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:



  1. Congratulations! This is great news. Loved the story as well as the Netflix adaptation of it.

  2. Hallmark of a gem of a story that persists long after being first published. I only just finished Zima Blue and the other short stories in That collection. I don't read short fiction often but this was superb.