Category Archives: Opinion

I don’t do this much, but where I feel like sharing my opinion on something, this is the category the post will be under.

The Sojourn

I don’t normally advertise competition, but this looks like it could be an interesting thing, and you can get in on the ground floor! (That was cringeworthy.)

Some of you may know the YouTube channel ‘Spacedock.’ They do analysis videos of science fiction films, TV series, game worlds, etc. I couldn’t say I always agree with those analyses, but the videos are generally entertaining and make some good points about the practicality of the settings and especially the ships from those settings. Spacedock is currently running Kickstarter campaign to fund a planned audio novel series (with 2D/3D artwork to illustrate it), called ‘The Sojourn.’ If you check out the campaign (link above), you can watch the pilot episode and see if you think it’s something you might like. If you’ve got some spare cash, consider backing them. It’s funded to the second stretch goal at time of writing, so it looks like it’s a done deal, and the makers seem pretty motivated to produce what they say they will.


Happy New Year

Thanks for supporting me in 2018, and let’s hope 2019 turns out to be a good one.

NaNot Going So Well

Six days of actual writing and my NaNoWriMo project is not going so well. I still think the idea is a good one, so I may come back to it. For now, however, it’s a dud.

So, instead of that, I’m going to work up a plot for the tenth Fox book and see if I can get 50k words of that written before the end of November. Three weeks for 50k. Done it before.

Content Fatigue

Okay, so, if you watch the ‘What I’m Working On’ page, you may have noticed that Liberty is into the editing cycle and I’m now onto the ninth Fox Meridian book. It’s going to be ‘Fox 9’ for a while, I think, though it may end up being The Hellas Find. We’ll see.

Anyway, when Liberty hits the virtual shelves I’ll have done three Ultrahumans books in a row. Two of those were intended to be back-to-back since Guardian and True Dark are heavily linked together. Then I had no ideas for anything else, so I went ahead with Liberty. I’m happy with the outcome (or as happy as an English author can get), but I am really happy to be moving on to a different series. Ultra fatigue has set in. Three consecutive books in the same world is, I think, too much.

I’m used to this with reading. Generally, if I read the same author for a long time, I start to suffer from ‘content fatigue.’ I first noticed it with Anne McCaffrey when I was in my twenties (I think). I had collected the then extant Pern books (this was before they proliferated into the billions) and decided I would read them in chronological order (or as best as possible since some overlap). I was doing pretty well, but by the time I was reading The White Dragon it was getting really hard to keep going. I think Moreta came out not long after and I just couldn’t finish it. Too much of the same world/characters, and the same author’s style.

Writing is the same, but worse. There were seven Pern books to read, IIRC, but it takes a lot longer to write a book than to read one. (With you lot, that seems to be quite an extreme understatement.) Two books should be my limit, I think. After two books in the same setting, I’m starting to get tired of the same universe.

And now, back to researching Mars and living in Fox’s head for a while.


twilight-75Here’s an interesting one. I was messing about with something with speech synthesis and I got it to pronounce ‘Andrea.’ You know, the real name of Twilight, Andrea Morgan. It said it in a way which I had not expected, and I was wondering how you, the readers, think it’s pronounced.

So, is it And-ree-ah, or An-dray-ah? Let me know in the comments.

American Politics

Please note: This is neither a rant nor a statement regarding my politics.

Okay, so I take a lunch break, like most folks, and I tend to watch YouTube videos while I have lunch. I generally start with the previous night’s clips from Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, because I find them funny. They’re gateway drugs (though, I was gated into them by John Oliver; the idea of such an obviously British guy hosting an American comedy show was too good to miss). I’ll end up watching clips from CNN, or Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, or The Young Turks. Occasionally, I get fooled into clicking on something I really, massively don’t agree with, and then YouTube thinks I want to see more of that kind of crap, but that’s beside the point.

The point, or the question I want to ask my American readers, is… Well, it seems like American politics only has extremes. I’m English and used to UK politics. We have such glories as The Monster Raving Loony Party (who have been known to beat some of the major parties in elections, if never enough to get a seat in Parliament). Our two main parties (technically it’s three, but the Liberals only count as an afterthought) tend to be middle-of-the-road. The are known as the Conservatives and Labour (the Liberals used to be the Wigs; don’t ask). The Conservatives have been most successful recently by being liberal. Labour are socialist, but tend to do much better when they don’t really enact socialist policies (which is why they’re currently not Her Majesty’s Government, but Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition). American politics only seems to have extremes, and you don’t even call them by recognisable names! The Republicans seem to be Conservative (capital C). Your Democrats seem more in the middle-ground, but their supporters, while not rabid Communists, seem to be utterly fanatical about their support.

I tend to steer clear of too much politics in my books because I don’t understand the nature of the thing in America (where a lot of my stuff is set). I tend to avoid major characters-of-colour (to coin a phrase) for similar reasons (or I engineer a setting where the prejudice I’m told about is somehow mitigated; in the Ultrahumans books, some of the racial prejudice which should be there has been mitigated by prejudice against Ultras, for example). In True Dark, the 2016 Presidential Election takes place, but it’s not the one that really happened (even if I couldn’t stop myself putting in some… Trump-related elements; okay, so I didn’t want to stop myself). I got to fictionalise things, so it’s more my universe’s version of American politics, based on what I see and hear.

So, the question is: is the American political environment really so polarised? What’s the experience of people who live in it? In the UK, most people don’t really care (which is why we ended up with Brexit), but do Americans feel this stuff more deeply?

If we’re going to do this, let’s remain civil, please. I’m looking for how Americans feel about politics, not how you feel about particular parties or people, so let’s avoid bating the trolls. Thanks.

Friday is Relative

Okay, so this post is out of left field…

I’ve just been reading this week’s New Scientist. For those who don’t know it, it’s a weekly magazine featuring articles on science, all kind of science. I don’t get it every week, but I pick it up when I think an article has something interesting I might be able to twist into fiction and this week the cover story is “What is Time?” Interesting question and one for which there is no good answer at the moment. Plenty of theories which may or may not explain our experience of time passing. The article proposes various quantum theory elements which may explain where the time we experience comes from. Fascinating stuff.

One of the explanations involves the uncertainty inherent in quantum events. It seems our perception of time passing may have something to do with quantum uncertainty and the ‘quantum ignorance’ which results from it. I think it sounds like a good explanation since I’ve been absolutely convinced that today was Saturday since at least lunchtime. It’s nice to know that my uncertainty over the day is just a reflection of the origin of time. I think it’s a superposition thing: it was both Friday and Saturday, until I measured it and the probability equation collapsed.