London Centric – Tales of Future London

This awesome short story anthology from NewCon Press was originally going to be one volume that included science fiction/fantasy tales about London past, present and future. However, it was eventually split in two, with Volume 1, Soot & Steel, already available on the NewCon Press website. The book I’m in is about London future. Me […]

Female Violence in Genre Fiction

This post is linked to the next one on Life in Sci-Fi, a guest piece by novelist Jane Davis, whose new book At the Stroke of Nine O’Clock explores the motivations for female violence in the twentieth century. It’s interesting to compare how historical fiction and SF deal with this theme, because Jane’s story looks […]

The Whiteness of Ashel 5

I have just finished a punishing second draft of Beautiful Gun following edits, and the book has now gone off to beta readers to prepare for draft three. Draft two is pretty much a digital remastering already, with a whole new third, although the story spine is the same. It’s so much better, with the […]

Review of Stories of Hope & Wonder

This whopping collection of 53 stories is just over a quarter of a million words long, and explores the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and all the mash-ups in between. It was published to raise money for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is the first good reason to buy it. The second […]

Awesome black SFF writers to read and love

Here are some black science fiction and fantasy authors who have influenced me with their wisdom, generosity, inventiveness, and a calm in dealing with cretins online that I do not have – perhaps because as a middle class white Englishman I do not have to. If you haven’t already, please buy, enjoy and then review […]

Beautiful Gun Cover Reveal!

Here is Ashel 5, grumpy superwoman, penitential antagonist and big-hearted, heavily-armed lunatic. Isn’t she beautiful? I love all my covers, but wanted to go in a different direction with a new heroine. It was also important that the new cover scream science fiction, but in a way we haven’t seen before. The design is by […]

Why plague sci-fi is crap

I knew there was a reason I’ve never liked plague sci-fi: it’s because it’s always dull and not really sci-fi. Just substitute the plague for any other calamity and it’s just a set of standard disaster tropes. Plague is a tedious antagonist because it don’t make choices based on opportunities afforded by technology, it simply […]

Judging the Clarke Award – Pt 2

THE SHORTLIST There are always oddities – Simon Stalenhag’s The Electric State for example. Was it a novel? Did the pictures matter? Did it have enough words? Were we coming up with reasons not to shortlist it because we think we should? The fact was that we all loved it, it used a novel form […]

Judging the Clarke Award

PART ONE: THE PROCESS I’ve been a fan of the Clarke Award for a long time, having enjoyed both the winning books and those on the shortlists. Not all my favourite books for that year end up shortlisted, but it’s never less than interesting. I’d harboured secret ambitions to be a judge ‘when I was […]