Thanks very much to Stephen E. Andrews for this youtube interview for his Outlaw Bookseller podcast, providing an overview of all my books. Steve is based in Bath, in Somerset, and his extraordinarly encyclopaedic knowledge of books is matched by his infectious enthusiasm. I first met him when he invited me to give a talk in Bath’s Waterstones.
Interview here with Chris Gregory, at Alternative Stories, interspersed with readings by actors from my books (Including preview of my next novel, Tomorrow.)
Here’s an audio drama put together by Chris Gregory for his Alternative Stories and Fake Realities podcast, based on an extract from Two Tribes. You’ll see the names of the actors when you click the link. What makes this a exceptional feat is that the actors were not together in the same room, each one recorded their lines separately – or rather several versions of each line- and Chris G selected the delivery he thought worked best, spliced them together, and added sound effects. It’s constructed around a central scene in the book where Harry and Michelle, meeting for the third time, go together to the Tate Modern in London, where they have their first big row.
The unusual format of this podcast is that I and the two interviewers (Ben and Nick) had each written a mini-story with the same title (‘I’m alone’) and we began by reading these.
Here’s me talking to Sam Ruddock, on behalf of National Centre for Writing, about dialogue among other things. Many thanks to Sam and to NCW for having me.
George Hrab has recorded an audio version of my story ‘The Peacock Cloak’ (a particular favourite of mine), here on Starship Sofa.
I’m very pleased to be part of this original audio collection of six SF stories, which have just been published by Audible. Most of my books, including my latest short story collection Spring Tide, are available as audio books, but this is the first time that I’ve had a story whose first appearance was in audio format.
My story is called ‘When Will We Get There?’ (the title being a deliberate homage to one of my very favourite stories, Philip K. Dick’s ‘I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon’), and it is beautifully read by Clare Corbett.
The other five stories in the collection are by An Owomoyela, Nikesh Shukla, Lauren Beukes, Ken Liu and Paul Cornell, so I’m in distinguished company.
Possibly the most cheerful piece of music I know of. You definitely need to watch this until the two soloists do their chicken dance.
A bit random, but it’s something I’ve just been listening to and I thought I’d share it. This lovely aria is from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
Orpheus is a poet and musician whose music is so beautiful that even stones are enchanted by it. When his beloved Eurydice is killed by snakes, he travels to the underworld to try and win her back. Even the hearts of the rulers of the underworld are softened by his sweet music, and they agree she can return to life on the one condition that he doesn’t look at her, even once, until they have emerged again into the world of the living.
In this aria, after various travails, Orpheus finds himself in the Elysian fields. ‘How pure the sky,’ he sings, ‘how bright the sun…’ But none of this can make him happy until he has Eurydice back again. At the very end of the aria, the chorus announces the arrival of Eurydice. Heart-stopping moment! To be in her presence again, when he thought he’d lost her forever and yet be forbidden to look at her, or even to explain to her why he must constantly turn away his face.
It fascinates me the way old stories from different places tend to echo one other. No doubt this is sometimes because a story from one culture is heard and taken up by people from another, like the story of St Josaphat. But I’m sure it also happens because certain stories reflect deep structures in the human mind which are universal, and perhaps even hardwired into our brains.
I think of the biblical story of Lot’s Wife, who would be turned to a pillar of salt if she looked back at the city of Sodom. But a much stronger resonance is with the Norse story of Balder, who like Orpheus was capable of stirring the hearts even of animals and stones.
In the Balder story it is Balder himself who dies and his mother who sends a messenger down into the underworld to beg for his return. As in the Greek story, the ruler of the underworld grants the request on one condition (albeit a different one), and as in the Greek story (though not in the opera!), the condition is almost met but not quite, and the beloved one is lost forever.
Here’s a podcast interview with me, by ‘Time for Cakes and Ale’ run by Becks and Eeson. They describe their podcast as ‘an outlet for our ramblings on whatever geeky topics take our fancy’. I like a bit of rambling myself, and here they have indulged me at length. Thanks both.