Ruth Runs: The Great Scottish Run 2 – Run Harder

I’d been wondering why everyone was taking so long. As the crowd moved, the full length of St Vincent Street appeared ahead, from the tickertape starting line to, at its far end, a startlingly abrupt 30 degree slope — the kind of horrific steepness that, as a kid, your Mum would tell you off for biking down without your brakes on. My impatience vanished, leaving a single thought: “how the hell am I getting through this?”

So, of course, I’m doing it again on Sunday 2nd October, tackling the Great Scottish Run to raise funds for SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health).

SAMH Shirt

The theme of this run is Sabotage. It’s been a tough year. My health hasn’t been great — I’ve lost three months of training to injury — a broken toe and a twisted ankle. Life issues have proved difficult to deal with, and that’s impacted on my well-being and my creativity. At times, it’s been overwhelming. Whether physical or mental — Beastie Boys or Cancer Bats — Sabotage has dogged my every step this year.

But I’m still here. More than that — I’m in Glasgow, living amongst good friends, studying a fascinating course in Fantasy, and beginning to find my own way in the world.

So what better way to celebrate that than running 13 miles through one of the hilliest cities in the country — and raising money for charity to boot?

So why SAMH? SAMH support those living in Scotland with mental health issues, as well as their families and carers. There are community-based programmes for everything from housing to addiction. They run the national anti-stigma campaign See Me, and the anti-bullying campaign Respect Me. They also provide employment support, as well as a host of information and advice. Whether you’re a student looking for a bit of extra support as you make this massive life change, or a carer looking after a someone with a mental health condition, this is the place to go.

If you’d like to help me support SAMH and their excellent work, please head to the link below to sponsor my run.

Alternatively, if you can’t afford a donation, why not leave me a little encouragement on the Great Wall of Support?

Finally, if you want to watch, why not check out BBC2 Scotland‘s coverage on Sunday 2nd October from 11:00 – 13:45?

I’ll see you at the finish line!

Thirty Years of Rain

During the near two years I tried and failed to move to Glasgow, two things anchored me to my goal: firstly, my good friends who live and work in the city. Secondly, the thought of the passionate, creative community I would be joining when I moved here. At the point I’d begun to wonder if I’d ever make it up, the folks of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle invited me to make good on the handful of meetings I’d made as a visitor, and join as a full member. It was the foothold I needed in the city. From that moment, I didn’t look back.

Thirty Years of Rain

A year on from that day, I’m proud to say a poem of mine has found its way into Thirty Years of Rain, the new anthology celebrating the 30th anniversary of the celebrated crit group. It’s fitting that while this book features many of the Circle’s most famous alumni, it also showcases some startlingly original work from up-and-coming writers too: Louise Welsh, Hal Duncan, Gary Gibson, Neil Williamson, Amal El-Mohtar, TW Moses, Heather Valentine, Eliza Chan, Peter Morrison, and many more besides. Thirty Years of Rain is not just a taste of the myriad fall from the group, but hopefully a foreshadowing of bigger things to come.

Edited by Neil Williamson, Elaine Gallagher and Cameron Johnston, and with layout by Hal Duncan and photography by Andrea Heins, Thirty Years of Rain is available now in paperback (Amazon/Lulu) and ebook (Kindle/Other Formats).

Alternatively, if you’re in the Glasgow area, why not join us this Friday 30th September (anyone would think we’d planned it that way, eh?) at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street? We’ll be launching the book at 7pm, with readings, chat and more, plus the biggest gathering of contributors we can muster.

Here’s the official facebook page (ignore the bit about reservations – you can just turn up). Hope to see you there!

Fantasycon By T’ Sea and the British Fantasy Awards

Fantasycon By The Sea

This weekend sees the latest installment of the British Fantasy Society’s Fantasycon, Fantasycon By The Sea (or Fantasycon-by-t’-Sea, in Yorkshire fashion), in sunny Scarborough. And I’ll be there too! When I’m not slurping ice cream, or trying to find a seaside donkey who understands my inner Eeyore, here’s where you can find me.


3pm – 4pm: NewCon Press and Glasgow SF Writers Circle Launch
Main Ballroom, The Grand Hotel
The GSFWC‘s 30th anniversary anthology, Thirty Years of Rain, is having a preview launch in Scarborough ahead of next week’s official party in Glasgow. With stories from Louise Welsh, Hal Duncan, Amal El-Mohtar, William King, as well as stunning up-and-comers like Eliza Chan and Peter Morrison, it’s an astoundingly good collection, and II can scarcely believe the company I’m keeping here. NewCon Press have kindly cleared us a space at the table for their launch, so here’s a chance to not only get a copy ahead of release, but get it signed too! You lucky ducks!


