31 March 2008

Triptych of Stuff

1. S.F. authors -- the unacknowledged legislators of the world. (Thanks to Geoff Wessel for the link.)

My favourite paragraph:
Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.
The neocon ranting is somewhat less funny, admittedly, though more or less what I'd have expected from this particular clique of hard-S.F. practitioners. What the article doesn't mention is that Niven and Pournelle have been itching for a shot at statesmanship for a while now: their 1985 novel Footfall has a pair of strangely familiar S.F. writers advising the U.S. government during an alien invasion.

I'd pay good money to see a U.K. equivalent of this group, with the likes of Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod explaining to Gordon Brown why technology makes the revolution of the proletariat inevitable, and why he might as well hand over power to the people now.

2. For various reasons relating to small publishers and the extreme commercial pressures they face, most of the writing contracts I've had have involved flat fees -- I deliver the manuscript, I get paid, then the publisher takes it and sells it as best they can without having to worry about any further outgoings in my direction. There's one exception, who I won't name for obvious reasons of confidentiality, and they sent me my first genuine actual royalty cheque last week.

Hurrah for royalties! B. and I were so excited that we went out and blew the entire £21.72 on a modest pub lunch. Rock and roll!

3. If you're on Facebook, you may have been reading the products of the Six Word Stories writing group. If you aren't or haven't, then you'll be momentarily distracted to know that I'm the runner-up in their fortnightly writing contest with a werewolf story:
"You teach, like, anthropology?"
"No -- lycanthropology."
Yay me.

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