Charlie's Diary

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Sun, 27 Mar 2005

Nomination news

It's now official, so I can talk about it: I've received three Hugo nominations this year. Locus has the news: my novellas "The Concrete Jungle" (from "The Atrocity Archives") and "Elector" (published in Asimov's SF Magazine; chapter 8 of "Accelerando") have both made the shortlist for best novella, and "Iron Sunrise" is on the shortlist for best SF novel. (It's up against very strong competition -- in an all-British list, Iain Banks and Ian MacDonald, both really good authors, are on their first ever nominations, while the Susannah Clarke juggernaut rolls on and China Miéville is in there.)

Both my nominated novellas will be appearing on the web later this week (including the hitherto somewhat hard-to-find "Concrete Jungle"), so if you're a Worldcon member with voting rights you'll be able to read them.

More on this later. (I'm on the road this week, currently at Paragon -- the British eastercon -- and then heading home slowly.)

[Discuss writing]

posted at: 10:07 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 18 Mar 2005


Part of the reason I've been quiet has been the "Accelerando" proofing job. Another part was the Writer's Bloc reading event on Wednesday, which requisitioned what was left of my energy after I finished proofing the novel. And the final part is: I'm currently making in-roads on my backlog of short fiction.

This month, in addition to checking the proofs of "Accelerando" I've written and sold two stories (or, to be pedantic, a short story and a novelette) -- "Snowball's Chance", which will be published in "Nova Scotia", an anthology of Scottish SF that's due to be launched at Interaction, and a longer piece, "Pimpf", set in the universe of "The Atrocity Archives", which will be published in The Golden Gryphon Anthology in late 2006.

This leaves me facing, variously: a novella for Gardner Dozois' forthcoming anthology of far-future SF, a story for Interzone, a really short story for Nature, and a longer story or novella for Asimov's SF Magazine. All but the last of these have been solicited. There are a couple more requests below the waterline, but they're not needed before autumn/winter: these are the ones on top of the pile. As I normally write two or three short stories a year, and I've got to get through this pile before May, I'm wibbling a little -- especially because, looming like a thundercloud over the short pieces, I have two novel deadlines: "The Jennifer Morgue" has to be written by the end of June, and "Glasshouse" has to be finalized and handed in by August. (And while "Glasshouse" is substantially complete and just needs some final fine tuning, "The Jennifer Morgue" is only about 20% written.)

This would be a fairly complete workload (only 150,000 words by the end of June) but there's other stuff, too. I'm going to the British Eastercon next weekend, which will take me away from home for close to a week (it's about 350 miles away and for reasons too tedious to go into I need to take a car there and back). In June, I'm guest of honour at a con in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in August I'm guest of honour at a con in Austin, Texas as well as going to the worldcon in Glasgow, the Edinburgh Book Festival, and other venues.

And when I'm not working I've still got to do the washing, stroke the cats, clean the litter tray, go swimming regularly, play computer games, and take time out to be human. For example, it's been about three years since I took a vacation more than three days long that didn't involve work (i.e. talking to editors, appearing at a convention, and so on).

What this means is, I'm pretty close to declaring myself booked up for the next eight months. I'm not saying I'll automatically turn down any requests for short stories or writing work, but if you want me to write something for you there'd better be a compelling reason for it, or a deadline some time in 2006. And if this weblog goes a little bit quiet between now and August, you have been warned.

[Discuss writing]

posted at: 15:26 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 16 Mar 2005


Please don't email me asking to be added to the mailing list. The mailing list is dead. (I haven't posted to it in over a year.) If you want updates on what I'm doing, this weblog comes with an RSS feed (see the link at right). If you want a mailing list so you can chatter among yourselves, that's another matter: if enough people poke me I might set one up.

[Discuss discuss]

posted at: 17:53 | path: /admin | permanent link to this entry

Tue, 15 Mar 2005

Back in the land of the living

So I finished checking the galley proofs of "Accelerando". I went swimming, did a kilometre, then went home and put the galleys in a box and nipped to the Post Office.

"Air mail to New York, please," I said, crossing my fingers.

"Oh, you're sixty-eight grams over the limit for a small packet. It'll have to go as a regular parcel. That'll be thirty-three pounds, please."

In the end I went to the local office supplies shop who FedEx'd it for me with 48 hour delivery for not a lot more. Then I emailed the extremely helpful editorial assistant to let her know it was coming her way.

"Oh no! You didn't send the whole galley back, did you? We only need the pages with changes!"

I reassured her that (a) I was indeed sending the entire 400 page galley proof back, and (b) I was only sending her the pages that needed changes.

When I can unkink my brain a little bit -- when I stop gasping for breath -- I'll see if I can think of anything to say about the book that I haven't already said at length. Let's just say that the proofreading job was a nightmare and leave it at that for now ...

