Monday 30 November 2015

A Twitter short story

A few weeks ago, following the lead of David Mitchell (of Bone Clocks/Cloud Atlas/Slade House fame) and his 'Twitter' short story, which surfaced sometime last year, I decided to have a go at something similar.  This idea appeared during a lull between stories.  I reconstructed a story which appeared in Imaginalis - the first part of what came to be known as 'The Machine Sequence'.  'The Machine Sequence' stories are in turn prequel stories to another novel I've written called 'Machine Songs', which is currently languishing in a slush pile somewhere...

You can read it all from my Twitter account @GuyTMartland, but I've transcribed all twelve tweets here as well for your delectation.  Or something.

Tweet 1:
'You remember when the machines fell to Earth?'
<Dark times.>
'They got darker. I'm looking for answers.'
<Aren't we all?>

Tweet 2:
'If we reboot them, maybe we can reboot ourselves'
<How? They are tech from a bygone age!>
'If I can find whoever designed them...'

Tweet 3:
<Their inventor won't be able to help.>
<Fenix was a genius. Until he lost his mind.>
'I was told you knew him.'
<I did. Once.>

Tweet 4:
'You were friends?'
<Is that why you are here?'>
'I've told you why I'm here.'
<I've heard stories that he died.>
'I don't believe them.'

Tweet 5:
<Fenix thought he was the reason for all the problems.>
'He wasn't responsible for an alien invasion!'
<The machines he made caused a war.>

Tweet 6:
'A war that opened Earth to an invasion.'
<Could be he felt he hadn't done enough?>
'There must be a way.'
<To start another war?>

Tweet 7:
'If I got hold of an old machine. A Mecha.'
<You think you can use it to fix others?>
'I could try.'
<You'll need the machine sequence.>

Tweet 8:
'And where would I find that?'
'We're going round in circles.'
<There is another rumour he is alive, but was driven insane.>

Tweet 9:
'So where is he?'
<He is far away. Across miles of alien vegetation.>
'I'll find him. And make the machines work again.'
<Then what?>

Tweet 10:
'We have to rely on the past to enhance our future.'
<Our past is broken.>
'But machines will return the magic.'
<Pure Science Fiction!>

Tweet 11:
'Well, any sufficiently advanced technology...'
<You'll need help. An expert in alien biology.>
'I know a botanist.'
<Well that's a start.>

Tweet 12:
'I'll make the machines sing again. They will begin to heal Earth.'
<You'll probably die.>
'At least I'll die trying to save our planet...'


More to follow?

Sunday 11 October 2015

Bards and Sages, worldbuilding and other news...

Get your SF head on when worldbuilding... (photos taken at Port Eliot festival 2015, unknown artist)

A late addition to The Scion blog tour, I've written a post for Bards and Sages about worldbuilding.  Stuff I've picked up over the years by reading, writing and attending a few conferences (such as the Milford SF conference).  Big shout out to Julie Ann Dawson at Bards & Sages for hosting me.

You can read about my thoughts on worldbuilding right here.  The post even includes a crude map I drew when writing The Scion.

Who are they?
Are we here?

Bards & Sages have also accepted by story 'Gestating Elegy' for publication in January 2016.  This is a story based in the universe of an unpublished novel and a recent story 'Esterhazy's Cadence', which appeared in Perihelion SF.

In addition a new story 'The Flock' has been picked up by the new British SF magazine The Singularity.  Am loving the artwork on the cover of their first issue!  This story was inspired by some of Antony Gormley's artwork, in particular a piece called 'Event Horizon'.  When it will appear, I do not yet know.

In the meantime, other words are being written.  Mostly on Scrivener.  More subs are flying out into the aether.  Mostly on Submissions Grinder.  I am also contemplating bringing the aforementioned unpublished novel out of retirement, but it'll need a few workouts to get it match fit (insert musical montage here).

Finally, a big thanks to those who have already bought The Scion.  And for those who have given it some lovely reviews on Amazon.  If you haven't picked up a copy, now's your chance...

Sunday 13 September 2015

The Scion - Guy T Martland Interview

Back in July, I did a few interviews as part of The Scion blog tour.  Here is one of them, which appeared in Rudes Review on the 8th of July.  I thought I'd stick it up on here as I haven't posted much for a while...  And here's another picture of the novel's cover:

What is your latest book about, where can we find it and how long did it take you to write it?

