Eric Brown’s Guardians of the Phoenix, Reviewed

The Earth is a barren wasteland; North America and Middle have been razed by nuclear strikes, the oceans have evaporated, and the earth is a barren desert dotted only occasionally by a few shallow oases.

For ten years, Paul has scrabbled for survival among the sand-shrouded ruins of the once-great city of Paris. He is one of thefew  desperate humans still surviving. Some scrape a living in the remains of shattered cities; others resort to murder and cannibalism to survive.

When Paul is rescued from one such group of killers, he joins his benefactors in their journey south in search of water. Guardians of the Phoenix tells the story of the last survivors, their desperate fight for survival and their last hope to save the world.

Brown is a traditional storyteller, concentrating on the virtues of storytelling and characterization. His heroes are comparatively decent people, if compromised, while his villains show no regard for life. In that respect Guardians of the Phoenix carries on a long tradition of British SF as typified by John Wyndham and Edmund Cooper, of scratching an existence from a world-changing disaster.

Brian W. Aldiss once disparagingly referred to such novels as “cozy catastrophes” but there is nothing  cozy about the lives that the characters lead – it’s probably the most relentlessly relentless scrutiny of life after climate change that’s been written. For that alone Guardians of the Phoenix deserves commendation.

• July 29th, 2011 • Posted in Reviews • Comments: 0

Author Interview at Suite101

If it’s Friday –it seems nowadays– then it must be interview day. I’ve posted an interview with fellow Angry Robot-eer Aliette de Bodard over at Suite101. Aliette’s new novel is now out, and her short story ‘The Shipmaker’ has been picked by Gardner Dozois for his next Year’s Best SF, and has been shortlisted for the BSFA award. With any luck, it will win. It deserves to.

Meanwhile, itIt seems like only a week ago –maybe because it was– that I was interviewed myself  by Lawrence Schoen

And while I’m posting links, here’s a quick reminder of an article I wrote for Salon Futura a couple of weeks ago, on The Rise and Rise of Paolo Bacigalupi.

And now I must dash; If I sound breathless, it’s because I have about a half dozen scripts to read for Monday! Have a nice weekend.

• January 28th, 2011 • Posted in Books, Events, General, Interviews • Comments: 0

Daily Science Fiction

Yesterday’s article for Suite101 mentioned the number of issues that each of the top seven or eight magazines have published, and noted (very) obliquely the question of publishing schedule; so Weird Tales has published on a quarterly basis on average since its launch, 87 years ago, whereas Analog has maintained an almost monthly schedule.

That diversity grew ever greater with the advent of the internet. Strange Horizons -soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary, publishes weekly.

And soon there will be Daily Science Fiction, coming in ‘late Summer, early Fall.’ Whether it publishes weekdays only, or is truly daily, it’s a formidable schedule. I wish them well. Markets paying pro rates are rare and precious commodoties, and need your support.

Good luck, and bon voyage.

• July 20th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Four Weeks To Go

  As I noted over at Suite101, it’s exactly four weeks until the publication of Damage Time.

  Each week I’ll post an extract from the novel, starting today.

  It’s an exciting time, and a very, very busy month.

First of all there’s Eastercon to attend.

 More on that tomorrow.

• April 1st, 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

More On Jim C. Hines’ Survey

Over at Suite101, I’ve compared Jim Hines’ survey results in terms of how long it took to get published with my own personal experience. It’s scary. I represent the mean average almost to the day; moreover, I’m now convinced that had I done all the sensible things that more experienced writers urged me to –like attended conventions, writers groups and workshops earlier on– I would have probably had trimmed several years off that final figure.

Or maybe not. Maybe the universe really does kick back.

• March 29th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Books and Story Stuff

This morning’s post on Suite101 is full of joy and tears and awkward questions. More here.

• February 25th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Making Your Own Luck

Over at Suite I’ve posted a follow-up to my Tuesday post on persistence. Read it there.

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

Future Bristol Now On Fictionwise

Hurrah! More about it here.

• May 13th, 2009 • Posted in General • Comments: 0