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
The 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.
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.
Seven 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.
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
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
The 47North editorial, design and publicity teams have surpassed themselves! In the space of just two months — since acquisitions editor David Pomerico signed me up — they have created a fabulous new cover for A Calculated Life, expedited my manuscript through the editing and proofing process, organized the audiobook and generally ‘put the word out there’. I’ve been involved at every stage in the process!
Little did I know when I took the difficult decision to self-publish my novel that, eight months later, I’d be signing a book deal with a US publisher. Read more
Three short stories are in contention for the Hugo Award and they are diverse. I’ve enjoyed them all. And, as I’m writing a few short stories at the moment, I’ve found it fascinating to read the best of 2013 (as nominated and selected by members of the World Science Fiction Society).
Here’s an admission: I’d intended to read all the shortlisted novels because I wanted to compare them with the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist, which I reviewed here earlier this year. But with all the work involved with my novel’s new release by 47North, I scaled back my ambition. First, I opted to read all the shortlisted novellas, and later I scaled back again and decided to read the shortlisted short stories. So I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon reading these stories in the shade of my apple tree. Read more
One step closer! I’m thrilled to show you the cover art for the new edition of A Calculated Life, which is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon.
It’s been a wonderful experience having my self-published novel signed by 47North and the team has done a sterling job. The new cover, by theBookDesigners, has an echo of the original (I was surprised by that). And the paperback format is brilliant because the artwork wraps around the spine, with fragmentation of the image on the back cover. Just gorgeous. Great typography, too! I hope you like it.
My editor David Pomerico presented me with several covers. There was a clear consensus on the final choice!
As well as working with the 47North team, I’ve been carrying out research for a new writing project. I’ll tell you more once I’ve progressed beyond scribbles, post-it notes and chaotic bashing at my keyboard… Read more
Nine Worlds GeekFest explored sexuality and gender in science fiction in a fascinating range of debates including Why Is The Future So Binary? This super-packed-out event witnessed a lively exchange between the author-panelists and the attendees, who shouted out examples of gender diversity in SF literature. The event successfully drew together a list of fictional worlds featuring gender non-conformity as opposed to the usual girl-meets-boy scenarios. (More books for the To Read list!)
Alex Dally MacFarlane pointed to the classic example – Ursula K Le Guin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness, set in a world without gender. ‘Le Guin pokes at gender binary,’ said MacFarlane. And chairing the discussion panel, Tori Truslow told the audience, ‘We need more! SF writers seem to think, “Le Guin did that so we don’t need to do it.”’ Read more
Science fiction writers are getting ‘carried away with fear,’ according to author Tricia Sullivan. ‘There’s a failure to imagine a positive future. As a writer it’s harder to build things up than blow things up… Finding an element of hope really does mean disabling all my instincts as a science fiction writer.’
Sullivan was part of a four-author panel debating the question Is Our Future Utopian Or Dystopian? at Nine Worlds GeekFest 2013 in London last weekend. Her remark came in response to a challenge from Tom Hunter, director of The Clarke Awards, who chaired the event. He asked: ‘How do we find an element of hope?’ Sullivan quoted from Oscar Wilde: ‘The basis of optimism is sheer terror.’ (From The Picture of Dorian Gray). Read more