Silversands, by Gareth L Powell (Pendragon Press, £12)
Avril Bradley is a communications officer aboard the starship Pathfinder on its mission to locate lost and far-flung colony worlds. She’s also on a personal quest to find Cale Christie, the man she believes to be her father, who passed through an alien wormhole years earlier. But wormhole technology is highly unreliable, and when she does manage to discover the planet where Christie lives, she finds herself caught up in a complex intrigue between competing corporations, corrupt politicians and a scheming artificial intelligence – which may just hold the answer to the stabilisation of the wormhole. Powell’s first novel is a fine hi-tech romp, marred slightly by a rushed and melodramatic dénouement.
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One of the questions people often ask me is: “Where do you find the time to write?” When they ask this, I often think that what they really mean is: “Why can’t I find enough time to write?”
From personal experience, I know how difficult it can be to find the time and energy to be creative, especially if you have a full time day job, a mortgage to pay, and a family to look after, and I won’t pretend I have all the answers. But there are strategies you can use to increase the time you have available for writing. The three strategies listed below have worked for me, or for other writers I know personally:
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Good science fiction should blow a reader’s socks off. It should take that whole cupboard of toys and use it to tell stories that just can’t be told within the confines of mainstream literature. And in an increasingly bizarre world, maybe SF is the only literature capable of addressing the things we see on the news every night: cyber terrorism; stem cell therapy; cloning; urban decay; 24 hour surveillance; global pandemics; etc. Which could be why more and more “mainstream” writers are finding themselves having to borrow from SFs toy cupboard in order to tell their stories. But more than all that,It should show readers something they’ve never seen before. It should entertain and stretch their minds, and open them to new possibilities. It should combat prejudice and ignorance. It should educate and provoke and ask the questions no one else is asking, and it should have something to say about what it means to be human in an increasingly baffling world.
I will be giving the following speech at this event in Bristol tomorrow morning:
The Role Of Science Fiction In Our Understanding Of The Future.
By Gareth L Powell
My name is Gareth Powell. I’m a science fiction writer and I’ve been asked here today to talk to you about the role science fiction plays in our understanding of what the future might hold.
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There’s no question about it: bringing up children is hard work. It takes love, devotion and lots and lots of time. As a writer, it can put a serious dent in the number of daily hours you have in which to write, and reduce your lifetime output from a hundred books to ten – especially if you also need a full-time day job in order to support your family.
But listen to this:
Before I became a father, I didn’t really understand what people meant when they talked of unconditional love. Now I know. Being a father’s changed everything. It’s made me vulnerable again. It’s given me moments of true happiness, fear, helplessness, and pride. It’s put me in touch with my emotions and given me new perspectives and empathy, and insights into my own childhood. And while it means I have to sacrifice sleep in order to find the time to write, it’s unquestionably been worth it.
Yes, parenting takes a lot of time and energy – but my life’s so much richer for it. And so is my writing.
I’m delighted to see the readers of Interzone have voted “Ack-Ack Macaque” as their favourite short story of 2007.
I’m very pleased and surprised with this accolade for three reasons: 1) because my story was up against some very strong writing from some excellent authors, 2) because Interzone’s always been the standard against which I’ve measured my success, and 3) because this poll was voted for by the readers of the magazine, and shows there’s an audience out there for the kind of stuff I’m writing.
This is the second year running I’ve had a story placed highly in this poll, and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me.
You can see a list of the full results here: http://ttapress.com/441/2007-interzone-readers-poll-results