Secret Cinema: Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back

Secret Cinema: Star WarsI’ve been threatening to go to a Secret Cinema event for a while now, ever since I realised I’d missed out on Blade Runner and Alien. Last year’s Back to the Future gig looked fantastic, even with the media parade surrounding the late opening dates.

So, when I found out that this year’s event was going to be Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, well . . . I was ready at my keyboard with my finger hovering over the F5 key as the ticket lines opened.

I’ve managed to buy tickets for Saturday July 18th before they sold out. I have a shiny new lightsaber and my Jedi costume should arrive in the next few days. See you there!

The Light Fantastic

Terry PratchettI spent my teenage years painting Citadel miniatures and playing a bucket-load of role-playing games: Traveller, Warhammer, MERP, Shadowrun, to name but a few. I was an avid reader of course, SF mostly, some fantasy: from Lord of the Rings to the Pern series to Neuromancer. For some reason I’ve always struggled with fantasy that wasn’t set in Middle Earth. There is one other notable exception.

Back in October 1986 I had a subscription to White Dwarf magazine and when issue #82 appeared through the letterbox I had no idea I was about to read something that would influence me as a reader — and perhaps as a writer — for the rest of my life. That little something was an extract from the novel The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. [Read more…]

REVOLUTIONS! Anthology

REVOLUTIONS!It is time, once again, for me to don my editor’s hat! Over the next few months I’ll be teaming up with fellow writers Graeme Shimmin and Eric Steele to produce the Revolutions anthology, a collection of Manchester-themed speculative fiction short stories due for publication later this year. Submissions are open right now through to the 1st May (that’s this year, 2015, for you time travellers).

We are a paying market and we are looking for speculative short fiction — that’s science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian fiction, slipstream and so on — with a link to the Greater Manchester area. That’s a pretty wide remit. Feel free to mix it up. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the more interesting interpretations.

[Read more…]

LonCon3

LonCon stuffThis year’s Worldcon — the appropriately named LonCon3 — was held in London over the weekend, so I popped along on Saturday to have a look.

WorldCon is a science fiction convention that’s held every year in a different city, different country, and has done so since 1939. Worldcon also hosts the Hugo Awards.

The convention was huge! Multiple discussion panels, a Fan Village with gaming tents and its very own library, an Exhibits Hall with tons of loot for sale. Slightly daunting at first and so much to do that I barely scraped the surface. [Read more…]

Meet My Main Characters

Spindle DreamsHurrah! I’ve been invited to join another blog tour by Graeme Shimmin. This time we’re looking at the main characters in our novels.

My novel is called Spindle Dreams and it’s part of a planned trilogy: the Canton Station series. [Read more…]

Glass Fifty-Three

Happily Never AfterVery happy to announce that my short story Glass Fifty-Three has been published with the Happily Never After anthology from Fey Publishing. It’s available on Smashwords as well as Kindle from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It’s also sitting pretty over at Goodreads.

Glass Fifty-Three is a standalone story set in a dystopian future and based around the reworking of a rather well-known fairy tale. There’s a gun, a flying car and a talking hoover. Fellow students and lecturers from the 2010-2013 Creative Writing MA might recognise this story from one of the workshops.

So check out the anthology and let me know what you think. Here’s the blurb . . .

[Read more…]

China: Shanghai & Hong Kong

shanghai_hk_charsThis is the third and final blog post about our recent tour around China. The last two stops were Shanghai and Hong Kong.

I’ve visited Hong Kong before now and I love the place. The plan was to take my family to some of the places that I’ve visited before such as Lantau Island and the Big Buddha as well as Victoria Peak.

As for Shanghai, well I was expecting some ‘sci-fi city’ and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. [Read more…]

China: Xi’an & Chengdu

xīānFollowing on from yesterday’s post about Beijing, here’s the second post about the next two stops on our China tour: Xi’an and Chengdu.

Xi’an is home to the Terracotta Army.

都-order成-orderChengdu has a well-established panda breeding center. [Read more…]

China: Beijing

BeijingA couple of years ago I spent a few days in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. I always planned to go back to China and so here I am, two years later, having just returned from a 12-day tour around China with my wife and two sons. We had a great time visiting Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Plenty of surprises along the way. We were all completely knackered by the end of it!

I’m going to publish a series of posts for each of the locations that we visited, although I will only be able to go into so much detail for each place. Looking back I can’t believe we covered as much ground as we did. Let’s get started with Beijing! [Read more…]

Jupiter 43: Arche

jupiter_mag_archeI’m pleased to announce the publication of my short story Spindle Pickers with British SF magazine Jupiter. This is Jupiter’s 43rd issue titled ‘Arche’. Each issue is named after a Jovian satellite: Io for issue #1, Europa for #2 and so on.

Jupiter is edited by Ian Redman. This issue also features stories from John Davies, Adam C. Richardson, Carmelo Rafala and Neil Clift. Cover art by David Conyers.

You can buy paper copies from the Jupiter website. It’s also available on Kindle from Amazon UK and Amazon in the US.

Thanks again to Pat, Eric, Graeme and Luke from the Manchester Speculative Fiction writers’ group. This story was critiqued during our January meeting last year.