December 2019 Salon Futura

A new issue of my fanzine, Salon Futura, went live today. Here’s the things I reviewed:

In addition there’s an interview with Kate Macdonald from Handheld Press, and cover art and an editorial.

Happy reading.

Salon Futura Website Updates

In search of something constructive to do today, I decided to write some code. There are now some helpful indexes on the Salon Futura website. I’m particularly pleased about having automated the author index for book reviews. Of course it is sorted by first name, because computers are silly like that and getting it do to it right would be a whole lot more work. But it is an awful lot better than having no index at all.

Now that’s done, I can work on porting over all of the reviews from this site, and eventually adding all of the reviews from Emerald City as well.

Hugo Eligibility Post

It is that time of year again, so what have I been up to in 2019?.

Firstly I have published two Short Stories. They are:

Secondly, as I have now published four issues, Salon Futura is eligible in Fanzine.

Thirdly, as I write most of Salon Futura myself, I am eligible in Fan Writer.

For those just catching up on all this, the main reason why I am tossing my hat into the fan awards ring again, despite having plenty of shiny rockets to keep me company, is that interest in the Fanzine category has been waning of late. I’m hoping to boost participation. If you have a fanzine and want people to nominate it, let me know and I will signal boost for you.

(This post was updated on Dec. 9th to add the second short story.)

November Salon Futura

A new issue of Salon Futura went live yesterday. That’s four issues for the year now, so it is Hugo-eligibe for next year. Here’s the main contents:

October Salon Futura

In case you missed the announcements last week, the October issue of Salon Futura is now available. You can read it here.

I have a guest article this time — an update of Kevin’s legendary article on designing convention badges, because this is one con-running lesson that people never seem to learn. There’s also my report on FantasyCon, and an audio interview with Ellen Datlow. But as usual the main content is book reviews and in this issue we have:

  • The Warrior Moon by K Arsenault Rivera
  • FranKissStein by Jeanette Winterson
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein by Farah Mendlesohn
  • Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield
  • Shadows of Athens by JM Alvey
  • David Mogo, Godhunter, by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
  • Brightfall by Jamie Lee Moyer

Salon Futura Returns

I promised after Worldcon that I would do my bit to revive interest in the Fanzine category of the Hugos by actually publishing a fanzine. Technically, of course, this blog is eligble as a fanzine, but it doesn’t look like one so people tend to forget. Also I haven’t made a big fuss about wanting nominations. But now I am moving all of the SF&F content over to Salon Futura, where it will look like a fanzine. I’ll be interested to see what effect that has.

For the current issue I haven’t had a lot of time, but I’ve moved over all of the book reviews and audio that I did in August, plus I have added a Worldcon report and an editorial. That will give you a good idea of what future issues will look like. Future issues will follow a similar pattern, but with all new material.

Oh, and I also plan to move a whole lot of existing reviews and audio to that site, and make the material more easily indexable.

If there is anything else you wanted to know, it is probably in the Editorial, so why not pop over and take a look at Salon Futura #10.

Interview – Regina Wang

This is the other interview that I promised you from Åcon X. Regina and I had a chat about her work promoting Chinese SF around the world. Here are links to some of the things we talked about.

Regina, Chen Quifan and Neil Clarke will all be at Worldcon in Dublin. Knowing Regina, she’s probably going to the Eurocon as well.

Chen Quifan is doing an event in London tonight.

Farah & Cathy on DWJ

I entirely forgot to make a post about last month’s radio show because I was in Finland when it aired. As I’m in the middle of prep for this month’s show, I have been reminded of this and need to do something about it, because there were some good interviews in the show.

One of them is with Regina Wang, which I plan to get online before Worldcon. The other is with Farah Mendlesohn and Cathy Butler, which is slightly more urgent because it is about an event that is taking place this coming weekend – the conference on Diana Wynne Jones that they are running in Bristol (and which I can’t go to because I am swamped with work).

Farah and Cathy are always good value for a chat, but there is no better subject to set them off on than Diana. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Congratulations, Tade

The winner of the 2019 Arthur C Clark Award was announced last night. I am absolutely delighted that the prize went to Tade Thompson. I’ve been telling people about Rosewater for over 2 years, and of course it won the Nommo in 2017. It was also a Campbell Award finalist in 2017 (that’s the SF novel award, not the new writer one). Sometimes it can take a book a while to break into the big time.

The upside of this is that I have a couple of interviews with Tade in which he talks about the book.

This one is from 2017. The sound quality is a bit poor, but there’s more about Rosewater in it.

