Monday 31 October 2011

New Art Riot

Uploaded a few "new" paintings to the SF Artwork section on my website. Actually this one is new; I started it last monday and finished it four nights later.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Coode Street Podcast

I'm on the Coode Street Podcast, with Jonathan Strahan and Gary K Wolfe. We recorded it in Reno back in August. It had been a long day - I'd flown in from LA, via Oakland, and then had a rush to check in to my hotel and then get over to the convention centre in time for a meet-up with the Locus crew. After a few beers with Ian Mcdonald and various parties, I then headed for a wonderful but eyewateringly expensive steak, and then Jonathan, Gary and I repaired to a hotel room to record the podcast. I don't think I was firing on all cylinders by that point, but playing it back, and allowing for the odd thoughtful pause, I don't sound quite as slow-witted as I remember feeling, so maybe all was well after all. As always, Jonathan and Gary were terrific company - I could spend all day talking about SF with these guys - and indeed we did continue the discussion, down in the casino bar.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Radio 5

For those not following my twitter feed, I'm going to be taking part in Dr Karl's live science phone-in, tonight, on BBC Radio 5's Up all Night with Rhod Sharp. Our segment is supposed to go out between 2.30 and 3.30 AM although it might shift a bit depending on the running schedule. The program will be available on iplayer for those in the UK.

Dr Karl and I did a couple of radio shows back last year and had a great time. We were in the same studio in Sydney then; now we're a tiny bit further apart...

Solaris Rising

It’s a terrible and beautiful thing I’ve done.

I suppose I already had it in mind, when the last uplink came in. Not that I’d come close to voicing the possibility to myself. If I’d been honest about the course I was on, I might well have requested immediate committal to stasis.

The right thing to do, in hindsight. And maybe we’d be on our way home now, back to the gratitude of a thousand worlds. Our house would have crumbled into the sea by the time we got back. But we could always have built a new one, a little further from the headland.

Let me tell you something about myself, while there’s still time. These words are being recorded. Even as I speak, my suit’s mouse-sized repair robot is engraving them onto the suit’s exterior armour. Isolated in this cavern, the suit should be buffered against the worst excesses of cosmic ray and micro-particle damage. Whether the inscriptions will remain legible, however, or whether in some sense you’ve already read them, I won’t begin to speculate. There’s been enough of that already, and I’m a little burned out by it all. Deep futurity, billions of years – the ultimate futility of any action, any deed, enduring for the smallest fraction of eternity – it’s enough to shrivel the soul. Vashka could handle that kind of thing, but I’m made of less sterner stuff.

Imminent, on both sides of the Atlantic, is Solaris Rising, the new all-original SF anthology edited by Ian Whates. It includes my 7000 word story "For the Ages", about diamond planets, pulsars and the ultimate knowledge limits of cosmology.


"A Smart-Mannered Uprising of the Dead" by Ian McDonald
"The Incredible Exploding Man" by Dave Hutchinson
"Sweet Spots" by Paul di Filippo
"Best SF of the Year Three" by Ken MacLeod
"The One that Got Away" by Tricia Sullivan
"Rock Day" by Stephen Baxter
"Eluna" by Stephen Palmer
"Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?" by Adam Roberts
"The Lives and Deaths of Che Guevara" by Lavie Tidhar
"Steel Lake" by Jack Skillingstead
"Mooncakes" by Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom
"At Play in The Fields" by Steve Rasnic Tem
"How We Came Back From Mars" by Ian Watson
"You Never Know" by Pat Cadigan
"Yestermorrow" by Richard Salter
"Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions" by Jaine Fenn
"Eternity's Children" by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke
"For the Ages" by Alastair Reynolds
"Return of the Mutant Worms" by Peter F. Hamilton

Monday 24 October 2011

Cloud Restructured Earth

Word frequency cloud for a large chunk of BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH, via

created at

Friday 14 October 2011

Elephant Talk

You'll have likely seen this already but here's the cover of the new book:

I'm delighted with it; I think it does a fabulous job of not only capturing the main themes of Blue Remembered Earth, but also of hinting at the elements (should that be elephants?) that will come to play an increasingly significant role in the successive books. And the colours are gorgeous. I've seen a door-sized blow-up of this cover and it's a thing of real beauty.

As for the next book, I'm well into it. It's a skewed take on very slow interstellar travel, picking up the threads of BRE a few centuries down the line. The main character, like Geoffrey and Sunday in BRE, is an Akinya - but it's a bit less straightforward than that. It's also about humans and machines, longevity, memory and identity, alien intelligence, exoplanets, and elephants.