Apologies for being quiet over the last few weeks, but I have been kind of busy. I was off making my inaugural visit to the Great American Empire, and I can report on my return that our colonial cousins – despite poisoning themselves with excessive use of corn syrup – seem to be doing jolly well. In fact I was so taken with this new nation that I decided to get wed there, in the virtual reality gaming and entertainment construct known as ‘Las Vegas’, followed by an enjoyably relaxing honeymoon on the delightfully terraformed orbital spa ‘Hawaii’. It was quite splendid.

Anyway, having got back, cleaned the airliner grime from my frame, and started to recover from a severe case of desynchronosis – it’s clear I have a few bits of news to get you guys up to speed on. First off I’m very pleased to report that Paintwork is continuing to pick up glowing reviews:

Havana Augmented is the third short story in Tim Maughan’s excellent Paintwork (2011), a collection that focuses on the meaning of artistry in a near-future cyberpunk landscape…(it) follows two streams of conflict. Paul and Kim battle with enormous robots which is, frankly, awesome. Mr. Maughan knows how to write an action sequence without letting it take over. The battles are short, streamlined, vicious and very, very fun…this is the crown jewel of an excellent collection. I’m a sucker for sports movies, especially when the game or match has some sort of Great Significance. Mr. Maughan tugs at my heartstrings with Havana Augmented – a giant robot smackdown with a country’s future on the line.” – Pornokitsch

“The title story Paintwork is an interesting examination of the lives and work of graffiti artists in the near future, trying to keep their art relevant in a world whose environments can become virtual with the blink of an eye. This is a Bristol story through and through, and Tim has done a great job of taking our landmarks and weaving them into a world that is very futuristic while remaining completely familiar to residents of the city…anyone who has an interest in urban art will draw much from this story. I loved Paintwork. All three stories show a writer with a real gift for accelerating the world we know into a believable future, with a deft local touch that adds an extra something for us Bristol folk…(it’s) a great read, that pinches a few ingredients from the SF greats and blends them with a unique flavour all of its own.” – Guide2Bristol

“Tim writes in a small subgenre that could loosely be called cyberpunk, but perhaps would be more accurately described as virtual reality fiction. He brings his near future VR fiction to life in a gritty and believable subculture, and he is very good at it…All three are excellent stories that transport the reader to the action…Tim’s work is a hidden gem. I’m very excited that a story I selected was nominated for the BSFA short fiction award, and I was excited to read this small collection. It is well worth your time.” – Rick Novy

As Rick mentions in that review, he was responsible for my first ever fiction sale, for which I am forever grateful. He’s got a book out himself at the moment – Neanderthal Swan Song – which I heartily recommend you go and check out.

In other – just as exciting – news I’ve got a couple of appearances coming up. First up is The Bristol Festival of Literature, where I’ll be taking apart in a panel looking at politics in sci-fi with the brilliant title “Should David Cameron read more Science Fiction?” It’s on Friday 21 October at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft at 6pm. Tickets are £5 and can be ordered here.

And then the very next day is Bristol’s own sci-fi and fantasy convention Bristolcon, where I’ve officially been announced as a guest. Not sure quite yet what I’ll be up to exactly there – more details as I get them – but with an impressive line-up of authors and artists I’m very honoured to have been invited. If you’re in the area it looks like an unmissable event, so come down and say hi.

Paintwork is out now – you can get Kindle versions from Amazon US and Amazon UK, and versions for all other popular e-readers (including iPad and Nook) at Smashwords.

Print versions are now available from Createspace or Amazon US and Amazon UK.