Aliens, hamsters in tutus, and the nightmare scenario for particle physics

Could aliens be blocking the progress of human science? Well, that’s a science fiction plot, but it has some truth behind it… In science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem, the alien Trisolarans send advanced AIs to block the progress of human science until their invasion fleet arrives. The

Building a Web Presence for SF&F

Madgeniusclub has an interesting article for SF&F writers on building web presence: 1- Be you.  Don’t try to sound educated, or professorial or anything of the kind, unless that is who you are, naturally.  Just be you.  I swear readers can smell “Phony” a mile off. 

Forbidden Thoughts, Dissident Minds

Online self-segregation gets written about a lot these days. That’s where people never encounter anyone who disagrees on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve unfriended or unfollowed dissenters on Facebook or are victims of software that tailors information to their worldview. But what happens if you leave your filter bubble? Well, about eighteen months

Was there life on Venus…?

In Edgar Rice Burroughs science-fantasy novel Pirates of Venus, the hero crash lands on Venus (Amtor) when his rocket ship is thrown off course. He discovers a verdant world of  giant vegetation and unmapped oceans, wreathed in thick clouds and – of course – populated by monsters and princesses

Belated thoughts on the Hugo Awards 2016

The 2016 Hugo Awards for science fiction had their ceremony on 20th August. Last year I closely followed the awards, after reading news stories alleging that US conservatives were trying to keep women authors out of SF. This year I didn’t vote, but posted the video below on

Celebrating the National Dog Days of Summer – Links: 27/08

Big news this week: An Earth-like planet was spotted in our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, raising hopes of glowing aliens. Sci-fi author Stephen Baxter speculated on the prospect on life. See also: the BBC with five (well, four) reasons to get excited about the find,

How to pitch your novel to Baen Books (maybe)

Earlier this summer I pitched my (unfinished) novel to Baen Books‘ Contributing Editor Gray Rinehart at a face-to-face critique session at LibertyCon, a three-day sci-fi and fantasy literature convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Unusually for a modern publisher, Baen takes unsolicited manuscripts. Gray is the Slushmaster General – a job,

Free fiction friday: Reinterpreting an award-winning story for fun and (no) profit

The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere won a Hugo Award for short science fiction & fantasy in 2014. The story is about Matt “coming out” to his traditional Chinese parents in a world where water falls on you when you lie. I loved the

Detecting a Death Star and other gravitational wave ideas

If you follow the news, you’ll know that last Thursday (11/02) scientists detected for the first time gravitational waves –  tremors in the fabric of space and time. The discovery confirmed the theories of Albert Einstein, who predicted their existence 100 years ago. If you’re a science fiction writer,

Yes, he is scary…

And I’m very proud of him… He’s my first major model painting project. He’s a Tyranid Tyrannofex, a massive biomechanical war engine from the Warhammer 40K universe. The Tyrannofex has the armour and fortitude of a living battle fortress and its bio-weaponry eclipses that of its foes’ most