The Week Reviewed

The highlight of my week came by email…a scary, eerie, and extremely funny cover design for my next novel Version 43, which comes out in the autumn.  Designer Lauren Panepinto has brilliantly echoed the design of Red Claw, with its scuffed corners and pulp feel; and she’s also added some flamboyantly original touches. 

Thanks Lauren!

I’ve been writing and researching Hell Ship this week. The research mainly involves reading about the ancient civilisations of Earth – the Egyptians, the Sumerians (pronounced Shoo-merians, I have now discovered), the Hittites, the Minoans, and the Mayans, to name but a few. 

The story of the Mayans is a sobering one – they were a thriving civilisation until about 950AD, when the civilisation collapsed. There was no invasion, no plague, no asteroid landing in the jungle; the entire culture just fell to pieces, because of overpopulation, greed, and possibly war.  It’s not a unique story; prehistory is littered with accounts of civilisations that imploded under the weight of their own contradictions.

Maybe ours will be next?

That happy thought leads me into some reflections on the global economic crisis and bankers’ bonuses…it’s a subject that fascinates me and appals me, and I keep thinking, ‘Someone should write something about that!’

Then it occurred to me this morning (as I woke up at 3am, regretting that last glass of rich red wine) that maybe that someone should be me.  You see, I’m currently pitching for a 3-part radio drama series about politics and war which is being looked at favourably (it doesn’t mean I’ll get the gig! But it looks promising.)  And I think I can see a way to make Part 3 of the drama an account of the banking crisis, in vivid and terrifyingly dramatic form. 

This gives me another big subject to think about and research,  to add to my already large pile  of big subjects:  there’s ancient civilisation and parallel universes (for Hell Ship); art, architecture and forgery (for my commissioned radio drama The Art of Deception), and now global politics and finance, for this new radio pitch. 

Hmm. That means I’m pretty much researching life, the universe and everything; should be fun!

A good portion of this week was devoted to a rewrite/polish of my Welsh film noir Inferno. I’ve nursed this project over several years. I endured the departure of my brilliant producer and executive producer (we didn’t fall out – far from it! – but they left to pursue highly paid and prestigious jobs elsewhere.)  I created my own company, as a way of accessing finance to get the film made. And now, after more than six months working with a director of incomparable cleverness and flair (that”s you Marc!) damn it all, there may be a chance of getting it made this year.

Or not – film is a fickle business.  But I’ve never felt so optimistic about getting the film produced, and out there in the cinemas.  So – we’ll see. Watch this space!

I’m currently reading a splendid Scott Westerfield SF epic – he’s SUCH a smart writer. And I’m close to the end of CAPTAIN BRITAIN, the comic anthology/graphic novel by Paul Cornell, who also writes Dr Who, and who I  met last year at Eastercon. A lovely man; and his Captain Britain is an absolute delight.

Speaking of Eastercon; I’ve signed up to do several panels at the next one, Odyssey at Heathrow, and I may also be doing some book signings.  Hope to see some of you there.

Oh and I’ve written a short review of the great SF movie Delicatessan (it is SF, honest!) for Cinema Futura, which I’m about to email. It’s a gorgeous, funny, utterly unexpected film, rich in visual beauty.

The other highlight of the week – apart from the Version 43 cover – was Alastair Reynolds’ choice of SFF Song of the Week – the eerie, haunting, brilliant Wings by the Fall. If you haven’t listened to it yet, scroll down and find it, or go across the Categories bar and click of SFF SONG OF THE WEEK, and you’ll find it there.

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