Friday, January 23, 2009

The Possible Emergence Of Post-HyperCapitalist Economics

In computer games, which already have a global economy, albeit largely virtual at the moment.

Another List, Yadda Yadda

Robert Thompson asked me to contribute to his Fantasy Book Critic's 2008 Review/2009 Preview feature, and the piece, shorter than those of the other, alarmingly well-read, contributors because I simply didn't have to time to read as much as I would have liked, last year, has now been posted. I have no idea what I am thinking about, in the alarmingly dour photograph. Don't even go there.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BSFA Award Nominations

Best Novel
Flood by Stephen Baxter
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod
Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Best Short Fiction
"Exhalation" by Ted Chiang (Eclipse 2)
"Crystal Nights" by Greg Egan (Interzone 215)
"Little Lost Robot" by Paul McAuley (Interzone 217)
"Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment" by M. Rickert (F&SF, Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Non-Fiction
"Physics for Amnesia" by John Clute (talk given at the Gresham College Symposium "Science Fiction as a Literary Genre")
Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films by Roz Kaveney (I.B. Tauris)
What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid (Beccon)
Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan)

Best Artwork
Cover of Subterfuge, ed. Ian Whates, by Andy Bigwood
Cover of Flood by Stephen Baxter, by Blacksheep
Cover of Swiftly by Adam Roberts, by Blacksheep
Cover of Murky Depths 4, by Vincent Chong
Cover of Interzone 218, by Warwick Fraser Coombe

Andy Cox has kindly put up pdfs of my story 'Little Lost Robot' and Greg Egan's story 'Crystal Nights' at the TTA Press site. Thanks to all who nominated me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The View From Orbit, Yesterday

Picture taken by the Geoeye-1 satellite, via

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Like most people who won the emigration lottery and didn’t sell their prize to one of the big corporations or to a redistribution agency, or give it away to a relative who either deserved it or wanted it more than they did, or have it stolen by a jealous neighbour, a spouse or a child or a random stranger (UN statistics showed that more than four per cent of emigration lottery winners were murdered or disappeared), or simply put it away for a day that never came and meanwhile got on with their lives in the ruins of Earth (and it was still possible to live a life more or less ordinary after the economic collapses, wars, radical climate events, and all the other mess and madness: even after the Jackaroo pitched up and gave us access to a wormhole network linking some fifteen M class red dwarf stars in exchange for rights to the outer planets of the Solar System, for the most part, for most people, life went on as it always did, the ordinary little human joys and tragedies, people falling in love or out of love, marrying, having children, burying their parents, worrying about being passed over for promotion or losing their job or the lump in their breast or the blood in the toilet bowl) -- like everyone, in other words, who won the emigration lottery and believed that it was their chance to get out from under whatever muddle or plight they were in and start over (more UN statistics: thirty-six per cent of married lottery winners divorced within two months), Jason Singleton and Everett Hughes wanted to change their lives for the better. They wanted more than the same old same old, although that’s what most people get. People think that by relocating themselves to another planet, the ultimate in exoticisism, they can radically change their lives, but they always forget that they bring their lives with them. Accountants ship out dreaming of adventure and find work as accountants; police become police, or bodyguards to high-end corporados or wealthy gangsters; farmers settle down on some patch of land on coastal plain west of Port of Plenty or on one of the thousands of rocks in the various reefs that orbit various stars in the network, and so on, and so forth. But Everett Hughes and Jason Singleton were both in their early twenties, and as far as they were concerned anything was possible. They wanted to get rich. They wanted to be famous. Why not? They’d already been touched by stupendous good fortune when they’d won tickets to new and better lives amongst the stars. After that, anything seemed possible.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blue Monday

Allegedly, it's the gloomiest day of the year (the sky hailed on me today, so I'm not arguing). So here are some Doctor Who chases, Benny Hill style, to cheer us up.

Blast Of Silence

A month ago, I posted a quick review of an odd little early 19060s noir, Who Killed Teddy Bear?, shot largely on location in New York. I promised that I'd publish my review of Blast of Silence, another 1960s noir, also shot on location in New York. It appeared in Crime Time 54, and you can read the whole magazine here. My review starts at the bottom of page 41, after a nice piece on Fu Manchu films by Kim Newman.
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