My latest book is called ‘The Scion’ and is SF novel in the Space Opera tradition.  When I started writing this book, it was my intention to write a gothic SF novel.  However, I was having a lot of fun and some of my humour also crept in, which offset the bleakness.  Nevertheless, those who have read it tell me that it is pretty dark in places.

The plot concerns a young man called Septimus Esterhazy, an aristocrat, who lives in a penthouse on an island called Kennet; he has little to do, so whiles away his life as a part time DJ (or at least a future equivalent thereof).  When we meet him, his best friend Persephone, is dying.  But not is all as it seems.  Odd things then begin to happen: a blue star appears above his home planet, his cousin is kidnapped and then he begins to be followed and evenutally attacked by some odd creatures.  He is oblivious to the fact that the universe’s very nature is being threatened by a powerful alien race, called the Wraith.  Nor does he know that he is somehow involved with why they are coming.

In a separate thread, the self-proclaimed ‘Protectors of the Known Universe’, the Sassrit, are trying to do everything they can to thwart a Wraith attack.  But time is running out for them and resources are stretched.  A Sassrit agent, one of the shapeshifting Jarthiala, is subsequently recruited to help.  The path he follows leads to the doorstep of a planet called D, an Earth colony, above which a blue star hangs, its light reflected in the eyes of Septimus below.

As the threads begin to weave together, Septimus has to go on a journey which will change him forever.  It will make him question his nature.  He will uncover secrets about his family that have lain dormant for years.  And it will test the loyalty of those closest to him.

The book can be found on Amazon here.

I wrote part of the first chapter in 2007.  This seems like a long time ago, but I have lots of first novel chapters lying around which either get used in shorter works or just sit in my computer’s hard drive, awaiting resurrection.   For some reason, I was quite taken with Septimus and his friend Persephone and wanted to find out what happened to them as characters (I knew the overriding story arc).  So I wrote their story.

Most of the book was written in 2010 and 2011.  Then came various edits.  I called a friend, Liz Williams, to ask if she’d have a look.  At the time I wasn’t even sure if it was any good.  Anyway, I drove over to Glastonbury and we met in her ‘office’ – the back room of the George and Pilgrim pub.  She read it, seemed to like it, made some suggestions and a while later I sent it to Safkhet. 

What inspired you to be a writer?

It wasn’t so much an inspiration as a calling.  I have to write.  This may sound a bit clichéd but it is unfortunately true.  If I don’t get some words on a page almost every day, then I simply don’t feel complete as a human being.

Words have been with me from a very young age.  My mother gave me ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘Brideshead Revisited’ to read when I was five years old.  So maybe I blame her.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have a single favourite author, but I have many I love and look forward to reading.  In the SF world, Alastair Reynolds and Paul McAuley are probably top of my list of living SF authors.  The late Iain M. Banks, who I had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions, features prominently in the other list.  In the non-SF world, I am a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, Paul Auster and Julian Barnes.  Justin Cartwright is also fantastic, and for some inexplicable reason, is much overlooked.

How many books have you written?

Three complete SF novels.  And another using chunks of one of these which was given a fictional slant, but which was semi-autobiographical, overly self-interested rubbish.  I have also published numerous short stories in various places, such as Perihelion SF, Albedo One, Encounters Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity and Fiction Vortex (full bibliography on my website).

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently in the process of editing one of the above novels, ‘Machine Songs’, with view to sending it off somewhere.  This is about a future Earth overrun with alien growth, but one which still harbours some interesting drone tech.  I’ve also started writing a sequel to The Scion as well as a standalone SF medical dystopian piece.  In addition, I’ve got a few stories I’m working on which I hope to get out into the world soon.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read and write as much as you can.  I’ve found critique groups can be helpful, such as the Milford SF conference.  But really, you have to sit at your desk, and grind the words out.  Writing takes time and a lot of effort, with a huge dash of patience thrown in.

When I first started out I wrote to Paul McAuley asking him this very question.  His reply was along the lines of you either are a writer or you aren’t.  Make of that what you will.

Tell us about about yourself?

I live on the South Coast of England, a stone’s throw from where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, and not far from where Mary Shelley is buried.  When I’m not writing, I work as a hospital pathologist and play a 19th century German violin (but not at the same time).  At 6 foot 8 inches (2.032 metres), I am possibly one of the tallest living SF writers.

