News roundup

Here at BSFA Towers we get various items of news about forthcoming events sent to us; but we aren’t always too good about disseminating them.

When I say “we”, I mean “I”, of course. My fellow committee members and Towers-dwellers are lovely and excellent and would never sit for weeks on something that came in via the contact form.

Anyway, to make up for my tarditude (a new word I’ve just invented), here are four items of interest that have come in recently. My apologies to the various organisations for them all being in a collected post.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Hanna Goldschmidt writes:

I am contacting you on behalf of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, which takes place 3 – 12 October in the centre of town, as you may know. We have just announced our programme for 2014, and there are a number of events that would be of interest to your members, readers and visitors.

I would like to especially highlight our series of Science Fiction and Fantasy events. Celebrating Sci Fi and Fantasy, River of London author Ben Aaronovitch, Mitch Benn and Joe Abercrombie discuss their latest works. Another special event featuring Jem Roberts, Ed Victor and Terry Jones will pay tribute to Douglas Adams, best known for his iconic work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid?genres=232

Please also visit our general programme for more information on the overall Festival schedule, including topics such as Fiction, Lifestyle, Current Affairs or Studio, Stage & Screen: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid

English PEN

Rebekah from English PEN — who recently hosted Audrey Niffenegger’s excellent talk at Loncon 3 — says:

I’m writing to let you know about a science fiction/literary event taking place on Monday 6 October at Southbank Centre in London.

English PEN is the founding branch of an international writers’ organisation/free speech charity, of which HG Wells was an early president.

Science Fiction: Home of the Literary Activist‘ will take HG Wells as a starting point for a discussion on what it is about activism that engages the SF community. Often, especially on matters regarding freedom of expression, readers and writers of the science fiction genre are particularly active in English PEN’s campaigns.

The event will take the form of a panel discussion chaired by Sophie Mayer, featuring writers Nick Harkaway, James Smythe and Gwyneth Jones and editor Anne C. Perry.

De Montfort University call for papers

Peter Conde says;

Please find enclosed a call for papers for the De Montfort University Narratives of Cyber event taking place on 26th November

CALL FOR PAPERS: Prometheus, COLOSSUS, HAL … and Beyond:  The Narratives of ‘Cyber’

De Montfort University, The Curve Theatre, Leicester:  26th November 2014

When a nation is powerful it tells the world confident stories about the future. The stories can be enchanting or frightening. But they make sense of the world. But when that power begins to ebb, the stories fall apart. And all that is left are fragments, which haunt you like half-forgotten dreams.
(Adam Curtis)

This one-day conference seeks to draw together academics and practitioners from as many different fields as possible, to encourage debate and discussion around the complex, contentious and contested theme of ‘cyber’, information technology, and the relationship between Human and Machine.

Humanity structures its vision of the world through constructed narratives (cultural, religious, political…) which seek to explain and justify our reading of reality; what are the narratives which have shaped and are shaping our existence as individuals and groups in a realm mediated and ordered through technology? As Grant Morrison puts it. “We live in the stories we tell ourselves”; what are the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship with the computer?

We seek proposals (300 words maximum) for papers of 20 minutes duration approaching these issues from as wide a range of perspectives as possible. A non-exhaustive list of subject areas might include:

  • Literary and cinematic visions of the information age
  • Robotics, cyborgs and transhumanism
  • Cyber-dissidence and resistance
  • Technophila and technophobia
  • Definitions of ‘cyberculture’

and many more…

All proposals must be received by 30th September 2014. (Speakers will be informed of acceptance within 1 week of deadline.)

Please send your paper proposal, and any requests for further information, to:

Email: cybertalk@softbox.co.uk (email heading “Cybernarratives proposal”)

Tel: 01347 812100

Web: www.softbox.co.uk/cybertalk

Arvon residential Science Fiction writing course

From Emma Feasey we hear:

I am writing to let you know about a residential Science Fiction writing course we are running later this year. Our courses take place in beautiful countryside locations, with a mixture of workshops, individual tutorials and time and space to write.

