One of the great things about the internet is that you can change your mind from one day to the next, and put it down to the fast-moving dynamic environment.  

So yesterday my Interzone piece was a blog post, today it’s an article. What changed? After I’d posted the first half I realized that there was more to say — much more. Since it’s now almost 900 words and has shedloads of stats, by my mind that’s an article. Blame that fast-moving, dynamic environment….

Regardless of whether it’s a blog or an article, what started it all off was a couple of conversations in which I voiced my frustration at the number of small presses and magazines and anthologies that spring up, take their subscriber’s money, and then never produce a second issue, or make it past the first subscription renewal.

Bob Nielson (one of the Albedo One team who have –to my surprise– produced the 13th longest running magazine* in SF history, and the next oldest magazine to Interzone) made the comment that it’s hard to find the time, the money and the enthusiasm to keep producing a magazine at all, let alone year after year. It seemed to me at the time that maybe we ought to acknowledge that effort.

And next September Strange Horizons is ten years old. It’s a damned fine achievement, but celebrated in total contrast to the way that IZ sneaked past its own tenth anniversary, and pretty much every other anniversary ever since.  We Brits don’t like to blow our own trumpets, so I thought I’d toot the TTA team’s horn for them….

* I’m counting magazines as those periodicals that pay to publish, as distinct from fanzines. No disrespect toward the latter, but it’s not in my purview.

• July 19th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

New Review & BSFA Meeting

I’ve posted a new review at Suite101, this time dissecting the latest edition of Albedo One. It’s another good issue.

Meanwhile, I’m off to London later today for the BSFA Meeting, which features an interview with Eric Brown, reviewer for the Guardian, contributor to Pringlezone, and author of Cosmopath and many other fine novels.

Anyone else going?

• June 30th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Update on The Portal

About five weeks ago, I mentioned a new online review zine.  Since then The Portal (that’s the zine) has been gradually booting itself up for a launch. They now have a website, which I promised to pass on. So here it is.


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

New Review: IZ228

The only downside to weather like this is that I’d rather be out dozing in a sunny garden than stuck indoors. Nonetheless, such is my dedication to The Cause that while you lot have been out sunning yourselves, I’ve been working — yes, working! At least on the plus side, I’ve been able to read one story at a time outside, then nipped in and written it up.

Right, now for a doze…

• May 23rd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

New Article at Suite101: 20 Questions

I’ve just posted what may be either a one-off experiment, or the first of an occasional series at Suite101, in which I make my debut as an interviewer.

Black Static reviewer Peter Tennant is my first victim, and he did a series of fairly mundane questions proud, with some interesting and at times controversial answers (I may agree with Pete that Wembley should have been burned down, but not for his reasons!).

In the interest of full disclosure, most of the questions were adapted –or just pinched outright– from Angry Robot’s Lee Harris & Marc Gascoigne.

If you have a book or story coming out or if you have something to say in general about the genre, and you’re interested in being interviewed drop me a line, and we’ll see if this idea has legs.

• May 19th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

2009 Nebula Awards

Together with (probably) the rest of the blogosphere I’ve posted the 2009 Nebula Award award winners over at Suite101, along with a few stats and thoughts.

I hadn’t realized that it had been quite so long (23 days) between posts, but with all but one of my assignments now delivered, normal service should be resumed shortly.

• May 16th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

New Online Reviews Zine

The other day I received an e-mail announcing the formation of a new on-line review zine in the style of The Fix (which is, as far as I know, on hiatus) and asking if I would be prepared to submit reviews of short fiction.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to take any more on, but I agreed to post a call for other existing and aspiring reviewers to drop a line to Val Grimm at the Portal.

To reduce the risk of spamming, drop me a line off-blog, and I’ll put you in touch with her. Please title your mail ‘Call for Reviewers: The Portal’ so my spam filter doesn’t eat it! It’s only reviewing short fiction, but the world needs more short fiction review zines.

And later on, I’m off to the Clarke Ceremony, where I’ll see Niall Harrison, Gareth L Powell and Cheryl Morgan — and other assorted luminaries.  Later!

• April 28th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1

Black Static 16 Reviewed, Plus Comments

The Saturday review at Suite101 this week is Black Static 16, but before you click on the link –or not– I want to add a coda.

I mentioned that it’s the first full colour Black Static, but Suite’s policies preclude me from saying that the whole magazine is jaw-droppingly fucking gorgeous.  I had my doubts about a full colour edition, simply because  it’s a magazine of dark fiction, which just goes to show that

a. sometimes bright colours can enhance the darkness

b. I know nothing, absolutely nada, about artwork. Except what I like.

Oddly, the Lynda E. Rucker artwork, which is among the strongest in the issue, seems to be uncredited.

On another point, space precluded me commenting in more detail on Stephen Volk’s ‘Electric Darkness,’ which was like a shot in the arm. This is how it starts:

There’s this story. This guy went to live in the wilderness with grizzly bears… He admired their grace and ever since he was a kid he adored them. He thought, if I treat them well, they’ll have no reason…to attack me.  On the contrary, they’ll love me like I love them and we’ll all live happily in the forest together. Well, one day the fucking grizzlies turned on him and ate him.

I know the feeling.

Volk recounts the series of setbacks and the periodic depression that plagues him (and sometimes the two are linked, and sometimes they’re not) — and wonders why he bothers.

It touched a chord because I’m slightly melancholic by nature, and also lately because I’ve begun to note the switchback nature of writing for a living.

Possibly every beginning writer dreaming of the first sale thinks that after they’ve made the breakthrough, it’s happily ever after. In fact, given long enough a writer’s career seems increasingly to me to be like a game of Snakes ‘n’ Ladders. Volk’s article nails it absolutely, and in the process outlines how he copes. Anyone who suffers from depression, or whose career is going through a rough patch should read it.

Black Static is a great magazine, and 16 is an exemplary issue, but in any case this month’s Electric Darkness alone is worth the cover price.

• April 24th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1

This Week’s Magazine Review

I’ve posted a review of Albedo One issue 37 over at Suite101

• April 17th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Different Markets?

A lot of what I’ve been writing lately is intended less as Words of Wisdom than as the electronic equivalent of me thinking aloud. This has the benefit of enabling me to argue with myself as I grope toward understanding of the genre I work in. The latest musing is just how separate (or inter-connected) the short fiction and novel markets are.

• March 30th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0