This is a rant I developed over the years but never found anywhere to publish. The last section appeared, in an altered form, in the EL Gazette – the month I left the profession. Appears here, partly as a professional swan song, partly as a warning to anyone who thinks they might like a career in ELT, […]

Lose It

This is a little essay Amazon asked me for back in 2005 to help sell Market Forces in the US.  Of which, fat chance!  (MF is still the only one of my novels not to earn out its advance in the US – this despite a big Warner Brothers film deal and winning the John […]

Marketing Miracle

Last year, I was approached by, of all people, the editor of a client-specific marketing magazine. He was looking for someone to write a piece for him on the future of marketing, and had settled on me as a likely choice. “Are you sure it’s me you want?” I asked him politely. “I’m not likely […]

Meredith’s Mistake: a Science Fiction Writer Resists the Urge to Get Messianic

In 2007, I was – very flatteringly – approached by the magazine Index on Censorship to write a speculative article on the future of the internet. This is it. Hope it wasn’t too cautious or conservative for them – Ray Kurzweil, I ain’t… ______________________________________________________________________________ There’s a scene in the 1998 Hollywood movie Disclosure, where the […]

Clarion Call

This is a little skit I wrote for Jeff Vandermeer, to give out to his 2007 class at the Clarion workshop, on their last day. I’d like to think that beneath the jokes there is a faint smear of useful advice… ___________________________________________________________________________ Five things to Remember. I can’t really claim much authority for advising aspiring […]

Wonder; What to do with it

This is an article I wrote for Outland back in 2003 – it points up some of the thinking behind the Martians in Broken Angels. _____________________________________________________________________________ There’s this problem with fear – it just doesn’t last. Like all emotions, it’s a fleeting assemblage of chemical reactions to circumstance. And if circumstances don’t change, we tend […]

Twenty Years from Now

About the same time I was writing Market Forces, the French book and music chain FNAC asked me for this short article – for what it’s worth… ______________________________________________________________________________ Prophecy is a risky business. The greatest science fiction movie ever – Bladerunner, that is – will be proved wrong in less than twenty years. And if […]

The Literature Game

Depths of Payne This is an article SFX asked me for back in 2005. I was looking for a chance to sound off about my growing sense that there is a form of, for want of a better word, literature emerging from the welter of low- grade crap that makes up the bulk of the […]

Recommended Reading List

Something I was asked for when the site first went up.  More than anything, these are starting points – it’s the stuff I was reading in the long period before I was published, the stuff that drove me to write the stuff I do.  Just recently, I added in a couple I’d – unjustly – […]

Read & Recommended, November 2009

The Arrival – Shaun Tan Moving in comic-book circles, you often hear readers complaining bitterly about how the sequential art form just doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Fair comment, I’ve always thought, but at the same time I can’t help noticing that very often those whose voices are raised the loudest are also those […]