Kitschie shortlists reflect the “mainstreaming” of spec.fic

The Kitschies have become a fixture of the speculative award season,  joining the Hugo and Nebula’s, BSFA and Clarkes as among the most interesting awards in SF. This year The Kitschies reflect the new emerging reality of speculative fiction – the most interesting and creative work in speculative fiction isn’t coming from within the field,Continue reading “Kitschie shortlists reflect the “mainstreaming” of spec.fic”

Piracy is the least of publishing’s many problems

With the rise of indie authors and the closure of bookshops, piracy is an easy scapegoat for publishing’s woes. The community of SF writers has reason to dislike digital copying, or “piracy” as it’s commonly labelled in the tabloid press. Genre writers exist, by and large, in the publishing mid-list, where mediocre sales might seem most easilyContinue reading “Piracy is the least of publishing’s many problems”

Does the Wheel of Time deserve a Hugo award?

The Wheel of Time began turning in 1990. Initially planned as a trilogy, by the time of author Robert Jordan’s death in 2007 the series had grown to a mighty 12 volumes. Working from Jordan’s notes, Brandon Sanderson added a further three volumes of eternal struggle. This sprawling fantasy epic has gone on to sellContinue reading “Does the Wheel of Time deserve a Hugo award?”

The DOs and DO NOTs of getting your book reviewed

Writing a regular column for The Guardian on weird books, I get asked by writers of all kinds to read their latest tome. And sometimes that question becomes “how do I get my book reviewed?” In the age of social media and the internet the book review is a much different beast than it onceContinue reading “The DOs and DO NOTs of getting your book reviewed”

The most important resource for any digital nomad

Over the last few months I’ve met with and spoken to dozens of digital nomads in Chiang Mai to research my feature article on the nomad lifestyle – Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin. I’ve chatted with dozens more online and via email, and followed the progress of hundreds of nomads through their blogs and on social media.Continue reading “The most important resource for any digital nomad”

I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now.

Yesterday I spent the evening with the Green Papaya sangha at the Yoga Tree in Chiang Mai. Around forty people where there, many regulars, some visitors like me. The sangha – a Buddhist term for a spiritual practice group – are in the Plum Village meditation tradition. A little different from vipassana meditation, which trainsContinue reading “I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now.”

The Indie Sci-Fi Revolution

In late 2012 Hugh Howey was an unknown writer of science fiction, even to most dedicated science fiction readers. And yet he had sold over 250,000 books, optioned film rights to the legendary Ridley Scott, and agreed a six figure book deal with major publisher Simon & Schuster. All this before his dystopian sci-fi novelContinue reading “The Indie Sci-Fi Revolution”

Kitchener’s coin will fuel the fantasies of UKIP

Liberal Britain’s complacent attitude to its own colonial history is a gift to the nation’s resurgent far right. First published at New Left Project. Symbolic issues are fiercely fought over by politicians because they matter. And you can bet your bottom dollar that the decision by the Royal Mint to place Lord Kitchener’s head on theContinue reading “Kitchener’s coin will fuel the fantasies of UKIP”

The sci-fi you will be reading in 2014

Science fiction has arguably been the mainstream of pop-culture since the internet displaced TV at the centre of our lives. The younger, geekier internet audience is living in a weird, complicated world, and sci-fi provides the metaphors that let us talk about it en masse. Young audiences aren’t stupid, and The Hunger Games: Catching FireContinue reading “The sci-fi you will be reading in 2014”

Stop wasting your time on trivia

A thought for the new year of 2014. There is a lot of noise in modern life. Finding your meaning is sometimes a matter of filtering everything out except the signal you need. Set aside anything you do that is on this list. Competing for status baubles. Trying to look like someone on TV. ComparingContinue reading “Stop wasting your time on trivia”