BSFA London Meeting March 22nd: Andrew Wallace interviewed by Faith Lee

This month’s guest is Andrew Wallace, author of the Diamond Roads series of novels, which follow the challenges facing Charity Freestone and her family in 24th Century Diamond City.

img_0274Following stage productions of his plays ‘Byron’ and ‘The Scissors Angel’ Andrew’s Radio 4 play, ‘Burn Your Phone’ was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award and turned into a film on BBC2 starring and directed by Alan Cumming. He followed commissions for the feature-length script of acclaimed short ‘The Cutter’ and an adaptation of the novel ‘As Good As It Gets’ with the BBC7 show ‘Wonderworld’ and wrote regularly for Radio 4’s flagship comedy ‘Look Away Now’. He has produced three Edinburgh shows including ‘The Free Three’ and ‘Seething Is Believing’ and created the ‘Vengeance’ and ‘Bloody Mary’ shows for the London Dungeon.

Andrew will be interviewed by fantasy novelist F.D. Lee, author of the Pathways Tree series.


BSFA Monthly London Meetings (all welcome- free : one does NOT have to be a BSFA member to attend)

When: usually the 4th Wed of each month (excl Dec).  Fans meet from 1800 in the main downstairs bar-prompt upstairs start at 1900 -though some regulars go upstairs earlier.

Where: Artillery Arms (upstairs –private– bar) 102 Bunhill Row (corner of Dufferin St)  EC1Y 8ND
Nearest Tube/NatRail: Old St-exit 3 (->Barbican).  Brewery: Fullers.  Hot food available.  SF Book raffle* (tickets 5 for £1)
Some attendees join the Speaker/Meeting Organisers later for an informal (usually Thai) meal. (though no obligation to partake).

Apr 26-   Nik Abnett interviewed by Donna Scott
May 23 – TBA
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2017-03-22

The BSFA Awards 2016 Shortlist

The Shortlist for the BSFA Awards 2016 was announced on 19th February 2017. The Awards will be presented at Innominate, the 68th Eastercon, which this year is taking place at Hilton Birmingham Metropole from 14th-17th April 2017.

The shortlisted works are:

Best Novel

Chris Beckett – Daughter of Eden (Atlantic/Corvus)

Becky Chambers – A Closed and Common Orbit (Hodder & Stoughton)

Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Winter (Solaris)

Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me (Gollancz)

Nick Wood – Azanian Bridges (NewCon Press)


Best Short Fiction

Malcolm Devlin – The End of Hope Street (Interzone #266)

Jaine Fenn – Liberty Bird (Now We Are Ten, NewCon Press)

Una McCormack – Taking Flight (Crises and Conflicts, NewCon Press)

Helen Oyeyemi – Presence (What is Not Yours is Not Yours, Picador)

Tade Thompson – The Apologists (Interzone #266)

Aliya Whiteley – The Arrival of Missives (Unsung Stories)


Best Non-Fiction

Rob Hansen – THEN: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980 (Ansible Editions)

Erin Horáková – Boucher, Backbone and Blake: The Legacy of Blakes Seven (Strange Horizons)

Anna McFarlane – Breaking the Cycle of the Golden Age: Jack Glass and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (Adam Roberts: Critical Essays, Gylphi)

Paul Graham Raven – New Model Authors? Authority, Authordom, Anarchism and the Atomized Text in a Networked World (Adam Roberts: Critical Essays, Gylphi)

Geoff Ryman – 100 African Writers of SFF (

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer – Introduction to The Big Book of Science Fiction (Vintage)


Best Artwork

Juan Miguel Aguilera – Cover of The 1000 Year Reich by Ian Watson (NewCon Press)

Tara Bush – Transition (Cover of Black Static #53)

Suzanne Dean and Kai & Sunny – Cover of The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann)

David A Hardy – Cover of Disturbed Universes by David L Clements (NewCon Press)

Sarah Anne Langton – Cover for Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications)

Chris Moore – Cover of The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds (NewCon Press)


Details of how members can vote for the awards are here.

HumberSFF February 25th with Jim Hawkins, Steven Poore and Lee Harrison

Hull Central Library, Kingston upon Hull, HU1 3TE

Science Fiction Association Humber SFF provides the opportunity to meet others who love the fantasy and speculative fiction genres. Aspiring writers, published authors and the chance to discover more about the genre industry.
The second meetup of HumberSFF features Jim Hawkins, Steven Poore and Lee Harrison.

