12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



The Book Blogger Files #5 – On Starships and Dragonwings

There are so many book bloggers on the internet that if you laid them all end to end they’d reach to Alpha Centauri and back – but how do you know whether the reviews on any one site will match your own tastes?  One way might be to find out a little more about the people behind them.  And so I present The Book Blogger Files – a series of interviews with the literary enthusiasts behind the keyboards.  Today I’m speaking to Anya, who reviews SF and Fantasy on her blog On Starships and Dragonwings.

me_and_ozWho are you, where are you in the world, and what inspired you to get started with book blogging?

I’m a graduate student in Computer Science in Michigan, though I lived my life in Minnesota up until grad school. I started book blogging because I wanted to try out this crazy blogging thing and could only think of one hobby that I was unlikely to ever get tired of: reading!

Where did the name ‘On Starships and Dragonwings’ come from?

My blog was originally called ‘About The Story,’ but when I switched to self-hosted, I wanted a name that fit me better – I realized I no longer only cared about the story!  My genres of choice are sci-fi and fantasy, so I wanted a name that incorporated both of them. I basically decided that I most enjoy escaping ‘on starships and dragonwings’, so that became the name!

What is it about SF/Fantasy that appeals to you over other genres?

Continue reading “The Book Blogger Files #5 – On Starships and Dragonwings”

Celebration of Iain Banks

Iain 3In my line of work, people occasionally send me press releases about interesting booky things that are occurring.  I received such a missive yesterday from the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust on the subject of a season of events celebrating Iain Banks.

Continue reading “Celebration of Iain Banks”

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”

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: Weaponizer

Image by mojokingbee (

This week’s guest post is an interview with the editor of online magazine Weaponizer (and general polymath) Bram E. Gieben, also known on the internet as Texture

He spoke to me about SF, online publishing and making a terrible discovery about Grant Morrison…

Can you describe Weaponizer for anyone that hasn’t come across it before?

Weaponizer publishes fiction online in several forms – flash fiction (stories under a thousand words), short stories (1000 – 8000 words), serial fiction (ongoing stories of novel or novella length), and webcomics. We also publish nonfiction articles and essays on everything from film to music to the occult.

Continue reading “Interview: Weaponizer”

Captain America vs. Science

Last night we saw Captain America, which was jam packed with SCIENCE.  Very unspecific science, admittedly (what was actually in Dr Erskine’s serum?  Other than a substantial quantity of schnapps), but science nonetheless. 

OK, maybe I’m overselling this.  It’s not science exactly, more a vague approximation of it.  Perpetrated by Dominic Cooper, of all people.  Seriously, of all the actors you could cast as a brilliant American inventor, you go for the dude from Mamma Mia who can’t do accents. Continue reading “Captain America vs. Science”

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