Thursday, 3 August 2023

You wait ages...

 Here's another slice of totally brilliant Gallic pop from the MEGAN soundtrack. I don't think I'd ever heard this before (it's from a few years ago), but wowie. Whoever was putting the music together for that film was really on it.

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

Freedom Fry

 Caught this lovely piece of ethereal French dreampop on the excellent soundtrack to MEGAN - and had to dig it out. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

End User (a short story)

 You wait ages (or maybe not) for a piece of online fiction from me, and then another comes along. This one actually went online a few weeks ago, but I neglected to link to it. It's one of two pieces of commissioned fiction I've agreed to do for Auki Labs, an interesting new tech venture, based around the theme of augmented reality. This one (per the invitation from Auki) looks at some of the less great ramifications around big tech and user privacy.

There's more fiction coming to Auki's medium on the broad theme of AR, in addition to the three pieces already up, by me and others. Well worth checking out. I'll be doing another piece for them shortly, this one taking a less dystopian slant. Thanks to my friends Nils and Karen at Auki for starting the ball rolling.

Wednesday, 12 July 2023

Detonation Boulevard

My new story is up on Tor, and I couldn't be happier about the wonderful artwork by Ben Zweifel. Rather than spoil the surprise by posting the image here, I'll just recommend that you head on over to Tor. 

I really am very fortunate to have been blessed with so many gorgeous illustrations in my career.

Thank you to Ben for the picture, and to Jonathan and all at Tor for taking the story. Oh, and also The Sisters of Mercy, for the title.

Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Mid year update

 A recent round of comments reminds me that you're owed an update on where we are with MACHINE VENDETTA. Unfortunately, for those that are keen to get hold of it, it's now been pushed back to January 2024. While the UK edition could have been out by the end of this summer (the book itself is done except for final proofreading, which normally happens about 6 weeks ahead of actual printed copies appearing) it was thought better to have it come out at the same time in America as the UK, which does make sense in terms of maximising the impact of reviews, publicity and so on. Since US publishers have tended to need longer lead-times for production and scheduling, that's unavoidably meant a push back into 2024. No biggie - it's just an SF book and there should be no shortage of good new material to keep anyone occupied between now and then. 

For instance, and just off the top of my head, Naomi Alderman's THE FUTURE is really good and I expect will pick up a lot of attention and good notices in the coming months. I've also just read and enjoyed Tobias Buckell's forthcoming A STRANGER IN THE CITADEL, which I also recommend. I, meanwhile, have been busy on the next book after VENDETTA, entitled HALCYON YEARS, and which is another compact(ish) standalone in the vein of EVERSION. I'm guessing that one will come out in 2025 although since I'm already pretty advanced with it, there might be an outside chance that it will squeak into next year.

I've not got much in the way of additional news, but my short story for Tor, "Detonation Boulevard", will be available later this month. I'll post something here when it goes out.

A few weeks back I did a nice little interview with Robin of the Bookspin Youtube channel, where I (along with others) highlighted some hidden gems of SF. Hop onto the link to see the books I picked, and the tenuous connection between them - and the other recommendations, of course. Thanks, Robin!

Although it's rather late in the day, I'll also mention that I'm taking part in a panel discussion in Cardiff tomorrow evening as part of the National Astronomy Meeting. Here's a link, should you be local and interested in attending:

Cheers, and sorry for the long silence between updates.

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.