Is there anything else you want to say?

I hope everyone who reads ‘The Scion’ enjoys it as much as I did writing it.  Thank you for  interviewing me!

Sunday 26 July 2015

My 10 favourite SF novels

'Oryx & Crake' and 'The Drought' missing in action...

When compiling this list I thought about the books which have left enduring impressions on me, whether these be images, atmospheres, ideas or characters.  My imagination tends to be cinematic – as I read the images roll over the screen of my mind, and the more striking the better.  In my novel ‘The Scion’, I tried my best to write what I was seeing, which gave the book a visual feel.  My hope was that some of the images I’ve created would have the same kind of long-lasting effect as the books I most admire.

This is a book I return to again and again.  It was the first McAuley I read and one of the books that kickstarted my interest in SF.  The descriptions of a terraformed Mars jolted my imagination awake, the settings lingering in my mind.  I had the pleasure of meeting the author at Worldcon last year, when he told me (as he signed my first edition hardback) this was one of his favourites.  I just smiled, being a bit starstruck.

Where would we be without the late, great Iain M?  This book has it all – some wonderful set pieces, epic landscapes and a seriously cool female lead to boot.  An antiquity hunter, Sharrow is a strong and believable character.  The Lazy Guns are without comparison and possibly one of the coolest inventions in SF.  Added to which there are monowheels (a kind of supercharged motorbike), cable cars, glass-bottomed swimming pools, hovercraft…  Dark, as the title suggests, humorous and a book which grows on second, third and fourth reads.

The author of this novel may not consider this to be SF, but I do.  Science has effectively destroyed Earth, after the release of Crake’s monster virus (SF, right?).  The grim post-apocalyptic tone of this book takes hold from the outset and doesn’t let go.  But there is a lesson here for humanity – about what could happen if science’s advances are allowed to progress unchecked.  This is Frankenstein for our times.  It could really happen one day.

A brilliant Banksian rollercoaster ride on the ridiculously named planet of Spatterjay, where a plethora of bizarre creatures grow with abandon.  The drones in this are seriously sophisticated, kick-ass machines.  And the transformed Hoopers, infected by the Spatterjay virus, are a nice touch.  Asher’s finest moment. 

5. The Dramaturges of Yan – John Brunner

An alien world filled with ancient artefacts, a galaxy known artist who creates on a celestial scale, the strange effects of the Shrimashey drug: Brunner manages to summon a world which is fascinating and truly strange.  There is even a kind of internet (written before this existed).  At the same time, there is something very Seventies about this book, which doesn’t seem to date it, but instead gives it a retro feel.

More artefacts, this time a mysterious eponymous space hub created by a vanished race called the Heechee.  Travelling on the alien craft located in the hub to different worlds is a kind of Russian roulette, with the accompanying financial rewards making this a space race on a different scale.  The analysis sessions through which the protagonist reveals the secrets of Gateway lend a humanising context.  I read this for the first time in one sitting, spellbound, each new world visited as thrilling as the last.

No best SF list would be complete without some Ballard.  This was one of a series of apocalyptic novels, although they are otherwise unrelated.  His writing is clinical, detached and paradoxically completely submerges the reader in a world without water.  Reading this is like being transported into a surrealist landscape, where nothing quite makes sense.  There is a mirage-like touch to the prose that sticks, like your tongue to the back of your dry mouth.

This book opened my mind to the unbelievable depth of space.  That hundreds of civilisations could have lived and died before humans even emerged from the cat’s cradle of evolution on Earth.  Of course, in Rama itself, there is an alien artefact which requires exploration (you detecting a theme here?).  And, yes, space really is that big. 

9. The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

I was brought up with the Triffids.  They were there on the television creaking around through 80s TV sets and devouring people.  For a while I thought they were real.  Later I consumed the book like the voracious Triffid reader I am.  The idea of the meteor show blinding Earth’s inhabitants, rendering them powerless to the Triffids’ advances is haunting and I still have a mild panic attack any time I hear of (or even witness) a meteor shower. 

10. Stone – Adam Roberts

Roberts turns his hand to many different tropes in SF, his books diverse and fascinating.  Here he does space opera on a grand scale, whizzing through many different exotic planets with an assured prose.  And for his third outing, this feels like a book from a much more experienced writer.  High concepts abound: faster than light travel, quantum physics and intelligent nanotechnology (dotTech) which has created a kind of human utopia (or has it?).  On reading this, I almost shouted with joy, revelling in the fact that modern SF has so much to offer.  Simply breathtaking.