Jim Hawkins’ screenplay “Thank You Comrades,” earned him a BAFTA nomination. Many of his short stories have been published in Best of The Year anthologies. Fragments of Tomorrow is a… collection of his high quality short stories gathered from an enviable writing career. His work has regularly been published in the in the UK’s flagship science fiction magazine, Interzone. When not writing, Jim inspires new genre writers at Hull University.

Steven Poore’s epic fantasy Heir to the North saw him nominated for a British Fantasy Award in 2016. High King’s Vengeance is the sequel and continues with the theme that the North will rise again. Steven also writes science fiction. His short stories have been published in BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books in their Fox Pockets range.

Lee Harrison describes his debut epic fantasy novel, The Bastard Wonderland, as a kitchen sink epic and saw it make the long list for the Not the Booker Prize. He is currently a First Story Writer in residence at St Mary’s College in Hull.

The event is free but please register your interest via Eventbrite.

Start Time: 13:00
End Time: 16:00

African Speculative Fiction Lectures

The Department of African Languages and Cultures, SOAS, University of London, is hosting a new lecture series from February 2017 focusing on speculative fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora. The series is open to all those who are passionate about speculative fictions from Africa, including university students at all levels of their academic development. The series will explore the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magic realism. Details are here, and also see the attached programme with details about the lectures.

programme spec series

22nd February 6-8pm Dr. Nicholas Wood: South African Speculative Fiction


1st March 5 – 6pm Dr. Polina Levontin: Scientists in Nigerian Science Fiction


1st March 6 – 8pm Miriam Pahl: Literature as a Lighthouse: African Science Fiction and Ecocritical Representations of War and Conflict


8th March 4- 5.30pm Sinéad Murphy: Predicting’ the Arab Spring: forces of genre and culture in Egyptian Science Fiction


8th March 6-8pm Geoff Ryman:  Title TBC


22nd March 6-8pm Dr. Christos Callow: Performing Afrofuturism: Science fiction theatre and the work of Andrea Hairston

BSFA London Meeting February 22nd: Adrian Tchaikovsky

BSFA Monthly London Meetings (all welcome- free : one does NOT have to be a BSFA member to attend)

This month our guest is Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Adrian Tchaikovsky is the author of the acclaimed Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, and he joins us as the second volume in his Echoes of the Fall series celebrates its publication date – that’s The Bear and the Serpent, the sequel to The Tiger and the Wolf. See the very pretty covers below…

Adrian of course had a great 2016 as his brilliant science fiction novel Spiderlight won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and apparently he has lots more top SF in store for us this year. Come and find out what Adrian has been writing about…

… and joining us as interviewer for Adrian is Ian Whates!

Ian is the author of the City of a Hundred Rows fantasy series, and in science fiction The Noise series published by Solaris and The Dark Angels series published by Newcon, of which the much-anticipated second volume, The Ion Raider is being launched at Eastercon. Ian is also famous as the brains behind Newcon Press, and is a Director of the BSFA, having been the Chair before me…

When: usually the 4th Wed of each month (excl Dec).  Fand meet from 1800 in the main downstairs bar-prompt upstairs start at 1900 -though some regulars go upstairs earlier.

Where: Artillery Arms (upstairs –private– bar) 102 Bunhill Row (corner of Dufferin St)  EC1Y 8ND
Nearest Tube/NatRail: Old St-exit 3 (->Barbican).  Brewery: Fullers.  Hot food available.  SF Book raffle* (tickets 5 for £1)
Some attendees join the Speaker/Meeting Organisers later for an informal (usually Thai) meal. (though no obligation to partake).

Upcoming meetings:
Mar 22-   Andrew Wallace
Apr 26-   TBA

BSFA London Meeting 25th January, the science of Doctor Who, Leslie McMurty and Edward Gomez

Title: BSFA London Meeting, guests TBA
Location: The Artillery Arms 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND

Leslie McMurty and Edward Gomez  will be our guests at the BSFA London meeting in January to discuss the science behind the long running BBC Sci-Fi series Doctor Who.

Lesley McMurtry photographed at the British Library, London.