SCIENCE FICTION: Dreams and visions 20th – 25th October 2014, Totleigh Barton, Devon

In a world hemmed in by clocks, schedules and ‘business as usual’, science fiction reminds us of the value of dreams, capturing our epic capacity for good and evil. Build imaginary worlds, join in philosophical games, crack wild and bitter jokes and conjure visions both alarming and alluring. For all prose writers keen to experiment, the week will introduce a genre spectacularly in tune with our times.

Tutors:

  • Simon Ings edits Arc, a literary quarterly from New Scientist. His books include The Eye, A History of Vision, and novels The Weight of Numbers and Dead Water. He is writing a history of Soviet science.
  • Liz Jensen is the author of eight novels spanning several genres, including science fiction, among them Ark Baby, The Rapture and The Uninvited. Her work has been nominated for several awards, developed for film, and translated into more than 20 languages.

Guest: M. John Harrison’s novel Climbers won the Boardman Tasker Prize in 1989. His most recent novel is Empty Space.
http://www.arvon.org/course/science-fiction/

Tom Pollock – Launch of Our Lady of the Streets 7th August at Forbidden Planet

Jo Fletcher Books have sent us word that Tom Pollock (The Glass Republic; The City’s Son) is launching his new novel Our Lady of the Streets this Thursday 7th August at London’s Forbidden Planet. Tom will be doing a reading, and has promised to bring brownies as well – bonus! the reading will be followed by a reception at the Hercules Pillars on Great Queen Street.

 

Tom Pollock http://tompollock.com/

Tom Pollock
http://tompollock.com/

To RSVP, please click on the Facebook link here.

 

‘Vivid, inventive  and truly weird.’ Daily Mail

Ever since Beth Bradley found her way into a hidden London, the presence of its ruthless goddess, Mater Viae, has lurked in the background. Now Mater Viae has returned with deadly consequences.

The streets are wracked by convulsions as muscles of wire and pipe go into spasm, bunching the city into a crippled new geography; pavements flare to thousand-degree fevers, incinerating pedestrians; and towers fall, their foundations decayed. As the city sickens, so does Beth – her essence now part of this secret London. But when it is revealed that Mater Viae’s plans for dominion stretch far beyond the borders of the city, Beth must make a choice: flee, or sacrifice her city in order to save it.

Ritual Crime Unit – E.E. Richardson

ritual crime unitRitual Crime Unit: Under the Skin is the first in a new series of urban fantasy police procedurals marking not only the beginning of a new series for Abaddon Books but also a different way of publishing. Mainly available in e-book format, Under The Skin is available in limited numbers as a physical edition.

A tough, hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing, DCI Claire Pierce of North Yorkshire Police heads Northern England’s underfunded and understaffed Ritual Crime Unit. Ignored by the traditional police, struggling with an out-sized caseload, Pierce is about to tackle her most shocking case so far.

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs – Mike Resnick

TheDoctorAndTheDinosaurs-400

Described as a ‘Weird West Tale’ that mixes an alternate Wild West with magic and steampunk, Mike Resnick has blended history and fantasy into a thoroughly entertaining novel.

The time is April, 1885. Doc Holliday lies in bed in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, expecting never to leave his room again. But the medicine man and great chief Geronimo needs him for one last adventure. Renegade Comanche medicine men object to the newly-signed treaty with Theodore Roosevelt. They are venting their displeasure on two white men who are desecrating tribal territory in Wyoming. Geronimo must protect the men or renege on his agreement with Roosevelt. He offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for taking on this mission.

Welcome to the birth of American paleontology, spearheaded by two brilliant men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two men whose genius is only exceeded by their hatred for each other’s guts. 

Now, with the aid of Theodore Roosevelt, Cole Younger, and Buffalo Bill Cody, Doc Holliday must save Cope and Marsh not only from the Comanches, not only from living, breathing dinosaurs, but from each other. And that won’t be easy.

Limit – Frank Schatzing

limitHugely popular in his native Germany, Frank Schatzing’s Limit is a serious, heavyweight tome of a sci-fi novel. Praised for his brilliant characters and expansive, epic storytelling, Schatzing’s work asks questions about the nature of humankind’s future.