In the meantime, if you're interested in bolting together a website, you might want to check out Nvu. It's a cross-platform web authoring program based off of the Mozilla framework -- sort of like a grown-up version of FrontPage or DreamWeaver, only free, and with versions for Linux and Mac users as well as Windows. I'm probably turning it loose on my website soon (read: within the next couple of months). I'm also looking hard at the possibility of switching my blog over to WordPress now that I've got a MySQL backed WordPress installation running in beta over at the Prattle.

Maybe it's time for me to wibble about the tools I use again?

[Discuss writing]

posted at: 20:21 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Mon, 14 Mar 2005

Shouldn't be long now

304 pages checked, 86 to go. Normal service will probably be resumed on Wednesday or Thursday, once I pick myself up off the floor and get my breath back.

posted at: 17:22 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 09 Mar 2005

On a singular obsession

I've been quiet for the past week for a variety of reasons -- the biggest of which is my next SF novel, Accelerando.

ACCELERANDO is the longest writing project I've yet undertaken, insofar as it took roughly five and a half years to come up with the first draft. It originally germinated as a short story back in the summer of 1999 -- a story called "Lobsters". "Lobsters" ended up being published in Asimov's SF Magazine, and even before it was in print I knew that the ending begged a question, and demanded an answer in the form of a sequel. Midway through the sequel a monstrously ambitious idea for a thematic series grabbed me bythe nose with its pincers and refused to let go: a trilogy of trilogies of novelettes, each trilogy covering a successive generation of the same family, tracing their experiences as they lived through (in the words of the fake Chinese proverb) a century of Interesting Times.

Anyway, the whole series took five years to write. It was hard work; at one point, in order to give myself an excuse for not grappling with one particular story I took time out to write a big fat fantasy novel. Then, having finished the stories, came the hard part -- splicing them together into something resembling an actual novel, rather than a series of incidents flying together in loose formation.

I have a confession to make: I'm rubbish at proof-reading. I know this from bitter experience, having had a job as a technical author during the course of which my editor (and line manager) tried to turn me into a proof-reader. It didn't work. I miss stuff. My spelling is erratic at best, and I don't notice spelling mistakes that I make. My eyes see what they expect to see, not what's on the page. Sitting on my desk right now is the 400-page galley proof of what is, if not my life's work, then certainly my most significant piece of work to date. So naturally I cheat -- I pay a professional sub-editor and proof-reader to go over some of my galleys. This doesn't discharge me from the burden of doing it myself, but it does ensure that the spelling mistakes mostly get picked up, and it flags a lot of other stuff for my attention that I might otherwise have missed. The publishers also proof-read the galleys, but what we find is ... well, all I can say is, the more eyeballs that examine a book, the more errors they find. I've been bitten by obvious doubled words in novels that had been proofed by myself, the commissioning editor, a copy editor, and two proofreaders -- there's a direct analogy here with Linus Torvald's aphorism about free software, "with enough eyeballs all bugs are discovered".

So I'm now going to shut up for a few days while I plough through 400 pages of ACCELERANDO. And hopefully when I finish I'll have enough energy left over to jot down some notes about the book that Gardner Dozois described as "one of the most dazzling feats of sustained imagination in science fiction history". (Gulp. Does he mean me?)

[Discuss writing]

posted at: 18:13 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 05 Mar 2005

Brief gloat

I'm on the top of Forbidden Planet's weblog. And spoken of in Locus.

(Heh. Couldn't resist.)

As an aside, I should note that the affair of Joe Gordon and Waterstones (mentioned here) has found a happy ending. Joe was fired from Waterstones, allegedly for blogging. I opined at the time that Joe is a jolly good bookseller who I would be willing to hire (were I running a bookshop), regardless of his extramural activities. It now transpires that Joe has indeed been hired by a retailer -- in fact, by the Forbidden Planet chain -- with a remit to turn around the long-standing decline in their book trade. And part of his job description includes running the company weblog.

The irony is priceless. (And I wish Joe the best of luck with his new employment.)

[Discuss writing]

posted at: 23:20 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

Quick links:

RSS Feed (Moved!)

Who am I?

Contact me

Buy my books: (FAQ)

Missile Gap
Via Subterranean Press (US HC -- due Jan, 2007)

The Jennifer Morgue
Via Golden Gryphon (US HC -- due Nov, 2006)

Via (US HC -- due June 30, 2006)

The Clan Corporate
Via (US HC -- out now)

Via (US HC)
Via (US PB -- due June 27, 2006)
Via (UK HC)
Via (UK PB)
Free download

The Hidden Family
Via (US HC)
Via (US PB)

The Family Trade
Via (US HC)
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Iron Sunrise
Via (US HC)
Via (US PB)
Via (UK HC)
Via (UK PB)

The Atrocity Archives
Via (Trade PB)
Via (Trade PB)
Via Golden Gryphon (HC)
Via (HC)
Via (HC)

Singularity Sky
Via (US HC)
Via (US PB)
Via (US ebook)
Via (UK HC)
Via (UK PB)


Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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