You must be f@$king joking

Anyone who has my opinion on _poets_ will see the irony in my ‘What writer should you be’ test result…

You Should Be A Poet

You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.

And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery…

Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.

You’re already naturally a poet, even if you’ve never written a poem.


2009: The End of Short Fiction as We Know It

So, 2009 is not shaping up to be a good year for writers or fans of SF/F short fiction. Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine are reducing production to six double (as opposed to twelve single) issues a year, Years Best Fantasy & Horror is closing, Years Best Fantasy is going online, and most shocking of all Realms of Fantasy has announced that April 2009 will be the last issue. Continue reading 2009: The End of Short Fiction as We Know It

Lit-Fic : the genre that dare not speak its name

David Barnett has posted and excellent piece at the Guardian book blog on the way mainstream literature denies the existence of science fictional stories in its midst. But I wonder, is science fiction really the genre that dare not speak its name? Or does that plaudit really go to literary fiction? Continue reading Lit-Fic : the genre that dare not speak its name

1000 Best Books @ The Guardian and beyond…

The Guardian have gone list crazy this week, attacking with gusto the 1000 best novels we all should read before we die, including a section dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. Its a great list, with some wonderful reads, and looks at genre fiction in the broadest sense including both staight-up genre works and more literary classics.

Now here is a question…as most of the featured titles are at least a few decades old, what are the titles and authors published in the last few years (lets say five) that you think might make the list when it comes around again in another twenty years or so? I have a few names in mind, I wonder if anyone can guess them?

What the ?!

All blog owners are aware of the strange (and occaisionaly dirty) search terms people have used to find them. Well today I’ve had my all time favourite….(cue the drumroll)….and Damien’s favourite ever search term is…

unlimited dessert trolley london

Yes, I’ve checked on Google and for some bizarre reason this blog is the 20th result for unlimited dessert trolley london. Wonders will never cease.

I like this because I can sense an entire story behind those four words. Who might be seeking unlimited dessert in London? Why do they need as mauch cake as they can eat? Is it simple gluttony, or some absurd life and death predicament? If the Googler in question happens to pop by again, I’d love to know more. Otherwise imagined suggestions in the comments below please.

Are you prepared to change the world?

Dear friends,

It is with perhaps a modicum of trepidation that I recommend to you the fittingly titled Errata, the latest work of penmanship from Mr. Jeff Vendermeer, published this day at the web journal of I should not have to tell regular readers that despite my interest in the fantastic, I am not in the habit of giving way to common superstition. Hence, while I have often found myself entertained, fascinated and on more than one occaision deeply moved by the meta-fictional cavortings of Mr Vandermeer, I have not until this day been so genuinely terrified of the consequences such linguistic acrobatics might have upon the world as we know it. Continue reading Are you prepared to change the world?

Why publish a story collection?

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 Why publish a story collection?

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

One of my favourite stories of last years was Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky by Ken Scholes in Clarkesworld magazine. I loved the stopry so much that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Schole’s first novel, which has recently been released in hardback in the States. We may have to wait sometime for a British edition so I don’t know when I will get to review the full thing (hint hint any editors from Tor who might read this…send me an ARC!!) but there is a tasty extract over on Bookspotcentral. Go have a read. I have a feeling Scholes will be someone to watch for anyone who likes great storytelling.

No More Wrath for Khan

Ricardo Montalban, who played Khan Noonian Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan passed away today. The Wrath of Khan has for many years been my absolute favourite film of all time. From the opening sequence of the Kobayashi Maru, through the mind control ear wigs to William’s Shatners greatest moment screaming ‘KHAN!!!’ in the genesis caves, WoK is simply the greatest pulp adventure movie ever made. But there is more. The moment in thclimatic battle between the Enterprise and the hi-jacked Reliant when Spock hacks the opposing ships sytems and lowers her shields is a moment of cinematic brilliance. And I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried multiple times over the death of Spock in the radiation chamber.

Mr Montalban. You will be missed.

The New Fantasy

Lou Anders of Pyr talks about the New Fantasy over at the Agony Column podcast. Anders cites Tom Lloyd, Joe Abercromie and Mark Chadbourn among others as. Is this post 9/11 fantasy? Are the values of sword and sorcery penetrating high fantasy? Is this a new debate, or is there always a new fantasy? Certainly the likes of Eddings, Brooks and Feist are starting to look dated. But truthfully, do people want ‘realistic, gritty’ fantasy? Its interesting that most of these writers are British. Is the sceptered isle about to wreak the same revolution on epic fantasy in the 00’s that it did on space opera in the 80’s? Maybe. Maybe.

Im Abendrot

UPDATE: A new translation sent to me by Richard Gardner

UPDATE: A contemporary re-imagining of Im Abendrot by Neil Fulwood

I’m collecting translations of the poem ‘Im Abendrot’ by Joseph von Eichendorff, which was the basis of the final work by Richard Strauss of the same title. I’m particularly interested in the second line of the last verse, most often translated as ‘So deep at sunset’ and other possible translations. All suggestions welcome.

We have gone through sorrow and joy
hand in hand;
from wandering we now rest
on the silent land.

Around us, the valleys bow;
the air is growing darker;
two larks soar still
with reverie into the fragrant air.

Come close to me and let them fly about;
soon it will be time to sleep;
let us not lose our way
in this solitude.

O vast, tranquil peace!
so deep at sunset.
How weary we are of wandering –
Is this perhaps death?

Continue reading Im Abendrot