Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meet The Author - Alastair Reynolds

I attended a 'Meet The Author' night tonight at Pontardawe Library and met Alastair Reynolds who gave a talk on SF in general, his work and how it all began.
At one point Alastair handed around a folded notebook made from A4 paper upon which was written (in felt tip) his first ever SF story. It was also illustrated by him too and when one of the audience asked how old he was when he wrote it I was very tempted to shout out 'twenty-five!' for a bit of a laugh but managed to control myself :) I was only twenty years out, he wrote it when he was five!
He spoke of how he was first published and I wasn't surprised to learn that the first story he ever sold for 'good' money was to Interzone, something he was very proud of and went on to say that:

Of all the SF magazines around, Interzone is designed by someone who has a clue about what they are doing

After the talk I managed to get him to sign two books of his that I have in my collection, get a photo done with him and pick his brains about a problem I have in a SF novel I'm writing about folding space and wormholes. He was very patient and helpful and the evening was an enjoyable one.
He said he'd be attending BristolCon in November and hopefully I'll be able to have a chat with him again (unless he sees me first and does a runner!) hehe :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Steam-Powered Singularity

Charles Babbage was the first to translate himself into the vast Matrioshka Brain that enclosed the young star in its ironclad Dyson sphere grip. The giant leap in computing power required for this happened accidentally when his Difference Engine was left running un-supervised over the weekend. It had overheated, and had somehow spewed out the blueprints for a Mark Two version of itself. Enthralled with this accidental discovery Babbage tried to duplicate the action by purposefully running the Mark Two Engine beyond its safe working parameters.
It worked.
Time and time again.

He started thinking about the possibility of creating a Singularity.


Sometime later, in the cold, hard vacuum of space.

Huge plumes of superheated steam crystallized into diamond droplets of water immediately upon being expelled into space from the city-sized vents as the furnace, deep within the Singularity’s centre, chugged-away happily consuming the star’s inexhaustible power.

A vast improvement upon the prototype coal version, Babbage thought.
However, as the last human being on Earth was finally uploaded, and the ravaged planet, which the uncontrollable landslide into the Industrial and Technological Age had generated, was finally returned to Nature, no-one was left to notice that the Niagara Falls-sized water tube (which showed the boiler’s water level) was not as full as it seemed. The gargantuan glass was stained at the full mark by the oxides in the water. The tube was actually empty and the boiler was burning unabated. Yet another overheating problem that the genius had overlooked. The last thing that went through Charles Babbage’s virtual mind before the Matrioshka Brain went supernova was:

‘Is it hot in here... or is just me?

By Bob Lock

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Empathy Effect - Audio Taster

Here is the first couple of chapters of The Empathy Effect, narrated by yours truly. It will take a minute or two to download, just enough time to get the cotton-wool :)

If you don't have the Apple Quicktime Plugin then try this, it should allow you to either download the mp3 file or select a media player of your choice:

The Empathy Effect

Warning: Contains bad language

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hoping to 'Kindle' some sales!

Messing about on Amazon a couple of days ago I managed to upload 'A Cloud Of Madness' to the Kindle zone of both Amazon UK and Com. It is £2.93 (cheap as chips!) and is a SF novella with robots/a nasty virus/a comet/a post apocalyptic Earth and Native American Indians :) and can be bought here: