Shout-Out – BSFA Nominations List

BristolCon’s 2012 GoH Gareth L. Powell has been listed for Best Novel for Ack-Ack Macaque, and he’s up against our 2014 GoH Emma Newman, with Between Two Thorns, and 2009 GoH Alistair Reynolds with On the Steel Breeze

One of the stories from Newcon Press’ anthology Looking Landwards, launched at BristolCon in 2013, has a Short Fiction listing: Charlie’s Ant, by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Andy Bigwood, BristolCon’s Art Show Wrangler and cover artist for both Colinthology and our forthcoming book Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion, have been listed for the BSFA award for Best Artwork, for the cover of Geoff Nelder’s Aria: Returning Left Luggage.

Emma Newman also has an entry for her podcast, Tea and Jeopardy.

You can get the full list of entries so far here, and they’re open for one more week.


Shout-out – me on the radio!

Strictly speaking, I should have blogged about this BEFORE it happened, but I’ve been busy this week putting the finishing touches on the BristolCon programme book.

This morning I made a brief appearance on the BCFM / Ujima Radio joint production, the One Love Breakfast Show. It was a lovely way to start the day; the presenters, Pat, Leah and the excellently-surnamed Tommy Popcorn, were very welcoming, and the tunes played during my stay in the studio were good tunes. It really does make a difference.

I didn’t manage to say everything I wanted to say, and I said some other things I had no intention of saying and would claw back in a heartbeat, but all in all it was OK. We talked BristolCon, of course; that’s what I was there for! I also managed a quick plug for the monkey, and mentions of our Guests of Honour: Philip Reeve, Storm Constantine and Mark Buckingham, and I *think* I managed to edge the launch for Looking Landwards in there as well.

I’m not listening to it again to check, because I find hearing my own voice uncanny, but you can hear the show here (I’m about 15 minutes down the file).

There’s a compo for copies of The Alchemyst by Michael Scott; listen for details or check out the show’s facebook page.

Shout-out: The Art of Forgetting

This week I have mostly been reading The Art of Forgetting Book One – Rider by Joanne Hall.

I have two disclaimers to make before I talk about the book. Firstly, Jo’s a mate, and I’m a fan of her work. Secondly, I’ve been ill this week. The kind of ill that totally stops you enjoying life, without actually promising to end it for you. So a page turner of a fantasy adventure story what just what I needed. That and a lot of ice-cream.

Rider is much more than a great bit of escapism, though. Jo writes high fantasy with a straightforward, earthy humour. Her characters face difficult emotional challenges as well as physical ones; there are more inner demons than outer ones. She doesn’t gloss over the harshness of a pre-industrial, wartime existence, and neither does she fetishize it.

The novel is set in the same world as Jo’s New Kingdom trilogy, and takes up the story of Rhodri, a child found wandering in the woods and raised by villagers who mistrust his uncannily perfect memory. An outsider, he is persecuted until the day the King’s Third ride through the village and change his life almost completely.

Rhodri’s talent is of course also a curse, as he is unable to forget the horrors he sees. The bullying doesn’t stop when he leaves the village, and he makes his own mistakes along the path towards adulthood. 

Rider is to a large extent a coming-of-age story, and sex and gender are important features. Jo handles these deftly, ducking genre clichés and handling heavy issues with great lightness of touch. As we see Rhodri make both discoveries and blunders, we develop an understanding of this conflicted young man, and personally I found him very sympathetic, with just enough darkness to make him interesting. He’s loyal – when he’s not blinded by his own passions. He’s honest – when he’s not breaking under the pressure of other people’s expectations. He’s ambitious, and one gets the feeling that ill things may come of it.

The book isn’t out until June, but you can pre-order it now from Kristell Ink. You can find out more here: or on Jo’s blog:


Shout-out: Bloodchildren launched!

On Tuesday 22nd January, Book View Cafe launched Bloodchildren, an anthology of stories by each of the Octavia E Butler scholarship students. As I mentioned before Christmas, it is edited by Nisi Shawl, and contains a story by my delicious Clarion West classmate Christopher Caldwell.

I’ve just finished reading it, and I do have to urge you to read it if you can. There is some powerful writing here. Chris’ story, “My Love Will Never Die” was workshopped at Clarion West and I have always loved it for the way it starts off refreshingly sweet and then… changes, like a pint of Guinness as you approach the dregs at the bottom of the glass.

“Dancing in the Shadow of the Once” is a scathing critique of minority culture as entertainment, yet told beautifully without rancour. Another highlight for me was “Legendaire”, although I think I will need to read it another time or two before I quite understand it, as it’s a sinuous tale, not easy to grasp. Finally I want to tip my hat to both Indra and Lisa for their stories, both of which have the confidence and strength of long-time pro writers, and you would never guess that they were last year’s workshop graduates.

You can buy it (e-book only) until June 22nd from

The table of contents is:

Introduction by Nalo Hopkinson

Before Conception
“Speech Sounds” by Octavia E. Butler
“Octavia Estelle Butler” by Vonda N. McIntyre

“My Love Will Never Die” by Christopher Caldwell
“Falling into the Earth” by Shweta Narayan

“Free Bird” by Caren Gussoff
“Impulse” by Mary Burroughs

“Dancing in the Shadow of the Once” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“Légendaire.” by Kai Ashante Wilson
“Steal the Sky” by Erik Owomoyela

“/sit” by Jeremy Sim
“Re: Christmas, Bainbridge Island” by Dennis Y. Ginoza

“The Runner of n-Vamana” by Indrapramit Das
“The Salt Water African” by Lisa Bolekaja


Shout-out: Ack-Ack Macaque Launch

Gareth L. Powell’s hotly anticipated monkey book was finally launched on Wednesday at Forbidden Planet in London. Apparently it was brilliant, and he read very entertainingly. So I was pretty grumpsed to discover that he was not reading on Saturday in Bristol, just signing. Still, it was great to see him and the rest of the Bristol SFF crew, and I’ve got my copy of Ack-Ack Macaque, so that’s my Christmas adventure sorted.

Bad Monkey + Fairies = ?

This week sees the launch of Gareth L. Powell’s hotly anticipated monkey trouble novel, Ack-Ack Macaque. Gareth will be doing readings at Forbidden Planet in London on Weds 12th December, and at FP in Bristol on 15th December. Drop in if you can – Gareth is getting rather good at this public speaking malarkey, and the monkey is a hoot (though you might want to wear something sturdy. And washable.) More details of the launch events are here.

Also on the 15th in Bristol is a fairy-themed reading event: Fairies at the Bottom of the Market, which features fair folk Scott Lewis, Joanne Hall and Emma Newman reading fae-related stories. Any proceeds from the event go to Above and Beyond, the same charity we supported with the Colinthology.

This one takes place at Lunartique in St. Nicholas Market at 14:30, so you can do this one AND the moneky. Hurrah! Pass me a pistol, a bottle of Scotch and a really thick book for flattening fairies in.