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:
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:
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.
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.
I was both shocked and thrilled to discover this week that my short story “Havana Augmented” has been nominated for the prestigious British Science Fiction Association Award for Short Fiction.
The story was published almost exactly a year ago in the anthology Ergosphere, which can be found at most good online book retailers – or available to download for free as a PDF, although you are encouraged to make a donation to the Haiti disaster fund. Seeing as the situation over there seems to be little better – perhaps distressingly worse – almost a year later, it is still a very worthy cause that deserves your money.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m sick of writing about death.
If the recent loss of Satoshi Kon to cancer wasn’t enough, then anime was struck another blow last week with the death of Umanosuke Iida to the dreaded disease at just 49. Despite this relatively young age Iida had an impressively varied career, from working as an animator on such classics as Nausicaa through to directing Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team and perhaps his most popular show Hellsing. But for me he’ll always be remembered for directing the obscure, and sadly unfinished, 90s science fiction OVA Mighty Space Miners.
It’s not even Christmas yet, but for me 2010 has already got off to a good start. January 1st sees the publication of my story Havana Augmented – a tale of globalization, celebrity gamers, augmented reality and non-existent mech battles. If you have an interest in video games, science fiction or anime then hopefully you’ll enjoy it – you can check out a brief extract below.
stupid lucky enough this Friday to make the 400+ mile round journey up north to the Leeds International Film Festival for the day. Given the length of the journey and the insane price of train tickets here in the UK that might seem a bit excessive to catch a couple of movies, but the festival’s anime weekend was being kicked off by an unmissable double bill. First off was Mamoru Oshii’s lost, experimental classic Angel’s Egg (more on that to follow), being shown in the UK for the first time in over 20 years, but the real incentive for me was to see the UK premiere of Momoru Hosoda’s latest blockbuster Summer Wars.