Time to Cut the Cord with the Stone Age: my essay on The F-Word

The UK contemporary feminist website The F-Word has published my essay today: Time to Cut the Cord with the Stone Age.

I’m really delighted to raise the issues of future reproductive technologies in this forum. This is the subject matter I delve into in my latest 47North novel, Dreams Before the Start of Time.

So timely too. It’s now official in Nature – news was circulating last week – that scientists in the US have successfully used CRISPR gene editing on human embryos to delete the gene for a heritable heart condition. All experimental at this stage, but bound to be highly controversial.

No doubt this major advance will be discussed next week at my panel at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki: Human Reproduction in Science Fiction. See my events page.

And now I really must pack my bags for Nine Worlds and Worldcon 75! Hope to see some of you there.

The perfect reader responses, latest reviews and a Korean translation

“Your books always break my heart. You’re like a really bad boyfriend. I know you’re going to leave me emotionally wrecked, but I can’t stay away :-)”

How sweet! I like the smiley face, too. This particular message appeared in my inbox last week. I shall frame it!

Over on Twitter yesterday, top marks to reader Mark Gerrits for selecting four great images for his tweet:

And what are ‘the critics’ saying? I’m bowled over that two reviewers, in particular, found time to review Dreams Before the Start of Time (47North) last week, seeing as they’re Shadow Jurors for the 2017 Arthur C Clarke Award. I’m referring to Megan AM (From Couch to Moon website) and Nina Allan (The Spider’s House website). They’re part of a team of nine critics who are currently reviewing science fiction novels released in 2016 and drawing up a Shadow Shortlist which they will reveal on 2 May—one day before the official Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist is announced. Exciting stuff.

I blush as I copy and paste Nina Allan’s comments:

“I greatly admire this book. I love the music it makes when listened to in consort with its equally accomplished predecessor. Most of all, I’m delighted and inspired by Anne Charnock’s writing talent, her contemplative, forensic, insatiably curious approach to speculative fiction. The three novels she has produced to date constitute a significant literary achievement in their own right, as well as being the springboard from which – I feel sure of it – Charnock will leap towards still more confident advances in the novels to come.”

No pressure, then. Read the full review here.

Read more

RELEASE DAY: Dreams Before the Start of Time

I can hardly believe I’m typing this: my THIRD novel is published today — Dreams Before the Start of Time.

This near-future novel suggests what it will mean to be a parent, a child, a family when science offers new ways of conceiving and giving birth — when artificial wombs free women from the pain and dangers of childbirth, when eggs can be created from stem cells, when a man can create a baby without a woman, and a woman can create a baby without a man. How will these breakthroughs affect relationships and the status of motherhood in society?

In other words, as a writer of speculative fiction, I give myself license to imagine both the intended and unintended consequences!

Dreams Before the Start of Time, published by 47North, received a boost pre-release, receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly. And today, release day, I’m thrilled to bits to read this review on From Couch to Moon.

Here are snippets of early reactions to the novel: Read more

Kickstarter for 2084 – Orwell inspired anthology – plus latest reviews

Support this Kickstarter!

I’ll keep this as brief as I can for all you lovely but busy people: I’m in a fab line-up of authors for the short story anthology 2084 (Unsung Stories), and any support for the Kickstarter will be massively appreciated! There’s a special edition of the anthology with its own cover art for the Kickstarter campaign. Fingers crossed we meet the target.

Stories by Jeff Noon, Christopher Priest, James Smythe, Lavie Tidhar, Aliya Whiteley, David Hutchinson, Cassandra Khaw, Desirina Boskovich, Ian Hocking, Oliver Langmead and me.

My own story, “A Good Citizen” imagines a future with weekly referendums and a universal wage. Picture a world with a recurring nightmare of near-Brexit proportions!

