The Early Days of a Better Nation

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mike Levy Project

Long-standing SF/F critic and fan Dr Farah Mendlesohn is asking for volunteers to help her complete a colleague's book after Mike Levy, likewise a much respected fan and critic, died very suddenly in April 2017. The book is on aliens in popular culture and she needs people to write about alien conspiracy theories. If you are willing to write 1000 words (credited, but unpaid*) on one of these topics by 1st September please contact her on to discuss your proposal.

The topics are:
Sun Ra
Alien Autopsy
National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) 540
Condon Report
Mack, John: Harvard experiments
UFO Hunters
Cover Ups
polar aliens
*There is no pay as the contracted pay for the entire book was relatively small and Farah has decided to donate the sum to the IAFA in Mike's name.
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Edge-Lit 6

This weekend (Saturday 15 July) I'm a Guest of Honour at Edge-Lit 6 in Derby. This one-day event (tickets £30) packs in a programme that many a weekend-long convention or literary festival would be proud of. Sponsored by Writing Magazine, a sheaf of small presses and the Horror Writers Association UK, Edge-Lit has an impressive range of dealers' tables and an imposing line-up of guests and participants. Where else could you see and hear Joanne Harris, Stephen Baxter, Jeff Noon, Andrew Michael Hurley, Peter Newman, Samantha Shannon and a dozen more all on the same day? Having been a guest at Edge-Lit before, I know you can expect a lively atmosphere and interesting conversation, on and off the platform, all day and well into the evening.

I and Stephen Baxter will be talking with Tim Hunter about Arthur C. Clarke, and later I'll be giving a reading and Q&A. Check out the rest of the programme (pdf) here, and if you like what you see, book here.
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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Improbable Botany

Some years ago I wrote a story set in approximately the same world as that of my novel Intrusion. I'm still inordinately fond of its title: 'The Bicycle-Frame Tree Plantation Manager's Redundancy'. It was commissioned by Wayward, an innovative art, architecture and landscape practice. The bicycle-frame trees themselves featured in an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. I read an extract from the story at an event there, and was impressed and touched by the quality of the artwork associated with my story, as the other authors involved were with theirs.

I'm delighted to say that the anthology, edited by Gary Dalkin, is now about to see the light of day – but only if enough people believe in it. And they should! I mean, look at this:

It's sumptuous. Lush. And the content is unmissable:
Improbable Botany, a brand-new science fiction anthology about alien plant conquests, fantastical ecosystems, benevolent dictatorships and techno-utopias.

Part survival handbook, part page-turner, Improbable Botany is a fond companion piece to many of Wayward’s past collaborations and features newly commissioned short stories by ten multi-award winning science fiction authors: Ken MacLeod, Cherith Baldry, Eric Brown, Simon Morden, Adam Roberts, James Kennedy, Stephen Palmer, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan and Lisa Tuttle. The book has been edited by Gary Dalkin, a former judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and former editor of Vector: The Critical Journal of the British Science Fiction Association.

We are also delighted to say that Improbable Botany features incredibly rich and evocative jacket artwork, alongside six full-colour illustrations (which are being offered as A2 art prints to backers across multiple reward tiers), by Jonathan Burton – whose outstanding body of work has been featured by The Folio Society, Penguin Books, BAFTA, HarperCollins, Random House and The New York Times.

This is the book plants don't want you to read...
If you want to read it, back this project on Kickstarter.

If you don't ... well, you'll never know what the plants are whispering about.
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