This one is from FantasyCon last year.

Joanne Harris at FantasyCon

This is another interview I did at FantasyCon last year and subsequently used on Ujima. It is with Joanne Harris who, as she explains, is very much a fantasy writer no matter what bookshops might think.

Joanne and I talked about Norse myths, her new book, The Blue Salt Roads, fan fiction and who might play Loki if her books about him ever get filmed. We also discussed the Child Ballads, a collection of Scottish folk tales which have become a source for some of Joanne’s recent work.

Tade Thompson at FantasyCon

I’m trying to make a conscious attempt to catch up on the enormous amount of audio I have stacked up waiting to be published. There are interviews I did at Worldcon in Helsinki that I ran on the radio but still haven’t put online. But before I get to those there are some slightly more up to date pieces that I should run before they become completely stale.

I’m starting with an interview that I did at FantasyCon at the end of last year. Tade Thompson is one of my favorite people to interview because he always has plenty to say, and is always in good humor even when he’s having a rant. This interview covers the success of Rosewater, the scariness of The Murders of Molly Southborne, and what it is like for black writers to live in a post-Black Panther world.

November Fringe Readings

Well, this is a little bit late, but treat it as a timely Solstice present. Here is the audio from the November BristolCon Fringe event, with a bonus interview at the end.

It being just past Halloween, November was a horror month at Fringe. Our first reader was Baylea Hart who describes herself as an IT Technician by day, horror writer by night and a reader everywhere in between. She has a BA in creative writing from Bath Spa University and enjoys watching people grow slightly white after reading her stories. Her short story, “Jack in the Box”, won the 2015 Bristol Horror Writing Competition and her film, Behind the Door, won a Top 50 spot in the Bloody Cuts “Who’s There?” competition and has over 500,000 views on YouTube.

Baylea read from her novel, The Log House, which will be available from Unbound very shortly.

Our second reader for November was Jonathan L Howard, who read from his recently published novel, After the End of the World. This is a sequel to the critically acclaimed Carter & Lovecraft. And yes (spolier!), the world did really end in that book. There is a little bit of explanation as to what is going on in the Q&A, but chapter 1 of the new book stands pretty much on its own. The new world that Dan and Emily find themselves in after the destruction of the world we know is rather different. Explaining just how different allows Jonathan to indulge his passion for alternate history.

No tentacled beings from beyond the stars were harmed in the production of this podcast.

As is traditional, I put both of our authors to the question at the end of the evening. We learned that Baylea has the Best Mum in the World, and that horror writers have dreadful habits as children. Jonathan explained some of the background to After the End of the World. And Gareth Powell ask the very difficult question, “Who would win in a fight: Cthulhu or Godzilla?”

As a bonus, because it is Solstice Day today, here from Salon Futura is the interview I did with Jonathan on my radio show at the start of the month. It has a small amount of overlap with the Q&A, but we make up for that in enthusiastic discussion of Nazi-punching.

Fringe takes a break over the holidays, but we will be back in January with the very wonderful Lucy Hounsom.

Tade Thompson Interview


As promised last week, I have dug out the interview with Tade Thompson that I did for Ujima and made the whole thing available on Salon Futura. We had a whole pile of issues with the Skype recording on this one so the sound quality is not good, but there is more here than I was able to broadcast on the show.

Tade’s novel, Rosewater has just become the first ever winner of the Best Novel prize in the Nommo Awards from the African Speculative Fiction Society. It seems like there should be a lot of renewed interest in the book, and in Tade’s other work, and that therefore I should share this podcast with you.

In the interview Tade talks about some of the ideas behind Rosewater, about his now released novella, The Murders of Molly Southbourne, and about writing a ghost story.

Foz Meadows in The Salon

Last week I did an interview with Foz Meadows about her recently published novel, An Accident of Stars. As might be expected when you get two ranty feminists with a strong interest in gender together, we had a lot to talk about. In particular I wanted to talk about how Foz manages to do a whole bunch of things I would not normally recommend when writing a trans character and make them work. One of the reasons for this, of course, is that if you create a world in which transphobia doesn’t exist then most of the usual rules go out of the window.

Of course we managed to find lots more topics to discuss as well. In particular Foz sheds some light on her thinking when creating the matriarchal society in the world of her book. Foz also explains how the book is, in part, about the “Susan Problem”, something which all teenage girls who read Narnia will recognize.

Along the way there’s a brief shout out to the wonderful Trudi Canavan, and some words of praise for Seanan McGuire’s wonderful Every Heart a Doorway.

