2014 in review


In terms of writing, this was a good year; in terms of reading, not so good.

As far as fiction is concerned, this was the best year I’ve had for some time. I wrote two stories, and sold both of them. “Edenbridge” has already appeared in Fantastic Stories Presents: Fantasy Super Pack #1, edited by Warren Lapine; “Documents in the Case of Brother G” is due to be published next year.

I also did something I don’t intend to make a habit of doing, which is put up a story here on the blog: “The Lost Domain”. It’s nice to see a few people have read it. Continue reading

Abducting a General


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abducting a generalI may have read a bowdlerised version of this before.

Back in my teens, in the mid- to late-Sixties, I used to subscribe to the occasional Purnells partwork. The two in particular that I remember were Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples, which I collected in its blue and gold binders and in which I learned that the accompanying essays were far more interesting, informative and better written than the chapters from Churchill’s original book that opened each weekly part, and the History of the Second World War which came with black and gold binders. I still had both sets until a few years ago, I think they disappeared when I was redesigning my study.

Anyway, Patrick Leigh Fermor was originally commissioned to write about the abduction of General Kreipe from Crete for the History of the Second World War. What I have learned, from reading as much about Fermor as I seem to have done over the last few years, is that if you wanted 5,000 words from him it was probably wise to commission 500. The editor of History of the Second World War asked for 5,000 words; sometime after the deadline, Fermor delivered 30,000 words. The editor, exasperated, as I am sure he must have been, slashed the article down to the required 5,000 words and published it. This book is the first time the original piece has been published in full. Continue reading

A Wintery Tale

I’ve just put a story up on the blog. It’s one I wrote some time ago, and by now it’s fairly clear it’s not going to get published. Genre venues say it is too mainstream, mainstream venues say it is too genre. But it’s a story I’ve got quite a bit of affection for, and it seems appropriate to the season. I think lovers of Le Grand Meaulnes will get it, others may not. It is called, appropriately, ‘The Lost Domain’.



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When I started this blog, I meant to write primarily about literature and more broadly about the arts. I emphatically did not intend to write about politics. But I woke this morning in a country that has a UKIP MP. Continue reading

Reprint: Tales of Alvin Maker


I just came across this review of Seventh Son and Red Prophet by Orson Scott Card when I was looking through old issues of Foundation the other day. It first appeared in Foundation 45, Spring 1989, and I had completely forgotten writing it. Re-reading the review, I feel that I was far more tolerant then than I would be now, and of course I made no mention of the Mormon undertone in the books because I probably missed it completely. Still, I don’t think on the whole that this is a bad review given how old it is, so I thought I’d reprint it here. Continue reading

Reprint: Mars


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Another Cognitive Mapping column. This one, which discusses one of science fiction’s great objects of desire, appeared in Vector 214, November-December 2000: Continue reading


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