Event Horizon XI

More news — I’ll be reading in Edinburgh on 5th September as part of Shoreline of Infinity‘s free Event Horizon night.

Event Horizon 11

Event Horizon has a steadily growing reputation for nights of cracking variety under the SF banner — Ken MacLeod, Jane Yolen, Andrew J. Wilson, and Pippa Goldschmidt have all appeared in the past — so it’s well worth popping along.

Event Horizon XI will be no different. There’s multi-talented headliner Bram E. Giegen (aka Texture) — who I’m really looking forward to seeing for the first time — the excellent Harry Giles, and powerful performance poet Elaine Gallagher. Meanwhile, The Spiders will be spinning us some cracking tunes — and there’s a special bonus movie to close — all abely hosted by MC Russell Jones. It’s rare you’ll get so much from a free night out. So if you’re in the Edinburgh area, come join us at the Blind Poet Bar (West Nicolson Street) on 5th September for 7:30pm. We’ll make it worth your while.

Before I go, Elaine Gallagher has also set up a Patreon page to fund her upcoming MLitt in Creative Writing. It’s worth noting Elaine is not only a gifted poet, but one of the co-editors of the upcoming GSFWC 30th anniversary anthology Thirty Years of Rain (see last week’s post), and contributes short story ‘5am Saint’ to the contents. Please take a moment to check out her work at this link here – and if you like what you read, why not consider funding her?

The Evil Genius Guide, Thirty Years of Rain, and Shoreline of Infinity

Ever wondered what it takes to be an Evil Genius? Now’s your chance to find out.

FS9-Evil-Genius-Guide-ebook-72ppi

The Evil Genius Guide is the latest in Fox Spirit‘s Fox Pockets series, and I’m delighted to return to it with a story almost as mad as the ‘The Real Deal’, which appeared back in Fox Pocket 1: Piracy.

‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’ (deep breath) is a story about love, revenge, and machine gun bikinis, set in private school with a rather unusual graduation ceremony. It’s an older tale — I first submitted this story two years ago — so it’s interesting both to see how my writing’s changed in the years since, but heartening also to see how Past Me could still pull a surprise out of the hat when she needed to.  Of course, if that doesn’t take your fancy, Chloe Yates, Andrew Reid, Steven Poore and the rest of this dastardly ensemble will gladly indulge your lust for evildoings. Paperback copies are available to order now, with an ebook due very soon.

The release of The Evil Genius Guide is also a bit of a landmark for Fox Spirit Books — this and the soon to be released Reflections are the last in the current Fox Pockets series. So Fox Spirit are having a very special celebration to mark this on 25th August at the Secular Hall, Leicester. Don’t forget to pick up your tickets, ’cause there ain’t no party like a Fox Spirit Party!

In the meantime, I’m taking a break from the world’s least fun game of Katamari Damacy to go through proofs for Thirty Years of Rain, the anthology celebrating 30 years of the celebrated Glasgow SF Writers Circle. As you might expect, the TOC’s a blinder, with Louise Welsh, Amal El-Mohtar, Garry Gibson, Hal Duncan, Eliza Chan, Neil Williamson and more. I’ve also just finished my latest Noise and Sparks column, which will be in the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity.

Both of these should be out around the 23rd September — just in time for Fantasycon-By-The-Sea, where I’ll also be hanging around for the Thirty Years of Rain launch. So, if you’re going, I hope to see you then!

Drowned In Sound, British Fantasy Awards and Satellite 5

It’s occurred to me that there were a couple of things missing off the blog from the other week. So now the smoke’s cleared a bit from Satellite 5, here’s a little extra news for you.

One!

Firstly – new photos! Drowned In Sound have uploaded a selection of my shots from Emma Pollock‘s recent gig at the O2 Academy’s upstairs room the other week. If you’ve not heard any of her work post-Delgados, new record In Search of Harperfield really is a gem. Meantime, there’s a link to the photos below.

Emma Pollock (w/ heartsetonhope and The Artisans)
12th May 2016, O2 Academy Newcastle

http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4150072-in-photos–emma-pollock-newcastle-academy
Emma Pollock - O2 Academy Newcastle, 12th May 2016

Two!!

