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”

Why Science Fiction is the literature of change

Science Fiction is often called a “literature of ideas”. Maybe it is better understood as a literature of change. Listen to the Guardian books podcast: Science Fiction now and tomorrow. Today’s Guardian books podcast, which I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in alongside Lauren Beukes, Alaistar Reynolds, Jeff Noon and MichaelContinue reading “Why Science Fiction is the literature of change”

We need a unified spec-fic award in the UK

The United Kingdom has one credible award for speculative fiction. It’s called the Clarke Award, and it is decided by a panel of experts each year. In addition we have a splintered field of popular voted awards including those organised by the British Fantasy Society and British Science Fiction Association. These awards carry little weightContinue reading “We need a unified spec-fic award in the UK”

Science Fiction is the most valuable art ever. Discuss.

So. Today at the Out of this World event at the British Library (which was really rather wonderful), Neil Gaiman shared a fascinating factoid with the audience. While appearing as a Guest of Honour at China’s largest state approved Science Fiction convention, Neil decided to enquire why SF, once frowned upon by the Chinese government,Continue reading “Science Fiction is the most valuable art ever. Discuss.”

Good curation is much more valuable than cash

A good friend has just sold a debut story to an excellent but non-paying market. There are a lot of markets for short fiction. Many of them are bad. Some of them pay. Some of the ones that pay the most are the worst. In the world of short fiction money is a very badContinue reading “Good curation is much more valuable than cash”

Critics aren’t your best friends, they’re your only friends

John Scalzi made a strange defence of the Hugo awards recently on his blog, that made me a little sad: I do think there’s a core of commenters whose problem internalizing that other people have other tastes is overlaid with a more-than-mild contempt for fandom, i.e., “Oh, fandom. You’ve shown again why you can’t beContinue reading “Critics aren’t your best friends, they’re your only friends”

GUEST POST: Serious writing must mirror both reality and imagination

Will Ellwood asks the simple question, can serious writing succeed without facing both the real…and the fantastic? Follow Will on Twitter @fragmad Discovering your voice as a writer is more complex problem than is often acknowledged. This is not a problem of simple replicable craft that can be taught in a classroom, but is insteadContinue reading “GUEST POST: Serious writing must mirror both reality and imagination”

Can we have better pulp fiction please?

So. I’m trying to get an Advance Reading Copy of A Dance With Dragons, because everyone is excited about it and Vandermeer has one and I feel left out. So far, no luck, although I’m told I’m on the list as soon as any arrive in the UK. Which is cool. So why are soContinue reading “Can we have better pulp fiction please?”

Genre needs to stop applauding crap, and respect its best writers

Sarah Crown has started a fascinating discussion on the resurgence of fabulism in literary fiction over on The Guardian book blog, brought on by Tea Obreht’s surprise win in the Orange prize. I didn’t need to read the comments to know there would be at least half a dozen from irate members of fantasy fandom,Continue reading “Genre needs to stop applauding crap, and respect its best writers”

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”

Your chance to argue with Damo

So. This coming Saturday I will be talking about Speculative Fiction, and why it deserves the broadest possible respect and recognition, as part of the States of Independence publishers fair at De Montfort University in Leicester. I’ve been shooting my mouth off about this subject for some time, and now I’m going to do thatContinue reading “Your chance to argue with Damo”