Photograph: Karen Robinson/Observer
Leslie McMurtry encountered Doctor Who during her childhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her B.A. in English and French from the University of New Mexico and her M.A. in creative and media writing from Swansea University in Wales where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English. She edits The Terrible Zodin (, a quarterly Doctor Who e-zine. She has contributed ‘The Importance of Language Converted to Knowledge in the Arsenal of the Tenth Doctor’ to SFF’s The Unsilent Library: Adventures in new Doctor Who, edited by Simon Bradshaw, Graham Sleight, and Tony Keen, with a foreword by Robert Shearman, and Doctor Who and Race, edited by Lindy Orthia for Intellect Books, and a contributing author of The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who.
Dr. Edward Gomez presents the Science of Dr. Who.

Dr Edward Gomez  is an astronomer and education director of Las Cumbres observatory and Cardiff University, who has worked as science script adviser on the programme.

6pm Fans gather
7pm: start of interview.
8pm Q&A
8.15pm: book raffle (win a selection of sf novels for just £1 for 5 tickets).
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2016-11-23

David Gemmell Awards announce ceremony date for 2017

We have received word from The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, that 2017’s awards will be presented as part of Derby’s Edge-Lit 6 in July.

Edge-Lit 6 runs on the 15th July 2017 at QUAD, Derby’s independent cinema and art space.

The awards have been presented since 2009 and have been given accolades to Brent Weeks, Patrick Rothfuss, Mark Lawrence, Brandon Sanderson and many others.

Stan Nicholls, Chair of the David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy, said: ‘Edge-Lit has established itself as one of the highlight events of the genre year, and the Gemmell Awards are thrilled to be part of 2017’s line-up. Devoted as they both are to championing the best of speculative fiction, the Gemmells and Edge-Lit are a perfect match. Roll on next July!’
The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy were launched in 2009, in tribute to bestselling fantasy author David Gemmell, who passed away in 2006, and to honour the best fiction and artwork in the heroic fantasy field.  Recipients of the awards include authors Andrzei Sapkowski, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Brent Weeks, John Gwynne, Mark Lawrence, Brian McClellan and Peter Newman; and artists including Didier Graffet, Raymond Swanland, Jason Chan and Sam Green.

The awards’ website page can be found at and its Facebook page at

Competition time: win Aliens, edited by Jim Al-Khalili

We have two rather green and glittering copies of Aliens, science asks: is there anyone out there, published by Profile Books and edited by Jim Al-Khalili of Radio 4’s The Life Scientific to give away. The competition is open to BSFA members from anywhere in the universe, and we thought we’d be nice and extend this also to UK-based members of our Facebook discussion group.


You can read a sample chapter here on aliens in SF: aliens-ian-stewart-on-science-fiction

What’s it about? Jim has asked nineteen scientists to answer the question, is there anyone else out there?

Here’s Jim talking about it:

To enter the competition, please tell me which Arthur C. Clarke novel does Jim mention in the sample chapter? Send your answer, along with your name, address, BSFA membership number (if relevant) with ALIENS COMPETITION in the subject header to my chair email address. Competition closes midnight Wednesday 23rd November. We thought we’d make it then as we will also have a copy as a prize in the raffle for the BSFA London meeting with Ian Whates and Gerard Earley which takes place that night, so if you go to that, you never know, you might also get to win a copy there! And if you don’t, you can still enter when you get home.


BSFA London Meeting Wed 23rd November: Ian Whates

Location: The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND

Ian Whates is a tour de force in the realms of sff. Author of the City of a Hundred Rows books (City of Dreams and Nightmare, City of Hope and Despair, and City of Light and Shadow) published by Angry Robot and The Noise Within and The Noise Revealed published by Solaris, and the excellent Pelquin’s Comet from his ongoing Dark Angels series, Ian is also a prolific short story writer, and was shortlisted for the BSFA Best Short Fiction Award in 2007. As an editor, Ian has presided over the Solaris Rising series, and his own independent publishing house, the multi-award winning Newcon Press. He is also a former Chair of the BSFA, and one of it’s current Directors.

“Born story-teller Ian Whates takes us on a gripping, terrifying trip-of-a-lifetime, through the heights and depths of the exotically grim city of Thaiburley, in this excellent fantasy thriller.”
– World Fantasy Award-winning author, Tanith Lee

He is interviewed by Gerard Earley, who runs the Science Fiction Book Club in London.

