Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Steam-Powered Typewriter Rides Again

I use this title for my forum page at Whispers and just figured that as my longer works are all firmly embedded in the steampunk/dieselpunk/alternate history genres, it would be a wise move to give my blog that title too. I love the entire steampunk universe, both aesthetically (all those cogs and wheels and dials and valves!) and dramatically, too. My completed short novel The Hotel Galileo is set in alternate version of the Roaring Twenties, one in which humanity has branched out into space. The novel I am currently working on, The Silver Sea, is a crime novel set in a much darker universe, an alternate earth circa 1898, with airships and steam-powered automatons, and many other retro-sf ideas, all observed by a detective from our own reality lost at sea in this grim dystopia.

I'm very excited to have found (possibly) the perfect publisher for The Hotel Galileo. Right now I am doing one final sweep of the novel before it goes out into the big wide world. Watch this space.

Friday, July 25, 2008

GUD Goodies Contest

GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) has just launched a pre-buzz contest to promote the release of their third issue. You can check out the details out here.

GUD is published twice a year and chief editor Kaolin Fire has already implemented many good ideas which are innovative and realistic for the publishing world of today (such as being able to download individual stories for a small price and promotional contests like the one mentioned above). They seem to be going places. Good luck to them, or should that be GUD luck?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stories and Longer Works

Things are moving steadily in all areas at the moment. In Short Story Land I've just done a "final edit" on The Transmuted Engine before sending it to my first reader for a serious critique. I'm looking at entering this one for the Aeon Award this year. I made the long-list with Juju in 2005 (see here) which made me very proud. (Juju went on to appear in the second print issue of Hub Magazine). I've also been working on a dark fiction piece called The Postal Worker, which is delving into some creepy new territory for me. It's very much in the tradition of "weird" fiction. Spiders of Suburbia has a strong start but I'm putting it on the shelf for the time being as I'm not too happy with the way the story's heading.

In Novel-Land I'm steaming across The Silver Sea, which is demanding mosty of my time right now (I'm actually thinking about it the moment I wake up, which is disturbing!) I'm bracing myself for a final-final edit of The Hotel Galileo before I start looking for a publisher. Trouble is, it's an odd-length--publisher word count is about 45k--and that's a hard-sell any time of the week. Looking at all options for this one, but obviously I would dearly love to see it published as a stand-alone volume, possibly the first in a series. Time will soon tell...

Imminent Publications
Halls of the Tollomai - Murky Depths #5, due early August
The Man Who Ate Planets - Best New Tales of the Apocalypse (Permuted Press), due September
Guardian and The View From the Bridge - From the Asylum Year 4 Anthology, due September

(Medea's Children which was due to be published as an ebook at Screaming Dreams has been indefinitely postponed due to publisher Steve Uphams's ill-health. My thoughts are with Steve and his family.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doctor Who Series 4

I went off the series last year. There was something missing from the show that I couldn't put my finger on, and even now, a year later, I'm still not exactly sure what it was that 'stuck in me clack'. I know for certain that I disliked the Daleks in Manhattan episodes without apology, and the series finale was ruined for me by the way the Doctor got out of the (almost) impossible situation. It was a nice idea in theory, but dramatically it was only one step away from a deus ex machina resolution. Then again, maybe I was just in a bad mood. I would love to watch the series again, just to see if the problem lay with me or the series itself.

Anyway, that lengthy preamble brings me to the current series which finished last Saturday with a bang (lots of them actually), a screaming Davros, and a plethora of guest characters all getting their moment to shine in the biggest series finale yet. And I enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, the series as a whole was, for me, the most enjoyable so far. The naysayers (and there are oh-so-many naysayers out there, just waiting in the nay-saying trenches of cyberspace to nay-say at the first given opportunity!) gave Catherine Tate a rough ride the first time she appeared in the Christmas special in 2006; so when it was announced she was returning as a regular companion for an entire series, well, I think the nay-sayers went into overdrive. However, history shows that they also did this to Billie Piper before the revitalised Doctor Who was even screened on TV! And what happened? The majority of people loved Rose by the end of the first series. Well, fans of the show did, anyway. The naysayers will never be satisfied.

Catherine Tate showed she could handle the drama and the comedic moments with equal aplomb. Her performances both in Turn Left, when she was about to be transported back in time, and her final scenes with the Doctor at the end of Journey's End showed she was an actress as well as a comic performer. I enjoyed her portrayal of Donna throughout the series, and if we occassionally saw shades of her "am I bovvered?" persona creeping in, what does it matter? That's a part of her, innit? Her story arc and its low-key conclusion were brilliantly performed by all, especially Tate and, of course, David Tennant, who carried the weight of the show to its heartbraking denoument with true class. I love his Doctor, and he is now so comfortable in the role it's hard to imagine anyone else taking over. The fright we all had at the cliffhanger ending to the penultimate episode ("I'm regenerating!") really brought it home how much I enjoy him as the Doctor and how much I would hate to see him leave the show. The good news is, he's happy, the producers are happy, and, on the whole, the fans are happy, too. I understand Tennant will be present for at least next year's specials (two Christmas specials and two further specials over the course of 2009), and things look set for him to be around for the next complete series in 2010. Let's hope so.

News that Stephen Moffatt (The Empty Child/Doctor Dances, Blink and Silence in the Library/Forests of the Dead) will be taking over from Russell T Davies as chief writer is very welcome news. Roll on Christmas and the Return of the Cybermen!