American ®Evolution: news from the front

Gemsigns drops in America today! That is to say, today’s the day it can be found on the shelves of bookshops or dispatched to you from your preferred online retailer (and if you pre-ordered the ebook it’s probably already sitting on your reader as I write this). I am very excited, and slightly nervous; I went to university in the States and spent well over a decade there afterwards, moving between Massachusetts, California and Florida. There’s no doubt that those years have hugely informed who I am, how I think and what I write; and although the ®Evolution novels are set in my current home city of London, it was in America that I first began to grapple with the issues they address. So in a strange way it feels as though I am sending some of those lessons and questions back home; and hoping they will find as welcome a reception as I did, when it was my home.

If the last few weeks are anything to go by I shouldn’t worry; the reviews so far have been excellent. I’ve also been invited to contribute articles on various topics to a number of blogs and webzines. Here are the most recent.

More Kids, Please | Bookworm Blues | 5 May 2014

Think about your own narrative. Whether or not you have kids, you’ll certainly remember being one. Didn’t you have constant interactions with the adults around you? Didn’t you think thoughts and have complex feelings and cause things to happen? Weren’t you a person then too?

Changing Stories: Social Media in Speculative Fiction | io9 | 5 May 2014

How can an immersive media environment inform literature – both in terms of the stories we tell, and the ways in which those stories are told? … I’d read little if anything that I thought really tried to engage the potential of social and mass media, as both plot and narrative devices, within a traditional literary form.

We Need Fiction To Tell The Truth | Special Needs in Strange Worlds | SF Signal | 6 May 2014

… a lot of the standard tropes around disability that we see in fiction – that it befalls someone who has done wrong, and can therefore be understood as a punishment; or that with the loss of a sense such as sight a new ability such as clairvoyance is gained, suggesting some kind of fair exchange; or that the witch/wizard/wise scientist has a miracle cure up their sleeve; or that the disabled person is so patient and saintly they don’t actually mind either the disability or the slings and arrows they suffer because of it; or, worst of all, that said disability is the only thing of significance about them – are the coping mechanisms employed by those of able body and sound mind. They are a way of reducing people to symbols in order to codify our own fear; a way of reframing a complex reality into a simple narrative.

(I’ll be updating this post as more pieces go live later today and over the next few days; there’s a comprehensive list under Press + Posts above.)

8 May 2014 – UPDATE:

Trusting the Future? Ethics of Human Genetic Modification | LiveScience Op-Ed | 6 May 2014

Evolution relies on the emergence of exceptions — no less when it comes to social change than to genetic mutation. The exceptions that become the rule over time are those that best respond to the environment in which they have arisen. And yet we are rarely more anxious than when we feel those boundaries start to shift, or more strident in demanding an uncomplicated moral framework within which to determine the way forward.

10 May 2014 – FURTHER UPDATE (or, it’s been a hell of a week and a new blog post is beyond me right now):

The Big Idea: Stephanie Saulter | Whatever | 9 May 2014

[The] metrics of humanity can prove tricky. What if that unconscious mental ideal happens to be constructed as a white person? Or a male person? Or a fit and healthy person whose physical capabilities fall within a statistically standard range? What does that imply for the perceived humanity of brown people, or female people, or people with different physiques and capabilities?

Interviews: 

My Bookish Ways | Interview | 8 May 2014
Podcast: Interview | The Skiffy and Fanty Show | 7 May 2014
The Qwillery | Interview & Gemsigns giveaway | 7 May 2014

 

Roundups and reflections

I’m not entirely sure how the ten days since I got home from Jamaica have managed to be so hectic, but they have. I suspect it’s partly because the jet lag took longer to clear than usual – and that was probably because I was tired to begin with. The Jamaica trip was great, but not exactly restful. I have to say again, though, how honoured and humbled I am by the reception Gemsigns and I received – I genuinely did not expect to generate as much interest as we did. I’ve got another interview request from the trip sitting in my inbox as I write this, will get on to that next …

Speaking of interviews, and life being hectic, I’ve decided to organise them along with other media bits and pieces that are not specifically reviews under a ‘Press‘ tab, which now appears next to Reviews in the menu. I figure if I add things as they happen I won’t lose track (she said hopefully). I’ve also created a photo album from the Bookophilia launch, and Bookophilia’s album is here.

What else did I bring home from my old home? Lots of thoughts about how place of origin shapes expectations, and how much we learn from the shifting perspective of relocation, or dislocation … and how that altered outlook can be transmitted back, hopefully providing the place of origin with new perspectives on, and expectations of, itself. I talk about this far less cryptically in a blog post I’ve written for Jo Fletcher Books, which should go up on their site next week and which I will repost here when it does.

In the meantime (and speaking of being cryptic), do head over there to read this great post on secret languages from author Ian McDonald. It’s something I play around with myself in my next novel, Binary, and is a subject I find fascinating. Ian’s analysis of the codes of outsider culture is very smart in itself, and his use of Polari (once a secret gay argot) in the Everness series is just brilliant.

On the subject of codes (everything seems tangentially related to everything else in this post), I participated in a fascinating discussion yesterday on the use/over-use/mis-use of violence in fantasy, science fiction and horror. It was for a Skiffy and Fanty Show podcast, which should be posted in about a week; along with myself, fantasy author Brad Beaulieu and writer and editor Julia Rios were moderated by Shaun Duke. We got to talk about who we think does it well and who does it badly, gripe about how frequently it seems just to be a cover for lazy storytelling, and gasp in horror at some of the truly shocking things that writers have done with it, and readers have requested from it. Not that any of us think violence should be excluded from genre (or any) literature; it’s the way the consequences (or the lack thereof) of physical and sexual violence are handled that we found disturbing. It’s the way it codifies stereotypes and tropes, often around gender, in ways that are no less damaging for being repetitive and tedious. I’m always a bit uncertain about how I’m going to sound in these things, but this is one I’m really looking forward to hearing, and sharing.

  • I love stories.
    My new novel, Sacred, is all about them. Publication info will be posted as soon as I have it.

    In the meantime check out Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration, available wherever good books are sold.

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events

  • Latest tweets

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,079 other followers

  • UK edition

    REGENERATION

    The 3rd Book of the ®Evolution

  • UK edition

    BINARY

    The 2nd Book of the ®Evolution

  • UK Edition

    GEMSIGNS

    The 1st Book of the ®Evolution

  • US Edition

    REGENERATION

    The 3rd Book of the ®Evolution

  • US Edition

    BINARY

    The 2nd Book of the ®Evolution

  • US Edition

    GEMSIGNS

    The 1st Book of the ®Evolution

  • Meta

%d bloggers like this: