Are we already living in the technological singularity?

news has been turning into science fiction for a while now. TVs that watch the watcher, growing tiny kidneys, 3D printing, the car of tomorrow, Amazon’s fleet of delivery drones – so many news stories now “sound like science fiction” that the term returns 1,290,000 search results on Google. The pace of technological innovation isContinue reading “Are we already living in the technological singularity?”

The improvised word leaves space for you

Improvisation is a powerful part of art. Dancers, musicians and actors – those things we name the performing arts – all learn to improvise as part of their craft. Their work is temporal and transient. Once the move or note is performed it is gone forever.  A recording of Miles Davis playing Kind of BlueContinue reading “The improvised word leaves space for you”

A Nebula award shortlist that makes me feel good about SF

The Nebula award shortlists have just been announced by the Science Fiction Writers of America. And they are excellent. Focusing on Best Novel… We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood) The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review) Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen) Hild,Continue reading “A Nebula award shortlist that makes me feel good about SF”

Welcome to viral book selling

UPDATE:  sadly Baboon Fart Story reached #9 on the narrower >General bestseller list, selling a mere 21 copies before being pulled by amazon. But still an interesting example of a book catching some viral publicity. Today a book called Baboon Fart Story climbed to #9 on the Amazon bestseller list. The book featured the wordContinue reading “Welcome to viral book selling”

You are not going to improve the world

Human beings are largely engaged in wasting enormous amounts of psychic energy in attempting to do things that are quite impossible. All sensible people therefore begin in life with two fundamental suppositions. You are not going to improve the world. And you are not going to improve your self. You are just what you are.Continue reading “You are not going to improve the world”

Self-publishing: is it killing the mainstream?

Brenna Aubrey self-published her debut romance novel At Any Price on the Amazon Kindle on 9 December 2013. One month later At Any Price had netted a total profit of £16,588. Aubrey’s success is far from unique – 2013 was a breakout year for “indie authors” led by the phenomenal success of Hugh Howey. ButContinue reading “Self-publishing: is it killing the mainstream?”

The Principle of Digital Abundance – thoughts on author earnings

Hugh Howey has caused a brand new stir in the writing and publishing world with the Author Earnings report. If you don’t know, Howey is one of the most significant breakout “indie authors” of recent years. Now he’s disrupting the industry in a much more direct way with Author Earnings. Both Amazon and the BigContinue reading “The Principle of Digital Abundance – thoughts on author earnings”

Publishers have missed the boat on digital genre fiction

Publishers are making moves to exploit the success of genres like romance and sci-fi in digital book sales onplatforms like the Amazon Kindle. “Certain categories [of eBooks] have a much larger digital adoption than others,” Dobson said. “The genres were among the first where readers took to the digital format and the ratio of readersContinue reading “Publishers have missed the boat on digital genre fiction”

Everything that’s wrong with the Men’s Rights movement summarised

I had been ignoring the Men’s Rights movement as one of the many pointless things that finds a space on the internet, until I wrote about the male bias in geek culture recently. That column for The Guardian produced a torrent of bile from hundreds of male commenters. Many identified as Men’s Rights activists. TheContinue reading “Everything that’s wrong with the Men’s Rights movement summarised”

THE GOLEM AND THE DJINNI – a masterpiece of fantasy literature

Unforgettable images shimmer from the pages of The Golem and the Djinni. A palace of glass and gold glittering in the Syrian desert. The bustle and heartbeat of New York in 1899, populated with a cast of intriguing characters, two of them creatures of magic. Chava is a golem crafted by a rogue rabbi, herContinue reading “THE GOLEM AND THE DJINNI – a masterpiece of fantasy literature”

Eleanor Catton debunks the idea that literature is elitist

Eleanor Catton is a very powerful writer. What do I mean by powerful? Writers don’t command armies, head governments or lead major corporations. No writer I know can leap a tall building in a single bound. Many, in fact, struggle to get up from awkwardly low seating. And yet writers do have very great power,Continue reading “Eleanor Catton debunks the idea that literature is elitist”

Forget Iron Man-child – let’s fight the white maleness of geek culture

Fantasy has become a sandbox for immature masculinity. What kinds of stories could we tell if our writers tackled the hard truths of male identity and privilege? The coming year threatens to be another period of white, male heroism in geek culture. Another summer of superpowered men in the cinema. Another year with only 4%Continue reading “Forget Iron Man-child – let’s fight the white maleness of geek culture”