This blog post originally appeared on Margo Bond Collins' blog on the 7th July 2015, as part of the blog tour for my novel 'The Scion'.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Some stuff about aliens

I’ve met many aliens during my brief time on Earth.  None to my knowledge in reality, but many through millions of words and fictional worlds I’ve avidly consumed over the years.  These have no doubt informed the way I’ve created aliens over the years.

It is hard to avoid cliché when creating an alien. In a gravity different to Earth, they could be taller or shorter; their atmosphere may be completely different; they may have completely different food sources and will no doubt support different microbiomes which may have in turn channelled their features.  Carbon-based lifeforms are mostly likely according to the higher echelons of SETI, but that doesn’t mean to say other forms are unlikely.  Many authors use silicon as the predominant building block, although Silicon-based compounds are inherently more unstable, and other elements even more so.  In any case, it seems that when considering this that they will be like us in any shape or form. But is this strictly true?

We have seen so called biological or physical attractors in evolution on our planet – look at how the octopus eye and human eye, have developed independently along completely different evolutionary pathways – so-called convergent evolution.  Are humanoids clichés or an inevitability?  I tend to think the latter.  Although this isn’t to say there won’t be other differences.  Although, this is probably a presumption based on a carbon-based lifeform, which has evolved in a similar ‘Goldilocks’ zone to Earth.  This could explain why we see so many humanoids in SF, for example in series like Banks’ Culture.

So should aliens be feared or should we be grateful for their presence?  If aliens do ever make contact, then they would surely be of at least a technological parallel to ours, if not more advanced.  There is a good chance they may be able to help us out, let us piggy back off some of their technologies, such as the McAuley’s Jackaroo.  This doesn’t mean to say they won’t want something from us, whether it be elements of our culture, or at least, a calm, focused approach to their presence.  Humanity doesn’t have a great record when it comes to dealing with members of our own species, let alone others.  Could this be one of the reasons why they haven’t yet contacted us?

This brings me to Fermi’s paradox, the contradiction between the thought that given the four hundred billion stars out there in our galaxy, there is a high probability some must harbour civilisation, so why don’t we know about them?  Is there an alien race out there, truly to be feared, like Reynolds’ Inhibitors, which extinguish everything as soon as it starts propagating beyond certain pre-defined limits?  Have their civilisations blossomed and died already on the vast canvas that is space and time, such as those which created the cylinder of Rama?  Is it because we inhabit a part of the Milky Way lacking enough dark matter for subspace transport?  Or are we simply too immature as a species, too intolerant and irrational to intelligently deal with them?

Is it highly likely that aliens are out there, somewhere, or maybe even moving amongst us.  Whether they will be able to help us or thwart us as a species is likely to depend on how we react to their presence.  But until they make themselves known to us, we have to rely on conjecture, and sometimes fantasy.  In the meantime, they can make good stories and help explain elements of ourselves, preparing us for that moment which will shake us a species, but perhaps bring out the best in us.

Banks, I. M. Consider Phlebas. Macmillan. 1987
Clarke, A. C. Rendezvous with Rama. Gollanz. 1973
McAuley, P. Something Coming Through. Gollancz. 2015
McGhee, G R. Convergent evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful. Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, Cambridge (MA). 2001
Reynolds, A. Revelation Space. Gollancz. 2000
Shostak, S. The bricks of life: exploring the idea of alien chemistry @ 2004

This blog post was originally written for 'Beauty In Ruins' and was posted on the 6th of July, 2015 as part of the Blog Tour for 'The Scion'.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Music for The Scion

I find it hard to write without music.  I need it to transport me to that other place where writing comes naturally.  Think of it as jump starting my imagination, the battery of which has become flat due to the excesses of work in a busy hospital.  So it goes without question that I listened to many different notes whilst writing 'The Scion'.

It doesn't come as much surprise that many writers have music on in the background during the creative process.  SF writer Al Reynolds reportedly played lots of Interpol loudly while writing 'Revelation Space'.  And another Al (Robertson) writes beautifully how music was important to him when writing his recently published SF novel 'Crashing Heaven'.

