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12 Books in 12 Months

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scifi

Open Mic Opportunity in Edinburgh

Doctor Who Open Mic Night Edinburgh 2013Are you a poet or penner of short fiction?  Have any of your poems or prose ever included aliens, time travel, jelly babies, or copious amounts of running?  Then have I got the Open Mic Night for you!

Organised by my good friend Andrew Blair and the chaps behind Blind Poetics*, the truthfully titled ‘The Doctor Who Open Mic Night’ is coming to Edinburgh pub The Blind Poet on November 25th.  Join performers Kevin Cadwallender, Tracey S. Rosenberg and Russell Jones as they celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Doctor Who through spoken word.  And as you do it, you can help raise money for The Lullaby Trust, an amazing charity that supports bereaved families.

Open mic slots are available if you want to perform – email drwhoopenmic@hotmail.com for further info – but the organisers would like to make it clear that you don’t have to perform 100% Doctor material:  ‘anything even tangentially related, be it sci-fi, time travel, weeping angels, things-being-bigger-on-the-inside or Jon Pertwee, is totally cool.’

Meanwhile, if you just want to go and have a listen, that’s likely what I’m going to do.  Unless I spend the next week finally committing that Ode to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart I’ve been composing to paper… But I fear I’ve said too much.  Anyway entry is free, although as discussed there is the option to donate to the Lullaby Trust (they are suggesting a very reasonable £2).

If you fancy coming along or know someone else whose cup of tea it is, please help spread the word – join the Facebook event, share this blog post, and generally make a lot of noise.  Like Kevin Cadwallender might do:

Hope to see you there!

When: Monday 25th November, 7.30pm
Where: The Blind Poet, 32 West Nicholson Street, Edinburgh

*Those chaps are Roddy Shippin and Alec Beattie, and you can keep up with Blind Poetics, a monthly night of spoken word, on Facebook and Twitter.

Interview: EJ Newman

EJ Newman

I was faffing about on the Twitter back in January when SF author Ken MacLeod retweeted a message about 20 Years Later, the debut novel from EJ Newman. I hadn’t come across her work previously, but a quick look at her website told me I had to get in touch to find out more, as her creative output puts mine to shame!  She found time in her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her debut novel (a mystery set in post-apocalyptic London), current projects (Split Worlds, which involves producing a new story every week for a year and a day) and supporting local bookshops.

“I’m often asked what it is about dystopian novels that grabs the YA reader’s imagination, and I always like to point out this is nothing new – every generation post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels have a surge in popularity. When I was growing up it was The Tripods and Empty World (that was the first post-apocalyptic novel I read) and there’s the perennial appeal of the books 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 for example. The only different today is that the “YA market” has been explicitly defined in a way it wasn’t the last time this sub-genre was popular.

That aside, the reason it keeps being popular is quite simple I think; dystopian fiction explores problems and threats that already exist all around us, but writ large. In most dystopian fiction the reader is given a hero who resists the system, who wants to fight despite how dangerous it is – thereby enabling us to live out our own fantasies vicariously. When I was a teen, I was constantly furious at adults who were simply ignoring terrible things going on in the world. In dystopian fiction, the heroes actually do something about it.

Continue reading “Interview: EJ Newman”

Foreshadows: Changing the way we read

Every so often, someone comes along and tries to change the way we do things.

This is particularly relevant in the world of the written word.  When some genius decided to go from cave paintings to papyrus scrolls* there was uproar in the publishing industry.  Nobody had done it before and so nobody could envision doing it differently, but now we wouldn’t read our ancient Egyptian texts any other way.  Similarly at the time of William Shakespeare, nobody gave a toss about fixed spelling (Bill spelt his name in several different ways) but these days we’re always getting ourselves worked up about kids using text speak instead of proper English.

Obviously we’ve had a lot of chat about the digital revolution on this blog, what with the Great Kindle Challenge and asking almost all interviewees for their thoughts on eBooks and such.  But what is the next evolutionary step in reading experience?  I’m glad you asked.

Continue reading “Foreshadows: Changing the way we read”

Author Interview – Gemma Malley

Today I am posting an interview with YA author Gemma Malley (who you might also have come across as Chick Lit writer Gemma Townley, sister of Madeleine Wickham/Sophie Kinsella – totally irrelevant to this article but nevertheless quite interesting!)  I first came across her when I was working at the library and picked up a shiny copy of The Declaration, the first in a trilogy set in a future where drugs have eliminated old age and people are prevented from having children because there’s no room for them.  It’s well worth a read, as are the other books in the series, The Resistance and The Legacy – particularly if you like a bit of future dystopia. Continue reading “Author Interview – Gemma Malley”

Pictonaut Challenge – Any Direction

This month’s Pictonaut Challenge is Sci Fi, in honour of the release of Mass Effect 3. That’s a computer game, for those not in the know, and to be brutally honest it is of little significance in my life. My gaming habits are restricted to endless Tetris and getting stuck on Monkey Island, with a bit of Wii Bowling/MarioKart for luck. Mass Effect 3, meanwhile, ‘plunges you into an all-out galactic war to take Earth back from a nearly unstoppable foe.’ No coloured blocks or weak puns, then.

Continue reading “Pictonaut Challenge – Any Direction”

Interview: Angry Robot Books

Jhonen Vasquez (http://www.questionsleep.com/)

Some publishers think technological changes in the way we read may herald the end of books.  Lee Harris, editor of “SF, F and WTF?!” publishers Angry Robot Books (home to books by Dan Abnett, Andy Remic, Chuck Wendig and a host of others – my title tip is The World House by Guy Adams) says not.  In this interview he explains why…

How and when did Angry Robot Books get started?
Angry Robot was founded by Marc Gascoigne in the summer of 2008 as part of HarperCollins. We published our first titles in the UK and Australia in July 2009 and in the US and Canada in September 2010.

What is the robot so upset about?
He’s not upset. He’s angry. Big difference. Pray you never find out why…

Continue reading “Interview: Angry Robot Books”

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