Futuristica Volume 1 Nears Release!

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It’s been quite the week for news about my stories coming out! Not only did I get a Doctor Who story released online in a widely circulated e-zine, but another story was re-released as an e-book and another is about to get its first release in the anthology Futuristica Volume 1.

The story that’s about to be published for the first time is a science-positive tale set in a future Japan, and it’s called Something to Watch Over Us. According to the good folks at Metasagas Press, the book will be on bookstore shelves in just a couple of weeks.

I have already taken a quick look through my preview copy and I have to say this is a wonderful anthology full of outstanding tales. It’s well worth your time, and I am genuinely honoured to be a small part of it. I will be sure to post again once the book is officially out. But the release is so close now, I just had to squee with joy!

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New E-Book Released!

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I am very excited to announce that my short story The Tulku of Titan has bee re-released by Nomadic Delirium Press, this time as a standalone e-book! This story was originally printed in the anthology The Martian Wave 2015 from the same publisher and was the first story to be re-released.

To give you a taste of what this science-fiction-meets-Buddhism tale is all about, here’s the publisher’s blurb:

The Dalai Lama has passed away, but the monks who must search for his new incarnation are not prepared for the fact that he has gone into space…nor are they prepared for what they find once they reach Titan.

Doesn’t sound like the average science fiction story, right? 🙂

Please consider clicking one of the following links to purchase this e-book.

  • Click here to purchase the e-book direct from the publisher.
  • Click here to purchase the e-book through Amazon.
  • Click here to purchase the e-book on Smashwords.

The e-book will also become available on other sites over the course of the next few days. Please help support a great publisher by investing 99 cents in what will hopefully be the first in a long series of Titanville stories!

 

New Doctor Who Story Published Online

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I’m happy to announce that a Doctor Who short story of mine has been published online in issue 18 of the popular and well-regarded e-zine The Terrible Zodin. My story, Futility, features the Third Doctor along with his friends and companions Liz Shaw and the Brigadier.

The editor has already asked that I write another Third Doctor story! (A plot has even been decided upon! Let’s just say Benton will co-star in it and there may be a trip involved to Griffin Park.)

Click here to view the issue with my story. The e-zine is something of an institution in Doctor Who fandom, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

And for an amusing story about my connection with this e-zine, click here.

 

Reviews of You and Who Else

The reviews of the latest book to include some of my writing, You and Who Else, continue to pop up. Here is a 5-star review from Amazon:

Reading this book is like experiencing lots of little time shocks connecting you to memories you’d forgotten or, more scarily, never had. (Where was I when Star Maidens was broadcast and how come I never even knew it had been?). It’s funny, informative, thought-proving, heartbreaking and for charity. How come you haven’t purchased it yet?

And here’s another one:

Outstanding value for money! Massive word count & hugely entertaining. Highly recommended AND the proceeds go to charity too.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

And click here to read more about the book on this site!

You and Who Else Now On Sale

Exciting news! You and Who Else, a mammoth tribute to British telefantasy TV produced by Watching Books (edited by J. R. Southall) is now on sale! My own essay is just before the halfway point in the book and is about Blakes 7.

The book also includes essays by Phil Ford (yes, that Phil Ford*), Keith Topping, Paul Castle, Jon Arnold, one of the editors of Blue Peter, and many, many more.

*If you don’t know who Phil Ford is, then I suggest you look at the credits of TV programmes like New Captain Scarlet, Wizards vs. Aliens, and, oh, maybe Doctor Who.

You can buy this tremendous book on Amazon.com by clicking here.

To whet your appetite, here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Television is the route by which we map our lives. From the day we are old enough to understand words and pictures it is a constant companion, educating and entertaining us, helping us to understand the world around us – and firing our imaginations off into the far reaches of an infinitely varied universe.

From Ace of Wands to Worzel Gummidge, from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) to Red Dwarf, from the moment Professor Quatermass’ rocket ship returned to Earth, to the moment Ian and Barbara entered the Doctor’s Ship, fantasy television has had an extraordinary effect on our emotions and our intellect. Whether it be exploring space or travelling through time, surviving the aftermath of some Earthbound disaster or creating new worlds in uncharted territories, the writers and producers of speculative television have used the format to reflect and inform the world in which we live. And whether it be through horror, science fiction or imaginative fantasy – or a combination of all three – we have all been touched in some way by the creativity and insight provided by such visionaries as Gerry Anderson, Nigel Kneale and Douglas Adams.

You and Who Else is a unique history of sixty years of British fantasy television, and a definitive record of its place in our lives – as told by the people who saw it: the viewers. All royalties from this volume will be donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust. See: http://watchingbooks.weebly.com/ for more.

Like it says, all proceeds go to the Terrence Higgins Trust. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I just finished reading it and it is wonderful!

Another Book Nears Completion!

And yet more good news! Another book featuring my work, You and Who Else, is nearing completion. J. R. Southall, the editor of this non-fiction collection of essays about British cult TV that will raise money for charity, has posted an exciting update on the book’s progress.

