Tag Archives: John Klima

Serious Fantasy

I’ve been a bit quiet since World Fantasy. Blame it on recovery from jet-lag and reacquanting myself with my day job, which decided to go and get all creative whilst I was away. But I’ve told it what’s what, and I think it’s learnt its lesson.

World Fantasy was head and shoulders the best convention I have ever attended. EasterCon, FantasyCon and Alt.Fiction all have their strengths, the British fan base are extremely friendly and very passionate, but its always been disappointment for me that for many if not most of the fans speculative fiction as literature is a secondary concern to their real passions for Dr Who, Star Trek, Buffy and other mass media SFF franchises. Not only do I primarily like written SF, I also like SF literary and read much mainstream and literary fiction alongside. So I was incredibly happy to find that audience for WFC were very much in the same ballpark as me. There were no Star Trek or any other kind of costumes (with the exception of a steampunk party on one night). The panels all had genuinely insightful themes and incited real discussion about fantasy fiction (and were well attended). The dealers room was full of treasures, and there were no stands given over to self-published authors. In short, WFC was a precisely the professional convention that it biled itself as, that above all took fantasy fiction seriously. (Small whoop of joy for that please)

The greatest reward of my long journey to the convention was to meet so many other people who take fantasy every bit as seriously as I do. I got to meet for the first time many established professionals in the field who I have talked with online including John Klima, Neil Clarke, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer and John Courtney Grimwood. And many others who I encountered for the very first time. But the most fantastic surprise of the convention was rediscovering my friends from Clarion ’08 and our counterparts from Clarion ’09. I found very quickly that Clarion grads seem to share a bond just as strong accross years, and the best moments of the convention were spent in their company.

There were a large number of Clarion graduates at the convention, and also a number of young writers aiming to attend in future. In all there were at least a hundred writers in their 20’s and 30’s (and a little older!) who were extremely passionate and dedicated but yet to really become established. This gave the convention a much younger feel than any British con (Alt Fiction comes closest). There were also many more women at the convention (probably about half the attendance? would be interested i figures if anyone has them) which was a welcome sight. I would love to see this kind of demographic reflected at British conventions, but I have little hope that it will unfortunately.

My moment of the convention? Asking Ted Chiang if he was going to take part in NaNoWriMo this year? Almost fainting in front of Robert Silverburg? Exchanging opinions on how crappy Fosters beer is with Garth Nix? No. The best moment was the look on the till girls face when we filled up a tiny taqueria with twenty or so Clarion kids from ’08 and ’09.

I’ve been hit with SAD getting back from WFC and the California sunshine. My resolutions to tackle this are to get up before dawn and get as much daylight as possible, exercise every morning and blog every night to keep my mind sharp. So expect many more blogs. I’ve also made a long planned writing resolution, which I’ll announce in a few days.

A few interesting links:

Jeff Vandermeer accompanies the launch of his Booklife writing guide with a set of online resources for writers. I received an ARC of Booklife, so can recommend it as thoroughly worth any writers time to read.

Parker Peevyhouse incites a little more debate on the question of the death or otherwise of sci-fi, and reminds me that I need to expand on the idea of Post SF.

 

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Limited Edition Damo

Right people. John Klima, editor at Electric Velocipede has recently become a father for the second time (congratulations!), but unfortunately now also finds himself the sole earner in his household.

But to every cloud is a silver lining, because John  has decided to sell off all remaining stock of Electric Velocpede #13 (among other things) which features my short story Momentum. Yes, thats right! You, dear reader, now have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of perhaps the most exciting literary opportunity since….well….since the last time I got you to buy Electric Velocipede! Continue reading Limited Edition Damo

Join the Gene Wolfe book club

Need more intellectual roughage in your post Christamas cultural diet? Well John Klima may just have the answer.

Not satisfied with reading an entre 53 books last year, Mr Klima has set himself the task of reading all 12 books of The Solar Cycle by Gene Wolfe. And you can join him in his endeavour over at the Gene Wolfe book club. In Klima’s words, ‘These books are dense and complicated and full of mysteries and things to discover’, exactly what I need in this new year.

I’ve been fascinated by Wolfe as one of a group of writers who have colonised the Dying Earth genre, following in the footsteps of the legendary Jack Vance. I attempted to tackle The Book of the New Sun by Wolfe about two years ago. I found it tough going but images from it have lingered in my imagination ever since. Quite coincidentaly I picked it up again last night, determined to finally conquer the tome! And now here comes the perfect opportunity. I’m heading to the club to sign up now.

Get Your Electric Velocipede Hot and Fresh!

Electric Velocipede is without doubt the magazine I most look forward to finding in my mail box. Yes, I know, I’m biased because I’ve featured in their pages. But even if I hadn’t, I hope I would have the sense to recognise what a great ‘zine editor John Klima is putting into the world. The roster of published writers reads like a who’s who of the most exciting rising stars in fantastical, weird and speculative fiction. Truly, if you have any interest in the short story, you really should take Mr. Klima up on his kind offer below and subscribe. Continue reading Get Your Electric Velocipede Hot and Fresh!

Electric Velocipede #13

Issue 13 of Electric Velocipede magazine launches tomorrow at World Fantasy Con in Saratoga, US. Among the contents is my short story ‘Momentum’. Its one of the shortest stories I’ve ever written, and just over one thousand words. EV editor John Klima has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Fingers crossed that he gets it.

Electric Velocipede #13