2017 in Review

There’s only hours left until the end of the year, so since it’s the season here’s a look back on my year in genre.

This year’s been rather quiet in terms of new stories. THE ANNIVERSARY was my first sale to Black Static, and appeared swiftly afterwards in Issue 61, which was a delightful surprise for the end of the year. Also, turns out flash fiction is eligible for all the awards, as far as I can work out, so if you read it and think it’s worth a nomination, please do so.

In reprints, GOOD BOY also made its first appearance in audio format on Pseudopod‘s Flash on the Borderlands XXXVIII: Letting Go episode. THE HONEY TRAP was also reprinted for the first time in the Edinburgh International Book Festival Special Issue of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also made my first translation sale in Chinese of this story, which should be appearing in the new year. More on that soon, I hope.

I’m still writing the Noise and Sparks column for SF journal Shoreline of Infinity, which is also eligible for Non-fiction awards, if you reckon it’s worth a nomination. ‘The Legend of the Kick-Arse Wise Women’ (Issue 8), about the relationship between age, experience, and imposter syndrome, seemed to resonate with a lot of folks, so thank you for your kind responses. My favourite is still ‘The Company of Bears’, from the current issue (10), but party because this year I fell in love with the fact that there are real cosplay Faerie Markets over in the US, a discovery I made with the paper given by Georgia Natishan at this year’s GIFCon – and, in a way, isn’t that what all cons kind of are?

Most of my New Things this year have been in non-fiction. I helped organize my first symposium, in 2017’s inaugural GIFCon event, with keynote speakers Julie Bertagna, Phil Harris, Stefan Ekman, Robert Maslen, and Maureen Farrell. I also presented my first paper there, on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and superhero modes of adaptation and revision, and I gave my first academic poster at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, on Taoist Landscape and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence.









Worldcon was my only con of 2017, but it was grand to get another chance to attend one of these in Europe. Once again, I appeared on panels, this time on Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’, and ‘From Literature to Movies and Television – Adaptation of Scifi and Fantasy’ – a pair of great discussions that not only gave us the chance for a bit of role-play, but a chance to catch up with old friends and new (and nerd out in front of Margaret Dunlap, who is currently working on the new Dark Crystal TV series – eeee!).








Around that time, I was also sitting on the jury for the British Fantasy Society’s Non-fiction Award, my second year out – and a tricky job this time, as anyone else in on the final decision will attest, but thrilling to find these conversations around genre criticism to be so difficult, indicating as they did the high standard of the shortlisted works. I also squeezed in a couple of interviews with authors at various things – Oliver Langmead‘s Glasgow launch for Metronome at Waterstones Argyle Street, and a chat with Laura Lam about Shattered Minds at October’s Event Horizon.





The last quarter of the year also bought some firsts: I was the lead for the Creative Writing Station at Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland event at the Hunterian Museum in Scotland, in partnership with the MLitt in Fantasy at the University of Glasgow. As the rest of the team will agree, this was an amazing night, and we were thrilled to see people at the event and online responding to our challenges so imaginatively. Huge thanks to my fellow station folks Oliver Langmead, Sarah Tytler, Angie Spoto, Mary-Kate Wagamon and Luc Bateman for their brilliant work!









I also became an editor for From Glasgow to Saturn, the arts and creative writing journal at the University of Glasgow. We recently sent out the acceptances for our 40th issue of the journal and, come the new year, we start working on readying these submissions for publication in early Spring. I can’t wait to share these wonderful tales with you!

There were also a few personal writing highlights: getting to see Nalo Hopkinson, Malika Booker, Alasdair Gray, and Christopher Priest read in person – and sharing a TOC with Nalo as part of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also got to meet Samuel R. Delany, which was not only a delight because of how utterly charming and insightful he is, but because his biographical documentary ‘The Polymath’ helped me work through some personal issues earlier in the year. I also gave cosplay a try for the first time this year, going to Worldcon as The Corinthian from Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman comics, and Night at the Musem as Lottie from Neil Williamson‘s The Moon King. And I had the joy of watching my coursemates graduate from the University of Glasgow, and another friend win her first Hugo Award. So that’s a good year, isn’t it?









2018 will not only see my first issue of From Glasgow to Saturn as Editor, but also the second outing of GIFCon, for which I’m handling the social media presence (give me a wave sometime on twitter, facebook or instagram). I’ll be giving at least one workshop in the first half of the year in Edinburgh, as well as a brand new reading in Glasgow. Right now, I should be working on my column for the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity, a special issue for International Women’s Day. I’ll be entering the final stretch of my Masters degree in Fantasy next year.

As for what I’ll be doing after that, well I can’t officially say right now, but I hope you’ll stick around to find out.

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 www.shorelineofinfinity.com.


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!

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?


New Interview and Contest on The Sci Fi Fantasy Network

Has it already been two weeks since Dysprosium? Well, you can relive some of the 2015 Eastercon via the good folks at The Sci Fi Fantasy Network, who have been steadily uploading their coverage of the weekend in recent days. While they were there, we caught up for a quick chat in my first ever interview – and you can now watch it online at the link below.
To tie in with the interview, The SFFN are also giving away a copy of La Femme, the NewCon Press anthology that contains my BSFA award-winning story ‘The Honey Trap‘.
So, if you fancy bagging a free copy, here’s me, Rob Malan and Francesca Barbini chatting about The BSFA Awards and NewCon Press. Stay tuned for a bit of extra footage on the end…
(PS. I’m not standing in a ditch. Honest.)
NEW Interview and Competition: http://www.scififantasynetwork.com/in-conversation-with-ruth-ej-booth-bsfa-winner/
Many thanks to Rob and Francesca for the chat – and to the techies at Dysprosium for allowing us the space to do this.

