Monday, 21 August 2017

Cyberpunk Science Fiction (1980s)

In the early 1980s there was a reaction against the New Wave’s rosy depiction of the future, and writers began looking at the 'punk' underbelly of future society, which didn't enjoy all the amazing benefits of everyone else. These early works have been credited with "renovating" science fiction literature after it had fallen largely into insignificance in the 1970s. William Gibson's debut novel Neuromancer (1984) encapsulated this movement. It was the first winner of the science-fiction 'triple crown' — the Nebula Award, the Philip K Dick Award, and the Hugo Award. Other key writers in the movement included Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, and later Neal Stephenson. We will be looking at some of their key novels in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How To Run a Book Launch

If you are producing a printed book, which is easy enough with print on demand like Create Space, you can have a book launch. It would be difficult to launch a book without a hard copy, but you might find somewhere with wifi and persuade people to bring their ereaders.

On the subject of where you will hold your launch, as you can see below, a bookshop is favourite. This is actually a charity bookshop that likes to support local artists, but any bookshop, especially independents, likes a book launch because the people attending will also browse the shelves. Another place to try is your local library.
How to Run a Book Launch
A book launch has two phases: publicity and performance. It’s no good arranging a book launch if nobody comes, and your event will not be very successful unless the audience are entertained and encouraged to buy.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

New Wave Science Fiction TV

Before we leave the New Wave era of science fiction history, a lot at two significant developments on television. TV began to catch up with what was happening in books and films. Dr Who began on British TV in 1963, and Star Trek began on American TV in 1966. Both had such enduring appeal that they have been revived in recent years.

Dr Who 2

This is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS, an acronym which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes, while working to save civilisations and help people in need.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Giving Talks

Speech 2Giving talks is a great way to earn a bit of extra money and get the attention of potential readers. A lot of writers will be horrified at the thought of standing up in front of people and giving a talk. I’ve had some experience, because I used to be a trainer, but it’s still scary – if you do it cold.

Think about your story or your book for a minute. Do you think it’s good? Is it interesting? Is it exciting, or heart-warming, or surprising? The answers should be ‘yes’, because you wouldn’t be promoting your book if you thought it was boring or badly written.

Monday, 7 August 2017

New Wave Science Fiction Films

Before we leave the New Wave Science Fiction era, we’re going to look at films this week and TV next.


Science fiction films took inspiration from the changes in the genre. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), George Lucas' THX 1138 (1971) and Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green (1973) all reflected the new style. 2001: A Space Odyssey came from Arthur C Clark's vision of creatures out there who were older and wiser than us, and I wrote about in April here. No other science fiction film was so conceptually daring. The storyline was as true to life as possible, based on real technology.

The 1974 film Dark Star was the counter-culture answer to 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1979 Dan O'Bannen co-wrote the most celebrated alien story in history: Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. It was the stuff of nightmares. This film again had meticulous attention to detail. Blade Runner (1982) was another film which used science fiction to comment on sociological issues.

But traditional feel-good themes continued to be popular. Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) explored the idea of a peaceful confrontation with aliens. George Lucas' Star Wars (1977) was traditional escapism with an epic setting. Spielberg's next film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) looked at what if one friendly alien who got left behind? The alien (E.T.) is helped by lonely boy. The aliens are the grownups.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

12 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

I found this advice so useful, I typed it out and stuck it on the wall by my desk. Unfortunately, I didn’t note where it came from. So, my apologies to the author, but it’s definitely worth sharing.

Overcome Procrastination

“Turning pro is free, but it is not easy. You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.” Steven Pressfield.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Gods Themselves – New Wave Science Fiction Classic

In the history of science fiction series, we are looking at the New Wave which took off in the 1960s and 70s. Many authors prominent earlier continued to be successful by adapting their style. We highlighted three classics in particular. Two weeks ago we looked at Robert A Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) and last week was Robert A Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966). This week is the third book, Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves (1972). Here is the plot outline.

The Gods Themselves


The Gods Themselves is a 1972 science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1972, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1973.