP launch party for local prog-hardcore gang Munroe Effect), and I have this week’s Free Fiction round-up yet to do for Futurismic

And there’s The Friday Curry to be shoehorned in there somewhere, as well! So I’ll bid you a swift farewell, and wish you a good weekend.

Adios, amigos.

[ * That sound you can hear? That's my teeth grinding. ]

[ ** "Thank you for filling in this intensely obtuse web-page form that doesn't work in Firefox and has a tendency of clearing all fields when you attempt to submit it. Now please fax the DNA sequences for both your parents and at least one living uncle or aunt to the following number, along with the deeds to your home and a document that transfers possession of all your worldly goods to a three-legged armadillo named Napoleon, and we'll consider looking into your support query some time this week. Thank you for using UK2!" ]

[ *** So, no change there, then. ]

[ **** One of these days I'll go through past FPBs and count the number of times I've described myself as being ridiculously busy. I would do it now, but naturally I'm far too busy. ]

[ ***** Yeah, I had a few beers. It was a con, after all! I'm being frugal and healthy, but I'm not becoming a Puritan. ]

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