Tuesday, 7 December 2021

This can't be twenty years old...


I liked the album this is off very much when it came out, but it's only since putting it on my running MP3 (at my pace, it's just right for a 5k) that it's really revealed its secrets to me. This song contains the late Edwin Morgan's wonderful recital of his poem "Scottish Fiction", worth - as they say - the price of admission.

Sunday, 5 December 2021


 With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly, there's an understandable push to press on with the booster jab program. I've been waiting for my call-up for weeks, so I was relieved to get a text advising me that slots were available at my local vaccination clinic. I called the number and was arranged a time and date to get my booster. When I arrived, however, they had no record of my booking. Apparently this wasn't the first time that day that the third-party call centre handling the bookings hadn't passed on the relevant details to the clinic. As a consequence, there was no slot available for me - even though I was there, ready and willing to have my jab. I even had my vaccination history with me. I was offered no option but to go home and call the number again. This being a weekend, though, I won't be able to get through until Monday, at which point I'm back to square one.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Belladonna Nights and a story sale

 Copies of "Belladonna Nights And Other Stories" have reached me, and it's a beautiful-looking item. Aside from the cover, which takes its inspiration from the title piece, Marc Simonetti has also done a lovely illustration for the end papers, inspired by the story "Night Passage". It's a privilege to have my stories collected so handsomely, and of course always a pleasure to continue my association with Subterranean Press.

I talked about the book a bit more back in May:


In other news, although it's perhaps a bit premature to speak of a story which won't appear in print until the latter part of 2022, I'm very pleased indeed to have sold a new piece to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, my first such sale there in two decades. I didn't mean for it to be such a long gap, but these things happen. My new story is entitled "Things To Do In Deimos When You're Dead", which I hope is a forgivable nod to a song by the late, great Warren Zevon (no, not the one about werewolves). I'm told it will appear in the Halloween-themed issue next year, and I couldn't be happier to be back.

Friday, 19 November 2021


 (Photo via the Guardian, credited to Xavi Bonilla/LiveMedia/Shutterstock)

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Remembering Great Uncle Alfred Leyshon


Pictures taken at Thiepval, 2006.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Eversion progress

 Last week I completed the first set of revisions on Eversion, and the novel (now around 85,000 words) has now gone back to my editor. If all goes smoothly, there will be one more round of edits then the book will go into production for 2022. A few weeks before that, I also finished a novelette which I've submitted to the marketplace.

Unavoidable production delays have pushed back the Belladonna Nights collection a little, but it should be with us soon. It's a difficult time in publishing with supply chain and distribution issues, as has been widely reported.

In the meantime, I'm working on two things: a new novella, and also the next novel, which all parties have now agreed will be the third "Prefect Dreyfus" book. This one, if all goes well, will be out in 2023 (not 2024 as I originally wrote). And, for those that are interested, this is the one that will resolve the Clockmaker thread from the previous two novels. I don't yet have a title.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Talking Dune on R4

 I was on Radio 4's Today program earlier this morning talking about Dune, both the book and its various adaptations. You can catch me just after 8.20 (2 hrs 20 into the program):


It may be necessary to register for the BBC website.