Displacement Reviewed at Innsmouth Free Press

In which our author celebrates an excellent review of a book that in internet terms has been out about a million years, and explains why.

About eighteen months ago Swimming Kangaroo Books published my debut collection Displacement. Unfortunately, despite several attempts to reshedule it, it ended up coming out less than two weeks after publication of Winter Song

It’s difficult -verging on impossible- to adequately promote two books simultaneously.  Anything less than a six month gap between them risks leaving one or both inadequately promoted. 

And because one was a break-out novel from a major house, versus a small press collection, unsurprisingly Displacement’s publication was lost in the blizzard of noise about Winter Song, and the subsequent shenanigans about the restructuring of Angry Robot.

By the time I got a chance to focus on Displacement, in the ephemeral nature of modern publishing, it was old news, and reviewers prepared to review small press collections are in any event, limited.

Which is why when it does get a nice review, I want to celebrate it.

Author, editor and critic Paula R Stiles has given Displacement a  thorough, considered, and generally favourable review over at Innsmouth Free Press. Which is not to say that she hasn’t pointed what she felt I could have done better, but when that happens the words of praise feel as if they’ve been rather more earned than a more gushing review.

I’m hoping to make a couple more posts about older books over the next couple of weeks, while continuing to look forward.

• June 8th, 2011 • Posted in Reviews • Comments: 0

On Holiday…Or Not

I realized yesterday as I posted the review of Interzone that it was my first post for a week. Given that I’ve been fairly quiet on other venues as well, a few of you might be forgiven for thinking that I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole.

You should be so lucky.

As I write this, at the same time last week I was on my way over to Gareth‘s place, to set off for Eastercon. Two days of long periods of relaxation, interspersed with frantic running around to get to and from signing sessions to promote Damage Time. Six of us ended up coming back from Birmingham Waterstone’s in a taxi to get back in time for the Illustrious signing.

That should have sounded a warning – the railway station was in chaos, which was only going to get worse by the evening. I duly found myself stranded by the chaos, although I eventually got home only an hour late by leaping in a taxi at Bristol Temple Meads.

So off on holiday on Sunday morning down to Poole. On the plus side, we were going on holiday. On the downside, I had a shedload of work to get through, and was suffering from tendonitis, preventing me from walking more than a few hundred yards without having to take painkillers.

In a way that injury was a blessing. Unable to go out, and with minimal distractions -since I couldn’t go for our usual long walks in the Purbecks or on the beaches, I had no option but to buckle down to editing Transtories. (More about that tomorrow) And since the weather was so good, I was able to read in the garden in the afternoon.

But it’s meant for a strange, claustrophobic existence that doesn’t really feel like a proper holiday at all. So I shall have no option but  to take another one, later this year…

• April 29th, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Guest Blog

Award winning author Aliette de Bodard was kind enough to offer me the chance to guest post on her blog. For reasons that I make clear on the blog, I decided to talk about Winter Song, which proved to be an interesting exercise. It’s been so long since I’ve worked on the book that it was like revisiting an old home. The actual blog post is here — do drop by to read it, and while you’re at it, have a poke around the rest of Aliette’s site, which is one of the most fascinating on t’net.

• March 30th, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

New Interview with Gray Rinehart

As part of the Codex Blog Tour, American author and my fellow-Codexian Gray Rinehart has kindly interviewed me over at his website.  feel free to stop by, and while you’re there, take a look at his other work.

• March 12th, 2011 • Posted in Interviews • Comments: 1

New Story Appearance

Newcon Press has announced its forthcoming anthology Future Conflicts edited by Ian Whates.

The book will be published in April and launched at Eastercon.

The table of contents is as follows:

Introduction – Ian Whates

  1. The Wake – Dan Abnett
  2. Unaccounted – Lauren Beukes
  3. The New Ships – Gareth L Powell
  4. The Harvest – Kim Lakin-Smith
  5. Brwydr Am Ryddid – Stephen Palmer
  6. The War Artist – Tony Ballantyne
  7. Occupation – Colin Harvey
  8. The Soul of the Machine – Eric Brown
  9. Extraordinary Rendition – Steve Longworth
  10. Yakker Snak – Andy Remic
  11. The Legend of Sharrock – Philip Palmer
  12.  The Ice Submarine – Adam Roberts
  13. Welcome Home, Jannisary – Tim C Taylor

Counting Ian. Whates –the editor- there are no less than five Angry Robot authors present in the contents list, as well as my stunt double, Tony Ballantyne, and near-neighbour Gareth L Powell.

Yes, that is me you see at number seven. I’ll be putting pen to paper for anyone who wants copies signed at the launch party at eastercon.

See you there, maybe?

