I’ve been avidly reading (and listening) to Eugie Foster’s perfectly formed fairy tales in short story form since I started reviewing for The Fix (which Eugie edits). They have appeared in some of my favourite venues including the Drabblecast and Realms of Fantasy (sadly no longer with us). Now they have been collected together in Returning My Sister’s Face: and other far eastern tales of whimsy and malice. Should anyone feel like buying me a present, this comes high on the list. If you don’t like me enough to do that, then go and buy yourself a copy as quick as you can. I know one of my fellow Clarion grads in particular who will appreciate Eugie Foster’s writing (you know who you are).
Horizon gets a good review from Michelle Lee over at The Fix, and overall Murky Depths #6 gets a good response. Which reminds me, I’m well behind on my reviewing chores at the moment. Poluto #4 here I come…
“Horizon” by Damien G. Walter is a standout of the issue, a dark science fiction tale of space travel and settling new lands. The worst of human nature can’t be escaped in the far future, like a planet can be. Though whether the worst humanity has to offer is the rebel streak of a man who wakes from his regeneration and defies the procedure, or is in the method of civilizing an alien planet, is a decision left up to individual readers.
James Van Pelt closes his article on short story collections over at The Fix with a call for people to read them. Its a call I would have to second, even knowing that it won’t be heard. Like poetry collections, or photographic monographs, or independent cinema, the short story is a specialised realm that will never have the same exposure as its mainstream cousin, the commercial fiction novel. Continue reading
Jim Kelly, award winning SF writer (and Clarion tutor) praises The Fix…
Luckily for fans of the short form, a new site, The Fix, has arrived on the scene. Andy Cox, of TTA Press, publisher of Interzone and Black Static, and Eugie Foster have created a site that is visually pleasing and intellectually stimulating. The size of their staff of columnists and reviewers is impressive. I counted over fifty; most are themselves working or aspiring writers. Of course, the skill and style of the reviewers vary; for the most part they give plot summaries and in some cases offer a critical, or at least a personal, reaction to the story. The intent would seem not so much to pass judgment as to describe stories that a reader might want to look for. The columns are quite astute—I can particularly recommend James Van Pelt’s The Day Job and Scott Danielson’s Audiobook Fix. The Fix is one of the most promising new sites of 2007.
…well done Eugie and Andy. I read The Fix daily and really enjoy writing my own reviews for it, so its great to see it getting more of the attention it deserves.
The May 2008 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction kicks off with a hint of horror provided by Albert E. Cowdrey’s “Thrilling Wonder Stories.” Knowledgeable science fiction readers might recognise the title as a reference to a real (and recently relaunched) pulp magazine, and the story is set in the era of American history these magazines have come to symbolise.
The first weeks after the Xmas break have been so intensely busy for me that my feet have barely touched the ground. Constructively busy however, which is good.
I wrote my first professional blog post last week for Guardian Unlimited. Following the tremendous response to Sam Jordison’s look at the Hugo Award’s, I pitched a few ideas for science fiction and fantasy blog posts to the Guardian eds and they said yes. It was very exciting to go ‘above the line’ on a blog I’ve read for some time, not least because it actually pays! I’m looking forward to pitching a few more ideas over the next couple of months but have to be careful not to let the cheap thrill of reaching hundreds if not thousands of readers distract me from my career as an unknown fiction writer. You can see the problem.
Also in the world of non-fiction I’m continuing my reviewing for The Fix. I’ve recently posted a review of Farrago’s Wainscot and will be reviewing one of the ‘Big 3′ genre magainzines for the next few months – Fantasy & Science Fiction. F&SF is my favourite of the big three (the other two being Asimov’s and Analogue) but its been interesting comparing it to the small press and online publications that I have reveiwed or read recently, I think this might be an interesting angle to take in the review.
I have been a little undisciplined with the writing in the last two months. Foreign and domestic holidays followed by a slew of freelance work meant I’ve had to put the novel on hold until February, although I start back in earnest in February once the Writing Industries Conference is out of the way. I have been working on a number of short stories instead so the time hasn’t been wasted. The first to be finished will be ‘The Great Western Pile’ which is a steam-punk, hard SF spy story. i’ve had great fun writing it and with luck will finish it over the weekend.
