Filed under • 09-09-2008 •
“At the forefront of science fiction.” - SF Book Reviews
Gareth L. Powell is a science fiction novelist, freelance writer and full-time dad based in the West of England. He is the author of the novels:
- Hive Monkey (Solaris, 2014)
- Ack-Ack Macaque (Solaris, 2013)
- The Recollection (Solaris, 2011)
- Silversands (Pendragon Press, 2010)
and the short story collection The Last Reef and Other Stories (Elastic Press, 2008).
His books have been favourably reviewed in The Guardian and, in 2007, one of his stories came top of the Interzone annual readers’ poll for best short story of the year. He is currently writing his fifth novel, Macaque Attack, for release in January 2015.
Gareth is a regular contributor to anthologies and magazines. He has co-written stories with Paul Graham Raven and Aliette de Bodard, and given guest lectures on creative writing at Bath Spa University. He has written articles for The Irish Times, SFX, SF Signal, Mass Movement Magazine, and Acoustic Magazine, and, in 2012, he achieved a boyhood ambition when he was given the opportunity to pen a strip for Britain’s long-running sci-fi and fantasy comic, 2000 AD.
As a child, he used to fill notebooks with endless, rambling stories. He says, “Writing’s a compulsion I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to read, and would spend my weekends devouring novels from the local library. As a result, writing has always seemed a very natural way for me to express myself.”
After leaving school, Gareth studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan, where he was fortunate to list the poet and novelist Helen Dunmore as one of his tutors. As a graduate, he spent fifteen years working in various office-based jobs, including almost ten years working in marketing for a European business software company, during which time he gained a qualification in direct and interactive marketing from the Institute of Direct Marketing in London.
Although he’d always wanted to be a writer, it was the turn of the Millennium that gave him the impetus to start writing seriously. “Looking back now, it was a time of great personal change,” he says. “I’d been drifting a bit since leaving university in the early Nineties, and I came to realise that my twenties were over and it was time to get serious. It was a real ‘now-or-never’ moment. So I quit smoking, moved in with my fiancée, and started writing a novel.” The result was Silversands, which he completed in 2002, and which The Guardian called, “A fine, high-tech romp.”
Gareth left full-time employment in 2008 to concentrate on writing, and hasn’t looked back. When asked why he writes science fiction, he replies, “I’ve always been fascinated by science fiction because it’s storytelling with all the knobs turned up to eleven. As the Only Ones sang on their 1977 punk masterpiece, Another Girl, Another Planet: ‘Space travel’s in my blood, and there ain’t nothing I can do about it’.”
Silversands was followed in quick succession by the novels The Recollection, Ack-Ack Macaque and Hive Monkey, all of which received their fair share of excellent reviews.
Talking about his writing, Gareth says, “Some people think science fiction writers try to predict the future in their stories, but accurately predicting the future is extremely difficult. Instead, what we try to do is to dream up plausible futures. We extrapolate sociological and technological trends and try to picture how they will affect the characters in our stories. We can imagine good futures and bad futures: utopias and dystopias. We can imagine futures where disease and hunger have been eradicated; and futures where repression and poverty are even more widespread than they are today. And, as science fiction writers, it’s our job to show readers what it would be like to live in those futures – hopefully inspiring them to work for the good futures, and warning them to avoid the bad ones.”
“More than that, though, I’ve always been fascinated by the question of what makes us human. Is it a matter of emotion or intelligence, and where do we draw the line? Were Neanderthals human? Are gorillas and chimpanzees human? Are dolphins? I think it does us good to occasionally look at ourselves through other eyes. Art, they say, holds a mirror up to reality. In my books, the mirror may be full of crazy funhouse distortions, but I hope it still reveals a little of what it is that makes us who we are.”
As a teenager, he was once fortunate enough to have coffee with Diana Wynne Jones, who read and commented on one of his early short stories, giving him some essential pointers. It was his first professional edit, and he still treasures her handwritten notes.
Gareth has been interviewed by numerous magazines, websites, local radio shows and podcasts, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4′s Today Programme. He is a regular attendee at British genre conventions, and was a guest of honour at BristolCon in 2012.
He lives near Bristol with his wife and two children.
Find out more about Gareth’s books here
Download a free sample of Gareth’s work here
Gareth is represented by the John Jarrold Literary Agency
Contact Gareth by email here.
Follow on Twitter: @garethlpowell
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