Much of the music which vibrated my tympanic membrane during the 112,000 or so words and various edits of 'The Scion' comprised instrumental pieces - these seemed better suited to the atmosphere I was trying to create (and possibly prevented copyright issues with lyric creep).  Some of these artists I like to think of as purveyors of SF music, or at least music which goes some way to explain the unfathomable depths of space and the alien worlds surely out there.  Music, in its inexplicable way, explains the unexplained.  Tangle your headphone wires around that one.

This was a playlist I made for my friend Dr Rich Grenyer back in 2012 or so as 'accompanying listening' to 'The Scion'.  Think of it as the novel's soundtrack if you like.  Not all tracks are available, including one I wrote (with a different friend) which may never see the light of day.  But you get the gist.

1. Glink - Bola

2. Witches Ov - The Black Dog

3. Imp - Yimino

4. Monkey Back In - Mrs Jynx

5. Phontron (030303 mix) - EOD

6. The Great God Pan Is Dead - Johann Johannsson

7. Sphere Of No-Form - Biosphere

8. Goodbye - Ulrich Schnauss

9. Sticklebrick Symphony - Ochre

10. Cold Out There - Jon Hopkins

11. Hoy Yoi - Yimino

12. Love Movement (Ulrich Schnauss Remix) - Justin Robertson

13. How I Missed You - Clatterbox
14. Demo 4.1 (Unfinished End Titles) - Element 33
(not available)

Wednesday 24 June 2015

The Scion now on Amazon (pre-order), Blog Tour and Other Stuff


My novel The Scion is now available to pre-order from Amazon!  It is coming out as an eBook only.  Although, you never know, they might kill some trees and spill some ink later on...

Europe Links:
UK, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain.

Non-Europe Links:
US, Canada, Australia, Japan.

The Scion Blog Tour:

Some lovely people have said they will entertain some of my words on their sites.  Fist up, I've got a piece about aliens coming to Beauty In Ruins on 6th of July.  Then a top 10 of my favourite SF novels to Words, Words, Words on the 7th July.  More to follow...

Other stuff:

'Approaching 43,000 Candles' has been published by Shoreline of Infinity!  And beautifully illustrated by Sara Ljeskovac.  It also features an interview with Charlie Stross (I once held his Hugo) and a heap of other great stuff.

'Gestating Elegy' (a reworked version) has also been accepted by Bards and Sages Quarterly and will be appearing in January 2016.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Space Opera novel, 'The Scion' - cover reveal

Sometimes a picture can tell a thousand words.  So said a Japanese philosopher, whose name has been lost in the vagaries of time.  Not quite 112,000, or thereabouts.  Unless it's Picasso's 'Guernica' or maybe the Bayeux tapestry.  In which case...

Anyway, cut to the chase: the cover for my Space Opera novel 'The Scion' was revealed this week!  And, you know, I think it hits the spot.  The novel starts on a beach (sorry, prologue haters).  Figures are converging to face an oncoming alien threat in unison.  The skies are filled with a skein of creatures, fast approaching over the water.  Then... to put it simply, things don't go too well.  The title font on the cover is meant to symbolise the clouds of these aliens, the Wraith, approaching.  And the other fonts spell the same but in other texts.  I'm not going to plot spoil, but there are other alien species involved, not just murderous, apocalyptic ones.  (Big shout out to those involved in the cover design.)

If you like the sound of all this, the book will be published on the 1st July.  There'll be some kind of Blog Tour as well, around this time.  And I'm planning on Betelgeuse to go nova in celebration.  The celestial clock is ticking - look up and watch the stars!

With the Cover Reveal came the blurb, which you can read over at Safkhet Publishing.  But I've included it here as well, just for the hell of it:

The aliens from your nightmares are coming. The colonies of Earth are next. And it looks like nothing can stop them.

A blue star, a dying friend, a kidnap and the dusty contents of an old room: Septimus Esterhazy's life is about to change. As he blows cobwebs from the manual of an old spacecraft, hidden for decades, a Pandora's box creaks open.

Little does he know that the universe's very nature is being threatened by a powerful alien race. Nor does he know that he is somehow involved with why the Wraith, destroyers of worlds, are coming.
The self-proclaimed 'Protectors of the Known Universe', the Sassrit, are trying to do everything they can to thwart a Wraith attack. But time is running out and resources are stretched.

A Sassrit agent, one of the shapeshifting Jarthiala, is recruited to help. The path he follows leads to the doorstep of a planet called D, an Earth colony, above which a blue star hangs, its light reflected in the eyes of Septimus below.

