Tuesday 22 November 2022

I've finished a book

 Last week I delivered MACHINE VENDETTA, the third in the Prefect Dreyfus series. All being well, it should appear in 2023. I don't want to say too much more about it until at least the final round of editing (which won't be finished until well until next year) but here at least is the provisional cover copy, subject to change:

Panoply is a small, efficient police force, dedicated to maintaining the rule of democracy among the ten thousand disparate city states orbiting the planet Yellowstone.

Ingvar Tench was one of Panoply's most experienced operatives. So why did she walk alone and virtually unarmed into a habitat with a vicious grudge against her organisation?

As his colleagues pick up the pieces, Dreyfus must face his conscience. Four years ago, when an investigation linked to one of his most dangerous adversaries got a little too personal, Dreyfus arranged for Tench to continue the enquiry by proxy.

In using her - even though he had his reasons - did Dreyfus also put her in the line of fire?

And what does Tench's misadventure tell him about an enemy he had hoped was dormant?

The book marks the end of my ten-novel contract, and since I've stated my intention to do standalones for at least the next few years, it's also the last word on both Dreyfus and the Revelation Space universe for the foreseeable.

Monday 21 November 2022

Greg Bear (1951 - 2022)

 I'm shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Greg Bear, following complications after surgery. His works meant a tremendous amount to me. Blood Music nearly cost me a degree: I was so enraptured by it that I had to tear myself away for last-minute revision. I adored Eon and its successors, Eternity and Legacy. All three stamped indelible images into my brain. The Forge of God kept me awake and focussed during the long grind of an observing run at the Anglo-Australian Telescope; its sequel, Anvil of Stars was one of the first books (perhaps the first) to play with cosmic-scale ideas about the role of competing alien intelligence in the universe, dealing with first contact, galactic war and the Fermi paradox in always fresh, exciting ways. His short novel Heads, which first appeared in Interzone, was a suitably creepy and well-imagined story about cryogenics and weird physics, one of the few SF stories to explore thermodynamics as a theme, and to do so with phenomenal boldness. I think it fits into a future history which also includes the fine Moving Mars, as well as Queen of Angels and Slant, all of which are richly recommended. His short fiction taught me how to open a story.

He could be delightfully playful. Reading the description of the alien Jart in Eon/Eternity, I realised that they were literally the Hallucigenia fossils from the Burgess Shale.

I met him only once or twice, both brief occasions at American SF conventions. He was genial, welcoming and approachable.

Thanks, Greg, and all love and best wishes to his family.

Monday 7 November 2022



Low performing Witches for The Guardian.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Mimi Parker

 Half an hour ago I was listening to Low's wonderful, wonderful album C'Mon, one of the great records of the last decade or so, and marvelling at what a phenomenal presence Mimi Parker is; just a fabulous drummer and singer. And now I see in the Guardian that her death has just been announced.


This is dreadful news. All good thoughts to Alan Sparhawk and their children, and thank you for the music, Mimi. You were one of the greats. And, as ever, fuck cancer.