Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Return Of Serious Science Fiction

Literary SF has a small but dedicated following, and usually defeats me, although I read a lot of it growing up, mainly because the ABCs, Aldiss, Asimov, Ballard and Clarke, were ubiquitous in paperback. There has been a gradual move toward ‘adult’ SF lately, but mostly on film. The genre has split itself into sub-groups; […]

Word-Smashing 3: How To Schedule Your Time

Every day for the past month I’ve been pulling down dawn-to-dusk working hours (often going well past midnight). I’ve been working to finish the second draft of the next Bryant & May novel. I keep very little written down about it, except in a single manuscript file in the Cloud – everything else is in […]

What’s The Most Annoying Tech?

Remington, Brother, Wordstar, Betamax, 8-Track, cassettes, for god’s sake – I feel as if I’ve been through the technological mill, and you probably do too…but good technology changes us daily. This morning I answered my door to a tradesman via my mobile from a different country. Last night I turned down the heat in my […]

The Best Way To Read Is On A Toaster

The first electric toaster in the world was Scottish; it was invented by Alan Macmasters in Edinburgh in 1893. General Electric swiped the idea in 1909 and the thing went global. It became ubiquitous in kitchens (and remains so) because it can only do one thing. It cooks bread. A child can use it safely, […]

Careers In Word-Smashing 3: Pleasing Yourself

I don’t know of many writers who admit to being happy. The good ones are deeply critical of their own material; Alan Bennett seems perpetually amazed that anyone would want to read him, and many writers I know are looking to the next work to properly correct the mistakes they see in their last one. […]

Maggie’s Mind Lint 4

Time for another dip into the bran-tub of Maggie’s mind. This brings us up to date. For those of you who haven’t been following this, the eponymous white witch from my Bryant & May books is very much a real person and sends me immense texts that reveal the threshing machine of her thought processes. […]

Careers In Word Smashing Part II

I tend to look at all writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, novel, TV series, film and stage play, as stories. For me, a story must have enough structure and linearity to provide the reader/viewer with satisfaction. After that anything else can be added; thematic power, surreality, musical numbers, I don’t mind. You had me at […]

Why I’d Have Preferred A Southern European Childhood

1 Railway station destination boards have half a dozen countries on them. 2 Facial hair at 14 (Spain, Greece and Italy only). 3 Can sit outside for more than 20 minutes without having to go and dry off. 4 Emotional freedom; gesticulation, sweary gestures, shouting, slapping, kissing, public hugging, random protests, losing temper, generally being […]

Maggie’s Mind Lint 3

It’s been a while since we dipped back into the unhinged world of my dear friend Maggie Armitage and the stream of unconsciousness texts she sends me on a daily basis. Some of these are insightful. Some are simply as mad as an old man’s trousers. Maggie definitely invented the selfie years before anyone else […]

The Strange Story Of Keeping Calm & Carrying On

I’m in Barcelona listening to a Spanish song on the radio, which has as part of its chorus; ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’, such is the international fame of this simple little phrase. How on earth did it conquer Europe (and who knows, other parts of the world) so ubiquitously? It started out as a […]