The interview took place over Skype with Foz in Queensland and me in England, so the sound quality isn’t up to studio standards. But hey, video phone call to Australia; we are living in the future.

Cat Valente at Finncon, Two Interviews

The latest podcast to go up on Salon Futura is the full version of my interview with Cat Valente from Finncon. As you may recall, I broadcast part of it on Women’s Outlook a while back, but the whole thing is about half an hour long and so I had to trim quite a bit. As is the way with mainstream media, I chose to trim all of the interesting writing and publishing business neepery, but you’ll get all that good stuff here.

The interview covers the whole of Cat’s career from her childhood obsession with fairy tales through her student days in Edinburgh, her early success with The Orphan’s Tales, the amazing phenomenon that is the Fairyland books and her later adult novels such as Deathless and Radiance. There is, inevitably, mention of David Bowie (Cat and I had just done the Bowie & Prince panel). There is also a fair amount of giggling by both parties. My excuse was that I was getting to interview a writer whose work I absolutely adore.

By the way, the nice Finncon people videoed a lot of the panels and have been beavering away editing the material. I have no idea whether the Trans panel or the Bowie & Prince panel will ever end up on the Internet, but I think you are safe from the Cat & Cheryl do karaoke “Starman” thing because that would be a copyright violation.

However, the GoH speeches are available, so if the above is not enough Cat for you here is Johan Anglemark interviewing Cat in the main auditorium. I’m sat down the front taking notes. I don’t think they ever pull the camera back far enough to see me, but they can’t avoid showing the anime dance practice taking place outside. Check it out, it is awesome.

Mike Carey at Waterstones

As promised, I have uploaded the other Mike Carey interview to Salon Futura. This is the one that we did at Waterstones in the evening. It is almost an hour long, so we have a lot more time to talk about Fellside. Mike and I go on a little rant about the economics of private prisons. The conversation also touches on films. The Girl with All the Gifts is due for release on September 23rd. Here’s the trailer.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to release this too soon is that Mike would have had to kill me, because during the interview he mentions the possibility of a prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts. That book is now official, so I no longer have to worry.

Inevitably Mike and I talk about the X-Men. Indeed, I suspect that we could have talked about superhero movies all evening had not one or two people been scowling at us from the audience. Obviously I mentioned the Felix Castor novels, which led us on to the idiocies of publisher branding policies. We even managed to mention the Steel Seraglio books, which Mike wrote with his wife, Linda, and daughter, Louise.

The sound quality is rather poor in places, for which my apologies. My little microphone doesn’t cope well with a cavernous shop, and there were all sorts of issues with capturing audience questions. Hopefully it is all listenable.

This event was arranged by the Bristol Festival of Literature. My thanks to Pete Sutton for doing a fine job.

Next week in the Salon I’ll have the full version of my Finncon interview with Cat Valente.

Mike Carey in the Salon – Part I

Fellside
Today on Salon Futura I posted the audio from my interview with Mike Carey on Ujima Women’s Outlook back in May. We were mainly discussing his latest novel, Fellside, but conversation also strayed onto The Girl with All the Gifts and the X-Men.

Mike’s comments are particularly interesting in view of the US Department of Justice’s recent decision to stop using private prisons. Whether the UK will follow suit is very much open to debate.

As I note in the interview, I was also scheduled to interview Mike at Waterstones that evening. I have edited the audio from that and hope to have it online for you later this week. In the meantime, here is Part I.

Cavan Scott in The Salon

I have been working on processing some of the interview material that I did for Ujima and has now vanished from the Listen Again service. This week will be mainly about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, with a bit of Star Wars and The Beano thrown in. I’m starting up with Cavan Scott who does all of those things. Later in the week I’ll bring you Paul Cornell as well.

Here’s Cav. I had the poor man in the studio for a whole hour. With the music, news and ads removed it boils down to about half of that. Among other things we talk about how he came to have the #1 selling book in the whole of the UK.

Leah Moore Interview

I have just uploaded the full version of the interview with Leah Moore than I made while I was in Liverpool. In addition to the material that we broadcast on Ujima Radio, this version contains a discussion of the Electricomics venture that she has started with (amongst others) her father and her husband, John Reppion, with the support of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

For more information about Electricomics see their website, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts is a £7 million fund from Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta to support collaboration between arts projects, technology providers and researchers to explore the potential of increasing audience engagement or find new business models. Separate Digital R&D Fund for the Arts are being run in Wales and in Scotland.

DRD logo