Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Grandmother's Bestiary

A few pages from one of the first books I ever owned, a Victorian volume on natural history given to me by my grandmother when I was a small youngling.  According to its unknown author:
The following pages were commenced solely in the hope of affording such a simple, and, at the same time, such a systematical introduction to the Linnean System of Zoology, as might induce young persons to an earnest pursuit of the study of Natural History . . .  it has, throughout, been his constant endeavour to divert the attention from secondary causes, and to turn it to the Almighty and only Source of Being, Power, and Truth.

As far as I was concerned, the first part worked; the second, not so much. The illustrations strive towards accuracy, but are infused with a certain degree of anthropomorphism.  I especially like the snakes, revelling in their sneaky, snakey nature.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kindled, ibooked

While I'm still contemplating bringing out old and new short-story collections as ebooks, Gollancz, my British publishers, have published five of my backlist novels in electronic format.  They include: Four Hundred Billion Stars and Eternal Light, early examples of new space opera that chronicle the adventures of Dorthy Yoshida as she travels to the centre of the galaxy and back again; Red Dust, my Martian ninjapunk novel; Pasquale's Angel, my alternative history Renaissancepunk novel; and Fairyland, my first biopunk novel.  Each for the very reasonable price of £4.49, or $7.33, on Kindle.  They're also available, I'm told, as ibooks, but I'm one of the few authors who haven't converted to Apple, so I haven't been able to check.

Four Hundred Billion Stars, by the way, is my first novel, published by Del Rey as a paperback way back in 1988.  I wrote it on a manual typewriter, and because photocopying was expensive in those days, I typed the final version on a sandwich of bond, carbon, and bank paper (I still have the carbon copy, somewhere).  Now it's out there in the cloud.  Science fiction!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Public

So next month I'll be appearing at not one but two universities in London.  The first gig* is at the London School of Economics, where on February 17 I'll be sharing a platform with Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Ken MacLeod and talking about science fiction and international orders as part of a one-day literary festival.  It's free, but you'll need to get a ticket - details on the web page.

And two days later, on the 19th, I'll be appearing at Imperial College's Picocon 28, with fellow Guests of Honour Juliet McKenna and Kari Sperring.  I'm giving a talk and reading, starting at 11.30, I believe.

EDIT: *apologies for the inappropriate use of 'gig'; I came over all rock and/or roll for a moment
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