Here’s the latest:

Tentative publication date is 20th November – the book is estimated to be almost 800 pages in length, with roughly 170 essays by around 150 authors. An amazing feat!
The price will be about £20 – £25 and he is planning on doing a Kindle version. All things being equal, this will be published at more or less the same time as the print edition. His intention is that this will be free to people who have already ordered the print edition.
As soon as it goes on sale, I will be sure to post links to purchasing the book on Amazon!
My essay, by the way, is on Blake’s 7. (I insist on the possessive apostrophe regardless of the logo used by the series. I feel Avon would agree with me on an insistence on correct punctuation. Hmm, I’m in league with Avon… Suddenly, I’m worried…)

Thrilled To Announce Another Sale!

At last, I have more good news to report. I have just signed a contract with Metasagas for the sale of a short story. The story, Something to Watch Over Us, will feature in Volume 1 of Futuristica, due to go on sale in March or April of 2016.

It was a pleasure to work with the editor, Chester Hoster, a truly talented and professional editor.

I cannot wait for the book to go on sale! As more details, such as how to buy the anthology, are passed on to me, I will post them here.

By the way, the theme of the anthology – women positive, science positive – is enough on its own to make me want to spread the word and get people to read it. Yes, science can be a good thing – but you’d often be hard pressed to know that from most sci-fi collections!

The story I wrote for this anthology is set in Japan. Indeed, part of it is set in a town where I lived. I have written a bunch of stories set in the various places where I’ve lived (always write what you know, right?) but this is only the second to see print. The other story was Fishing Expedition, which had scenes set in Iowa, the state where I live now.

Now I’ve managed to get Iowa and rural Japan into print, I’m left with trying to get Hounslow (West London) and Stoke-on-Trent into professionally published stories. I have written a couple of stories set in Stoke-on-Trent (a location I think you’ll agree is delightfully well suited to horror). One day, I hope these stories will find a home. Fingers crossed!

And My Most Popular Online Article Is Now…

SubOrbital Bomber Silbervogel

…about Nazi superweapons. My most popular article used to be one listing leaks about the plot of the forthcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. But after 8 long months, the more scholarly article has overtaken the one about a galaxy far, far away. I’m not sure what that proves, other than I was right to think that a piece of writing about the Second World War would be popular. Perhaps it shows that it can take time for writing to find its audience.

Of course, I was only paid for the views that the article got in its first month or so, which means most of the 183,000 views haven’t earnt me a cent. And that sucks, clearly. But that’s the way things go. And I must admit, part of me is happy that more readers are interested in history than in Star Wars.

You can click here to read the full Nazi superweapon article on the website that purchased it, WhatCulture.com.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Dalai Lama Confirms He Could Reincarnate as a Woman

Three days ago, the Dalai Lama confirmed – again – in an interview that he could reincarnate as a woman. Leaving aside the exact words he used, which were construed as a little sexist, it’s interesting that he confirms the basis of one of my recently published short stories.

The Tulku of Titan, published in The Martian Wave 2015, dealt with exactly that idea. While calling on writers to submit stories, the editor commented on how few authors thought about how religion might be affected by the colonisation of the Solar System. I was struck by this comment, immediately seeing how right he was – writers often avoid including religion in depictions of the future, despite the fact that people are plainly going to continue to believe in things regardless of how advanced our technology becomes. When religion is featured in a sci-fi story, it is usually shown in a negative light – which is a very one-dimensional approach to depicting a complex facet of human life, if you ask me.

Spurred on by the editor’s observation, I considered how the spread of humanity across our planetary system might affect, say, Buddhism. I encountered Buddhism and Shinto during my many years of living in Japan, and I have read many books on Buddhism and Tao over the years. I don’t want to give away too much about the story – I’d prefer for you to read it – but let’s just say that my story is very much in line with what the Dalai Lama said in his interview.

For more details about the story and how to buy the book, click here. Buddhists can rest assured that their religion is shown in a non-critical and respectful manner. Also, I have to say, even though I’ve read tens of thousands of sci-fi stories and novels, I can’t remember very many at all that talked about Buddhism in the centuries to come. But Buddhism is a major world religion – do other sci-fi writers think it’s just going to vanish into thin air in a couple of hundred years time? I really can’t see it doing that myself.

As for what the Dalai Lama said recently – let’s start by assuming he’s not sexist. But, even a man as charitable as him might well assume a lot of other men are.

If we proceed from that basis, his comment that being reincarnated as an attractive woman versus a less attractive one might be more useful in achieving the goal of spreading the teachings of Buddhism… is actually not unreasonable. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but he’s probably trying to say that horribly sexist people are more likely to pay attention to a “hot” woman than a not-so-hot one. Sadly, he’s kind of got a point, right?

After all, don’t most news shows pursue the exact same thought process? “We want viewers to listen to our female news anchors, so we’re going to put the most attractive ones we can find up there, so long as they can do the job too.”

Let’s face it, he’s trying to act in the interests of the religion he represents – he wants the best for Buddhism in general. If you’re going to fault his reasoning (and this is a pretty mild criticism), it should be on the grounds of his thinking poorly of a large number of men in the world… If he thought men were able to rise above their hormones, he wouldn’t worry about being reincarnated as a not-hot woman.

Of course, it’s also entirely possible he was joking. He’s been known to joke around.

Just my two cents. Thanks for reading.