12pm – 1pm: GSFWC Reading
Cocktail Bar, The Grand Hotel
If you’re still not persuaded to pick it up, hear me, Neil Williamson and Ian Hunter (and Cam Johnston, if we can persuade him) reading from Thirty Years of Rain in the Cocktail Bar. Extravagant booze and brilliant stories – what better way is there to spend a lunchtime?

Thirty Years of Rain

2pm – 3pm: A Little’s Enough
(Palm Court Ballroom, The Grand Hotel)
With moderation from George Sandison of Unsung Stories, Storyological‘s E.G. Cosh joins myself, Lynda Clark, Stormblade‘s Neil Buchanan and David Guymer for a natter about what makes a great story. If you missed mine and Emma’s stint on the Short Story panel at Mancunicon, here’s your chance to see it again – but with rebooted cast and an intriguing new direction…

3:30pm – 5pm: The British Fantasy Awards Ceremony
Royal Ballroom, Royal Hotel
Finally, not strictly an appearance, but an announcement I’ve been looking forward to. Over the summer, I joined Martin Petto and Kevin McVeigh on the Non-Fiction Jury for this year’s British Fantasy Awards. It’s been a really interesting experience — not least because of the quality of the shortlist — but also because of the conversations we’ve had around the nominated works. I can’t wait for you all to find out which entry won.

Because you’ll be there too, right? I mean, it’s Fantasycon-by-t’-Sea! You know what “t'” means, don’t you?

September Shenanigans: Event Horizon, Fantasycon, Thirty Years of Rain and more.

I’ve got a bit of news. Well, quite a lot of news, actually. Earlier this year, I put in an application to the University of Glasgow’s MLitt programme in Fantasy — and to my immense delight, they accepted me. So I’m currently condensing my life into a dozen boxes, as I’ll be moving myself and them up to Glasgow this weekend. It’s both terrifying and utterly exciting (and I’m not just talking about the ability to buy a tonne of books and call it work), but I can’t wait to be living in such a vibrant, creative community of writers and artists. The hard work begins here.

September is looking to be a busy month already, with book launches, events, and two new things coming out. While I’m taking a breather from boxing up, I thought you might like to know what’s coming up in the next few weeks…

Event Horizon 11

5th September: Event Horizon XI (Edinburgh)
Next Monday, join me, Bram E. Gieben, Harry Giles, Elaine Gallagher, The Spiders, and Russell Jones for stories, slam poetry and some stonking performances that’ll knock your SFing socks off. We’ll be at the Blind Poet in Edinburgh from 7pm. For more details, check out the facebook event page here, or last week’s blog.

23rd September: Shoreline of Infinity 5 is out! (Everywhere!)
The next issue, featuring my latest Noise and Sparks column, hits the shelves! Pick it up from Transreal Fiction or Deadhead Comics in Edinburgh, or order direct from


Thirty Years of Rain

23rd – 25th September: Fantasycon-by-the-Sea (Scarborough)
This year’s Fantasycon ships up in sunny Scarborough for a weekend of fun, frolics and the world famous Fantasycon Disco Karaoke, the Karaoke is the best. Kev McVeigh, Martin Petto and I have just finished judging for the Non-Fiction Award of the British Fantasy Awards, which will be announced that weekend. I’ve also been booked for a panel, so more on that when it’s been officially announced. For now, I can say I’ll be at the NewCon Press & Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle Book Launch on Saturday (24th) at 3pm, where we’ll be signing copies of the GSFWC‘s 30th anniversary anthology, Thirty Years of Rain. If you’re about, why not join us?

30th September: Thirty Years of Rain – Glasgow launch (Glasgow, funnily enough)
Naturally, it wouldn’t be right to have a Glaswegian book without a Glasgow launch. Come join me and even more GSFWC authors at Waterstones (Sauchiehall Street) for free booze, readings — and, of course, we’ll be on hand to sign any 30th anniversary anthologies you may have just bought that evening. The event kicks off at 7pm, so do join us then.

If you’re not able to make either of the two launch dates for Thirty Years of Rain, you’ll be able to order it online nearer the time, and I’ll post details of that when I have them. In the meantime, if you’re wanting your new story fix, don’t forget Fox Pockets: The Evil Genius Guide (feat. ‘Dame Ammonia Dastardly-Truste’s Evil Genius College for Ladies Class of 2014: Graduation Speech [Transcript]’) is out now in paperback, with e-book to follow soon.

I think that’s it — until Glasgow!

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.


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.


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–emma-pollock-newcastle-academy
Emma Pollock - O2 Academy Newcastle, 12th May 2016


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…


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…


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!




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…


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


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:


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.


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/


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.


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.