Secondly, the juries for this year’s British Fantasy Awards have been announced. For the first time, I’ll be joining the panel judging the Non-Fiction Award, completed by Martin Petto and Kev McVeigh. We’ve already had some interesting discussions, and I think I can speak for my fellow jury members in saying we’re looking forward to getting stuck in to the final shortlist. The winners will be announced at this year’s Fantasycon By the Sea, held by the British Fantasy Society over the weekend of 23rd – 25th September in Scarborough.

And, finally…

Three!!!

While I’m here, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made it along to the readings on Saturday night at last weekend’s Satellite 5 convention in Glasgow – as well as all those who had a hand in a splendid con. Many thanks also to Helen Sansum for this lovely photo, taken in the mid-way through a story about stories…

Ruth Booth - taken at Satellite 5 by Helen Sansum

Shoreline of Infinity, Satellite 5, and the Glasgow SF Writers Circle

Ladies and gentlemen, it has come to my attention there are things you should be aware of. Brace yourselves…

ONE!

Shoreline of Infinity’s Issue 4 line-up is online now, and it’s a stonker, boasting interviews with Ken MacLeod and Tricia Sullivan, as well as stories by Gary Gibson, Andrew J Wilson, Holly Schofield and more.

Issue 4 will also be the first with my new column, Noise and Sparks (does that sound oddly familiar to you?). This time around, I’ll be talking about what happens when you find yourself writing more for other people than for your own pleasure.

It’s available for pre-order now – and look at that amazing cover by Sara Ljeskovac! Look at it!

Shoreline-Issue-4-Cover-647x1000

Look!

TWO!!

The Glasgow SF Writers Circle marks its 30th anniversary this year with the release of a brand new anthology of work from members past and present. I’m happy to say that a new poem of mine will be appearing in this too. The as-yet unamed book is expected in the Autumn, so I’ll post more nearer the time.

But before all of this…

THREE!!!

This weekend, Satellite 5 kicks off at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, where there will be fun, frolics, and live action Space Invaders with skateboards and nerf guns. So I’ve heard.

If you’re up for more leisurely adventure, I’m reading on Saturday 28th May at 8pm, along with Andrew J. Wilson, Elaine Gallagher, Brian Milton, Elsie Donald and more. Neil Williamson will also be reading extracts from his new collection Secret Language, which you’ll be able to pick up at the preview launch the same day, ahead of the official release.

So if you’re about, why not pop along? Hope to see you there!

Eastercon 2016: Mancunicon Schedule and the James White Award

Mancunicon

Going to Mancunicon (the 2016 BSFA Eastercon)? The full programme (and app) is now online – and it’s a cracker. With panels on SF Music, coping with Anxiety, Short Stories, Place and Identity — and my first ever moderating stint — it looks like I’ll be a busy bee this year.

In the meantime, I’ve been invited to judge this year’s James White Award, alongside Ian Sales and Neil Williamson. There really have been some imaginative entries amongst this year’s stories, so thank you to the entrants for making my first judging panel so much fun! The winner will be announced on Saturday 26th March during the BSFA Awards ceremony (also at Mancunicon), where I’ll be presenting the BSFA’s own Short Fiction Award. Hope to see you there!

So, if you don’t fancy barcon, here’s where I’ll be spending the weekend:

FRIDAY

14:30 – 15:30: Dealing with Anxiety in Fandom (Room 7)
Esther MacCallum-Stewart (M), Ruth EJ Booth, Meg Frank, Russell A Smith, Crystal Huff

Out of all my panels this weekend, this is the most important one to me. We’ll be talking about coping with Anxiety in relation to both going to cons and online interaction, but with the timing of the panel, expect that this will be focussed more on the former than the latter. Especially if Mancunicon is your first con, I’d encourage you to pop along if you can.

SATURDAY

A gentle day, but at the BSFA Awards (17:30, Deansgate 2&3) I’ll be presenting the Award for Best Short Fiction to either Aliette de Bodard, Paul Cornell, Jeff Noon, Nnedi Okorafor, or Gareth L Powell. Which is a marvellously surreal turn of events for my inner fan-girl.

SUNDAY – busy day!

13:00 – 14:00: Supporting the Short Stuff (Room 7)
Val Nolan (M), Ruth EJ Booth, Matthew Hughes, Juliet Kemp, JY Yang

This panel has sprung out of Neil Clarke’s recent comments in Clarkesworld on the future of Short Story outlets, sustainability, and what the future might look like for SF markets. Following his guest slot on the Coode Street Podcast just recently, I hope there’s going to be some good chat on this one.

