London Gothic

Mystery is the doorway to fantasy. Dark forests, far away galaxies, roads that wind into the distance: any space that allows our imagination to play without the interference of mundane reality can be a portal. And there are few places more expectant with mystery than cities. Every road, building and doorway is a new unknown.Continue reading “London Gothic”

My Kitschy Predictions 2012

The Kitschies are among my favourite speculative fiction awards for the simple reason that they give awards to very good books. Last year I nailed A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness as the winner. So this year I’m going to take a wild stab at predicting the whole shortlist (!) How will I do? BlackbirdsContinue reading “My Kitschy Predictions 2012”

How to work with theory without snuffing out your creative spark

I spent much of the last weekend live-tweeting from Weird Council, an academic convention on the writing of China Mieville. Many clever people were in attendance, many clever things were said. I only understood about half of them but felt quite good about getting that much. As a good friend of mine says, if moreContinue reading “How to work with theory without snuffing out your creative spark”

Fantasy must be a struggle with life

The more experienced I become as a writer, the more I realise I was closer to the soul of the art when I started out than after a decade and some lose change years studying its craft. Jonathan Franzen is a writer I discovered through The Corrections some time in the last year or so.Continue reading “Fantasy must be a struggle with life”

Who is the wisest Sci-Fi & Fantasy author?

Over on Twitter and Facebook I asked folk to tell me which SF author they would turn to for life advice, for words of wisdom and guidance through the labyrinth of life. And I got quite a response! [View the story “Wisest of the wise in SF & Fantasy” on Storify] Popular choices include NeilContinue reading “Who is the wisest Sci-Fi & Fantasy author?”

Understanding Christopher Priest

Writing can be a cruel game. Not least for those who, to innocent bystanders, might seem like winners in the game of literary life. Take Christopher Priest for instance. With a long and esteemed career in writing, numerous accolades under his belt and a Hollywood adaptation of his novel The Prestige still within living memory,Continue reading “Understanding Christopher Priest”

Why we must reward intelligent fantastic literature

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to direct your attention to the shortlist for the Kitschies, the annual awards organised by the folks at the Pornokitsch blog, which is quickly establishing itself as one of the two or three most relevant awards in fantastic literature. And the nominated novels are: The Enterprise of Death by JesseContinue reading “Why we must reward intelligent fantastic literature”

Mieville, Embassytown and radical SF

Is SF becoming cool? If it is, as China Miéville claims, then the award-winning author, whose new novel Embassytown hit the shelves yesterday, may have something to do with it. In our current era of austerity, with the largest-ever protest march on the nation’s capital and a previously apathetic youth culture rallying to the UKContinue reading “Mieville, Embassytown and radical SF”

Literary SF

A friend on Facebook has asked to make a few suggestions of Speculative Fiction that straddles both mass market and literary audiences. I thought the answer might be of more general interest, so here we go… It’s a good question. As I suggested last week over on The Guardian, while SF is generally perceived asContinue reading “Literary SF”

Kraken by China Mieville

China Miéville has a passion for London. The multi-award winning author has reflected the city’s surreal side in Un Lun Dun, set it to a drum’n’bass beat in King Rat, and inundated it with vampire imagoes in The Tain. Now, in his new novel, Miéville threatens to destroy the nation’s capital entirely in the tentacledContinue reading “Kraken by China Mieville”

Guardian Books Podcast – SF Special

I have the pleasure of being a guest on this week’s Guardian Books Podcast. This was my second time on the show, but this time around the whole episode is dedicated  to speculative fiction. Hurrah! We discuss the new John Wyndham novel (yes, you heard that right) and the reasons why there are so manyContinue reading “Guardian Books Podcast – SF Special”