Where the fires met the sea

Basalt columns, Giant’s Causeway… Legend has it that Irish giant Finn MacCool built these spectacular stone pillars, but they were actually created by rivers of molten rock some 50-60 million years ago. Today, the Giant’s Causeway and surrounding coast is a World Heritage Site. Click here to read more about the

Footprints in the sand…

I don’t have time to post, but couldn’t help sharing this sweet family photo…

Read for the day – The School of English

My complaint about the Hugo Awards 2014 Best Short Story was that the winner was mediocre literary fiction, which raises the question – “What is good literary fiction?” So I asked a few Facebook friends to recommend some literary short stories they loved. I’ve read one

Sicilian Sunday bake-off

Never argue with a Sicilian when cakes are on the line… Not only is Sicily one of my favourite places in the world, but they also have perhaps the best patisserie. Having been roped into an office bake-off, I couldn’t resist dipping into Sweet Sicily for these

Fandom, what fandom? The obligatory post-Hugo Awards post

I was amused to read in Yes! Magazine: Sci-Fi Fandom Declares Victory After Reactionary Nominees Lose Big at the Hugos ‘Sci-Fi fandom’ implies millions of booklovers, worldwide, all coming together to avert a hostile takeover of ‘science fiction’s most prestigious award‘  Yet the reality is that the Hugo Award 2015 for Best

The ornithopter that really flies…

One of mankind’s great dreams is to fly like a bird, and ornithopters have been a staple of fantastical fiction since Leonardo di Vinci drew his first speculative designs. But did you know that planes that flap their wings are a real technology? In 2010, what appears to

I’ve read 47 of the 100 “best” fantasy and SF novels…

… on the NPR list of “best” fantasy and SF novels and I’m a woman so I should agree with Liz Lutgendorff in recent New Statesman article, who claimed the list was (to paraphrase) outdated due to its lack of women and minorities. Unfortunately, I think she’s spectacularly missing the

Who says you can’t establish your own country?

Calling all future seasteaders. A wonderful article in the Independent by the first journalist to stay overnight on the Independent Principality of Sealand – a Second World War anti-aircraft fortress off the UK coast that’s been an unofficial micro-nation since the 1960s. Seven miles off the coast of Suffolk,

Reading the Rocket: Best Novel

Are there any recent SF novels as good as The Three-Body Problem? Novels with world-changing ideas? Wild sweeps of imagination? Nail-clenching consequences for the characters? The ability to inspire my younger self to a passion for science? Published post-2010 and in the English language… Going by the rest of

An Open Letter to Tom Kratman – Big Boys Don’t Cry

Dear Tom, Yesterday I read your Big Boys Don’t Cry, which is nominated for the  2015 Hugo Award for Best Novella. There were bits of Big Boys Don’t Cry that I enjoyed, but your novella was a struggle to read. I nearly gave up at the 7% mark.  It