The Skiffy Thing
I've been reading science fiction and fantasy since my early youth - like a lot of people, I was probably first led on to the stuff by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. (Fireball XL5, if you must know, though I suspect that the related TV21 comic was far more intelligent and powerful than Anderson's cut-down puppet-plays, and did more to warp my childish mind. And talking of blasts from the past, either people will understand why I put a pointer to a Hugh Walters page here, or they won't.) Furthermore, like a lot of SF readers, I've been led to take the occasional stab at writing the stuff. While I don't currently find as much time or energy for reading or writing fiction as I might like, I retain an enormous affection for the field.
Actually, I've had three short stories published professionally - specifically, in Interzone magazine, and I've now put these up on this site. The titles are:
I also had a story - The Matter of the Cadi, the Dervish, and the Ghûls - in issue 14 of the semi-prozine Scheherazade. (It actually came first in a poll concerning stories people had liked in the magazine; nice to know that people do like this stuff sometimes. Be warned that, for various reasons, the link takes you to a graphical scan of the story, in the form of a 1.5 meg PDF.)
Further, just for the hell of it, I've put a few of my older written efforts on the 'Web. There's:
- Three of my older stories, Trade Secrets (first published in a fanzine, and so-so in my current opinion), Face Value (a sequel to the first, but otherwise unpublished; a bit too obvious in plot and structure, really) and The Gardener's Shadow (also unpublished, probably with very good reason), in simple HTML format.
- A rather crude and primitive exercise in Hypertext, in the form of a Windows Help file, ZIP'd for ease of movement, with the title Questions After the Dance. (You will of course need some way of un-zipping the latter file, and some flavour of Microsoft Windows to view the story.)
- Hagia Sophia, a more recent exercise in historical fantasy, arising out of some of my work on roleplaying games material. (Flatteringly, this one has even been translated into Portuguese by a Brazilian reader; see http://www.rederpg.com.br/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1087.)
This site also a page of assorted Steampunk bits and pieces that I assembled at one point. Also, I regard my enthusiasm for SF as closely linked to my hobby of role-playing games; see my RPGs page.
Other SF Stuff: News and Gossip
- Ansible seems to be UK fandom's
premiere gossip-sheet. Whether fandom needs such a thing, or whether it manages to be the social equivalent of an ingrown toenail without literary aid, is a question which I answer according to my mood, but Dave Langford does a remarkable job on this.
- The highly-regarded Locus has a 'Web page.
Other SF Stuff: Writers
- C.J.Cherryh, that most humanistic of hard SF writers, is the subject of a fan page, and also has a page of her own creation.
- David Brin also has a page worthy of enthusiasts' attention.
- Oh, and there's Terry Pratchett. (I am not a cliché techie in my tastes. Really.)
- I will also mention the Fritz Leiber Home Page, on principle.
- I am not a Robert Heinlein fan, but I ran across one debate on this subject that interested me. It seems that late in his career, Heinlein said - more or less in print - that franchise-winning 'service' in Starship Troopers wasn't necessarily - or even usually - military. This startled me, and made me fear for my memory. Fortunately, I wasn't forced to read the damned book again to check; James Gifford, who is a Heinlein fan, has composed a detailed demolition of this claim. (Unfortunately, that document only seems to be available in Acrobat format these days.) My only problem with Gifford is that he is too kind to his hero over the reasons for the error; the kindest thing that I can assume is that the illnesses that apparently swamped Heinlein in the later years of his life played havoc with his memory.
- Anyway, writers on line... I suppose there are two ways to approach this. One is to post a
fairly conventional story on the 'Web (see, for example, Invitation
to a Funeral, or my own attempt), while the other is to attempt the
creation of a true hypertext story (such as Geoff
Ryman's 253). Both can work, in my opinion.
- For a rather classy fan page, see Seekers of the Ineffable Flame - the David Zindell Homepage.
Other SF Stuff: Counterfactuals
I have a fondness for Alternate History as a branch of SF. Fellow fans of the sub-genre might wish to keep an eye on the newsgroup soc.history.what-if. They may also obtain brief amusement from a collection
of Alternate Headlines. Oh, and both Jim Rittenhouse's Alternate History page and Ian Montgomerie's Alternate History Page have lots of interesting-looking links; Ian also has some juicy material of his own creation. And I rather like these four alternate Canadas.
There's also a fun page on the possibilities for a Balkanized North America, and some travel guides for alternate histories.
Oh, and this site now plays host to Alison Brooks's essay on the problems with Operation Sealion, which was originally posted to soc.history.what-if.
Other SF Stuff: Media
- Buckaroo Banzai was a great little lost movie.
- I have distinctly mixed feelings about Babylon 5. It strikes me that if anyone published this story as a series of novels, it would be generally written off my the mass of genre fans as, well, routine, unremarkable, and rather dated space opera. In fact, bits of it are actively stupid; the heavy use of psionics (when they suit the plot) just seems old-fashioned, while the aliens are tiresomely human-like, and the fetishisation of the 'great man' model of history is faintly gamey. And surely 'Law vs. Chaos' is passé these days? But heck, the FX are pretty. And so the official 'Web site has some nice stills.
- But anyway - at least there's a good, solid home page for The Clangers
Other SF Stuff: Criticism and Academia
Other SF Stuff: Graphics and Artists
Holiday Cottages in Southern Normandy
Go to my main page.