6pm Fans gather
7pm: start of interview.
8pm Q&A
8.15pm: book raffle (win a selection of sf novels for just £1 for 5 tickets).
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2016-11-23

NB: there is no event in December. We’ll be back 25th January.

Science & Science Fiction: Bristol Festival of Literature 29 October 2016

Science Fiction writers and Scientists bring you near-future stories designed to provoke lively debate.The Human Brain Project Foresight Lab at King’s College London and SciFi authors Stephen Oram, Allen Ashley and Jule Owen have worked with leading scientists, including Professor Alan Winfield from Bristol Robotics Laboratory, to bring you three fictional versions of the future. Come along to hear their short stories and then use them as a springboard for what is bound to be a lively discussion between the authors, the scientists – and you.

Chaired by author and broadcaster Sarah LeFanu.

Tickets are available here for £5.50.

Arrive 1.45pm for 2pm start.

Location: Mercure Brigstow, Bristol BS1 4SP


Stranger than fiction? A Visit to Bristol Robotics Laboratory

By Stephen Oram – author in residence for Virtual Futures


What do slipstream, near-future and climate-fiction authors have in common with the European Human Brain Project and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory?

In this case, creating stories to provoke debate between the scientific community and the public as part of the Bristol Lit Fest.

I’m a science-fiction writer – a near-future type rather than a distant planets type – and for some time I’ve been interested in the power of fiction, especially short fiction, to provoke debate. This often happens in the media when a popular science-fiction film portrays an apocalyptic future, but it’s less common to find a live event with real authors and real scientists.

As the Author in Residence for Virtual Futures, an organisation once described as “the Glastonbury of cyberculture”, I’ve been creating specially written five-minute stories for the past twelve months for their Salon events. These Salons bring together artists, philosophers, cultural theorists, technologists and fiction writers to consider the future of humanity and technology. They have introduced me to the new and exciting worlds of neurostimulation, prosthetic envy and bio-art – to name a few.

So, it was with a high level of excitement that I accepted an invitation from SilverWood Books to participate in their Bristol Lit Fest event, Science and Science Fiction: Versions of the Future.

And that’s why I found myself standing on the concourse of Paddington station one sunny Friday morning with two other authors, Allen Ashley and Jule Owen, and two social scientists from the Human Brain Project Foresight Lab. We were off to spend the day with the roboticists, taking a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes of cutting-edge tech, and ask whatever we wanted in the privacy of a closed meeting room.

We soon moved on from the inevitable pleasant introductions and small talk to meanderings about the future of politics, technology, the singularity and beyond. We became so enthusiastic that a nearby passenger joined us to bring his own perspective and generally join in the debate.

The day was shaping up very nicely!

When we arrived at the lab, Professor Alan Winfield gave us a whistle-stop tour and for the first time that day we all fell silent(ish).

I was fascinated, almost overwhelmed, by the robots he showed us, including robots that eat dead flies and excrete their waste, and an experimental swarm of them modelling how nanobots might enter your body and fix diseased cells. We also met Jules, the robot that mimics facial expressions – a particularly high point for fellow author Jule.

After the tour we moved on to the main event of the day: meeting the scientists to quiz them relentlessly about their work, and drawing every drop of inspiration possible in the process. They were very obliging and answered with enthusiasm and a wealth of information.

We heard all about different aspects of the lab’s work, ranging from medical, rehabilitation and emergency rescue robots through to morphological computation and bioenergy robots. We also ended up in a lively debate about robot ethics and the extent to which science fiction should be technology-optimistic. This is one of the perennial issues for this type of sci-fi writing and we decided to aim for something more in keeping with TV’s Black Mirror than a robot apocalypse.

Listening to the conversations on the train back, I’d say we achieved exactly what we set out to. My head was certainly buzzing with all sorts of ideas and the difficult part has been to settle on “the one”!

And now the stories are taking shape, getting ready for the festival. If we’ve done a good job these three five-minute stories will entertain the audience and provoke an informed debate with the scientists.

I’m sure the event will be as mind-stretching and inspiring as our visit to the robotics lab. If you live near Bristol, you should come along and join in!

