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New Video Interview

There’s a brand new video interview with me on the Forbidden Planet website.

Watch it here.

The Unexplained

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I’ve had a few folk ask me about UFOs recently, so I thought I’d say a word or two about the unexplained in general.

UFOs

I’m fascinated by the stories about UFOs and the lore and history surrounding them, but I’ve never seen a single scrap of actual evidence or anything that has convinced me they actually exist. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to know whether alien life exists, I just struggle with the idea they travelled across hundreds of light years to skulk around probing random lumberjacks.

Ghosts

I know some people I trust who claim to have experienced ghostly phenomena. Personally, I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea that we might endure as disembodied spirits after death. However, just because I don’t believe in the supernatural, that doesn’t mean I want to piss it off. And to be honest, I find it much easier to believe in them at 3:00 am than during daylight hours.

Miscellaneous

There’s all sorts of weird stuff out there. I had a couple of strange experiences on Loch Ness once, for example. And I like to try and keep an open mind, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I’ll believe in the Illuminati when they send me an invite to join, and even then I’ll be pretty bloody sceptical.

Weird animals in various parts of the world? I can see that’s not beyond the realms of possibility. “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,” and all that.

But, at the end of the day, while all this is a lot of fun, and great material for stories, I am not convinced any of it actually exists. Maybe one day, I’ll see a flying saucer or a headless spectre, but for now, you can place me firmly in the unbeliever camp.

Free Novella

Hello, friends.

Following the example of writers such as Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tade Thompson and Dave Hutchinson, I’ve decided to make some work available for free download during this Covid-19 crisis.

In my case, it’s a novella titled Downdraught.

I hope you enjoy it.

Download the PDF here

Why A Dystopian Future Isn’t Inevitable

That title might seem a little ironic now, but my monthly column for The Engineer is now online.

To counter all the doom and gloom, I decided this month to look ahead to a world where political and industrial inertia have been conquered, and engineers set free to tackle the challenges ahead. So, come with me to the world of 2100 AD. Many of our children and grandchildren are still alive, and have families of their own right now, but their way of life is as different to ours as ours is to that of the Victorians.

You can read the full article here.

COVID-19

Things seem to have become very real, very quickly. As a result, I’ve reluctantly cancelled my attendance at Eastercon.

A couple of weeks ago, I don’t think any of us thought we’d be self-isolating and avoiding the office, pubs and family gatherings. But here we are.

I just want you to know that we’re all in this together. I’ll keep posting my usual positivity on Twitter, but if any of you are feeling lonely, please feel free to use this page to reach out. You can drop me a direct message, or use the comments section below to start a conversation with other readers. In the meantime, stay safe and stay well.

Your pal,

Gareth

Self Care for Writers

Writing can be a very solitary profession. It can also play havoc with your emotions and sense of self-worth. Rejections, bad reviews, writer’s block… add these to financial insecurity, lack of exercise and long hours spent alone at a keyboard, and it’s not hard to see why some authors become depressed or disillusioned.

Faced with all this, it’s vital we learn to look after ourselves. And so, over the past few weeks, I’ve been making a particular effort to put myself first.

Putting myself first doesn’t come naturally. I seem to be one of those people who looks after everybody else but can’t ask for help when he needs it. Not that this is a bad thing. I have people in my life who need a lot of looking after. But I need to get better at learning to relax.

One of the things about being a writer under deadline is that I feel guilty for every moment I’m not writing. My inner voice tells me I should be working every spare moment. And if I’m not writing, I should be cleaning the house or doing the laundry…

Recently, all this got on top of me and I lost the ability to write. So, I started taking time to do small things to help take care of my mental and physical health. Here are some of them:

  • Filled the house with vases of flowers (fake ones, I get hay fever) to brighten up the place
  • Started meeting friends for drinks and coffee, to get me out of the house so I feel like a participant in life rather than a bystander
  • Scoured the bargain shelves at the supermarket for unusual items (duck breast fillets, sea bass, turkey steaks, etc) with which to make myself more interesting and healthy meals
  • Upped the amount of fruit and veg I consume
  • Worried only about the things I could control
  • Let go of past stresses
  • Tried to get out for a walk more often
  • Only eat when I’m hungry
  • Bought a new bed with new pillows and sheets
  • Made playlists of happy songs and tunes that remind me of good times
  • Make sure I talk to at least one friend everyday, even if only via text message
  • Binge watched Brooklyn 99 with my daughter
  • Made a housework rota to stop me feeling like it’s all getting on top of me
  • Moved my work desk into the lliving room, so the kids can keep me company while I work, and because it’s brighter and less like a cave

Tider, brighter house = more relaxed surroundings = more relaxed mind.

Plus, as a writer, it’s good to get out more. Being around people provides raw material when creating characters. It’s also good to step outside your own head sometimes.

I still have a long way to go. I need to lose a bunch of weight and my diet still has room for improvement. But even making small positive steps has brightened my general mood considerably, and helped me get my writing mojo back.

What do you do to look after yourself?

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Tomorrow’s Transit Technology

My new column for The Engineer is now online.

From sub-surface freight delivery tubes, to space elevators for ferrying workers to off-planet manufacturing facilities, resident science fiction writer Gareth L. Powell ponders some of the ingenious transit technologies of the future.

BSFA AWARDS SHORTLISTS ANNOUNCED!

As the title says, the BSFA Award shortlists have been announced, and I have works nominated in THREE CATEGORIES!

  • Best Novel
  • Best Shorter Fiction
  • Best Non-fiction

Plus, Julia Lloyd’s cover for FLEET OF KNIVES pops up in the art category!

See the full results below:

Best Novel

  • Juliet E McKenna – The Green Man’s Foe (Wizard’s Tower Press)
  • Emma Newman – Atlas Alone (Gollancz)
  • Gareth L Powell – Fleet of Knives (Titan Books)
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky – Children of Ruin (Tor)
  • Tade Thompson – The Rosewater Insurrection (Orbit)

Best Shorter Fiction

  • Becky Chambers – To Be Taught, If Fortunate (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone – This is How You Lose the Time War (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Fiona Moore – Jolene (Interzone #283)
  • Gareth L Powell – Ragged Alice (Tor.com)
  • Tade Thompson – The Survival of Molly Southbourne (Tor.com)
  • Ian Whates – For Your Own Good (Wourism and Other Stories, Luna Press)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Farah Mendlesohn – The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein (Unbound)
  • Glyn Morgan & C Palmer-Patel (Eds) – Sideways in Time: Critical Essays on Alternate History Fiction (Liverpool University Press)
  • Gareth L Powell – About Writing (Luna Press)
  • Adam Roberts – HG Wells: A Literary Life (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Jo Lindsay Walton – Away Day: Star Trek and the Utopia of Merit (Big Echo)

Best Artwork

  • Aitch & Rachel Vale – Cover for ‘Deeplight’ by Frances Hardinge (UK edition) (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Chris Baker (Fangorn) – Cover for ‘Wourism and Other Stories’ by Ian Whates (Luna Press)
  • Julia Lloyd – Cover for ‘Fleet of Knives’ by Gareth L Powell (Titan Books)
  • Charlotte Stroomer – Cover for ‘The Rosewater Redemption’ by Tade Thompson (Orbit)
  • Richard Wagner – Cover for Interzone #284 (Interzone)

Huge congratulations to everyone on the lists, most of whom I am proud to call my colleagues and friends.

Reddit AMA