Following my ‘Week of Rejection’ between X-Mas and New Year I got right back in the saddle and got everything back out on the market. ‘Rings’ AKA ‘My Zombie Lovesick Boy Band’ is at Weird Tales, ‘Meat’ is with Strange Horizons, ‘Circes’ and ‘Momentum’ are both with audio podcasts (The Drabblecast and Escape Pod respectively) and ‘Horizon’ came back from Ideomancer with another rejection. ‘Horizon’ is my problem child at the moment, but I have faith it will find a good home eventually.
Back to ‘Great Western Pile’ anyway. If I get the first draft done over the weekend I’ll post an extract to the blog.
My review of the highly interstitial Farrago’s Wainscot is up on The Fix.
Its that mystic time of year when the mists of fate part to reveal a veritable hoard of awards in the speculative fiction field.
The Fix is nominated for the Critters.org awards in the category of best review site. It certainly gets my vote, although I did almost succumb to the last minute temptation to throw my support behind Erotic Escapdes. Voting is open to all at the address below.
Everyone’s favorite home for off the beaten track speculative fiction Electric Velocipede has two qualifying issues for both this year’s Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honours of the speculative fiction field. These include the obviously amazing Issue #13 featuring my short story ‘Momentum’. Nominations for the Nebula awards are open to all members of the Science Fiction Writer’s of America, whilst the Hugo’s are open to any registered attendee of the ’07 or ’08 World Science Fiction conventions. If you qualify for either be sure to cast your vote before the relevant deadlines!
My review of Cabinet des Fees no.2 is up on The Fix. Styled as ‘a fairytale journal’ Cabinet des Fees was one of my best reads of the year. Check it out if you like engaging, intelligent fantasy with a literary edge.
Its a tough life being a writer. Take poor old William Gibson. I read all of Gibson’s books obsessively in my mid-teens. I’ve traveled great distances to see him speak. I’ve even twice been compared to him in pseudo psychometric testing. But when I was less than gripped by his new novel ‘Spook Country’ I put it down and haven’t been back since. Thats the nature of fans. One minute you are the total centre of attention, the next you are just another unread tome of a bookshelf somewhere.
I will come back to ‘Spook Country’ when time allows. I am so busy with work, new freelance projects and my own writing at the moment that my reading has fallen behind, at least of books.
I have however found a new taste for short fiction in recent months. This began with a spate of excellent stories read in online magazines including Serendipity, Strange Horizons and Clarkesworld among others. I really believe e-publishing has come into its own in the last few years. E-books may still be emerging but for short fiction online outlets are now as strong if not stronger than their cousins in print. I’ve also been thrown into new realms of reading through The Fix. Their reviews are so good they have lead me to take out subscriptions for at least one more publication in addition to the four I already get.
Another revelation in the last few weeks have been audiobook’s. Realising I had less and less ‘quality time’ for full novels I decided to try out audiobooks as a way of squeezing reading into times and places it might not otherwise fit. I’ve become instantly converted, and currently have stories by Garth Nix, George R R Martin and Ursula K LeGuin loaded on to my Ipod. I think audio will become an increasingly vibrant area iver the next few years as its so well adapted for the internet and peoples bust, commuting lifestyles.
I am determined to get bakc to reading entire books though. I have a wonderful holiday to Egypt booked December, so between excursions to The Valley of the Kings I intend to get in some good quality reading time. The only problem is what to take with me. How about you well read lot help me out with some suggestions?
My short story Momentum has been reviewed as part of Electric Velocipede #13 on The Fix. Its a good review that pinpoints the same flaws in the story I would have, and pays it a big compliment.
What with being reviewed, reviewing, writing new stuff, starting new freelance work, being mentored and sleeping I haven’t had time to write much here about my recent adventures. I’ll try and make a full update soon.
My review of Viepoints Critical by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is up on The Fix.