12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



To NaNo or Not to NaNo

With just under a week to go, it’s time to make that all-important writing decision: to NaNoWriMo, or not to NaNoWriMo? Continue reading “To NaNo or Not to NaNo”

Weekly Photo Challenge – Masterpiece

The latest photo prompt from the Daily Post is Masterpiece – so naturally the entries thus far include things like architecture, awesome geological features, and smiling children.  Mine is more reflective of my reading habits, which I think is legitimate because the prompt in full reads:

‘No matter where you are (and where you’ve been), I’m certain you’ve stumbled upon something extraordinary: a place that blows your mind; a work of art or object that speaks to you; or even a location or scene that’s special, unusual, or even magical in some way.’



I bloody love a good dystopia, and there are plenty to choose from – but The Handmaid’s Tale is probably my favourite – and may actually have started the whole thing, now I think about it.  I first read it as a teenager and it just tapped into something in my brain, or ‘spoke to me’ if you prefer.  It felt frighteningly plausible, which a lot of these books do – a good dystopia essentially speculates on possible fallout from the introduction of new technology, so is generally grounded in recognisable science and social situations.

The Handmaid’s Tale may have the edge for me because it was my first dystopia, or because of Margaret Atwood‘s prose, or perhaps because of being from the perspective of a female protagonist; comparatively rare given the others I considered photographing were Oryx and Crake (also by Atwood, also awesome, but with a male narrator), Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and 1984 by George Orwell.

I strongly suggest you read them all, and an honourable mention must also go to  The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I read in February this year.  It was never really in the running for this photo because I read it on kindle, which is not as aesthetically interesting as a paper book – but if you like dystopia it’s a damn good read.

Flash Forward..

.. to the present day.

Science Fiction Brainstorm

Click to embiggen!

When in doubt, brainstorm.  Turns out I’ve sucked up a lot more sci-fi in my time than I first thought – not all of it entirely sensible.  Does anyone else out there remember The Tomorrow People?  The early 90s version featuring Todd from Neighbours, not the original 70s incarnation with Peter Davison.  The vaseline-edged corners of my mind remember it as being pretty good.

Anyhoo, having reminded myself I actually do have a reasonable amount of genre knowledge, I scribbled out several pages of plot and character ideas, and now some chapters are forthcoming.  Isn’t the creative process magical.

Writing Science Fiction

You probably know the drill by now, dear reader.  It is the first of the month, so I am discarding book 7 like an old belt with no buckle and beginning afresh on book 8, my Sci-Fi opus.

I was provocatively poor at science in school, sitting Standard Grade Physics and Chemistry for no real reason that I can recall (I think most of my friends were doing it) and wishing later that I’d done Biology instead because at that level it seemed to involve a lot of writing, something I am good at, as opposed to learning equations, something I am bad at.  For this reason you will not be getting a hard sci fi book out of me, because any attempts to be technical will be about as convincing as John Yates in front of the Select Committee.  Furthermore I have the eternal lack of research problem, which always makes avoiding cliches a challenge.  Still, I haven’t let it stop me any other month and I shall persevere this time too. Continue reading “Writing Science Fiction”

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