The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Alien encounters, this week and next

This Friday, 8 August, I'm giving a talk on Saucers, Skeptics and Science Fiction as part of a daily series of free Fringe Festival events, Skeptics on the Fringe.

I'll be talking about how I became fascinated by the UFO phenomenon in my childhood, believed all kinds of rubbish about it in my teens, how I eventually became a sceptic myself -- and why I've nevertheless drawn on the UFO mythos for several books, from my much reprinted novella The Human Front to my latest novel Descent.


Friday 8 August 2014, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street

The following Wednesday, 13 August, 9.30 pm is the time and Charlotte Square is the place for 'Breathing Life Into Zombies', an Edinburgh International Book Festival event featuring me and the vastly more famous and prolific writer Mike Carey, talking about and no doubt reading from our respective recent novels of dystopia and conspiracy.

Details and tickets here.

Finally, here's my schedule for the long weekend of 14 August to 18 August, at the London Worldcon:


Friday 10:00 - 11:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Ken MacLeod, Stephanie Saulter

Autographing 7 - Ken MacLeod

Friday 12:00 - 13:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

What is I?

Saturday 16:30 - 18:00, Capital Suite 14 (ExCeL)

What is consciousness? What is it that we think we are? What does science, religion, mysticism say about this, and are we any closer to working out what 'I' is? Ken MacLeod (Moderator), Tim Armstrong, Russell Blackford, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Martin Poulter

Iain M. Banks, Writer and Professional

Sunday 11:00 - 12:00, Second Stage (ExCeL)

A panel led by Ken MacLeod discusses the career and works of our Guest of Honour, Iain M. Banks.

Ken MacLeod (Moderator), David Haddock, Michelle Hodgson, John Jarrold, Andrew McKie

Reading: Ken MacLeod

Sunday 17:00 - 17:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

The Politics of the Culture

Monday 11:00 - 12:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

In her review of Look to Windward, Abigail Nussbaum suggests that the central paradox of Iain M Banks' Culture is that it is "both a force for goodness, freedom, and happiness in the galaxy, and an engine of its citizens' selfish, childish needs to imbue their lives with meaning, to which end they will cause any amount of suffering ... both are true, and both are reductive." To what extent is the Culture, as a political entity, built around this unresolvable duality? How do the Culture novels grapple with the contradictions at the heart of this utopia? And how do the actions of the Culture connect with the more immediate political choices we face in the present world?

David Dingwall (Moderator), Rachel Coleman, Ken MacLeod, Gemma Thomson, Lalith Vipulananthan Lal


Ken, belated happy birthday wishes! Any word yet on if/when Descent or Intrusion will be released in the US?

Belated thanks!

And, sorry, no word on either.

Mike, I was able to get a copy of Intrusion through Amazon US:

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