Tag Archives: SF

protected void onCreate(Bundle icicle)

I heard a radio program a while back about found poetry. My favourite example was the message you see written out on the buttons you use to operate some train doors. Written from top to bottom it says:

Open Doors Close

The title of this entry comes from a basic Android program (the operating system that makes most of the world’s smartphones run). That phrase makes me think of some sort of Japanese Anime wizard character, who enters the protected void to create an icicle bundle to use against his enemy.

SQL commands are used for getting information from databases. An example would be
SELECT * FROM Customers WHERE Sex=’F’
which would find all your female customers. Seeing that always makes me want to write something like

SELECT integrity FROM life WHERE Hope IS NULL
Python programmers might write something like the following
class Music:
def __init__(self):

Which sounds like something someone trying to be cool ten years ago might say.*

One of my favourites is the LISP command to add together two numbers, for no other reason than I like the look of it.
(+ 2 2)
What I really like about all the above expressions, though, isn’t so much the poetical aspect, but rather the way these expressions inevitably arrive by applying the logic of the programming language in question.

But more on that another time…

* Any python programmers reading this – I know the def  __init__ should be indented.  Wordpress keeps stripping out my leading spaces. If you have a solution to this, I’d love to hear it.

Not what you’re looking for?  Try Tony Ballantyne Tech for real coding.

Cosmopolitan Predators!

… and now for something completely different.

Not a novel, not a series of short stories, but a little bit of both.

I had the germ of the idea for this years ago when I read Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.  I love many things about Maupin’s writing, but one of the things that really caught my attention about the Tales was that they originally appeared as regular instalments in the San Francisco Chronicle.

That struck me as a really different way of writing.  When I write a novel, I plan it out, write it, redraft it, change the beginning, change the end, redraft again… I’ve often wondered what it would be like writing a story as a serial, not having the luxury of going back and changing what I’d done.  What would that mean?  Would the characters evolve in a different way?  The idea has fascinated me for years, however there’s always been one drawback.  Nobody really publishes serial fiction any more.

I discussed this with Chris Beckett at Eastercon last year, and it turned out he was fascinated by the idea of serial fiction, too.  So, it turns out were Keith Brooke, Eric Brown, Juliet E McKenna, Philip Palmer, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Ian Whates.  We all wanted to write serial fiction, but there was no outlet for it…

So I decided to do something about that.  My wife is an experienced editor, I have the IT skills and so…

Athernet Magazine will be launching on March 30th.  Aethernet Magazine is the magazine of serial fiction.  In it you’ll find serial fiction by the above authors, and by me.  Cosmopolitan Predators! is just a little but like Tales of the City in that it follows the lives of a series of characters, however it scores over Maupin in that it has more robots in it.

The concept behind Aethernet Magazine isn’t a new one, but perhaps its a concept whose time has come again.  See what you think…

Strange Divisions and Alien Territories

StrangeDivMidAs it says on Amazon:

This volume explores the sub-genres of science fiction from the perspectives of authors active in the field, offering both a critical viewpoint and insights from practising writers

I contributed the final chapter:  Just Passing Through: Journeys to the Post Human. The book is expensive and probably aimed at an academic audience, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.  Just as useful if you’re interested in writing SF as well as reading it, Keith Brooke has produced an excellent reference for all those in the field.