• February 23rd, 2011 • Posted in Appearances, Books, General, News • Comments: 0


With all the frantic goings-on yesterday, what with cheese-buying, Clarke-posting and interviewing (and here’s a hint — if you’re going to pick a venue to be interviewed in, avoid Bath City Centre in the Christmas run up) I completely forgot to mention that my entry on the Angry Robot Advent calendar was up.

Now, where did those Icelandic elves get to….?

• December 15th, 2010 • Posted in General, Writing • Comments: 0

New Month, New Post, New Stories

I said yesterday that I was going to analyze the data from the spreadsheet of hours worked in November, didn’t I?

Sadly, things don’t always go to plan. Life has a habit of throwing up surprises. I had to run some copies of Dark Spires over to Bath so Cheryl could take them to the BFS London night (I have considerably more storage space, so the copies stay at mine until they’re needed).  And I realized that I was overdue with a piece for Angry Robot, which took most of the morning.

So instead I’ll focus on the new month; and to celebrate, point you towards a new story – or rather a mini-collection. Angry Robot have added Nano Editions to the Angry Robot store, and my contribution is Four Flash Fictions, three of which have never been online before – indeed, one of them has never been published before.  

I hope you enjoy them.

• December 1st, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Interview Week

They’re like buses, interviews; nothing seems to happen for weeks, and then along come a whole clutch of them.

Virtually the last thing I did before falling into bed on Monday evening was to record December’s Angry Robot podcast with fellow Robot-eer Matt Forbeck and the humungously talented Mur Lafferty. I came away not completely happy with the interview since (I think) I sounded like a croaking frog and my brain kept short-circuiting, but that’s the whole point of podcasts — they’re live and (relatively) un-edited; what you hear is what was said.

More comfortable was the e-mail interview with The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Montreal. I’m to be their Featured December author, and they’ll blog the interview on November 29th. I’ll post a link nearer the time.

And a couple of of weeks ago Salon Futura editor Cheryl Morgan was kind enough to trek over to the wilds of Keynsham -where I live- and interview me for the third issue of the magazine. It’s online now here

Cheryl also has some nice things to say about Damage Time and several other new titles in the feature ‘Better Living Through Software.’

Bear in mind that Salon Futura is funded by donations and a few low-key adverts, so if you like what you read there and want to keep it going, throw that odd quid that you found down behind the couch into the donations pot, via the donate page.

Yes, full disclaimer time: Salon Futura editor Cheryl is the publisher of Dark Spires, which shares Andy Bigwood’s cover with this month’s issue. But even if she wasn’t, I’d have banged the drum for it anyway; I think that as a grown-up magazine -I initially used adult, but didn’t like the implication, which is in itself an interesting comment on the way that word’s been hi-jacked- as a grown-up magazine aimed at discourse about literate, grown-up SF, Salon is an important development.

So there. 🙂

• November 12th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Damage Time Out In The US

Since it  is out today, I felt I ought to write a few words –unfortunately, I don’ have a bottle to crack against its bows– but yea, verily, I declare this novel Damage Time to be out as of about…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Actually, it’s probably been out for hours or days. These distinctions are entirely artificial, like birthdays, and Christmas. What actually changes, because a clock ticks over? This is what distinguishes from the animal kingdom, of course…that we can consciously note the time. But at times it can get a little out of hand…I’m thinking of the Millenium for example, but yes, today probably applies as well….

Anyway, enough waffle. There are two more flash extracts up on the site with experimental artwork by moi, based on Chris Moore’s stunning cover.

And since it’s still Halloween Week over at suite101, I’ve posted a review — this time Gary MacMahon’s fine but harrowing The Harm.

(it’s amazing how many variations on that you can get by omitting one letter from that title — I variously typed ‘he harm’ and ‘the ham’ and ‘the arm’ before finally getting it right…)

• October 26th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Damage Time – 1 Week To US Release

And only after I’d posted this, and the links went Facebook, Twitter, etc, did I realize that it’s actually 5 days to release. The UK releases on Thursdays -it went out on the 7th– while the US unleashes books into the trade on the last Tuesday of the month. Doh!

But back to the original post…

I was up before dawn this morning and nearly lost my fingers twittering in the dark (I had to alternate removing my glove to press the keys and put it back on when my fingers went numb) which meant that one tweet took twenty minutes, so Alice and I scuttled back into the warmth in record time.

This morning I’ve subbed a couple of poems to a magazine; I’ll be amazed if they take them, since the whole process was a little tongue in cheek, but I’ve long given up trying to second guess who will buy what, and who will reject it.

And I’ve tidied up the order of the Damage Time extracts, so hopefully new -and returning- readers will be able to run through them a little more smoothly, and added Chapter 7. I’ll add two more sidebar chapters next week in the run up to the US release (which is a whole 7 days away! eek!) and on the big day will post one last extract, which is a main narrative chapter linking into the two sidebars.

Right, onto revisions and uni homework. Abyssinia!

• October 21st, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0