One thing I always do when I start a new writing project – if possible – is go out and take some reference photos. I usually don’t actually use them that specifically – I rarely describe something featured in the pictures in precise detail – but I do find having them to hand, or even the act of taking them, helps me build atmosphere when writing. At least it does usually; it’s not a precise science by any means.
Science fiction author Lavie Tidhar recently asked me to write a guest post on SF and class for his excellent World SF Blog, and the result went live this week. It’s a ranty little piece, but hopefully it maks some salient points – primarily that SF is middle class construct, and as such faces the same crisis that the western middle class faces in the 21st century:
Those of you that have read my book Paintwork will know that the title story is about re-purposing advertising billboards for art – in fact you might recall that I described pretty specifically the location of the billboards in question. They are real things, in a very real place. I walk past them everyday. That’s why I wrote that story – I felt I needed some way of striking back against the visual invasion of public space I’m subjected to every time I walk past there. Billboards are imposing enough when you see them from a passing bus or car, but the way they impose and dominate your reality – blocking out all other imagery – as you pass them as a pedestrian starts to grate pretty quickly.
My first post here in 2012 – meaning it’s been about six months since Paintwork was first realeased. Madness. 2011 was a busy year for me – especially the second half – but it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
Anyway, 2012 is here and Paintwork is still picking up some great reviews. Just this week Johann Carlisle pasted a wonderfully thoughtful and enthusisatic review over at the excellent Future Fire – one of my favourite SF ‘zines:
Quick post – just wanted to say thanks to everyone that came and checked out the See No Evil post last week, the response was phenomenal. Thanks especially to Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing for picking it up, and to all his readers that swung by.
This weekend saw the final unveiling of the the See No Evil project in Bristol; Europe’s largest street art exhibition. It is, to say the very least, an extraordinary, breathtaking achievement. Graffiti artists not just from Bristol but around the globe descended on Nelson Street, transforming the whole area from drab, urban decay into what feels like a new – almost virtual – space. It is truly something that needs to be experienced, but hopefully some of the photos I grabbed (along with the many on the official Flickr page) will give you some idea of its scale and raw beauty.
Had a lot of fun this weekend when I returned as a guest on the Beta Male Experience podcast, alongside host Corey and the ever-entertaining Ed Sizemore. In the first half of the show you can hear us discussing the movies we’ve seen recently, before moving on to talk about my new book Paintwork. It’s a fairly spoiler-free chat, where I answer the guys’ questions and go into quite a bit of detail about the ideas, influences and technology behind the stories. Well worth a listen, even if I say so myself. Plus Ed and Corey are always great value – go check it out now.
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. Those of you that prefer to buy your eBooks from an independent store can grab it from The Wizard’s Tower.