Early reviews for Dreams Before the Start of Time

Publishers’ Weekly has given a starred review to my upcoming novel. This is a brilliant start for Dreams Before the Start of Time, my third novel. For those who don’t know PW, this New York-based magazine reviews some 9,000 novels a year and gives a starred review to those ‘of exceptional merit’. It’s a go-to magazine for those in the publishing industry. So needless to say I’m pretty chuffed. Read more

Novella Release! The Enclave from NewCon Press

enclave-hardbacks

The limited edition, signed hardback! I love it!

All three formats of my first novella, The Enclave, have now been released by NewCon Press: eBook, limited edition hardback and paperback!

I’ve always stated that I’d never write a sequel to A Calculated Life (47North). And I haven’t done so! 

The Enclave cuts across the world of A Calculated Life with a cast of new characters. I felt strongly that I had far more to say about the lives of the unenhanced, fully organic population living out in the enclaves. And it was immensely rewarding for me to return to that world.

It’s a standalone novella (a smidge over 20,000 words). If you’ve read A Calculated Life, I hope you’ll enjoy the occasional echo from that novel.

If you’re tempted to read the novella… you have the choice of a splendid limited edition, signed hardback (or paperback) from the NewCon website here. Or a Kindle eBook here.

Many thanks go to Ian Whates at NewCon Press for inviting me contribute to this wonderful series of four novellas, including works by Alastair Reynolds, Simon Morden and Neil Williamson. Art work by Chris Moore. Read more

Cover Release: The Enclave from NewCon Press

My first novella-length piece of fiction—The Enclave—will be published by NewCon Press in February 2017, as part of a series of four science fiction novellas. Chris Moore has created a stunning piece of art that spans the series.

theenclavecoverfinal

I’ve lost count of the number of readers who have asked for a sequel to A Calculated Life. I’ve resisted the pressure because the novel feels complete to me! However, last year I mooted the idea of a companion piece that would cut across the world of A Calculated Life, set in the enclave outside Manchester, which featured in the novel.

Well, here it is! The Enclavea standalone novella. It will be published in excellent company, as follows: Read more

BSFA Announces 2016 Awards Long Lists

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m delighted to see that my second novel Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind is included in two categories of the British Science Fiction Awards long lists: Novel and Art. What fabulous company I’m in!

If you are a member of BSFA you might keep my novel in mind when you complete your ballot form.

If you’re not a member of BSFA you’ll still find some great reading recommendations on the long lists. Take a look.


Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.57.18Recent review

Over the holiday season, I was thrilled to read author Nina Allan’s review of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind on her excellent blog The Spider’s House. In her article “Two for the road—best of British,” Nina assesses both my book and Matthew de Abaitua’s novel If Then.

I’ll be adding Matthew’s book to my reading pile!

Here’s a brief excerpt from Nina Allan’s commentary on Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind:

… this quiet, lovely and exquisitely crafted novel is itself a masterclass in composition … As in her debut novel A Calculated Life, the clarity and refined elegance of Charnock’s prose is a significant achievement.

Read the full review here.

A Conversation With Speculative Fiction Author E.J. Swift

ejswift_author photo_bw smallI met E.J. Swift last summer when we shared a panel at LonCon 3, with David Hebblethwaite and Adam Roberts, discussing writers who cross the boundary between mainstream fiction and science fiction. Since then, I’ve finished my second novel, Sleeping Embers Of An Ordinary Mind, and E.J. has completed her trilogy The Osiris Project. Not only that…E.J.’s short story “The Spiders of Stockholm” has been long-listed for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition.

We felt it was time for a catch-up chat—about past writing and future plans. Read more

Beyond The Cave: Meeting Readers at BSFA and SF Book Club

I’ve had a lovely start to 2015! I actually left my writing cave to meet readers.

Author and literary critic Adam Roberts interviewed me at the January meeting of the British Science Fiction Association. He pitched some challenging questions, which led to a lively and wide-ranging conversation. If you couldn’t make it to the meeting, this blogpost by Andrew Wallace gives a good impression of the subjects that Adam and I discussed. Thank you, Andrew, for this detailed commentary. Here’s a brief extract from his blogpost: Read more