So... aside from pontificating about science fiction and Islam (which reminds me, Jon Courtenay Grimwood is another author I really must get round to reading sometime soon), what have I been up to recently?
Well, the same as ever, really. I've sent off the chapter breakdown and sample chapter for this arguable pseudonymous novel -- the chapter was speed-written really, 3000 + words in just a couple of days last weekend, but I'm still pretty pleased with how it came out. I need to wait and find out whether the range editors agree.
I've also had my proposal for a short story approved, and am also pleased with that. I think I can probably reveal without too much risk of shocking my readership that it's another Doctor Who one. I think I've found a strong central concept and worked out a moderately detailed background, with the potential for further elaboration as I write the actual prose. I've also inherited some strong central characters from the original TV series, which I obviously can't take the credit for but am happy about anyway.
I'm also faffing about with a handful of speculative projects, including an idea (currently very vague and nebulous) for that rarest of species, a Doctor Who reference guide that nobody else has written yet. I don't know whether I'll be able to persuade any of the likely publishers to take it on, though, or whether it'll turn out to be as precious as gold dust to a Cyberman.
The vagaries of Channel 4 scheduling meant that I've entirely missed recording or watching episode three of Desperate Housewives Season 2, which is deeply annoying. I'm looking forward to Teleporting last night's Life on Mars, though. I really must blog out my theories about this series sometime soon, before they all turn out to be moot. (The degree of my enthusiasm can be gauged by the fact that I currently have Test Card F as my desktop image, despite the fact that it's almost impossible to see my icons against it.)
The Buffy rewatch is going well -- we've just seen the superlative body-swap episode, Who Are You?, which sidelines Buffy in order to focus on the internal strife of Faith, which Sarah Michelle Gellar (playing Faith in Buffy's body, obviously) portrays with heartstring-twanging authenticity. And the next one's the Jonathan episode, so hurrah twice over.
Apart from The Time Ships, I've just finished reading The Extremes by Christopher Priest, which was as fine and thought-provoking as ever, but which I felt suffered somewhat from a mismatch of authorial voice and subject-matter. Priest's meditative, quietly shocking style doesn't really lend itself to a full-on virtual reality thriller full of gun-battles and FBI agents, even if one of the agents does spend most of the novel staying in a quiet Sussex seaside town.
Otherwise... life's been busy for various reasons, non-writing work continues to be much the same as usual, and next week is half-term, which will be very welcome indeed. Plans for the week include getting some writing done, having a romantic Valentine's meal out with B., looking after our god-daughter for a morning, and visits from and to some old university friends whom we don't see nearly often enough -- in one case because she lives in Kuala Lumpur, in the other just because we're crap. Looking forward very much to all of that.
And now I need to go and have a shower.