The Early Days of a Better Nation

Sunday, March 04, 2018



Other good news

In June 2017 Carol and I moved from South Queensferry, on the Firth of Forth, to Gourock, on the Firth of Clyde. We're very happy here, and we love the place. Take a scroll back through my Twitter photos for some reasons why.

One unexpected bonus of the move was that it brought it us within a few miles of two fine writers, Christopher Priest and Nina Allan. Last year, a Danish translation of my story 'Who's Afraid of Wolf-359?' won the Niels Klim Award, and Christopher had kindly picked up the trophy for me at a later con. This gave us an excuse for a visit. They were affable and generous hosts. The award is small, heavy, and beautiful.



Nina's novel The Rift (which I've bought but not read yet) made the Locus Recommended List for 2017, as did my The Corporation Wars: Emergence, about which I am well chuffed. Likewise the good review of Emergence and the previous two volumes in the trilogy.

My short story 'The Last Word', first published in Shoreline of Infinity, is in The Best of British Science Fiction 2017, edited by Donna Scott, forthcoming (and available for pre-order) from Newcon Press. Three of the other stories in the collection are also from Shoreline, so it's clearly a magazine making its mark.

Along with some scarily well-known writers, I have an interview on Marx's Capital in relation to SF in issue 7 of Big Echo, a free, online journal of critical science fiction.

I'll be giving a keynote on 'Subverting the Normal in Fiction' at York Literature Festival's Writers and Artists One-Day Creative Writing Conference on Saturday 24 March 2018. Other writers speaking that day: Claire North and RJ Barker.

I'll be on a panel chaired by Marcus Chown on (actual and speculative) careers in space at the Edinburgh Science Festival, Friday 6 April, 'NASA's Newest Recruit', 5:30 pm, Summerhall in the Red Lecture Theatre.

Finally, towards the end of June I'll be teaching for a week at Clarion West.
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Saturday, March 03, 2018



News from the Culture

As some of you may have heard, I'm working on very exciting project:
Original drawings by Iain M. Banks, author of the hugely popular Culture novels, will be included in a book that celebrates the author’s vision of the Culture universe. The previously unseen drawings, most of which are annotated by the author, and many of which predate the writing of the novels themselves, will be curated by the Estate of Iain M. Banks and Iain’s life-long friend and science fiction writer Ken MacLeod. With additional commentary by MacLeod, further notes on the Culture, and extracts from the Culture novels, the book will provide a unique insight into the Culture, including its history, language, technology, philosophy and values. Orbit acquired world rights through literary agent Mic Cheetham and will publish in 2019 with simultaneous publication in the UK and US.
Right now, this means I'm re-reading all the Culture books with a notebook open and a sheaf of index tabs to hand. Several volumes are already bristling, and the notebook is filling up.



I'd hardly finished reading and annotating Consider Phlebas when the news broke that the Culture is coming to the small screen on Amazon Prime Video, starting with an adaptation of Consider Phlebas. Having so recently re-read it, I think this is a good choice: the novel's episodic structure and escalating – and frequent -- action scenes make it perfect for a television series. Pat Kane has some interesting thoughts.
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