“In an era of “post-cyberpunk” science fiction, Maughan is firmly cyberpunk — or maybe “cyberpunk++,” a genre that captures all the grit and glory of technology with a higher degree of plausibility and respect for real computers and networks than the genre had in its glory days…Maughan has a keen eye for the fictional possibilities of technology, a good hand with the what if/ten seconds in the future mode of storytelling, and he’s quite adept at filling his work with hyper-cool eyeball kicks. These stories are fun and thought-provoking, a great combination.”
– Cory Doctorow, author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Little Brother (read full review)
“The cyberpunk vision of the future has been around for a quarter of a century – more than long enough to become default. You can handwave it, you can buy one off the jpeg. And like the shiny and trekky and trippy futures that preceded it, it’s become in itself an overlay, a mirrorshade between us and the emergent future in the present that cyberpunk once forced our attention on.
Tim Maughan is, in these stories, doing with now what the original cyberpunks did with then. I hope he does a lot more of it.”
– Ken MacLeod, author of The Star Fraction, The Restoration Game and Intrusion (read full review)
“Paintwork explores the future/now worlds of graffiti art and gaming from what feels like an insider’s POV. These three stories push the leading edge of street culture into the next but one phase. Maughan’s characters inhabit a zone where one false move can turn them into yesterday’s thing, but they deal with this well, always on the lookout for the right move, the secret code, the final twist. What else can I say: the guy can write.”
– Jeff Noon, author of Vurt and Automated Alice
“In our hothouse present, where technology is little more than vapour, Tim Maughan catches those fleeting moments of possibility in stories that ought to have no shelf-life whatsoever – and which, regardless, linger in the mind. I don’t know how he does this. I don’t know whether he is very naive, or very clever. One thing I do know: these stories are very, very good.”
– Simon Ings, author of Hot Head, The Weight of Numbers and Dead Water.
“They used to say that Science Fiction was hard to define, but that you’d know it when you saw it. How then to best recommend a collection like Paintwork? A book of augmented realties, icy conceptual surfaces and a healthy dose of contemporary corporate paranoia. Is even a simple book blurb as innocent as it first appears? The best Science Fiction isn’t a road map, it’s a toolkit, and Paintwork is a virtual users guide to a new kind of fictional future. A place where it’s fine to pretend life’s all a game, just so long as you stay on the winning team.
“If Science Fiction is a toolkit, Paintwork is the missing users manual.”
– Tom Hunter, Director, the Arthur C. Clarke Award
“Paintwork’s writing is elegantly effective. Like many cyberpunk authors, Maughan favours both short sentences and unadorned syntax which, though clearly intended to keep out of the way of Maughan’s ideas, actually lend proceedings an edge of brittle hardness… as though everyone is walking around with gritted teeth, hoping to make it home in relative safety… Paintwork remains a work full of both power and promise whose political vision strikes a resounding chord of disgust, alienation and profound disappointment. This is a cyberpunk novel that is a long way from the iPads and smugness of Phase 2 cyberpunk and I for one am delighted to have read it.”
– Jonathan McCalmont, Ruthless Culture (read full review)
“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.com (read full review)
“The themes that recur in this volume include the importance of the street: not only as a space in which to travel from one venue to another, but as a place where people live (in some cases literally under road junctions). As a place where identity is situated and explored, where culture evolves organically, often orthogonally to mainstream and commercial trends; where language is coined and invented; where lives are broken and grow. These are very sensitive stories, bubbling with language and emotion and artistry, warped by the digital and the human…As a collection, this 100-page book displays not only its author’s mastery of writing science fiction, his love of urban culture, electronic music and gaming, but also his keen intellect and ability to build a story that is both entertaining and edifying at a single stroke. Very impressive stuff, and we should all look out for more cyberpunk fiction by Tim Maughan.”
– The Future Fire (read full review)
“Paintwork itself is about the making of art, and what it is that makes it authentic. Is it craft or is it result that matters? And following that, is the satisfaction to be gained from doing it properly personal or something more than that?…It would spoil the story’s denouement to go into much more detail, but it revolves around a fascinating set of dichotomies about art as inspiration or product, about the fashion in technologies, whether art is somehow more worthwhile if you go about it in one way or another…and this idea spills over into Havana Augmented, which is a joyful and outrageous story of young games programmers who have moved a virtual game into the augmented reality of their spex and are now playing Rolling Iron through the streets of Havana. Inevitably governments and big business become involved, and I can’t deny that the story’s ending smacks somewhat of the fairytale, but in the end, why not? In all, Paintwork is a very enjoyable and thought-provoking collection of stories about the place of art in the future.”
– Maureen Kincaid Speller, Paper Knife (read full review)
“Hip, cutting-edge cyberpunk with a techno rave attitude. Tim Maughan is definitely a writer to watch.”
– Gareth L. Powell, author of The Recollection.
“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 (read full review)
Augmented reality street artist 3Cube wants to break into the mainstream, and as one of the best in the graffiti mecca of Bristol he stands a real chance. Except that someone, some unseen rival, seems set on using even the most old-fashioned of methods to stop him from succeeding.
John Smith was successful once, if only for a fleeting moment. Now the documentary film maker is broke and jobless, and finds himself putting his life on the line as one of the new-breed of paparazzi – snapping celebrity video gamers in virtual worlds.
And on the sun-bleached streets of Havana two young Cubans find themselves locked in a fierce struggle with one of the world’s most powerful organisations, as a seemingly innocent video game tournament becomes a fight for both personal and national pride.
Paintwork is a collection of three stories from our imminent future by British science fiction author Tim Maughan, including the 2010 BSFA Short Fiction Award nominated ‘Havana Augmented’.