Sola fide

A new story of mine, ‘Judgement’, appears in a new anthology, In the Empty Places, published as a fundraiser for the Bantuan Coffee Foundation, a charity which helps victims of child prostitution and trafficking in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The story imagines what it would be like to discover that we lived in a world where the Protestant theological principle of sola fide was literally true, so that anyone who did not believe in Christ, regardless of their own conduct, really would be damned forever.

It is terrifying to live under a brutal dictator who may torture and kill you if you dare to criticise him, but imagine living under an omnipotent and omniscient creator who is so incredibly cruel that, if you don’t believe in him, he won’t even let you die, preferring to have you tortured for all eternity!

Others will have to judge how well the story works, but it certainly terrified me when I was writing it!

Launch of Marcher (new and improved version)

The new and extensively revised version of Marcher from Newcon Press, with its striking new cover by Ben Baldwin, will be launched at the World SF Convention in London on Friday 15th August 16.30-17.30, Library (Fan Village).

At the same event Newcon will also be launching: Nina Allan’s new novel The Race, Adam Robert’s collection of essays and criticism, Sibilant Fricative, a new edition of Kim Lakin-Smith’s Cyber Circus, and a new anthology, Paradox.

aaa marcher cover

My Loncon schedule

LONCON3_logo_270w

I’ll be taking part in several panels at the World SF Convention in London in August (Loncon 3), and my schedule is below.

  • Not with a Bang, but with a Metaphor: Panel, Thursday (14th August) 12:00 – 13:30 Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

Blurb: From Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to McCarthy’s ‘The Road’, apocalyptic and dystopian futures are a perennial favourite with writers who might be labelled ‘mainstream’ or ‘literary’. Why do such scenarios have an appeal that goes beyond a genre readership? What does a non-genre apocalypse have to offer that a science fictional one might not, and vice versa? Do we all share broadly similar nightmares, regardless of what ratio of science to sensibility we prefer?

Other panellists: Jacob Weisman, David Hebblethwaite, Paul Weimer, Noa Menhaim.

(A few thoughts about apocalyptic stories and their appeal here.)

  •  Through a Hollywood Adaptation, Darkly: Panel, Thursday (14th August) 18:00 – 19:00. Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

Blurb: Thanks largely to the ever-increasing number of film adaptations of his work, Philip K Dick is one of the small number of genre authors whose names have been commodotised: “Dickian” is now a shorthand for paranoia, shifting realities and unstable identities, or even for the condition of twenty-first century life in general. But to what extent is this cliché precis an accurate reflection of the breadth of Dick’s work? What other themes and preoccupations can we see in his novels and stories? How far does his influence on modern SF really extend — and what rewards does his work offer to new readers today?

Other panellists: Christi Scarborough, Grania Davis, Malcolm Edwards.

(Some thoughts of mine on this topic here.)

  • Autographing 3 – Chris Beckett.  Friday 12:00 – 13:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
  • Kaffeeklatsch.  Friday 14:00 – 15:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL).  With Kim Stanley Robinson.
  • Launch oaaa marcher coverf Marcher.   Friday 16.30-17.30, Library (Fan Village).  Launch of the new and revised edition of my 2nd novel Marcher, from Newcon Press, along with Nina Allan’s new novel The Race, Adam Robert’s collection of sssays and criticism, Sibilant Fricative, a new edition of Kim Lakin-Smith’s Cyber Circus, and the new Newcon anthology, Paradox.
  •  The Canon is Dead. What Now? Panel, Saturday (August 16th) 19:00 – 20:00. Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

Blurb: On the one hand, initiatives like the SF Gateway are helping to ensure the SF backlist remains accessible to today’s readers, and an increasing number of “classic” SF writers are receiving the establishment seal of approval in series like the Library of America (Philip K. Dick) and the Everyman Library (Isaac Asimov). On the other hand, the SF readership is increasingly diverse, with fewer readers who have come to the field via those “classics”, and many who find little of value in them in any case. In other words the traditional SF canon is no longer tenable — but the history is still out there. So what alternative models and narratives should we be using to understand the field’s past? Should we be working to expand the canon, or to describe multiple overlapping histories — or something else?

