Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Stock signing

 If you're still after a signed first edition of Inhibitor Phase, keep an eye on Goldsboro Books. Here I am signing copies which will shortly go back to them.


Friday, 10 September 2021

Time for a re-read.

 It must be about forty years since I last read Dune. At the time it was by far the longest book I'd ever read. I'm about 50 pages in and enjoying the return.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Shuttlecraft Galileo

 It's Star Trek Day apparently, so by way of minor celebration, here's a nearly completed model of Galileo, from The Original Series.

The shuttlecraft was one of my favorite SF designs, standing out even though it featured in relatively few episodes. I like the utilitarian, non-aggressive look and the way it echoes some of the design features of the larger Enterprise, suggesting a common technology.

The first model kit of any type that I owned was the AMT Enterprise, largely built by my dad and later broken (by me).  AMT had gained the rights to produce the kit before the original series aired, via a strange deal that saw them producing the prop and miniatures for the shuttlecraft to be used in filming. AMT made one full-size shuttlecraft which still exists, albeit after extensive restoration. Weirdly, to me, AMT didn't release their own kit of the shuttlecraft until 1974, half a decade after Star Trek's initial run. I don't ever remember seeing one in the shops, although I had the AMT Klingon cruiser (broken by me) and the Spock diorama (also broken by me - can you see a pattern here?).

This new kit is from Polar Lights and was released in 2020. It purports to be the most accurate rendition of the shuttlecraft and I've no reason to argue with that. It lacks any interior detail but that's not too obvious once the model is finished as not much light gets in. Mine went together quite easily although I did have to use a bit of filler here and there to get the seamless look of the studio model. I sprayed it using Ford Dove Grey and it looks about right. The decals are excellent but the absence of panel lines and so on makes it a bit tricky to get them aligned.

My model came from Antics:


And here's a fun video about the restoration of the original prop:


Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Zima Blue wins Seiun award

 I was delighted to be told that my short story Zima Blue won Japan's Seiun award for best translated story. Although the news link below is from July, I was asked not to mention anything until after the middle of August, and then I forgot to note it here.

The story itself originally appeared in Postscripts magazine in 2005. I'd written it in 2004, fresh off the back of tutoring an Arvon writing retreat with Christopher Priest. Spending a week with the masterful Priest, not to mention the other writers, doing little but talk about fiction and its many facets, left my head spinning with inspiration and an intense need to write something. But the story itself did not come easily. I''ve written before about the creative processes that led to the central idea, so I won't bore you with them here, but it was only after that watery epiphany in a Dutch swimming pool that I was able to settle down and finally create the story. Although it is now 17 years since it was written, I'm still very pleased with it as an entry within my own output. Of course the story cast a few minor ripples and then faded away, as is the nature of these things, but it gained a curious second life when it was picked up to be animated for the Netflix series Love, Death and Robots. Now there are many videos and articles dissecting the themes of the animation and sometimes going beyond it to the original story. There have been Zima Blue internet memes, Zima Blue t-shirts and mugs (Peter Hamilton kindly gave me one of the latter). There is a Zima Blue edition of a particular brand of electric guitar, although so far they haven't told me where they got the name from. Whether or not the Seiun nomination benefitted from this Netflix signal boost, I don't know, but it is a pleasing development all the same.

The full results of the Seiun award are here:


Sunday, 5 September 2021

Friday, 3 September 2021

Ten books that inspired me.

Courtesy of Media Death Cult again, I list ten SF books that I found particularly influential in shaping me as a writer. These were all books I encountered in my teens, or thereabouts.

I've put it in as a link this time.


Blogger allows me to search Youtube to provide an embedded link, but for some weird reason this one won't come up in the search. I've had this happen before where I want to link to a specific music video which I know to be on Youtube but which blogger maddeningly refuses to list.

Incidentally this list was far from exhaustive. I could have added titles by James White, Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford and many others. But one has to draw a line somewhere.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Now it's time to erase that mistake.

 Hello all.

I'm informed that the problems with the audiobook have been fixed (it was a file transfer problem which only affected certain retailers) and that those who have downloaded the affected copy can delete it and then download again to get the corrected version.

I appreciate the audio team fixing the issue as quickly as they did.