20:30 – 21:30: Third Rock and Roll from the Sun (Room 7)
Michael Cobley (M), Gary Couzens, Ruth EJ Booth, Phil Nanson, Dave Tamlyn

SF music in all its forms. Join us for my forty minute lecture on the genius of Devin Townsend presents: Ziltoid the Omniscient. \m/

MONDAY

13:00 – 14:00: Place, Identity, Story (Room 6)
Ruth EJ Booth (M), Tiffani Angus, Ian McDonald, Taj Hayer, Russell A Smith

Guaranteed to be The Best Panel on Monday – not because I’m moderating it, but because we’re going to have Taj Hayer, whose latest play North Country is on Sunday evening (20:30 in Deansgate 2&3), Tiffani Angus (historical fantasist and academic, and an expert on the role of gardens in SFF), Urban fantasist Russell Smith, and Guest of Honour Ian McDonald. With a line-up like that, there’ll be plenty of proper chat, I’m hoping. So if you’re about, why not join us?

‘The Love of a Season’ in Winter Tales

Out this week from Fox Spirit is Winter Tales, a collection of seasonal stories and poetry edited by Margrét Helgadóttir. Amongst tales from Jan Edwards, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Eliza Chan, and James Bennett, you’ll find my poem ‘The Love of a Season,’ telling of a love affair between the Earth and Winter. It’s a grand collection – and just look at the splendid artwork from S. L. Johnson below!

Click here to pick up a copy of Winter Tales.

Winter-Tales-coverFINAL-for-WEB

By the way, if you’re in London this week, Margret and James also will be launching African Monsters at Forbidden Planet’s megastore. The latest in the Fox Spirit ‘…Monsters’ series, exploring folkloric myths from different continents, this one also features tales from Nerine Dorman, Nnedi Okorafor and Joan de la Haye. If you fancy a signed copy, do pop along this Thursday at 6pm.

The Week of All The Stuff

I mentioned last week that 2016 was going to be somewhat busier on the story front than last year. What I didn’t mention was how early all of this would be starting. Like… now! This week I’ve got a story and a brand new poem in two quite different anthologies. I’ll also be making a last minute appearance at A Thing In Scotland. So I should probably tell you all about those.

First up, Digital Dreams is the new anthology from NewCon Press, collecting ten years of great SF writing from one of Britain’s most celebrated independent presses into one e-book. As I understand it, a number of these stories are appearing for the first time in this format here – and a book with Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Justina Robson, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nina Allan, and more definitely deserves your time and attention. In short, it’s an unmissable retrospective from some of the genre’s top writers of the last decade. I’m proud to say my tale ‘The Honey Trap’ (which first appeared in NewCon Press anthology La Femme, and won me a BSFA award last year) can be found in here too. Digital Dreams is out now.

Secondly, The Speculative Book will be launching this Friday. This is the first anthology from the Glaswegian collective The Speculative Bookshop, and features tales and art from the likes of Peter Sutton, Neil Williamson, Brian Milton, Elaine Gallagher, and, well, me, all curated by Chris Kelso and folks from the Speculative Bookshop team. This should be a splendid anthology for those looking for brand new up-and-comers in SFF, and raw storytelling talent. My poem ‘Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Minima)’, inspired by the experiences of Joan Feynman, can be found inside that. My first published poem. Which is nice.

In addition, it’s probably time I told you that I’ll be at The Speculative Book Launch this Friday 8th January at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, along with a good deal of the rest of the authors. So if you’re wanting something signed, that’d seem like a good night to get along to. Also, the marvellous Creative Martyrs will be performing, which is always… an interesting night out. So if you’re at a loose end in Glasgow this Friday, why not pop along?

A story, a poem and a live thing. That’s a busy week right there. I’d best be getting on with it.

2015 in Fiction (and other things…)

It’s almost over. The turkey’s been stuffed, and stuffed again. The three wise men are still treadmilling their way across the mantlepiece, in the hopes of reaching the Advent Candle by New Year’s Eve. In short, it’s really time I’d done one of these end of year round up posts already and bunged it up online. You know how it gets. The presents. The relatives. The discovery of new species of hybrid plastic animals in your crackers. So here’s the summary of a year that’s been deceptively busy under it all.

