Monday, 26 October 2009

Aliya is ill with piggy 'flu. Nature's not all bad though. For those who missed it, or are in the States:

Friday, 23 October 2009

Acts of publishing violence

So yesterday I did this

It's about clever covers and the e-publishing revolution. I might have much more to say on the latter subject at some point in the near future, but, like Aliya says, it's all if if if if when it comes to this industry.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Talking of new goodbyes

It appears New Goodbye is the name of a track by great alt-country Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta!

Here's the blurb on their latest album:

The six-piece group is comprised of Tim Baker (vocals/piano/guitar), Adam Hogan (guitar), Josh Ward (bass), Phil Maloney (drums), Erin Aurich (violin), and Romesh Thavanathan (cello). Recorded in the dead of winter in two East Coast harbour towns with producer and singer-songwriter Hawksley Workman, Into Your Lungs began with a beautiful naivety and confidence. An 'off the stage' feel and vigor reminiscent of the bands powerful live performances rooted the recording sessions and everything was bred from and expanded from there.

And here's a video of them playing it live, complete with passing cars:

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The New Book: The New Goodbye

Yes, it's a new book by me. A short story collection to be precise. Most of the stories in there have been published previously, and the ones that haven't, well, they're better than the ones already out anyway.

Here's the official blurb:

In this collection of realist short stories, Neil George Ayres details the often overlooked depth of modern relationships. From the self-contained love story of a modern marriage, through to the microcosm of the patrons of a working class public house, all life is here. If you love Raymond Carver or Jon McGregor, you should be in safe hands.

The book is available completely free. And, as is usual with me, it's short too, being comprised of a mix of traditional shorts and a couple of stories structured from linked flash pieces.

The cover image is by the talented Jaci Berkopec. And the book is produced and distributed courtesy of the nice people at Smashwords.

The book can be read online, or in the following ereader formats and computer document formats:

Kindle (.mobi)Download
Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others)Download
PDF (good for highly formatted books, or for home printing)Download
RTF (readable on most word processors)Download
LRF (for Sony Reader)Download
Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)Download

It should also be available on the Sony ebook store and from Barnes & Noble fairly soon, but it's free, so doesn't matter too much where you pick it up from.

Review, are of course, always welcome. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Kevin Smith vs Jeanette Winterson

In response to last Friday's Newsnight Review (no I didn't see it--way past my bedtime these days--will iPlayer it soon), Damien G Walter has an interesting post on 'Sci-Fi' versus SF&H up on the Guardian blog. Oh, and he has a new domain name too.

In other news, my love affair with Holby City may be coming to an end. Tonight will prove the pudding, or something. If it is, and it does, then I need a new weekly hour-long soapy type thing to get my teeth into.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Write what you don't know

Tim Stretton has recently been keeping quite a detailed record of his wranglings with embarking on writing a new historical fiction. What I've ben interested in is his reading matter. He is digging into his genre, in an effort to find out more about his chosen period, sure, but also as they're the type of books he likes to read.

As close observers may know, I am in the throes of writing an SF novel (am about halfway through the first draft, and have a very able advisor for the more technical elements of the book), but my science fiction reading, especially in recent years, has been pretty limited, and what I have read, outside of Interzone, I've found pretty dull (Stephen Baxter, Greg Bear...) I never have really been a big SF reader, more fantasy. I've never read Asimov, or Zelazny. What gives me hope is I remember reading some while ago that Neil Gaiman always wanted to be a science fiction writer, as that was what he loved, but ended up writing fantasy.

Part of this new book is set in post-almost apocalyptic Britain where I'm on firmer ground--thank you 2000AD et al--but the other section is set in a, for want of a more appropriate phrase, virtual reality.

Outside of Neuromancer, I'm not much of a cyberpunk. I toyed with the idea of reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and also gave Charles Stross' Halting State a go recently, but these books are built, really, around gaming, which is something that, obviously others have done already, and also doesn't interest me much. But, perhaps more to the point, I find them a little intimidating. They make me wonder if I can really pull this off.

Overrated, overpriced and not great in the bath...

I quote Victoria Coren's article from yesterday's Guardian:

"...everyone tells me the book is a tremendous success. A thousand copies already! Meanwhile, the Observer sells nearly half-a-million copies a week and everybody says newspapers are "ailing and cannot survive". By that logic, books are dead, buried, maggot-eaten, mouldering skeletons without even a desperate scratch on the coffin lid from a single twitching finger."


Saturday, 10 October 2009

What do women think about?

My new literary novel is pretty much told from the point of view of a female character. I'm hoping I can pull this off convincingly, but any tips from the ladies much appreciated.

Personal Holloway

There's an in-depth interview with moral investigator Richard Holloway over on Vulpes Libres.

I read his Godless Morality a few years ago and thought it was excellent.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Reader, I couldn't find him...

So yesterday I started looking for an ebook reader in earnest. D'you know what--correct me if I'm wrong here someone who knows better, but, in the UK, unless you're happy to use an iPhone (which I'm--screen's too small and I don't use my phone enough to warrant the expense), I'd say don't bother. Sony's Touch looks okay, but it's not wireless, and is stupidly expensive, and you have to buy a separate memory card. The Blackwells BeBook has an MP3 player--groovy, but looks like you shouldn't pay more than about twenty quid for it (stick a nought on that for the actual price) and the Kindle, which I'm sure is very nice, looks too big and has that hulking pointless keypad on it.

I know there's likely to be a Kindle DX (the wireless version) in the UK next year, but I'm sure that'll be a stupid price too. We appear to be at the stage that laptops hung at for years, overpriced and underperforming.

Anyone know of a decent wireless reader available in the UK for under two hundred pounds? Even the internet is coming up empty-handed.

Personally, I'd love for Philips to produce an EPUB-compatible Iliad that isn't at a stupid price. No doubt if they do it'll launch in the US a year before we get a sniff of it over here.

And how about those of you in America? Do you have a reader? Do you like it?

And Borders Charing Cross Road--shame on you. You had about twenty display models and none available to buy, and wouldn't even let me try one properly.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Forget the new Kindle

Forget the Kindle International launch, that lovable ruffian Steve Redwood has a new short story collection available.

And for those of a more Iberian persuasion, Who Needs Cleopatra?, his time travel comedy, is now available in Spanish.