In 2025, entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon. But Orley Enterprises deals in more than space tourism—it also operates the world’s only space elevator, which in addition to allowing the very wealthy to play tennis on the lunar surface connects Earth with the moon and enables the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future, back to the planet. Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his brand-new lunar accommodation, hoping to secure the finances for a second elevator.
 
On Earth, meanwhile, cybercop Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker known as Yoyo, who’s been on the run since acquiring access to information that someone seems quite determined to keep quiet. As Jericho closes in on the girl and the conspiracy swirling around her, he finds mounting evidence that connects her to Julian Orley as well as to the entrepreneur’s many competitors and enemies. Soon, the detective realizes that the lunar junket to Orley’s hotel is in real and immediate danger.

On The Steel Breeze – Alastair Reynolds

On-the-Steel-Breeze

A British Sci-Fi master, Alastair Reynolds has produced another awe-inspiring epic tale. Loosely connected to the author’s earlier Poseidon’s Children, his latest work reads as a stand-alone novel. On The Steel Breeze intertwines two stories, set light years apart and is crafted with consummate skill, resulting in a brilliant hard sci-fi novel.

An epic vision of our journey into deep space.

Hundreds of years from now mankind will finally inherit the stars. A fleet of holoships is heading towards the nearest habitable planet at 15% the speed of light. In massive asteroids turned into ships, tens of millions of people are heading towards a new home. A home that bears signs of an ancient alien civilisation.

No-one knows what they will find when they get there in 90 years. But the main problem is that the ships will have to break the laws of physics to be able to stop. And the research into ways to stop risk the ships themselves. Has mankind squandered the utopia of years past?

David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy to Take Place at World Fantasycon, Brighton

DGLA large image

This year sees the fifth ever David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, and appropriately the winner will be announced  on Thursday 31st October at World Fantasycon at the Brighton Metropole hotel.

The David Gemmell Awards honour the life of one of fantasy fiction’s most acclaimed authors and seek to recognize the very best of modern literature in the field.

Three awards will be presented during the ceremony: the Legend Award for best novel, the Morningstar Award for best debut and the Ravenheart Award for best cover art. As well as these presentations, the ceremony features the Gemmell Awards auction, with some incredible lots to be bid for, including a full year’s worth of Tor UK books, a manuscript assessment from renowned editor Jo Fletcher, and art prints from leading artists Anne Sudworth and Dominic Harman.

The ceremony will also include the official launch of  ‘Legends’, a collection of new short stories written in honour of David Gemmell. Published by NewCon Press, the anthology features a fantastic line-up of contributors including Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Tanith Lee, Juliet E McKenna, Stan Nicholls, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ian Whates and many others.

 

Proceedings begins at 8pm, and close around 9:30pm. Entry to the event is free, and no ticket is required – anyone interested in attending can simply turn up on the night itself. Please note that while the event is affiliated with the World Fantasy Convention, also running at the Brighton Metropole Hotel, attending the ceremony does not also allow entry to the convention.

Shortlist for the Legend Awards:

ABERCROMBIE, Joe – Red Country – Gollancz

KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK

LAWRENCE, Mark – King of Thorns – Harper Collins UK

LOWE, Helen – The Gathering of the Lost – Orbit

WEEKS, Brent – The Blinding Knife – Orbit

Shortlist for Morningstar Award:

AHMED, Saladin – Throne of the Crescent Moon – Gollancz & DAW

CAMERON, Miles – The Red Knight – Gollancz

GWYNNE, John – Malice – Pan Macmillan UK

HARTE, Aidan – Irenicon – Jo Fletcher Books

KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK

Shortlist for Ravenheart Award:

GRAFFET, Didier & SENIOR, David – Red Country – Joe Abercrombie – Gollancz

HARMAN, Dominic – The Legion of Shadow – Michael J. Ward – Gollancz

LANG, Neil – Stormdancer – Jay Kristoff – Pan Macmillan UK

LANGLEY, Clint – Besieged – Rowena Cory Daniells – Solaris

MANHOOD, Silas – The Blinding Knife – Brent Weeks – Orbit

YOULL, Stephen – The Black Mausoleum – Stephen Deas – Gollancz

For more information, contact dgla@live.co.uk