The Early Days of a Better Nation

Sunday, April 22, 2012


A belated thank-you and appreciation for Alt.Fiction, where I was a Guest of Honour last weekend. This annual festival of fantastic literature is a bit like an SF/F convention, but sponsored and run by one of the capillaries of local/regional government that channel Arts Council funding. One can imagine lots of ways in which this could go wrong, all of which Alt.Fiction triumphantly doesn't. It's an enjoyable, well-organised and worthwhile event. I met old friends and acquaintances and made new ones - some faces were familiar from SF conventions, but most weren't, and I got a strong impression of new writers and readers sprouting like these green things that sprout at this time of year.

One person I met was Ian Sales, who sold me a copy of an anthology he's edited, Rocket Science, and his own stand-alone novella Adrift on the Sea of Rains (which he talks about here. I read the latter on the train back and it's very good indeed, as are the stories I've read so far in the anthology, including 'Going, Boldly' by the Edinburgh SF gang's very own Helen Jackson.

Big thanks to the organisers, especially Catherine Rogers and Adele Wearing, who looks back on the weekend here and links to others' impressions of the festival here.

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Thanks for the shout-out, Ken. Alt.Fiction sounds fun. I really must start going to cons...

I wanted to buy "Rocket Science" last week, since the mix of fact and fiction is right up my alley. But Ian told me that the first printing was very quickly sold out; I think he mentioned that a second printing will be available shortly.

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