This is a journey which will change Septimus Esterhazy forever. It will make him question his nature. He will uncover secrets about his family that have lain dormant for years. And it will test the loyalty of those closest to him.

But first he has to watch his best friend die.

The Scion

Saturday 30 May 2015

The R-word?

Some pictures of Tout Quarry Scultpure Park in Portland, Dorset.  About 40 mins drive from where I live. 

Some wiki-lite: Much of the stone which was used to construct St Paul's and Buckingham Palace, came from Portland.  Some even travelled further afield, across the Atlantic, where it was used to construct the United Nations buildings in New York.  The excavations left vast scars over the landscape.  The quarry fell into disuse circa 1920, then in 1983 was reopened as a Sculpture Park.

'Still Falling' - Antony Gormley (1983, incised work)

'Hearth' - Timothy Shutter (1989)
For you rock lovers, Purbeck Stone is Jurassic.  However, I didn't see any sign of dinosaurs, or a bespectacled Jeff Goldblum.  Boom boom.

This wasn't strictly the R-word (research) as the late, great Iain Banks put it.  But it was a fascinating day out.  Words started appearing shortly afterwards, which eventually became a story, so in retrospect...
Chesil Beach, looking towards Weymouth

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Two Short Stories Published!

Two stories have just landed in the USA!  Oddly enough, on the same day.  Both are free to read.

Firstly, 'Esterhazy's Cadence' has been published by Perihelion SF (who also published 'Time out at the Cafe Metropole' last November).  A character from one of my older stories 'Gestating Elegy' makes a reappearance... I wrote the opening sequence to this many years ago at an Arvon course in Ted Hughes' old house.  The rest fell into place much later on.

Secondly, 'The Leather Bracelet' has been published in Encounters Magazine of SF, Fantasy and Horror.  This started off as an M.R. James style tribute, centring on a hotel I used to work in during Uni holidays.  And whilst I wanted to write a ghost story, the SF crept in and wouldn't let go.

More story news to follow soon...

Sunday 19 April 2015


Eastercon - I drank with Milfordites, witnessed some great readings and then left to edit...

The copy edit of my novel 'The Scion' has now been returned to the publishers at Safkhet! I hurried back from Eastercon to sort this out - it pinged into my inbox almost as soon as I got there. So after catching up with the Milford SF crew and many other lovely SF people, I started slogging through the manuscript, working through the Copy Editor's comments. Then re-reading it twice, ironing out a few blips here and there. Two weeks later and I'm happy to report that it is all looking good. Late nights, lots of coffee, a few glasses of wine and a very supportive fiancée helped me get this done! The cat, Gordon, was indifferent to my efforts - he prefers Dreamies to SF.

Hands off the Penderyn, Gordon!


As soon as 'The Scion' had once again disappeared into the machinations of the publishing industry, I had another short story accepted by Perihelion SF!  This is called 'Esterhazy's Cadence' and features a character that appeared a long time ago in a story called 'Gestating Elegy'.  Jathria Al Sestro of sect Threses appears once again to play her viotel.  It should be going live in May.

Other shorts to follow, some of which were mentioned in a previous post:

'The Leather Bracelet' - Encounters Magazine #14 (publication date May 2015)

'Approaching 43,000 Candles' - Shoreline of Infinity #1 (publication date June 2015) 

'Sounding Out The Undead' - Blackfriars Bestiary, Rotting Hill Gate issue (publication date tbc)

'The Machine Sequence (Reflected)' - Imaginalis #1 (publication date tbc)

Advert for upcoming Milfords - Guy T Martland assuming pensive, writerly pose...

Friday 20 March 2015

Status Update: Incoming

Katrin Von Lindenberg's work-in-progress inspired by 'The Machine Sequence' stories.

Some news:

1) The Scion 

I am reliably informed by the owners of Safkhet publishing that The Scion is now with a copy editor.  So, things are moving towards publication.  Soon you will meet Septimus Esterhazy Esq. and travel with him around the colony planet of D and elsewhere...

2) Story Updates. 

