Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trees and Woods

This piece by Sara Maitland just caught my eye. Reminds me of something John Fowles said in his book The Tree about entering woods being like entering another element, like water. Time to go for a swim, then...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Gnostics - Available in Spanish

The Gnostics: The First Christian Heretics is now available in Spanish. In fact, it was first published in Spanish in 2007, and I have only just found out. The reason I didn't find out was that Amazon kept listing the book as unavailable, and I assumed that it didn't exist. It was only when I found someone actually selling a copy on that I realised the book did indeed exist and was not just an error in Amazon's database.

You can buy a copy of the book from (It's cheaper than Amazon UK.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time Gets Away from Us

I've not updated this blog in far too long. I'm currently finishing a new book, and have also been on my travels. I'll post something more substantial when the book is done. Right now, it's time for coffee and In Our Time...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Edinburgh International Book Festival - Reading Today

I'll be reading at the Story Shop strand of the Edinburgh International Book Festival at 4pm today in the  famed Spiegeltent. (So called because of the mirrors.) It's a free daily dose of stories featuring emerging writers from Edinburgh, and so far has been very good. So come along if you are in the area.  I'll be reading from 'Dreaming at Baikonur', from Rocket Science. More info here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Story Shop @ Edinburgh Book Festival

Details of this year's Story Shop at the Edinburgh International Book Festival have now gone up. More info here. I'm reading on Thursday 23rd August at 4pm. See you there!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Edinburgh Book Festival Reading

I will be appearing at this year's Edinburgh Book Festival, as part of the Story Shop strand. I'll be on on Thursday 23 August at 4pm in the Spiegeltent. The event is free, so please feel free to pop along and catch me reading from "Dreaming at Baikonur" from Rocket Science. A tad more info here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

David Lindsay & Scottish Literature

Good, if short, article on David Lindsay's Devil's Tor here. It is indeed time to wake up to the man's vision and genius.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Contribution to The Gnostic, Issue 5

Issue 5 of The Gnostic is out now, featuring an essay by myself on David Lindsay, an interview with Patrick Harpur, and contributions from the likes of Miguel Conner, Andrew Phillip Smith and Edward Gibbon (yes, the Gibbon!).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mediaeval Musings

I am currently writing fiction with a mediaeval setting (12th century to be exact), and I have had similarities between that age and our own very much in mind of late. For instance, scientists today occupy the role taken by the church back then, in the sense that we go to them for descriptions of the world, for causes, explanations and answers. (I wonder if an out-and-out secularist like Richard Dawkins is aware of how similar he is to a mediaeval churchman?!) Similarly, a monarch imposing extra taxes on the populace so that he can go to war is exactly the same as taxpayers bailing out banks - in other words, the majority of people being forced to pay for the follies of the rich. This is one of the reasons, I would argue, whereby historical fiction retains its relevance. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bradbury & Tarkovsky

As many of you will know by now, Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday at the age of 91. As well as being a giant of SF, he was also one of Tarkovsky's favourite authors (despite the fact that Tarkovsky often used to claim that he didn't like SF). Here is something from my book Andrei Tarkovsky that suggests a link between the two maestros:

In summarising Bradbury’s masterpiece, The Martian Chronicles, John Clute and Peter Nicholls draw attention to the book’s qualities, which are positively Tarkovskian:‘The mood is of loneliness and nostalgia… throughout the book appearances and reality slip, dreamlike, from the one to the other… [it has an] antitechnological bias, the celebration of simplicity and innocence as imagined in small-town life, the sense of loss as youth changes to adulthood.' - John Clute and Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Orbit, 1993, p.151.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Good review for "Dreaming at Baikonur"

"Dreaming at Baikonur", my contribution to Rocket Science, has received a good review from the sci-fi blog The Future Fire. The story is described as "very human and moving." Read the whole piece here.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Bookmark Surprise

Since spending Easter on Jura, I've been thinking about George Orwell a lot (as one does after visiting Jura), and have been inspired to complete my collection of early 80s Penguins (the ones with the Humphrey Sutton photos on the front). Yesterday I got the final tome in my collection, Homage to Catalonia. I was delighted to find inside it this bookmark:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flamel Anniversary

Today, at 1700 (round about now, in fact), is the 630th anniversary of Nicholas Flamel's second successful transmutation. Raise a glass of the elixir in his direction.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wigtown: Photographic Evidence

Here be a photo of myself at the Wigtown Poetry Prize ceremony, October 2011. Seated beside me is Gaelic winner, Meg Bateman. Behind us the judges (L-R) Angus Peter Campbell (Gaelic judge), Rab Wilson (Scots judge) and Brian Johnstone (Main Competition judge). Photo by Ed Flannighan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thresholds Feature Writing Competition

The Shortlist for the Thresholds Feature Writing Competition is now online. While I didn't make the Shortlist - for my article on Breece D'J Pancake - I do get Highly Commended. No bad way to start a Wednesday. More info here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rocket Science "Superb" - The Guardian

The Guardian have reviewed Rocket Science very favourably, calling the collection "superb". Read the whole review here.

Friday, April 06, 2012

This week on "Introducing the Author"...

Rocket Science Launches on Sunday

Rocket Science, the anthology of sci-fi and sci-,, non-fi, is being launched at EasterCon on Sunday 8 April. Easter Sunday, in fact. Edited by Ian Sales and published by Mutation Press, the book is a collection of hard sci-fi and non-fiction pieces. My contribution is a story called "Dreaming at Baikonur". So, if you're at EasterCon, and not going to see George RR Martin, come along to the Rocket Science launch! Enough said. (I won't be able to go, as I'm at another festival, Tip of the Tongue, on Jura, but shall be there in spirit. No pun intended!)

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Ghosts of the NW3 Literati

I've made a modest contribution to Jen Campbell's new book, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, which is out now. The comment came from a customer many years ago when I was doing a lengthy stretch at Waterstone's in Hampstead. The customer in question got the title of a well-known book by CS Lewis a tad wrong.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

New Story Out in April

I have a new short story, Dreaming at Baikonur, included in an anthology called Rocket Science, which is due to be published by Mutation Press in April. The book is an anthology of 'realistic and authentic hard science fiction' - as Mutation's site phrases it - and is edited by the redoubtable Ian Sales, who is blogging the book's progress here.

The book will be launched at Olympus 2012, which is being held at Heathrow over the weekend of 6-9 April (guests of honour include George R.R. Martin). Ian will also be at alt.fiction in Leicester on the weekend following (14-15 April), where a 'second-stage launch' may indeed blast off.

I'm not sure at the moment whether I'll be at any of these illustrious smorgasbords myself. I think I may well be on Jura during 6-9 April, for a screening of a film I co-directed (see my filmmaking blog for any possible developments in that area). Alt.fiction remains a possibility. More news when I have some.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Shewing Stone - Now on Kindle

My poetry pamphlet, A Shewing Stone, is now available as a Kindle eBook. Unlike the physical edition, this is not signed or numbered, and doesn't have any onion skin involved. However, it will be the only version available on Amazon for the forseeable future. (If you want a copy of the signed, limited paperbound edition, I suggest coming along to the Illicit Ink reading on 18th Jan!)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Poetry Reading 18.01.12.

I'll be appearing at Illicit Ink's Happy Verse Day on January 18th. It's a poetry reading, so expect some seasonal verse. More info here.