Norwescon Report — Near-Future Political Science Fiction

Social change is an important issue for me when I’m writing science fiction. When I look at emerging technologies and science research, I ask myself: What’s going to be the social fall-out from these technologies? How will they affect the way humans interact with one another?

So I was pleased to take part in a panel discussion at Norwescon 37 in Seattle on Near-Future Political Science Fiction. My first thoughts were: What counts as ‘near-future’? Does a story need to be overtly political? And, can I include a story in this particular niche if the setting is ambiguous? I reminded myself of the mantra from 60s feminism: ‘The personal is political.’ Read more

The Philip K Dick Award, His Legacy and His Surrealism

Philip K Dick Nominees

So here we have, from the left, Ann Leckie’s representative Ellen Brady Wright (Orbit), err…me, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ben H Winters, Toh EnJoe (special citation), and EnJoe’s translator, Terry Gallagher.

What a thrill to be in this line-up. The lovely Ben H Winters won the Philip K Dick Award 2013 for Countdown City, sequel to The Last Policeman. Ben is a smart and witty writer so make a note of his two titles! This photo was taken at Norwescon in Seattle where the award ceremony takes place every year. Here’s a full list of the nominated works.

Award administrator Gordon Van Gelder (left) and T William Sadorus (right) ceremony coordinator.

Award administrator Gordon Van Gelder (left) and T William Sadorus (right) ceremony coordinator.

Each author read an extract before the award was announced and I have to admit I’m getting accustomed to reading in public, and I definitely enjoy the experience.  The award is administered by Gordon Van Gelder, award-winning editor of the New York based Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

I was delighted to join Gordon on a panel discussion on Philip K Dick’s literary legacy, together with Toh EnJoe, Nick Mamatas (EnJoe’s editor), Jack Skillingstead and Cassandra Rose Clarke. We each talked about our connections with Philip K Dick’s writing. For me, Read more

Update: Norwescon, video trailer, Philip K Dick Award…

It’s been a hectic and fun time since I last posted so here’s a quick round-up. First, here’s a fabulous video trailer for A Calculated Life. Many thanks to Ian Koviak at theBookDesigners for producing this animated graphic. Video trailers are becoming more common for novels and it’s easy to see why when you watch this great animation.

If you happen to be attending the SF convention Norwescon in Seattle, I hope you’ll catch one or more events I’m involved with including a panel discussion on near-future political science fiction. In addition, I’ll be joining writers talking about the publishing industry and how to find a readership for your fiction.  Read more

Spain: A New Playground for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Author and SF blogger, Cristina JuradoI am delighted to host author Cristina Jurado on my blog today to describe the current boom in Science Fiction in Spain and the assimilation of Fantasy into mainstream publishing. Cristina brings together the views of leading figures in Spain’s SFF community to discuss the future of science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing.

If Spain were the title of a recent fantasy movie, it would be “The desolation of Smaug”. The country has been in such economical stress over the last few years – rampaging unemployment, numerous banking and political scandals, and popular discontent over the Government decisions – that it looks as if it has been ravaged by powerful predators. No more Spanish miracle due to the booming of the construction market.

Spaniards are having a hard time getting back on their feet, and the cultural landscape has been greatly affected by high taxes (21% in cultural related products like e-books, movies, etc.) and cuts in public funding. Although the Conservative party in power has recently announced it is planning to lower taxes, people remain highly skeptical.

Fewer books but more science fiction titles Read more

The Kitschies

The Kitschies Awards Announced at Seven Dials Club

Yesterday was a fabulous, memorable day for me because I met with David Pomerico, my editor at 47North, for the first time. David flew over from New York to attend The Kitschies Awards ceremony because my novel was a finalist for The Kitschies Golden Tentacle for Debut Novel. It was a fun evening event, held at the atmospheric Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden. And over a tipple of Kraken Rum (official sponsor for the event) I met many lovely people from the UK world of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. My book didn’t win but I was thrilled to be in the mix! I’d like to thank the organizers Jared Shurin, Anne C Perry and the judges who read 234 entries from over 50 publishers and imprints. Read more

Shortlisted for The Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award (Debut)…!

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 13.22.23The Kitschies, it has to be said, are pretty cool awards for ‘speculative and fantastic’ fiction. They were launched just five years ago by Jared Shurin and Anne C Perry founders of Pornokitsch. I’ve followed The Kitschies since they began. So I’m absolutely thrilled that my dystopian story, A Calculated Life, is a finalist for the Golden Tentacle Award for debut novels. I’m in fabulous company and I can’t wait to meet the other finalists – for the Red, Golden and Inky Tentacles – at the awards ceremony (12 February) at London’s Seven Dials Club. There’s an impressive line-up for the Red Tentacle including Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge.

Jared Shurin told Allison Flood in The Guardian yesterday: Read more

A Calculated Life is Nominated for Philip K Dick Award

Yesterday afternoon I received the astonishing news that my first novel is one of seven nominated works for the Philip K. Dick Award.

I’m a long time fan of Philip K. Dick’s writing and I’ve enjoyed so many screen adaptations of his work. I’m sure many people have started reading science fiction as a result of seeing, for example, Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, Total Recall.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 11.12.25Seven novels have reached the shortlist. Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you to the judges! A Calculated Life is 47North’s first book to receive a nomination for a major award so I expect there’s a bit of celebrating on the other side of the pond.

The winner and any special citations will be announced on Friday 18 April at Norwescon 37 in Seattle. I had already booked to attend! So I’m hoping to meet the other nominees as well as the judges and award administrators. And I’ll be meeting face-to-face for the first time with the 47North team including my editor David Pomerico.

Here is the list of nominees:

Read more

Fiona Curran

Art and JG Ballard: Geologic Time and Lucid Dreaming

Writer JG Ballard, the great dystopian visionary, said in an interview back in 1975, ‘I think I always was a frustrated painter.’ He went on to say: ‘They are all paintings, really, my novels and stories… I approach many of these stories of mine, like the Vermilion Sands stories – even the novels like Crash – as a sort of visual experience.’ This comment appears in Extreme Metaphors – Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008, in which he frequently declares his love affair with visual art.

And, in 2003, in an interview with art critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ballard said, ‘I think the surrealist painters had the biggest influence on me – De Chirico, Ernst, Dali and Delvaux. These are all painters of mysterious and disconnected landscapes, through which the few human beings drift in a state of dream-like trance, which had a direct and powerful appeal for me.’

Art’s science fictional turn

Ballard’s enchantment with art has been reciprocated over the decades as artists have taken inspiration from science fiction, and there’s no sign of abatement. Two exhibitions in London this month present solo shows by artists who specifically respond to Ballard. I rushed to both exhibitions clutching my copy of Extreme Metaphors. Read more

A Conversation with SF Author Neve Maslakovic

Neve Maslakovic switched from being a research engineer to being a fiction writer. Both professions are creative endeavours, she says, but in science fiction you don’t have to stick to the Rules of the Universe. The ink is now drying on the manuscript of her third novel. In this conversation, we explore are similar backgrounds, discuss our different paths to finding a publisher, and find we share a love of writing dialogue. Read more