Out of Era – Sample Launch

Hi folks,

As previously mentioned my next book – Out of Era – is now available for pre-order This weekend I’m going to be releasing on my mailing list a sample chapter. If you are interested in joining my mailing list see here. The launch itself will be taking place at Octocon 2017 in Dublin, Ireland, memberships are still available and I hope to see some of you there.

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Announcing pre-order – OUT OF ERA

Well folks, much mentioned an nearly here, my next title is now available for pre-order.

Launch will be at Octocon 2017 in Dublin and I hope to see some of you there. I’ll be talking a bit more about it over the next few weeks so stay with me.

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Worldcon75

Only a few more days to Worldcon75, I’m going to be on two panels on the 12th of August.

Character-based military SF

Saturday 10:00 – 11:00, 101a&b (Messukeskus)

Military SF often deals with inventions and strategies, but sometimes it is character driven as well. The panel discusses their favorite military SF characters.

It Can’t Happen Here

Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, 216 (Messukeskus)

It can’t happen here: Looking at the headlines these days, and many people seem to be thinking bad things can’t happen where they live, but then we get Brexit. President Trump. Turkey sliding into authoritarian theocracy. Russia annexing Crimea with the international community watching. What can history teach us about things that can happen, and how do we write SF that is not going to be dystopias after dystopias? Heinlein’s story, Logic of Empire ends with the line “Things are bound to get a lot worse before they can get any better.” Is this inevitable? What can we do about it, and how can SF offer hope for the future with our fictional worlds?

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It’s coming!

Well after two plus years of work – which as I mentioned in my last blog has had compete for my time – my next book is damn near done. Touch wood, I’ll be releasing at Octocon 2017 and the book will be going pre-order within the next two weeks. So as the saying goes, watch this space!

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Making Terrorism Work

As I mentioned in my last post a few months ago I changed jobs. Part of my duties in my new employment is to look through archives – which currently includes documents from the 1920s. How is this relevant? Well in Ireland between 1916 and about 1923 you get a particularly exciting period of Irish history. The Easter Rising is followed by the War of Independence, which in turn is followed by the Irish Civil War. Having grown up in England I would describe my knowledge of the period as being fairly basic but the rough flow of events was this. In 1916 there was in Dublin an attempted rebellion. Lacking widespread support it failed. Following the rising the British authorities cracked down on those involved or judged to be sympathetic. Several of those captured were shot as traitors. Legally the British Authorities were on solid ground the rebels having received arms from Imperial Germany, that Britain was in the middle of a bloody war with at the time. However politically – combined with the round ups – it was a horrible mistake as in doing so they changed the perception of the rebels from terrorists and failures into heroes and martyrs. Those uninvolved who were rounded up were put into jails with committed republicans and in many cases, converted to the cause. After the end of WW1 the Republicans started again. This time with what would now be called an insurgency. The republicans targeted barracks, police stations and other instruments of state, to make Ireland ungovernable. The British responded with additional troops and auxiliary police, the best remembered of which were nicknamed the Black and Tans. In most cases these were ex-soldiers who had fought in the Great War – a conflict with clearly defined sides in terms of a front line and uniformed enemy. In Ireland there were neither of these things, these forces were often poorly trained, weakly disciplined and in lot of cases I would guess frightened. My grandmother who was a child at that time and living in County Kerry remembered being told if she heard a lorry it was likely the Black and Tan and she wasn’t to run because they would likely shoot. Files I’ve seen indicate that this was good advice. Their actions during the War of Independence caused grievances that remain to this day and are the reason the Irish tend not to react well to calling anything ‘black and tan’.

In Manchester about a week ago a suicide bomber blew himself to the four winds. At time of writing twenty-two people were killed or have died of their injuries with a another fifty plus injured. It would appear the bomber motivation was Islamic extremism. It’s not the first terrorist attack by such individuals and unfortunately, probably won’t be the last.

His target and this is worth making note of wasn’t an army base, power station, government building or even a police station. Nothing that you could say would materially affect the functionality of Great Britain. His target was a music concert. One by a singer who’s primary fan base is teenagers and young girls. In other words the softest possible target. What was he hoping to achieve?

Retaliation

I don’t think the Irish Republicans of the War of Independence foresaw the creation of the Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans but their actions which included reprisals, murders, beatings and mock executions did much to turn the population against the British Authorities. For the Islamic terrorists the ideal response would retaliations, restrictions, internment or best of all – as one foolish radio presenter put it – a ‘Final Solution’. Because each one would push more people into their arms.

There are individuals, some dishonest, some merely hysterical that claim that Islamic terrorism is a threat to the western world. They are wrong. Islamic terrorists are a threat to individuals but to be a threat to the western world they world need tanks, jet fighters, nuclear subs and ICBM. They do not have these things. They have weak minded individuals who are willing to commit suicide and the hope that we will overreact.

There is unfortunately no easy road against terrorism. We must stand the line and above all else, not do the terrorist’s work for them.

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Finding the balance or picking priorities

About a dozen years ago I discovered webcomics, a few of which I follow to the day. Some I gradually lost interest in, other came to a natural end, a lot though a faded out as the creator’s attentions shifted and eventually even the website shuts down. The reason I mention this is that I’m painfully aware this blog has all but faded away, with this I only its third entry in 2017 . In fact when I logged in this even to write this entry, it was the first log in since March. One of the problems with any kind of creative endeavors is they’re hard to monetize – even you’re good. Added to that life has a tendency to drop other things in your lap that demand time, energy and frequently money. In short you have to pick where your efforts are going to be focused.

In the last twelve months I’ve changed job, started a new education course, had to do a lot of DIY work at home and last and by no means least got engaged. In short my free time took a bit of a paddling and something had to give. My writing slowed down, but where the axe really fell ended up being this blog. I will be attempting to resurrect it during the summer, but for the moment, I hope you’ll all accept this short place holder.

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Film Review: Logan

So: Logan
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Wolverine character, not because of Jackman but because most of the X-men films were little more than Wolverine and his cheerleaders. I’ve only seen the first of his of his stand lone films and on the strength of it didn’t bother with the rest. So I went in with expectations low.
I came out impressed.
Jackman and Steward were handed a cracking script which is both dark and deep, with the relationship between the aging Logan and elderly Xavier showed in a way that’s both sensitive and convincing. It shows both the indignity of old age as well as both the love and resentment the can build up between the aged and their carer.
On the action front, Logan is vastly more brutal than any of the previous films and make very clear that when dealing with a man who has knives in his hands, things are going to get… splashy.
Frankly this is the last Wolverine film the world needs. Granted it won’t be, even if Jackman doesn’t do any more they’ll eventually re-cast the role but it would be nice to leave it for at least a decade.

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