2016 Seiun Awards Shortlist

元_C01A01I’m delighted to discover my novel Ack-Ack Macaque on the shortlist for the 2016 Seiun Awards.

The novel was published in Japan last year by Tokyo Sogensha, and translated by Kazuyo Misumi.

The Seiun Awards are overseen by the Federation of Science Fiction Fan Groups of Japan, and presented each year at the annual Japan Science Fiction Convention.

Ack-Ack Macaque has been nominated in the ‘Best Translated Novel’ category.

The winner will be decided by a vote of attendees at this year’s convention, and will be announced on July 9th.

Further information, and the complete shortlists for each category, can be found on the award’s Wikipedia page.

Distant Galaxies Colliding

The new episode of the StarShipSofa podcast features a short story by yours truly, narrated by Katherine Inskip.

The story’s called ‘Distant Galaxies Colliding’, and I  wrote it back in 2006. It’s achingly romantic. I hope you enjoy it.

Listen here.

Ride The Blue Horse

The BSFA Awards will be announced this weekend at EasterCon in Manchester. You can read my shortlisted story below. If you’re attending the event, I hope to see you there. 

2015-11-11-Igor-Trepeshchenok-Barnimages-13-1024x685RIDE THE BLUE HORSE

By Gareth L. Powell

WE WERE breaking into shipping containers the day we found the blue horse.

My friend Dan had convinced me we should give it a shot. The stacks were dangerous, but since getting the sack from the call centre, we were desperate.

“I heard of a guy two towns over,” Dan said, rocking back and forth on his heels in the call centre parking lot, “who cracked a container of canned fruit. Peaches, cherries, and mandarins – stuff you just don’t see any more. It made him rich.”

“How rich?”

“Rich enough to leave town.”


We had to walk to the freight yard, and it took us the whole day. Heat shimmered off the empty road. The place had been abandoned since we were kids. With the big ships gone, it just hadn’t been economical to keep open. And once the port authority stopped dredging, it only took a couple of years for silt to choke the harbour. All that was left now were these rusting container stacks, and the wiry little green fireworks of grass that had smashed their way up through the shattered tarmac.

The perimeter fence had been broken down in several places.

“Are you sure there’s going to be anything left?” I said.

Dan gave me one of his looks. He was still wearing his call centre clothes, dark jeans with a white shirt and black tie, and his top button was undone.

“Look at the size of this place. It’s about a bazillion square kilometres. There are literally thousands of crates.” He stepped through the fence with the sprightly confidence of a door-to-door evangelist. “The ones at the edges may have been looted, but I’ll bet you there’s still plenty of good shit further in.”

“You’d better be right.”

“Of course I am.” He clapped his hands together and rubbed them briskly. “Now come on, Spelman, let’s hustle.”


As it turned out, he was right. But we had to open six crates before we found her.

The first three were full of plasma TVs, electric kettles, and other unusable junk. The fourth was empty, and the fifth strewn with the discarded rags of a shipment of long-forgotten immigrants.

At that point, I was ready to give up for the night. The sun had gone down and the sky was ripening towards the colour of a day-old bruise. Dan convinced me to continue.

“Just one more.” He slapped the side of the next container in line and the metal made a deep booming sound. “Come on,” he said, “I’ve got a great feeling about this one.”


Unfortunately, Dan injured himself as we were prying off the lock. The crowbar slipped, and the end of it gashed his palm.


“Are you okay?”

“Just peachy.” I watched him suck the wound. Thankfully, it didn’t seem deep. We both knew we didn’t have enough money to get him a tetanus shot.

With his hand still in his mouth, he kicked the door.

“Get this sucker open, Spelman.”

“Yes, sir.” I stooped to retrieve the fallen crow bar, and carefully popped the lock.

The door opened on rusty hinges.

“What have we got?”

I frowned into the gloom.

“Some jerry cans and kit bags… and something wrapped in a tarpaulin. I think it might be a car.”

Dan pushed past me.

“Well, there’s no need to sound so disheartened.”

He crouched in front of the covered vehicle and pulled at the edge of its shroud.


The cloth came away and he stood there like a conjuror awaiting the applause of the crowd. I looked at what he had uncovered.

“Pretty car.”

“Pretty?” He dropped the edge of the tarpaulin and walked around to the driver’s door. His fingertips brushed the blue-painted bodywork. “You don’t even know what this is, do you, Spelman?”


He shook his head sadly, as if disappointed in me.

“It’s a 1960s Ford Mustang with a V8 engine and four-speed manual gearbox.” Dan was quite the student of classic Americana. Plus, his dad had once owned a garage out near the Interstate. He opened the door and slid behind the wheel. “And the keys are in the ignition.”

I walked over and kicked one of the jerry cans. The dull thump told me it was full. I unscrewed the lid.

“This is petrol. And these bags are full of camping supplies and dehydrated ration packs.”

Dan was beside me in an instant.

“Put all of it in the trunk.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You think it’s worth something?”

“Are you kidding?”

He helped me load the car, and then we both climbed in.

“You know what this is?” He gave the steering wheel an affectionate pat. “It’s somebody’s cache. It’s their end-of-the-world back-up plan, only they never came back for it.” He laughed. “Just imagine for a moment, some wannabe Mad Max trapped in a departure lounge in Washington or Buenos Aires, knowing the planet’s going to hell but being unable to reach all the gear he’s so carefully squirrelled away.”

He pulled a pair of sunglasses from the glove box, and admired himself in the rearview mirror.

“So,” I said, “how much do you think we can sell it for?”

He looked aghast.

“Where’s your imagination, Spelman? This might be the last functional car in America. Do you know how far a blue horse like this could get us on a full tank of gas? At least two or three hundred miles. And then we’ve got the refills in the trunk.”

