Saturday 31 January 2015

The Sound of the Mountain

(January 2015)

“Bad books on writing tell you to "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW", a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.”
-Joe Haldeman

Monday 26 January 2015

The Centauri Device

(January 2015)

Good lord but this but this guy can write. Maybe it’s just because I’m coming off a couple of novels whose prose could be charitably described as ‘utilitarian’, but this was an absolute pleasure. Such a relief to read someone who views language as a thing to bring pleasure instead of a bluntly functional tool with which to bludgeon concepts into the head of the reader.

Monday 19 January 2015


Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al, 2002-2011
(January 2015)

I recently came into a couple of hundredweight of comics.

Oh Christ. Not like that.

Friday 9 January 2015

The Cage of Zeus

(January 2015)

Before we begin, I’m going to refer you back to a previous post, specifically the opening paragraph, which I think must now stand as my standard disclaimer for Japanese SF. All clear? Good. So you’ll understand why I wasn’t expecting great things from this in terms of craft, but even so the first few pages of The Cage of Zeus must count as one of the most inelegant, leaden, and bluntly cack-handed opening scenes I’ve ever read in a professionally published novel.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

All Men Must Die

With the turning of the year, as with the turning of the tide, one’s thoughts are inevitably drawn towards the cyclical nature of life. This arbitrarily designated point on our terrestrial orb’s procession around the solar sphere fittingly provokes consideration of where one has come from and where one is heading; while we may appear as if we are endlessly retreading the same repeating path around our own personal orreries there are nonetheless perturbations; the precession of our equinoxes are far from regular as we pirouette about whatever attractor is placed at the centre of our worldly existence. This time, then, as we literally turn the page on the ledger of our years, allows us a pause, a moment, in which to take stock to consider, to reconsider, what we have come to understand; to wonder what it is we have learned and what it may befit us to unlearn.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Cat Country

(January 2015)

One of the main strengths of science-fiction as a genre, one of its main attractions for writers and reader alike, is how use of the speculative allows for a more honest examination of the real. The observer paradox is an ever-present concern in the social sciences, exacerbated by the fact that it is an essentially reciprocal process: the act of observing changes that which is observed, but as a component member of the observed the observer is themselves also changed. The trappings of SF allow for a certain distance, a cleaving of subject and object.