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Was there life on Venus…?

In Edgar Rice Burroughs science-fantasy novel Pirates of Venus, the hero crash lands on Venus (Amtor) when his rocket ship is thrown off course. He discovers a verdant world of  giant vegetation and unmapped oceans, wreathed in thick clouds and – of course – populated by monsters and princesses

Belated thoughts on the Hugo Awards 2016

The 2016 Hugo Awards for science fiction had their ceremony on 20th August. Last year I closely followed the awards, after reading news stories alleging that US conservatives were trying to keep women authors out of SF. This year I didn’t vote, but posted the video below on

How to pitch your novel to Baen Books (maybe)

Earlier this summer I pitched my (unfinished) novel to Baen Books‘ Contributing Editor Gray Rinehart at a face-to-face critique session at LibertyCon, a three-day sci-fi and fantasy literature convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Unusually for a modern publisher, Baen takes unsolicited manuscripts. Gray is the Slushmaster General – a job,

Detecting a Death Star and other gravitational wave ideas

If you follow the news, you’ll know that last Thursday (11/02) scientists detected for the first time gravitational waves –  tremors in the fabric of space and time. The discovery confirmed the theories of Albert Einstein, who predicted their existence 100 years ago. If you’re a science fiction writer,

[Review] Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang

Folding Beijing, a novelette published in Uncanny Magazine, depicts a fantastical future Beijing where the skyscrapers fold and unfold  like origami in a forty-eight-hour cycle. Each time the city folds, a new space is revealed, and its inhabitants begin their day. Five million enjoy the use of twenty-four hours and seventy-five