Bullet Proof Soul

Mur Lafferty made some perceptive statements about the twin terrors of Humbleness and Hubris on the latest episode of I Should Be Writing. You can listen there to Mur’s take on why you need to keep those two demons in balance. I was really taken by her passing reference to the bullet proof soul and I’ve been thinking about it most of the afternoon.The Black Bull is about a person selling their soul. Worse, she knows that she is doing it, and she knows exactly what it will cost her but she feels she has to do it anyway. Thats the end of the story, but I know that later that character could find a kind of redemption, and the end hints at that. When I think about it, the girl in The Black Bull is in possession of a bullet proof soul. Lots of the protagonists in my stories have this quality, a part of themselves that can’t be touched by any trauma, that they discover during the story. Thats quite a revelation to stumble into on a Monday afternoon. 

Invitation to Clarion

Earlier this week I received an invitation to attend the Clarion writers workshop in San Diego this summer. I haven’t been able to post until now because they were still informing people about places, but I’m seeing rejections posted up on the blogosphere so guess I can go public. I’m yet to see any acceptances though so if thats you and your reading this then say hello.

Because of the few days delay I’m a bit calmer than I was so here is a recreation of what I would have posted…


I’m pretty damn excited about the whole thing.  I’m going to spend six weeks this summer with only the writing to think about, workshopping with some of the worlds best authors and in the company of people who share the same passion for the craft. I’m still so excited that the standard rejection slip from Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine for ‘The Great Western Pile’ which turned up in my mailbox yesterday barely even registered.

I’m going to be blogging my Clarion preparation and keeping a journal of the workshop itself here. My first task is to track down books by all the tutors and get them read.

Ironically all the nervousness waiting for the result and then the excitement of getting a place mean I haven’t used my writing time productively this week, so I’ll be redoubling my efforts as of today. I have a Guardian article to finish today, a review for the Fix tommorow and then I want to get the second draft of The Black Bull done this week. Back to the word mines!

Arthur C Clarke, 1917 – 2008

One of Britain’s greatest writers and thinkers, his influence will live far into the future he predicted.

As a writer, Arthur C Clarke stood alongside Robert A Heinlein and Issac Asimov as one of the fathers of the science fiction genre. Although best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey, famously adpated for film by Stanley Kubrick, Clarke had the prolific output common to many science fiction writers of the era, authoring over thirty novels and thirteen collections of short fiction in a career of over five decades.

Read more…

Arthur C Clarke Passes Away

I’ve just seen on Charlie Stross’ blog that Arthur C Clarke has passed away, age 90 at his home in Sri Lanka. He was the first science fiction writer I ever read. The Fountains of Paradise and Rendezvous with Rama still rate as among the best novels ever written. Very sad news.

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Circe’s on The Drabblecast

Episode 55 of The Drabblecast just came out, featuring my short story Circe’s. Norm Sherman does a really, really, really, really good job reading it (the guy is one of the best narrators I’ve heard) and I’m very, very, very, very, very pleased with the whole thing. Have a listen then stop by the Drabblecast forum and leave comments.


Support the Pod

Regular readers will now I’m a big fan of Escape Pod, the weekly Science Fiction podcast edited by Steve Eley. I’ve linke dto many of their stories but now I’m just going to link to them in general. Steve just revealed a few big things in his ‘State of the Podcast’ m,etacast about Escape Pod. The first is that Escape Pod is now second biggest mraket for short SF fiction in the world. Not second biggest online, or second biggest podcats, but the second biggest of any market, beating Asimov’s, Interzone and the rest and only slightly behind Analog. The second thing is that Steve is going to take Escape Pod pro and make it a business. I think this is great news for SF. Escape Pod needs your help to make this transition, so swing over to their website listen then subscribe.


One in Ten…

…is the approximate chance of getting a place at Clarion. I found out yesterday that the Top Gun of science fiction and fantasy writing workshops received about 200 applications this year. They take 18 students, so working out the math…(scratches head and sticks tongue out corner of mouth)…it comes to about 1/10.  On the positive side, it could be 2000. On the negative side, anyone serious enough to take six weeks out of their life to take the course will be making a serious application. And 200 serious applications is a LOT of competition. I’m just going to try not to think about any of this until I hear one way or the other.