Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Kindle Fire

Ha! Twelve months ago I was an early adopter (at least by UK standards) I was the first person reading a Kindle on my commute. I felt so cool as people craned their necks to see what this new hi-tech magic was that I had in my hands. Now... ... my trusty e-reader is about to become a quaint piece of retro steam punk.

I wonder if it will hit the UK before Christmas.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Wielding the Axe

I've been struggling with a story for the past few months, trying to find a home for it, but the response has always been - we enjoyed it but...
This week I decided it needed editing. Serious editing. It has been trimmed and clipped many times but has always come in at just over 6500 words.
I decided to be brutal.
There had to be tears.
There are a lot of markets that take stories of no more than 4000 words. For this story I've long resisted. This story is one of my darlings. Surely chopping out a full third of it would rip the guts out. Well it took me a week. First a thousand words, then five hundred. Then a few more here, a few more there and, well, the story now weighs-in at 3993. And it's better by far. Nothing is lost, save some beautiful, flowery, purple self-indulgence. What is left is the bones; a sun-bleached skeleton of a story that gets right down to it and doesn't muck about around the edges. Who'd have thought.
The story is called...
I'll tell you what it's called if I sell it.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Out of this World

It has been a good week. To begin with I sold a story to and the acceptance email arrived in the final hours of my birthday – a very welcome extra birthday gift. Dead Man's Shoes is scheduled to be published in the March 1 issue of so I will post a link when it happens.

The other thing that happened was I finally got the chance to visit the Out of this World exhibition at the British Library in London. I first learned about the exhibition when The Guardian newspaper ran a Science Fiction special to coincide with the opening, earlier in the year. It sounded good, but... well, it's in London. Everything UK is in London, and I'm not. For me it is an expensive deal to get down to the capital, so I muttered about it and hoped an opportunity would turn up.

And this week the day-job stepped up by sending me, not once, but twice down to the big city for meetings. On Monday I travelled with the laptop and ipad executives on the early train, feeling like I was important. Then, in London, I left the high-flyers and caught the tube out to Wood Green, to a tiny, overheated office, where 30+ people met in a room that was little larger than a news kiosk. But it was a successful meeting, not the least because it finished at 4.30, giving me time to dash back into London and catch the last hour of the British Library before it closed.

So, with barely a week remaining before it ended, I was able to see the Out of This World exhibition. And hey, it was worth it. Someone has done a remarkable job researching this thing. It really was very good indeed. Amongst the highlights were the hand-drawn timeline sketches for First and Last Men by Olaf Stapledon (A Wirral writer it must be said). A page of the original theme tune score for Dr Who, by Ron Grainer of the BBC radiophonic workshop, (mercifully keeping the Dr Who content proportionate) and also a real gem, a page of an early typewritten draft of John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids, complete with typos and corrections and edits. This really was a rare and special exhibition. And it was all about the printed word; books and magazines. The temptation is, so often, to resort to film media - but this time the printed word was the focal point, and rightly so for a library exhibit, and it was so good to see.

So, a big thank you to my day job bosses for bankrolling this little outing. It's nice that, for once, things actually worked out.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Back from my holidays in France (for details of that particular fiasco you might wish to pop over to Travelling in a Box) and after all the ups and downs it's nice to see that I have a story, Call Me Murph, that's now up on Short-Story.Me
This is a tidy little on-line magazine and it publishes some very nice fiction in a wide range of genres, so I am well pleased to be up there. It's worth checking them out.