Other panellists: Kate Nepveu, Connie Willis, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Joe Monti

(Some thoughts on this topic here.)

  • Interzone and Beyond: British SF magazines of the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s: Panel, Sunday (August 17th) 15:00 – 16:30.  Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Blurb: Interzone has been a stalwart of the British genre scene since it first launched in 1982, publishing early stories by Charlie Stross and Stephen Baxter, as well as authors from outside Britain like Aliette de Bodard and Eugie Foster. But the past thirty years have seen a number of genre magazines launched in the UK, including Postscripts, Black Static, Infinity Plus, and The Third Alternative. How have they influenced the British genre scene? How did they find their own niches in the UK SF market, and which careers have been launched in their pages? And what is the importance of British SF magazines in an increasingly global and online market?

Other panellists: Wendy Bradley, Malcolm Edwards, David Pringle, Gareth L. Powell.

The new Marcher

aaa marcher coverI just received a copy of the new Marcher today from Ian Whates at NewCon press.   It’s always a lovely feeling, that first time you put your hands on the actual physical book.  And I love the cover image by Ben Baldwin, loosely based on the famous painting by Magritte: ‘Not to be reproduced’.

The book won’t be available for sale until the August launch at Loncon.

Dort.con

Ich freue mich sagen zu können dass ich am DORT.con 2015 als internationaler Ehrengast teilnehmen werde. Weitere Details hier.

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Easter 2014 not yet here and I’ve got something in my diary for Easter 2015!   I’m proud to be a guest of honour at Dort-con (Dortmunder Science Fiction Convention) in Germany.  If you can read German, more details are here.   I’m looking forward to it.

Currently the only book of mine available in German is Messias Maschine.  I wrote a few notes for  German readers here, kindly translated by my friend Thure Etzold.

US release of Dark Eden

DARK_EDEN

Dark Eden came out in the US and Canada yesterday!!    Random House have sent me a bunch of N American blog reviews that have appeared so far, and I’ll post the links here.  Haven’t read them all but the ones I have read are pretty good.

o   http://pili-inlovewithhandmade.blogspot.com/2014/03/mark-this-book-monday-arc-review-of_7244.html

o   http://books-forlife.blogspot.com/2014/04/dark-eden-chris-beckett.html

o   http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/2014/03/dark-eden.html

o   http://www.fridaynirvana.com/fiction/2014/04/book-review-dark-eden-by-chris-beckett.html

o   http://www.fromlefttowrite.com/tag/feed-your-reader/

o   http://www.sfx.co.uk/2014/03/24/coming-up-in-the-sfx-book-club/

o   http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/scifi/giant-freakin-bookshelf-week-march-31-2014.html

o   http://www.myfriendsarefiction.com/my-to-read-list-for-march

o   http://anateasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2014/04/out-today-4114.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FNjvri+(Anatea%27s+Bookshelf)

o   http://thatvoice.net/blog/

o   http://carolsnotebook.com/2014/03/31/mailbox-monday-68/

The Holy Machine: new cover

New Holy Machine coverThe new edition of The Holy Machine is now available.   It’s the same book inside the cover, of course, but books are objects too, and this new version seems to me a pretty desirable thing.

The contents aren’t bad either:

“A triumph.” – Paul di Filippo, Asimov’s SF.

“…the sparse prose and acute social commentary of a latter-day Orwell…”  – Eric Brown, The Guardian.

“The most amazing book I have ever read…. Simply amazing. A must read for all human beings!”  – Rafael from Brooklyn: enthusiastic Amazon.com reviewer!

The Holy Machine is also available as an unabridged AUDIO BOOK, read by John Banks.

More about The Holy Machine here.