Sarah LeFanu is the author of two books on science fiction and fantasy, one of which, ‘In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction’, won the prestigious MLA award. She was Senior Editor at The Women’s Press, responsible for their innovative and highly-regarded science fiction list.


Stephen Oram writes near-future fiction intended to provoke debate. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures and has published two novels and several shorter pieces of work.


Allen Ashley is a British Fantasy Award winning editor, writer, poet, creative writing tutor and critical reader. He is sole judge for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. As a tutor, he currently has five groups running across north London , including the advanced science fiction and fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers.

Jule Owen has spent many years working in online technology, including the video games industry.She is the author of The House Next Door trilogy, a YA time-travel series set in a dystopian future.


The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of the Future and Emerging Technology Flagship initiatives funded by the European Commission. It is a ten-year initiative in medicine, neuroscience and computing which brings together scientists and institutions from 20 nations across Europe.
Part of Bristol Festival of Literature (

Hosted as part of a writing day by SilverWood Books

Media links and pics from Jason Arnopp and Scott K. Andrews: BSFA Meeting, 26th October 2016

If you missed last night’s BSFA meeting in London, or just want to pretend you’re back there again because you enjoyed it so much, there is a video link of the proceedings over on Twitter here.

An audio only link is available here.

That’s an hour of awesomeness to you!

Once again, we have Chad Dixon to thank for providing these, and here he is with Jason and Scott in the pub last night. Ooh, indeed!


Next month, our guest is Ian Whates!

This is Not Just Any Post-Apocalyptic Play…

Focus contributor Taj Hayer has been in touch to tell us about his play North Country which is being performed in Bradford from 26th October to 5th November. Performances are taking place in an abandoned Marks and Spencer in Darley Street.


The play follows three teenagers from Bradford, Harvinder, Nusrat and Alleyne, who have survived an outbreak of plague, and must come to the rescue of their people, whilst facing down the zombie remnants of their civilization. Tickets available here.
£3, £5, or £10 tickets available.Venue: The Wild Woods, Darley Street, BD1 3HL (entrance on Piccadilly).

7.30pm Weds 26th of October, 7.30pm Thurs 27th October, 5.00pm Fri 28th October, 7.30pm Weds 2nd November, 1.30pm & 7.30pm Thurs 3rd November, 5.00pm Fri 4th November, and 1.30pm & 7.30pm Sat 5th November.


These Violent Delights – Review of new HBO Series, Westworld

Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973) was a film I watched over and over on Saturday afternoons as a teenager. In it, the Delos Company has created a vacation paradise for the rich, comprised of Roman World, Medieval World and Westworld, where vacationers can live out their fantasies in an immersive, historically themed environment. The big draw, for those who can afford to go there, is the presence of robot hosts who are there to be submissive to the will of the guests; to serve, to be fucked, to be killed. To enact barbarous acts against these machines is not only permitted, but encouraged in the name of fun and relaxation, despite their being physically indistinct from humans. Many vacationers delight in their exemption from morality, knowing the robots cannot return the harm

Holidaying friends Peter and John are our guides through the Westworld zone, with everyman Peter retaining a scepticism about the hosts. When challenged by the Gunslinger – the iconic role played by the steel-eyed Yul Brynner – Peter cannot quite let go of the idea that he is not safe. And indeed, he is proved right when an infectious malfunction leads the robots to begin killing the human guests, the Gunslinger becoming a relentless hunter intent on winning the ultimate gun battle against Peter.

The key tropes of this four-decades-old film remain sharp: the singularity (the technicians don’t fully know how to fix the computer-designed robots), the casualness with which guns are brandished in a holiday resort, the decisions of the resort managers to keep the resort going despite the problems, prioritising money over safety, and the entitlement and vulgarity of the moneyed classes, who arguably deserve their fate

When we have heard on the news that AI can learn from conversations on Twitter (which didn’t go too well), create paintings or compose original music, rightly or wrongly we get the impression that an AI capable of humanlike thought is within easy reach. And so many of the recent film and television concepts have dealt with the morality of this: how AI might believe themselves human, or superior to humans, or like humans with obsessive disorders (AI, Humans, Black Mirror), and the morality of humans treating them like machines. There is a high expectation for emotional complexity in this exchange. Put simply, when it comes to HBO’s new series Westworld, based on the 1973 film, white hat/black hat will not do, and the concept of AI must be both extrapolated and differentiated from previous models

