4/18/2004

So I dug up the beginning a story I started probably ... five years ago? And had a bash at finishing it. It's been an interesting process, in two ways: one, it's been a good couple of years since I even thought about writing a short story. And two: since I've written a couple of books since then, I find I have a great deal more discipline when it comes to writing in the short form. The story needs a little fleshing out, and a bit of period detail, given that it's set in the WW1 trenches. If this story comes out okay, I might well dig out some other old stuff and see if I can revamp it a bit. As well as write some new stuff.

One thing that amazed me last weekend, outside of the convention in Blackpool, was the news that David Pringle had decided to quit editing Interzone. I bought Interzone fairly religiously for the first several years of its existence, not so much of a commitment as that might sound given that it was quarterly for a good while. Now that Andy Cox of the Third Alternative is taking over, I'll be interested - very interested - to see what he does with it.

When I stopped buying Interzone, it wasn't so much down to a dissatisfaction with the magazine - the magazine was fine - as a falling interest on my part in reading short fiction. I haven't bought a copy of Asimov's or any such for several years. I've bought the occasional Dozois' Year's Best since then, but that's about it. I can't say why I lost an interest in reading short fiction, since I'm sure there's scads of really good stuff out there: all I know is that I found myself buying magazines where I knew I was never going to read the stories.

Ellen Datlow's Sci Fiction site, however, has brought me back a little. I read one of Lucius Shepard's 'Hobo' stories there and thought it was tremendous. I'm also going to make an effort to read 'The Empire of Ice Cream', by Jeff Ford, also on the same site, since - and I hadn't realised this - the story was not only nominated for the Nebula Awards, but also won. And also because myself and the other Glasgow writers met Jeff at Blackpool last weekend.

Actually, I'm fibbing, although I only just realised it. There was one science fiction magazine of consistently high quality I did buy every issue of, although its appearance has become sporadic to the point of assumed discontinuiation: Scotland's own Spectrum SF. If you can find back issues, I strongly urge you to do so, particularly since it contains the serialised short novel 'Atrocity Archives' by Charles Stross.

Since I'm intending to write and hopefully sell some short stories, it makes sense I really should actually buy some of the current magazines and see what's going on. Probably I'll buy the Andy Cox Interzone, since it feels like a new beginning, and take it from there.

Since I sent 'Against Gravity' off, I've been catching up on my reading. I bought a shitload of books off Amazon, and a couple at the convention (Convention dealer's rooms aren't what they used to be, and it's reasonable to assume the success of online booksellng may have something to do with this). I just finished Cory Doctorow's 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom', which is good fun without necessarily being tremendous. If I had to make a point of comparison, I'd say... Rudy Rucker. With a hint of Bruce Sterling-style social engineering. Also picked up Michael Chabon's 'Wonder Boys', admittedly because I really enjoyed the movie; what else? Uh ... 'Solitaire' by Kelley Eskridge because I heard good things about it - 'Stone Junction' by Jim Dodge because it sounded sort of interesting ... and some other stuff. Though I'll also strongly recommend you to read 'The Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', about a teenager with Asperger's, trying to solve a dog-murder in the style of his hero Sherlock Holmes.

Okay, enough wittering about what I read on my holidays. Later.
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