Wednesday 27 November 2019

Back in your kennel, PETA

...and the PDSA and RSPCA, and the rest of you.

I've been enjoying the BBC's luscious adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials.  I've even managed to keep one teenager engaged, although the other was lost after the first episode.  The daemons are particularly well rendered - there is a moment when Mrs Coulter's golden monkey jumps from the car and the seat gives in response.  Practically seamless.

But, am I the only one to notice that in Lyra's world, even if everybody has a daemon, nobody has a pet?

2084 on,, .in or direct from Double Dragon

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Ad astra, just not very fast

It's a long way to the stars, particularly when your one concession to hard sci-fi is the rejection on principle of faster than light travel.

But I have it on good authority that the uber-tardy issue 7 of James Gunn's Ad Astra, containing a little something from me, will be a thing of the 2010s, not the 2020s, come hell or high water.  Hmm... we've heard that before, but I have faith.

Apparently the issue has been with gathering material of a sufficient quality.  

I'll confess, I found this odd.  I like to think that my writing is of some quality - finalist and double silver honorables in Writers of the Future, two appearances in the Best of British Sci-Fi, 30 stories published - and I still fall short of Asimov's and Clarkesworld every time.  I'm good, but there are a whole army of scribblers who are obviously great.

The Grinder records 267168 submissions (since it opened, I assume? which was when? in the last decade, I guess).  That'll encompass a lot of multiple submissions, but that over-recording will be balanced by writers who don't use the Grinder at all.  There must be a five-figure number of stories in circulation, let's say 10,000 which fall under sci-fi and speculative.

Even an infinite number of monkeys would churn out something decent with those odds.  Surely.

But there is another way of looking at this.  I've blogged before than I am not a voracious reader of science fiction.  Some of the stuff that rises to the top certainty gets its turn on my bedside table - Ann Leckie, Hugh Howey - or classic Dick, Gibson, Vonnegut.  But it's rare that I'll be truly startled by the contributor's copy of whatever I'm in.  

I rationalise not reading widely within the confines of the genre as not wanting to end up parroting the voices or story arcs of other writers in the genre.  But, perhaps, subconsciously I can tell that there's genuinely a great deal of unreadable shit out there...