In many respects, HBO have kept things simple for their new Westworld. Gone are the concepts of Roman World and Medieval World. Only Westworld remains, and its basic premise: an immersive holiday experience where the hosts are there to fulfill the desires, no matter how innocent or depraved, of the rich holidaymakers. Ahead, some minor spoilers…


The series opens with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), an AI host, sitting still, naked and bloodied in the cold blue light of the underground room where she has been taken for repair, a fly crawling over her glassy, unblinking eyes while her voice answers questions about where she is, how she feels. She believes she is in a dream. She does not know she is a robot.

Throughout this episode, we learn about Dolores and how she came to be in the room. She is a sweet girl-next-door type, who lives on a farm a short walk from the town of Sweetwater, where the “newcomers” arrive every day. She is asked what she thinks about them: “The newcomers are just looking for the same thing as we are – a place to be free. To stake out our dreams. A place with unlimited possibilities.”

Whether all the AI would agree with her point of view is not made clear, but Dolores says, “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty.”

Dolores and her father, Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum), are immediately likeable, as they share an appreciation of their world and an optimistic philosophy. Their bond is visibly real, and deep. And then there’s Teddy.

Teddy (James Marsden) arrives in town on the train, like any newcomer. A repeat visitor, Dolores always remembers him, and he seems set to play the storyline of chivalric suitor, hoping to win a woman’s affection rather than outright “pay”, which is the role-play he seems to be offered in the whorehouse by Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton). From the start it is clear he is playing a white hat, but there is some clever sleight of hand played with our expectations.


The iconic Yul Brynner role has been mentioned elsewhere as having been taken up by Ed Harris who plays the nameless Man in Black, a man with a mission to play the deepest, darkest game he can find, and who especially delights in inflicting pain and degradation on the hosts who don’t understand how they are unable to defend themselves against him, which is bizarrely, part of their design:

“I never understood why they paired some of you off. Seems cruel. And then I realised… winning doesn’t mean anything unless someone else loses.”

Not all the robots are unaware of their nature. In “Orientation”, guests are met by hosts who help them dress for Westworld, and acclimatise themselves to interacting with non-humans. This encounter is problematic enough for newcomers like William (Jimmi Simpson), though others take such opportunities in their stride.

Something is clearly very wrong in Westworld, but the set-up does not exactly mirror that of the 1973 film, and there are more grey areas in play. Is this a simple malfunction, or a mass murder in slow-motion, and if so, who is the killer or killers? Is it the Man in Black who wants to crack the code, or is it the owner and creator of Westworld, the mysterious Dr Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) who has invented the concept of “reveries”, gestures that robots can make at something akin to a sub-conscious? Or could it be the Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), the technician, who is secretly accessing the AI at night to ascertain how they think? Or could it be Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the emotionally volatile games designer, who comes up with horrific narrative concepts involving cults, slaughter and cannibalism to keep the guests entertained? And who might be the victims?

Harris, Marsden, Newton and Wood are exceptional in their roles, with Harris in particular exuding a subtle menace as the Man in Black. The lighting skilfully washes the different scenes with optimism and joy, or horror and despair, reflecting Dolores’s feelings, or ours, as her dark memories are overwritten – not that they can stay under the surface for much longer, and there are some very quotable lines, some of which may have you reassessing any romantic notions you still hold for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This is addictive storytelling.

Sweet, too, are the little Easter Eggs of rock tunes on the whorehouse pianola (I spotted “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden, “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones and “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead.) All in all, I was not disappointed, this looks to be a very compelling reworking of the original Westworld concept, and I look forward to the denouement of the rest of the series.

In the meantime, Ed Harris is appearing on the West End stage in the critically acclaimed New York production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Buried Child. Set in rural America in 1979 following a recession and political unrest, the play examines disenfranchisement of Americans in a dark, macabre and painfully funny family drama that is uncannily as relevant to the modern political era as it was during its first run almost 40 years ago. Starting November 14th at the Trafalgar Studios in London.


“An American gothic masterwork. It is to the American theatre what Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming is to the British stage, the classic domestic drama”

The New York Times

Recording of Edward Cox interviewed by Al Robertson at the Artillery Arms

Thanks once again to Chad Dixon who has sent us the audio recording of Edward Cox talking with Al Robertson at The Artillery Arms on Wednesday 28th September.

