Friday, 7 April 2023

Birmingham event and a gratuitous newt.

 On Friday April 14, I'll be in conversation as a guest of the Birmingham SF Group. The event takes place at Millennium Point and online via Zoom, from 7.45pm.

The Brum group has always been most welcoming to me (my first ever solo author event was with them, back in 2000) and I'll be delighted to return.

In another news, I'm thrilled to report that my newts have survived the winter. Here's one:

Last year the frogs were conspicuous by their absence (may have something to do with the newts) so I'll be interested to see what happens in the coming months.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Eric Brown

 I'm hearing that Eric Brown has passed away. It's devastating news. Although I'd known that Eric was very unwell, we had all been hoping for the best. Eric, in his typical way, clearly didn't want to make much of a fuss about it.

I met Eric for the first time about 32 years ago, when a gang of Interzone contributors converged on Harrogate for the 1991 Mexicon SF convention. I was already a great fan of his from the stories he'd written in IZ, which were fresh, sparky and written with immense confidence and gusto. I never read a story of his that I didn't enjoy, and what shone through them - as others have noted - was his humanity, his kindness and his interest in people and locations, more than gadgetry and gosh-wow speculation. Once I'd started going to conventions more regularly I saw a bit more of Eric, and it was always a joy to catch up with him. I think he was universally liked within SF, and generally accepted as THE person to talk to you if you wanted a curry recommendation. I think he'd been to every curry house in the UK. Unfortunately I didn't see much of Eric once he moved to Scotland, but one always assumed there'd be another encounter once normal life resumed and the SF community started mingling again.

My wife and I extend our sympathies to Finn, Freya, and all of Eric's friends and family.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Teaching SF and F with Aliette

 I'm pleased to announce that, in conjunction with Literature Wales, Aliette de Bodard and I will be teaching an online course in writing SF & Fantasy.

This course will be held over four online sessions on the following dates:

Tuesday 14 November, Tuesday 21 November, Tuesday 28 November & Tuesday 12 December 2023 from 7.00 – 8.30 pm

Over four online sessions, Aliette and Alastair will address the peculiar challenges and opportunities open to anyone wishing to write science fiction, fantasy or their related sub-genres. Drawing on their own experiences across a range of literary styles and formats, from short stories to novels and extended series, they’ll cover the mechanics of crafting a story, from planning and plotting, to the use of voice and viewpoint, setting and mood. They’ll address the unique challenges of worldbuilding within the literatures of the fantastic, from the use of language to evoke a time and a place to the invention of social systems and far-future technologies, and how to make those creations seem real to the reader. They’ll talk about the different stages of writing; from initial drafts to polishing, how to prepare work for submission and how to make the most of the literary marketplace, from traditional venues to the online world and self-publishing. They’ll bring invaluable experience in problem-solving: how to come up with ideas, how to work around creative blocks, how to make a good story better – and, always, how to find fun and fulfilment in your craft, wherever it takes you. The future is wide open!

If you're interested in the course, hop over to the link above for all the information you need. Or, drop a question here.


Thursday, 26 January 2023

A thought.

 I'll believe in the validity of AI-generated art the day an AI withholds its art.

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Monday, 2 January 2023

A soul/funk classic to start the year.

 I heard this a couple of times over the last year or two on Trevor Nelson. Wow, what a tune! Dig that bassline.

Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, 23 December 2022

Merry Christmas


Best wishes to all at the end of 2022, and with good thoughts for 2023. Let's have a bit of Kylie (she's half Welsh, don't you know) with this festive banger.

Warm wishes,