The White Castle by Yuri Shwedoff, a Russian artist with a knack for combining fantasy and science fiction in paintings to show a sense of loss: the greatest civilizations all become relics. https://yurishwedoff.deviantart.com/gallery/
The image brings to mind these lines from the poet Shelley writing 200 years previously...
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Last night saw The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (pictured left) win the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year – and Urban Fantasist's Charles Christian was present at the award ceremony at Foyles Bookshop in London. (Of course he was there, he was one of judges for the Award! https://www.clarkeaward.com/award-winners/the-award-juries/)
Colson is currently in China and, as Star Trek-style transporters are still in the realm of science fiction, he was unable to attend in person but he did send this acceptance speech – which is wonderful because it perfectly encapsulates why writers write science fiction and fantasy...
"Way back when I was ten years old, it was science fiction and fantasy that made me want to be a writer. If you were a writer, you could work from home, you didn't have to talk to anybody, and you could just make stuff up all day. Stuff about robots and maybe zombies and maybe even miraculous railway lines. Fantasy, like realism, is a tool for describing the world, and I'm grateful that a book like The Underground Railroad, which could not exist without the toolkit of fantastic literature, is being recognized by the Arthur C. Clarke Award." ...Colson Whitehead
Other things to note about last night's award...
* This year (2017) is the 100th anniversary of Sir Arthur's birth in (December 1917) – he died in 2008.
* This year was the 31st year the Award has been made – the first winner in 1987 was The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
* Although this year's shortlist might appear to be very diverse in terms of subject matter, as the chair of the judges Andrew M. Butler pointed out, all the novels focus on humanity and the triumph of the human spirit against adversity (even if in some instances the humanity in question is that of an artificial intelligence).
* Colson Whitehead has also won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Prize, and been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for this novel. In addition, former President Barack Obama said The Underground Railroad was the last book he read while he was still in The White House – a fact that prompted Award director Tom Hunter to comment last night it was also "the last book to be read by an American president"!
The Folio Society, who produce gorgeous special editions of books, have just released details and a video of a new edition of H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu.
The edition also includes a preface by Alan Moore who describes the “unease and abhorrence” he felt about Lovecraft’s politics and prejudices, along with his dislike of Lovecraft's prose “burdening each clause with adjectives and archaisms, far too fond of indescribability.” All very valid criticisms but Moore goes on to describe Lovecraft as “One of the twentieth century’s most radical experimental writers” ... “magnificently visionary” adding “I envy your exquisite nightmares.”
The perfect accessory for every dream home in R'lyeh!
For all fans of 1960s Cult TV shows Danger Man and The Prisoner, read this piece on Patrick McGoohan...
The winner of the 2017 Sci-Fi-London 48hr Flash Fiction Challenge was announced last night (I should know, I was there to help announce the results!) and here are the results...
1st place: The Truth Value (1300 words) by Sian Summers (Edinburgh, Scotland) - the liberating power of music in a supercomputer-controlled totalitarian state.
2nd place: Honour is Everything (1900 words) by Claire McKenna (Victoria, Australia) - in an era of human bio-engineering, one road-warrior still believes in family values and honour.
3rd place: Dawn Chorus (1450 words) by Mike Sizemore - urban warfare in an era of AI, smart-guns, and bio-mechanical machines that can still remember when they were human!
Credits: As ever, a big thank you to Louis Savy and the entire Sci-Fi-London team. And also to Simon Ings of the New Scientist who helped me sift through the 440 entries to draw up the shortlist. And finally to our jury panel, comprising Pat Cadigan, Mike Carey, and Marcus Gipps, who selected the winner and runner-up. The winning entry will be published online by the New Scientist.
A total of 418 entries were submitted and the judges (including yours sincerely) read through them all (that's about 800,000 words in total) and drew up a shortlist of six which are now before our final jury. The winner will be announced on the evening of Thursday 4th May in London. Here is the shortlist (in alphabetical order)...
James Howell - Alone (United States)
Dora Klindžić - Exit Zone (Croatia)
Claire McKenna - Honour is Everything (Australia)
James Parfitt - The Shake Up (Australia)
Mike Sizemore - Dawn Chorus (Somewhere)
Sian Summers - The Truth Value (Scotland)
Yes, an AI wrote all the dialogue for this movie, which makes its debut at this week's SCI-FI-LONDON film festival. The Ars Technica article tells you all you need to know.
Weird Tales Radio Show
Now in a weekly format Episode 19 of the Weird Tales Radio Show (24th May 2018) is our Royal Weddings edition, everything from Anne Boleyn losing her head to giant cheeses. We’ve also some weird Whitsun folklore + a tale of treachery at St Benet’s Abbey + we go urban mythbusting with the saga of the Buntline Special from the American Old West + the worst man in the world? No, not the inventor of the duvet cover but Tom Midgley. Er, Tom Who?
Follow this link to access all episodes of the Weird Tales Radio Show podcasts. The page also contains links to all our platforms. Click the player button below to hear latest show.
New on the Grievous Angel
Three fantastic new poems for you now. What more can I say except they are SO Grievous Angel! You can read them HERE
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