Tags: author



Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

The Philip K Dick book I love most… | Books | The Guardian

Three authors pick their favourite book by Philip K Dick:

  • Nicola Barker: Puttering About in a Small Land
  • Michael Moorcock: Time Out of Joint
  • Adam Roberts: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Brian Aldiss

After the eclipse I climbed down from the hilltop and reconnected with the world. That’s when I heard the news. Brian Aldiss had passed away.

He had a good innings. A very good innings. He lived to 92 and was writing right up to the end.

I’m trying to remember the first thing I read by Brian Aldiss. I think it might have been The Billion Year Spree, his encyclopaedia of science fiction. The library in my hometown had a copy when I was growing up, and I was devouring everything SF-related.

Decades later I had the great pleasure of meeting the man. It was 2012 and I was in charge of putting together the line-up for that year’s dConstruct. I had the brilliant Lauren Beukes on the line-up all the way from South Africa and I thought it would be fun to organise some kind of sci-fi author event the evening before. Well, one thing led to another: Rifa introduced me to Tim Aldiss, who passed along a request to his father, who kindly agreed to come to Brighton for the event. Then Brighton-based Jeff Noon came on board. The end result was an hour and a half in the company of three fantastic—and fantastically different—authors.

I had the huge honour of moderating the event. Here’s the transcript of that evening and here’s the audio.

That evening and the subsequent dConstruct talks—including the mighty James Burke—combined to create one of the greatest weekends of my life. Seriously. I thought it was just me, but Chris has also written about how special that author event was.

Brian Aldiss, Jeff Noon, and Lauren Beukes on the Brighton SF panel, chaired by Jeremy Keith

Brian Aldiss was simply wonderful that evening. He regaled us with the most marvellous stories, at times hilarious, at other times incredibly touching. He was a true gentleman.

I’m so grateful that I’ll always have the memory of that evening. I’m also very grateful that I have so many Brian Aldiss books still to read.

I’ve barely made a dent into the ludicrously prolific output of the man. I’ve read just some of his books:

  • Non-stop—I’m a sucker for generation starship stories,
  • Hothouse—ludicrously lush and trippy,
  • Greybeard—a grim vision of a childless world before Children Of Men,
  • The Hand-reared Boy—filthy, honest and beautifully written,
  • Heliconia Spring—a deep-time epic …and I haven’t even read the next two books in the series!

Then there are the short stories. Hundreds of ‘em! Most famously Super-Toys Last All Summer Long—inspiration for the Kubrick/Spielberg A.I. film. It’s one of the most incredibly sad stories I’ve ever read. I find it hard to read it without weeping.

Passed by a second-hand book stall on the way into work. My defences were down. Not a bad haul for a fiver.

Whenever a great artist dies, it has become a cliché to say that they will live on through their work. In the case of Brian Aldiss and his astounding output, it’s quite literally true. I’m looking forward to many, many years of reading his words.

My sincerest condolences to his son Tim, his partner Alison, and everyone who knew and loved Brian Aldiss.

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Future Simple Steps - where to find your favourite ex-Five Simple Steps authors and their books

Now that Five Simple Steps has closed down, the individual authors are in charge of distributing their own books. This site links to all of those books.

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The Anti-Tolkien - The New Yorker

A short profile of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series (though, for me, Jerry Cornelius is the champion that remains eternal in my memory).

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Brian Aldiss: ‘These days I don’t read any science fiction. I only read Tolstoy’ | Books | The Guardian

A profile of Brian Aldiss in The Guardian.

I still can’t quite believe I managed to get him for last year’s Brighton SF.

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Designing the Wider Web

The dominance of the desktop browser is over – the web has become wider. After so long painting in a tiny corner of the canvas, it’s time to broaden our approach.

It’s understandable that the community is somewhat nervous about the changes ahead. So far, we’ve mostly responded by scratching around for device-specific tips, but this isn’t sustainable or scalable. We should transcend “platformism” and instead learn to design for diverse contexts, displays, connectivity, and inputs by breaking devices down into first principles. Instead of the defective dichotomy of the “desktop” and “mobile” web, designers should aim to create great user experiences using the truly fluid nature of the web.

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Techno-utopian fail - The National Newspaper

Don't be too proud of this technological terror you have created.

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Hamish Hamilton: Five Dials

A beautiful PDF literary magazine, designed to be printed out and read away from the computer. I'd still love to see an HTML version.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Authors On Tour — Live!

Okay, so the name of the site sounds a bit like the literature equivalent of Girls Gone Wild but why haven’t I come across this site before?

It’s a veritable huffduffing bonanza, with talks from Neal Stephenson, David Sedaris, Simon Winchester, Isabel Allende, Terry Pratchet, John Hodgman, Neil Gaiman, Barack Obama and …um… Les Claypool.

All of them are licensed under Creative Commons attribution, non- commercial, no derivatives.

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

We Tell Stories

Aleks pointed me to this sort-of ARG involving authors in London. Could be good fun.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Fiction Liberation Front--The Goods

Science-fiction author Lews Shiner is releasing many of his short stories online for free (HTML or PDF).

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Coming Soon: Mobile Web Design, The Book (authored by Cameron Moll)

Cameron is writing a book. You know it's going to be good.

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Gladwell in Gatwick

After getting off the plane from Texas, I made my way through Gatwick airport towards the train station to catch a train down to Brighton. I saw Malcolm Gladwell walking by.

Maybe it was the spirit of South by Southwest still coursing through my veins or maybe it was just tiredness from the long flight, but I decided “what the heck?” and I went up and introduced myself to him, told him I liked The Tipping Point and bid him a good day.

It was one of those snap decisions.