The New New Space Opera

Science fiction is not a genre. The most successful literary tradition of the 20th century is as impossible to neatly categorise as the alien life forms it sometimes imagines. But “sci-fi” does contain genres. The rigorous scientific speculation of Hard SF. The techno-cynicism of Cyberpunk, or its halfwit cousin Steampunk. The pulp fictions of PlanetaryContinue reading “The New New Space Opera”

What is the relationship between artists and depression?

The skilled and thoughtful William Gosline returns for a second guest post. The news of Robin Williams’ suicide has sparked an ongoing conversation about depression and mental ill-health among artists and other creatives. In a nuanced post Gosline reaches beyond the simple correlation between creativity and depression, to reflect on the real and complex relationship betweenContinue reading “What is the relationship between artists and depression?”

21 Of The Best British Sci-Fi Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The World Science Fiction Convention touches down in London this week, bringing together fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels from all over the world. LonCon3 is the first time this fete of the fantastic has visited the UK since 2006 when the 63rd worldcon hit Glasgow. Here are the top 21 sci-fi and fantasyContinue reading “21 Of The Best British Sci-Fi Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of”

Horror – just not scary any more

Whereas Victorian writers could rely on repressed sexuality to generate unease, today’s horror and fantasy novels put sex on the front cover. But the best new examples of the genre still bring up the things we don’t like to talk about. When Bram Stoker penned Dracula in 1897, Eastern Europe was still remote for mostContinue reading “Horror – just not scary any more”

Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture

Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture. The choices they make today will shape how we live and work tomorrow. Words and pictures by Damien Walter The global network enables us to react to the world as a whole. – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media The center was not holding. But that wasContinue reading “Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture”

3 things books must do to survive in an attention economy

Much of my first decade as a writer was spent helping people read and write. I ran workshops and development projects for libraries, a part of my professional life I wrote about not so long ago. A big part of my work then was caught up with the question, asked in various different ways, “whyContinue reading “3 things books must do to survive in an attention economy”

FUCK YOU AMAZON! Fuck you for being right! Again!

Sigh. Writers and publishers are again up in arms about Amazon, this time because of a letter sent directly to thousands of self-published writers by the book behemoth, and repeated on a new Readers United website. Full text of the email below for non-KDP authors who are curious. So here we are again. Amazon isContinue reading “FUCK YOU AMAZON! Fuck you for being right! Again!”

Authors! Book pirates aren’t your best friends, they’re your only friends.

There are 7 billion people on planet Earth. 7,000,000,000. That’s a vast audience that in the digital age is only really limited by language and literacy barriers. But let’s be really tight, and say that the operational potential upper audience for your book is 1 billion people. 1,000,000,000. “Your enemy is not piracy, but obscurity.”Continue reading “Authors! Book pirates aren’t your best friends, they’re your only friends.”

Can excellence survive in the era of digital publishing?

Excellence isn’t a word often heard in the world of digital self-publishing, where Good Enough has more force when backed up with six-figure sales. In a smart essay William Gosline asks and answers the question; can excellence survive in the digital era? Gosline is a talented writer of speculative fiction, currently writing a fascinating serialContinue reading “Can excellence survive in the era of digital publishing?”

The troll reviewers targeting women writers

Online abuse reminds us that while technology is upgraded, human qualities of jealousy and bitterness are not. It may contain some passages judged by one Amazon customer to be “brilliantly written”, but that isn’t enough to spare Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road a two-star kicking. The reason? Byrne has committed a political sinContinue reading “The troll reviewers targeting women writers”