“And when they run out, then what?”

“And then we’ve got all this neat camping gear, and these rations. I’ll bet they’re super tasty. They’ll keep us going until we find someplace.” He put his hand on my shoulder. I could feel warm, sticky blood soaking through my t-shirt. “We can hit the road right now, and never come back to this ungrateful crap-hole.”

My skin prickled the way it did before a thunderstorm.

“Not… ever?”

“Nope.” He lit the headlights and we blinked against their sudden brilliance.

“One question.” I fastened my seatbelt. “Do you actually know how to drive?”

He turned the key in the ignition. The engine coughed twice, and then bellowed. The metal walls amplified the sound. I caught a whiff of carbon monoxide. Dan released the parking brake.

“No, I can’t say I do.” With his bloodied hand, he crunched the gearstick into first and eased up the clutch. We began to roll forwards. “But really, how hard can it be?”


© Gareth L. Powell, 2015.
First published on, July 2015
Image courtesy of Barn Images.


Sci-Fi-London 48 Hour Flash Fiction Challenge 2016

I’m pleased to announce that, as part of the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival, I will be serving as a judge for the Sci-Fi-London 48 Hour Flash Fiction Challenge 2016.

The challenge starts on 2nd April, when contestants will be given a prompt to kickstart their stories, and ends on the 4th April, by which time all finished stories (maximum 1500 words) have to have been submitted.

Entry is free. To take part, simply visit the Sci-Fi-London website and follow the instructions here.

New Cover: Ack-Ack Macaque Second Edition

I’m pleased to be able to reveal the cover for the second edition of Ack-Ack Macaque. The picture’s the same, but there’s a new quote and a badge to highlight the fact it won the BSFA in 2013.


In addition, the inside of the book features a new flyleaf with some pretty amazing quotes from some pretty amazing people.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 14.37.04

These new paperback editions will be available shortly via all good book retailers.

Monkey Music

The Boy From Space are a groovy indie electro band from the South of England. They will be releasing their new EP on the the 6th May, and the title track is a song based on my Ack-Ack Macaque novels!

You can listen to the song online here.

I contributed some of the lyrics, and particularly like the ones about flying in Zeppelins and biting people in the face.

The EP features the Electro Space Monkey Punk of ‘Macaque Attack’, the electro synth EDM of ‘Fashion Shoot Reject’, the Motown inspired pop of ‘Bring It Back’ and a smashing remix of ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Work’ by the Rodeo Terrorists.

Eastercon Schedule

If you’re going to Mancunicon next week, you’ll be able to catch me on the following panels.

1). That Which We Call Reality, By Any Other Name …
Saturday 20:30 – 21:30, Presidential Suite (Hilton Deansgate)

In many speculative stories, reality is stubbornly stable: a lot of readers love their worldbuilding to be consistent. But in an important strand of the field, which includes the work of writers such as Carol Emshwiller, Philip K. Dick, and Kelly Link, reality is something more subjective, contested, arguable. What is the appeal of such stories, for readers and writers, and how do they achieve their effects? Do they contain distinctive types of characters or narratives? And can we identify differences of approach or effect depending on whether a given writer’s starting point is literary experimentation, philosophical enquiry, or scientific exploration?

With: Andrew M Butler, Gareth L. Powell, Christopher Priest, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan


2). How High is Your Brow?
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Room 8&9 (Hilton Deansgate)

Science fiction and fantasy have long had a tumultuous relationship with the world of “highbrow” art. There are divides in funding, attention, and prestige between artforms deemed (by some) to be “serious” and those deemed to be “popular”, and it sometimes seems that never the twain shall meet. What would science-fictional high culture look like? (SF opera?) How are discussions about “high” art shaped by social class and background? How do we, as science fiction readers and writers, challenge the divide? In what ways do we find ourselves reinforcing it? Can we just ignore it — and why, or why not?

With: Peter Harrow, Trevor Hoyle, Pauline Morgan, Gareth L. Powell, Simon Morden

Book News: Short Fiction Collection

I’m delighted to confirm NewCon Press will be publishing a collection of my short stories in 2017. Here’s the full press release. Please feel free to cut and paste it, and share it around.


CAMBRIDGE 26/02/2016 – NewCon Press today announced it will be publishing a new collection of short fiction by Gareth L. Powell.

The collection, titled THE NEW SHIPS, will appear in April 2017, and will contain some of Powell’s best-loved stories alongside others that have not been previously collected and some that are wholly original.

Powell, an award-winning novelist whose short story, ‘Ride The Blue Horse’ is currently shortlisted for the 2015 BSFA Award, said, “Although most of these pieces have previously appeared in magazines and anthologies, they can be hard to find, and I’m delighted they’re finally being brought together in a single collection of my very best work.”

Publisher Ian Whates, said, “Gareth L. Powell is a proper SF writer. His stories are infused with the sense of wonder that, traditionally, good science fiction has always delivered. NewCon Press are delighted to be publishing this, his second collection.”

THE NEW SHIPS will be launched at Eastercon in 2017.

NewCon Press

Gareth L. Powell


VIDEO: Peter F Hamilton interviews Gareth L Powell

For those who couldn’t make it to the Artillery Arms last night, here’s the video of my interview.

[Video shot and posted by Chad Dixon]

This Week

This week, I’ll be appearing at two events.

1). Tonight, I am going to be reading at the BristolCon Fringe. I’ll be doing a 20 minute reading of new material at the Shakespeare Tavern, Princes St, Bristol (next to the Arnolfini). Entry is free, and the event starts at 7:00pm.

2). On Wednesday (24 Feb), I’m going to be in London for the BSFA Interview, where bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton will be questioning me in front of a live audience. This is also free to attend, and takes place at The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND from 7:00pm.

Please come along and say hello.