Accepted, pending publication:

'The Leather Bracelet' - Encounters Magazine #14 (publication date May 2015)

'Approaching 43,000 Candles' - Shoreline of Infinity #1 (publication date June 2015)

'Sounding Out The Undead' - Blackfriars Bestiary, Rotting Hill Gate issue (publication date tbc) 

3) The Machine Sequence

Hopefully the rest of The Machine Sequence will come to Imaginalis soon.  Another 4 or so stories to go...

4) Machine Songs

Still working on this.  Second draft taking longer than I thought as I keep adding passages!

5) Other writings

There are about 10 short stories working their way through the Submissions Grinder... If you haven't been there, you must visit!

6) Dysprosium

I will be there.  Propping up the bar.

Monday 9 February 2015

The Scion

A Safkhet, last week.  Photography © Guy T Martland

Early December.  Last year.  I was sitting at the back of a conference hall in faceless Heathrow hotel land.  Tired because of an early start and wired because too much coffee was inter-reacting with my sleep-deprived cerebral cortex.  My phone seemed to have entered a reception black hole.  Or maybe it was jammed because of the planes, I wondered, conspiracy theories blooming in my mind.  The hotel had wifi, I noticed during a particularly dull lecture.

I pressed the email icon on my generic smartphone.  A missive had arrived from a publisher.  I opened it, wondering if it could be another rejection.  Always the optimist.  I scanned the first few lines.  Then read it again.  And again.  My science-fiction novel 'The Scion' had landed a publisher!  They were called 'Safkhet Publishing' - I'd met some of their authors at Loncon earlier in the year.  The contract was for it to be published as an eBook in the first instance.

In a break I made some excited phone calls, dropped a few texts to friends who'd read it.  The conference passed in a blur.  Then there were some drinks in London, a gig (Son of Dave) with some old friends.  I may have had one too many.  And then then next day: home, happily hungover.

So, where are we now?  Well, shortly after the email, I signed a contract with Safkhet.  Then came my final edit, working through the book, obsessively making sure I hadn't missed any glaring plot holes.  I changed some formatting to Safkhet's liking.  A few Cure lyrics were removed - even though Robert Smith nicked stuff from everyone (Mervyn Peake, Penelope Farmer to name a few), I'd read that securing permissions on their lyrics was near impossible.  I did however obtain permission to use the title of an Autechre EP as a character (thank you Warp Records!).

And then it was off for their copy edit, sent late December.  I imagine it is now slowly working its way through the machinations of the publishing world.  Somebody somewhere might even be creating a cover... When I hear more there will be further blogs.  But in the meantime, some short stories have been accepted in various places.  And I'm writing, writing, writing - mostly working on a separate novel.  But I've also cranked out the first 10K words of a loose sequel to The Scion...


You can see some great examples of these in the British Museum, like I did last week.

Sunday 1 February 2015

This Took Bloody Ages

TTBA is the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS) magazine.  The meaning of the TTBA acronym has changed for each issue of the magazine produced, its first issue 'Title To Be Announced' published in 1974.

I had a few stories 'Descent From Heaven' and 'The Colour Of Language' published in 1997 in 'This Took Bloody Ages'.

The CUSFS has got a brand new webpage and are adding compiling all the editions of TTBA as and when they find them.  Many have been lost in the mists of time...

You can read my offerings here: 'This Took Bloody Ages' Or you can go and read all the other available issues here: TTBA.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Bolted On Technology, Artificial Intelligence And Aliens

'Art, in its broadest sense, is the only thing that defines us as humans.' 

The new one in 'The Machine Sequence' in now up over on Imaginalis.  These are all prequel flash stories to my novel 'Machine Songs', which I'm still working on...

If you want to read them in order, I've created a new page for the site with details of all 'The Machine Sequence' stories in order... You should be able to find it in the menu at the head of the blog.


Sunday 11 January 2015

The Harmony Of Immortal Souls

J.S. Bach, violin concerto in A minor BWV 1041
(Hipstamatic Jane camera, Kodot XGrizzled film)

The new flash story in 'The Machine Sequence' is now up over at Imaginalis!  As I've stated earlier on the blog, these are prequel stories to my novel 'Machine Songs', which is currently proceeding through a second draft.

This piece features two Shakespeare quotes:

The first is from Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene i:

‘Such harmony is in immortal souls,
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.'

Enter musicians 
The second is from Duke Vincentio in Measure for measure, Act IV, scene i:

' 'Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.'   

If you want to read them in order, check out the separate 'Machine Sequence' page in the site's menu.

More to follow over the next few weeks/months.