BSFA Awards: The Honey Trap wins Best Short Fiction – Updated

BSFA Award 2014

Well. That was a bit unexpected, wasn’t it?
As I start to write this, it’s nearly midnight on Tuesday evening. I finally got home from Eastercon late last night. I’ve spent the last god knows how many hours responding to all the wonderful tweets, facebook messages and emails from you lovely lot. I am, truly, overwhelmed by all this. I barely know where to start.
I’ve spent that time, and much since, hoping that a coherent blog might coalesce from the mass of thoughts in my head, all knotted up after this mad weekend. But when I began pull apart the tangles, to unravel it, the whole thing fell apart in a heap, and only this was left behind:
Thank you all. So, so much.
I would only be echoing my acceptance, kindly recorded here by my good friend Annie Catling, to say more about how lucky I feel. Yet, a few of these things bear repeating — without the erms of punctuation that come with writing a speech in your head half an hour before the ceremony.
Once again, I’d like to thank my amazing publisher, Ian Whates at NewCon Press, for giving this misfit story a home. The same is due to David Gullen and the Pirate Program for giving ‘The Honey Trap’ its first airing at their World Fantasycon readings in 2013. It’s independent presses and events like these where many up-and-comers like me got their start, and where many more of us will come from.
Additionally, I’d like to thank Gareth L. Powell for his splendid turn as MC at the awards this year, and to the wonderful Kari Sperring for presenting me with mine. To the BSFA, and the volunteers of Dysprosium, for an ace convention weekend. My long-suffering family, my wonderful friends — to the inimitable Neil Williamson for his critical eye — and to my amazing con family, for their support, their much needed chat, and their safe space this weekend (You know who you are. Indeed, these may not be the things that win awards — but without them, noone ever could.). And thank you to my fellow nominees, Octavia Cade and Bee Sriduangkeaw, for sharing their brilliant stories with us. The world always, always, needs more stories.
And I’d like to thank you. Thank you for reading ‘The Honey Trap’. Thank you, members of Dysprosium and the BSFA, for voting in these awards. You guys are brilliant. You keep us doing what we’re doing. And for this amazing journey so far, I can’t thank you enough.
I mean, a PROPER ray gun as an award statue? That’s WELL cool.
I’ll leave you with a few shots from the weekend, courtesy of Robin Ballentyne, Adrian Faulkner and Del Lakin-Smith. In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to run round the house and yell “PEW-PEW” at the cats…
***UPDATED (09/04): See after the gallery…***

UPDATE (09/04): Just a quick update to address a couple of things that have happened since. Firstly, The Guardian have reported on this year’s awards here, with a lovely bit about Tessa Farmer‘s amazing winning artwork, interpreting the titular machine in Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory. Once again, huge congratulations Tessa, Ann Leckie (and emissary D. Libris) and Edward James on their respective wins.
Secondly, some of you may remember that, in his opening speech, Gareth Powell described troubles trying to get a plastic gun nailed to a 3″ by 6″ through Glasgow airport. As a result, some people have been asking me what my experience was like at Heathrow.
Actually, getting the award through was a remarkably smooth experience. Due to a tendency to over-pack — and then, in the dealer’s room, overbuy — at cons, I’d booked a ticket with allowance for one checked-in bag. So my lovely death ray was safely tucked into the hold by the time we reached the x-ray machines.
However — getting my fringe through security? Now that was a different story…


Eastercon 2015: Dysprosium – Schedule


Looks like the updated programme book for next weekend’s Dysprosium con (the 2015 Eastercon) is now online. Here’s what I’ll be up to:
This year, NewCon Press (who published ‘The Honey Trap’ in La Femme last year) have their own spot in Room 15 at Eastercon. There’s some cracking panels there across the weekend, featuring the likes of Aliette de Bodard, Gareth L. Powell, Kim Lakin-Smith, Gaie Sebold, Christopher Priest, Nina Allan, Freda Warrington, Paul Cornell, Neil Williamson, Dave Hutchinson… and I’ll be there too.
3.00pm – 4.00pm: Writing the Short Stuff
Tony Ballantyne, Ruth EJ Booth, Paul Cornell, Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Whates (Rm 15/NewCon Press Room)
My understanding is that this’ll be largely an informal affair, where folks will have the chance to ask us questions about writing short stories, have a wee chat, and maybe pick up some books while they’re there. All lovely stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
That’s it for my relaxacon. Well, apart from this…
5:30pm – 6:30pm: BSFA Awards
‘The Honey Trap’ nominated in Best Short Story Category. (Discovery suite)
So, erm… The bar, Sunday night, then?
Only kidding. I’ll be in the bar every night. See you there!


BSFA Awards: Best Short Story Nomination for ‘The Honey Trap’

I’m delighted to announce that one of my stories has made the shortlist for this year’s British Science Fiction Association Awards. ‘The Honey Trap’, from NewCon Press anthology La Femme, has been nominated for Best Short Story.
The final results of the BSFA member vote will be announced at this year’s Eastercon (aka Dysprosium), to be held over the Easter weekend at the Park Inn Hotel in Heathrow. All BSFA members will get a chance to read ‘The Honey Trap’, along with the other nominated short stories, as part of the annual award booklet. In the meantime, you can read a wee snippet of the story on the Fiction page of this site.
Huge congratulations also to my fellow nominees! It’s a really strong showing this year. Regardless of the result, I’ll be at Eastercon 2015, celebrating my first ever award nomination. If you’re going, I’ll look forward to seeing you there!