This year was quiet in terms of new stories. Just the one, in fact – ‘Good Boy’, which appeared in the January issue of Far Horizons magazine. This was my first foray into horror, of sorts, and I’m actually pretty proud of the way it turned If you’d like to read it, click here to do that for free

That’s not all that’s happened. In 2015, I’ve also been able to indulge what’s becoming one of my favourite things about writing fiction – doing public readings. I read at Eastercon, and Fantasycon, and the Speculative Bookshop‘s July event. Here’s hoping here’s more on the way. On a writing-related note, music has taken a back seat since the mighty Thrash Hits decided to go out on their own terms, although I wrote a piece for The Independent on the sad passing of Lemmy from Motörhead (here). And though it’s not writing-related at all, really, I ran a half-marathon (the Great Scottish Run) and raised over £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of my friend Carol, who passed away last year (if you’d like to make a donation, here’s my Just-Giving page).

The BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction

Of course, I can’t talk about 2015 without mentioning the BSFA awards. I mean, you smarten yourself up a bit and prepare a bunch of words, because it’s only sensible, right? But winning the award for Best Short Fiction wasn’t something I’d actually expected to happen. I doubt I’ve even realised it has yet – every so often I’ll remember it, and then I have to get it down and poke it a bit, so I can reassure myself it’s real. And then point it at Millie-cat and mke pew-pew noises, much to her utter disgust. Once again, thank so, so much to all the lovely folks who nominated and voted for ‘The Honey Trap’ in the BSFAs. It made my lifetime.

A lot of what’s happened this year went on under the surface. Writing fiction has been difficult this year, and it’s led me in directions I wouldn’t normally have gone in. Interesting ones, I hope, and ones likewise I hope you’ll see in print at some point. Tricky as it’s been, I’m hoping it’s all part of the process of becoming a better writer.

Talking of becoming a better writer, being invited to join the Glasgow SF Writers Circle was one of the highlights of 2015 for me. Come the new year, there’ll be 30 years of critique workshops behind the group (Amal El-Mohtar, Gary Gibson, Hal Duncan, Michael Cobley and Neil Williamson rank amongst its alumni), and I’m honoured to be part of it. Talking of which, there’ll be an anthology coming out in late 2016 to celebrate. Stay tuned to the website for more information.

2016, by contrast, is shaping up to be quite noisy. By my reckoning, there’s maybe half a dozen things in the pipeline due at some point next year. Of the ones I can talk about now, NewCon Press will be releasing a new ebook Best of called Digital Dreams, as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations – you’ll find a reprint of ‘The Honey Trap’ in that (click here to pre-order). And I’ll finally be able to call myself a published poet too. Both Winter Tales (Fox Spirit Books) and The Speculative Book (Speculative Bookshop) will be include a pair of my poems between them – my first to appear in print. Exciting stuff!

In the meantime, I’d better get back to it. 2015 was a year of the unexpected, and often giddying highs. 2016? Well… Let’s see what you’ve got, eh?

Cheers!

2015 in Photos

Photo by Graeme Baty at Blank Slate Creative Photography
Photo by Graeme Baty at Blank Slate Creative Photography

If you’ve been following my photography posts (search “photo” in the box at the top), you’ll know I’ve been a fairly industrious sort of a bee in 2015. I’ve shot a number of bands for Drowned In Sound‘s In Photos section, as well as for ma ainsel. With the year rushing to a close, here’s a recap of some of the shows I’ve shot this year with a slideshow of highlights.

Below you’ll find some of my favourite shots of *deep breath*… Maximo Park, Mark Lanegan, Twilight Sad, Richard Dawson, Sean & Zander, Polyphonic Spree, Nadine Shah, The Lake Poets, Kingsley Chapman and the Murder, By Toutatis, Brilliant Mind, Glass Caves, Samantha Durnan and Kylver.

Enjoy!

Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister 1945 – 2015

By now, you’ll have heard of the untimely passing of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, frontman and bassist of the legendary Motörhead. At this time of grief and heartburning memory, the band are asking fans to share their stories, their messages of condolence, or simply to raise a glass at a special facebook page set up in his memory. You’ll find it at www.facebook.com/lemmykilmisterforlife.

The Independent newspaper in the UK asked me to put together a few words about what Lemmy had meant to me as a metal fan for their Independent Voices section. You can read the full article at the link below.

The Independent
Independent Voices on Lemmy from Motörhead

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/lemmy-was-the-scruffy-toxic-demi-god-beloved-of-rock-zine-runners-like-me-we-never-imagined-losing-a6789656.html
Motorhead