Listen to the conversation here.

And here they all are, looking fab and smiley.


14513571_10157473783425065_1250612907_oThank you, Al and Ed for being marvellous guests.



BSFA London Meeting Wed 26th October: Jason Arnopp interviewed by Scott K. Andrews

Location: The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND
 Jason Arnopp is the former editor of Kerrang magazine turned scriptwriter extraordinaire. Author of various BBC and Big Finish Doctor Who works, scriptwriter of numerous horror features, he is also the author of The Last Days of Jack Sparks published this year by Orbit.


Jason is interviewed by Scott K. Andrews, who is the author of The Timebomb books published by Hodder & Stoughton and The Afterblight Chronicles: School’s Out books for Abaddon books.


6pm Fans gather
7pm: start of interview.
8pm Q&A
8.15pm: book raffle (win a selection of sf novels for just £1 for 5 tickets).

Start Time: 19:00

BSFA London Meeting Wed 28th September: Ed Cox interviewed by Al Robertson

PLEASE NOTE, THERE IS NO LONDON MEETING THIS MONTH (AUGUST). However, here is something delightful for September…

Location: The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND

Edward Cox is the author of THE RELIC GUILD TRILOGY (The Relic Guild, The Cathedral of Known Things, and The Watcher of Dead Time) published by Gollancz.

Ed is interviewed by author, Al Robertson, whose novel Crashing Heaven was published this year by Gollancz, and very much enjoyed by Edward!


6pm Fans gather
7pm: start of interview.
8pm Q&A
8.15pm: book raffle (win a selection of sf novels for just £1 for 5 tickets).

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2016-09-28

Westcountry Weird at Waterstones Exeter, August 11th

This Thursday, authors Nina Allan, Catriona Ward and Aliya Whiteley will be appearing at a special event at Waterstones in Exeter along with George Sandison, editor in chief at Unsung Stories, to discuss the inspiration of the region on their writing.  On her blog post, Nina  Allan also writes: ” We will also be discussing war, climate change, the increasing importance of women in speculative fiction, and the rise of weird fiction generally in these unsettled times.”

The event begins at 18.30 pm at Waterstones Exeter (High Street branch). Tickets are £3. They can be purchased direct from Waterstones, reserved online or bought on the door on the night. Please visit the Waterstones site for more details.

Nina Allan is author of BSFA-Award nominated novel The Race, of which there is a new edition now out from Titan Books.

the race cover (2)








Catriona Ward’s debut novel Rawblood is currently shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award.

Aliya Whiteley’s latest novel, The Arrival of Missives, has made the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2016 list.


BSFA London Meeting Gaie Sebold, Farah Mendlesohn, Susan Gray and Russell Smith 27th July 2016

Location: The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND

In a change to the previously advertised line-up, we have a night of readings and chat with four awesome guests.

Photo Gaie Sebold c/o

Gaie Sebold – Author of the steamy Babylon Steel series, and the steampunk fantasy Shanghai Sparrow books, published by Solaris, she is also an award-winning poet.

Image result for farah mendlesohn

Photo Farah Mendlesohn c/o

Farah Mendlesohn – Award-winning science fiction and fantasy critic, and Professor and Head of the Department of English and Media at Anglia Ruskin University, Farah’s latest publication is Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction, co-authored with Michael Levy.

Photo Susan Gray c/o

Photo Susan Gray c/o

Susan Gray aka SuzieGeeForce, is a Science Fiction spoken word artist and playwright with several productions under her belt and is Artistic Director at Stars or Mars Theatre. She is studying for a Creative Writing PhD in Science Fiction and Theatre.

Photo R A Smith c/o

Photo R A Smith c/o

Russell Smith (R. A. Smith) – is the author of Oblivion Storm and Primal Storm from The Grenshall Manor Chronicles series. He is a graduate of MMU where he studied for his BA in English and his MA in Creative Writing.


6pm Fans gather
7pm: start of interview.
8pm Q&A
8.15pm: book raffle (win a selection of sf novels for just £1 for 5 tickets).

On 28 September Ed Cox will be interviewed by Al Robertson.
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2016-07-27