Homometaboly

You may have noticed a few changes to the Vector website. Changes may be ongoing for a while. The old Vector has woven its cocoon, but the new one has not quite emerged.

All the older content has been preserved, but some of it has been tucked away. Here is where you’ll find information about the 2010 special publication Twenty Years, Two Surveys. Here you can find still-mostly-live links list associated with a discussion, in the same year, about the under-representation of women in speculative fiction. Torque Control has become the ‘News’ tab you’re reading now. The old open thread is located here.

Smarter Every Day cocoonAnd speaking of threads: of course, even transitional arrangements can still require serious thought. Here, the long suspension thread is probably to dishearten ants, and the loosely-woven chrysalis is probably to prevent rainwater from pooling. Image credit: Smarter Every Day, still from ‘Nature’s 3D Printer.’ 

Politics Is What Humans Do

A little light reading for you: Martin Lewis’ interview of Richard Morgan, from Vector 253:

So your time in Turkey and Spain was helpful to you as a writer?

Yes, very. It’s a powerful shock to the system to go and live in a place where millions of people exist day-to-day on a set of cultural assumptions markedly different from your own. As with seeing the feminist (or more simply the female) perspective on things, you are forced out of your accustomed world-view, forced to consider its validity as against any other. The result is ultimately very empowering – you come away with a far better sense of what is of real value in your own culture, and of what could really do with being changed. Plus (if you can beat your own nasty knee-jerk prejudices) you get an overwhelming sense of common humanity, a (one would think fairly obvious) understanding that at basic levels people are similar wherever you go – but you get that understanding at an emotional rather than an intellectual level. And then of course, there’s the wealth an experience like that brings to your life in terms of getting to know different food, different music, different languages, different kinds of humour … and all of those will feed into your fiction, and make it correspondingly richer, more human and more textured.

From the Archives: Meetings With Remarkable Men

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned reading the transcript of a 1979 guest of honour speech by Christopher Priest, in an old issue of Vector. Chris has generously allowed me to put the text of the speech, “Meetings With Remarkable Men”, up on the Vector website. As noted last time around, it touches on the state of sf and the state of sf criticism; as Jed Hartman recently noted, in some senses there’s nothing new under the sun in these debates, but it’s still well worth reading the full speech. Here’s another quote to tempt you:

You have probably heard Heinlein’s remark that writers are competing for the readers’ beer-money. […] [This attitude] crops up all over the place, in articles in fanzines, in interviews with writers, in criticism. Boiled down to its essence, it says: “We are but entertainers, and entertainment is a humble trade. Therefore our sights are set low.” I believe that entertainment is a high art, and should be treated as such. Everyone at the convention today is here because we believe that science fiction is a stimulating, radical and entertaining form of literature, yet by their very words the Poul Andersons and Robert A Heinleins are asking you to settle for less.

The parts of the essay that discuss criticism also chime with recent debates over at urban drift.

Vector 249 — Articles Online

To start the week, here are some articles from the most recent Vector. “Storying Lives” was the loose theme; Gary K. Wolfe’s essay, “Framing the Unframeable“, takes a broad look of that theme in the context of sf:

When one looks at the published memoirs and autobiographical sketches written by science fiction and fantasy authors, mostly for the benefit of their fans – the sort of thing collected in Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison’s Hell’s Cartographers (1975) or Martin Greenberg’s Fantastic Lives: Autobiographical Essays by Notable Science Fiction Writers (1981) – one is initially struck by the relative thinness and lack of genuine introspection of many of the essays. Typically, such pieces read as a variety of Augustinian conversion tales, depicting a precocious childhood, often solitary and bookish, sometimes sickly, sometimes featuring battles with parents to get into the adult sections of the library, and characteristically leading toward a moment of revelation: “And then came Hugo Gernsback” (Alfred Bester) [1] “Then I saw and bought an issue of something called Amazing Stories” (Damon Knight) [2] “So science fiction entered into and began warping my life from an early age” (Brian Aldiss) [3] etc. In one of the still-comparatively rare autobiographies of SF writers, Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction, Jack Williamson ends a chapter with the following cliffhanger:

Something else happened, however, in the spring of 1926, the first year I was out of high school. Something that changed my life. Hugo Gernsback launched a new pulp magazine, filled with reprinted stories by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and A. Merritt and Edgar Rice Burroughs, stories he called “scientifiction.”

The magazine was Amazing Stories. [4]

Following these road-to-Damascus moments, however, these memoirs and autobiographies seldom become genuine testaments, instead amounting to not much more than narrative resumés, filled with anecdotes of encounters with fellow writers and editors and often with almost obsessively detailed accounts of sales figures and payments; one comes away with the sense that (a) science fiction writers all clearly remember the first SF story they read, and (b) they keep really good tax records.

While Graham Sleight considers storying some genres:

I have to say, in general, that debates about the definition of sf (or fantasy, or horror) don’t exercise me very much – though of course that may reflect a lack of rigour on my part. I am quite taken by Samuel Delany’s view that we should not try to define genres – because, for instance, definition inevitably means concentrating on boundary cases at the expense of the core of the genre, because it sets up a target which critics and writers can game, and so on. But there are plenty of people who do try to define sf in radically differing ways, and I thought it might be useful to try and sort some of those ways out.

And in “Founded on the Shambles“, Paul Kincaid discusses Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”:

‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’ breaks every rule. There are no named characters, indeed no real characters at all. There is no story, at least in the sense that we follow characters through a series of incidents and events towards a climax. There are only two lines of dialogue, unconnected to each other, in the entire piece. There isn’t even much in the way of authorial certainty: ‘I do not know the rules and laws of their society’ (274) she confesses at one point, and at another, having listed some of their technologies, she retreats: ‘Or they could have none of that: it doesn’t matter. As you like it’ (275). And the very subject of the story, that which gives it its title, appears only in the very last paragraph.

We don’t read ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’ because of these storytelling quirks, but because these storytelling quirks throw the theme of the story so much into focus.

Meanwhile, in reviews, Lesley A. Hall tackles Julie Phillips’ Tiptree biography:

Biography is a form in which perfection always lies beyond the possibility of achievement. However, Julie Phillips’ biography of Alice Bradley Sheldon, the complex and troubled woman best known to science fiction readers as James Tiptree Jr (with a subsidiary fictive literary identity as Racoona Sheldon, reclusive former schoolteacher), is about as good as it gets.

Gary Dalkin considers Rainbows End:

Central to all this is enigmatic cyber entity ‘Rabbit’, who may be one of the established characters in the novel, an AI, or, well… and herein lies the major flaw of Rainbows End. Much is made of not knowing who might be behind what persona on-line, so that as with the on-line world today Vinge’s protagonists may ultimately never know what is really going on. Which might be realistic, but leaves a plot riddled with absurdly improbable coincidences for want of the twist, the revelation, the narrative U-turn, which would tie the disparate yet interconnected narrative threads together in a convincing way. The result is a sprawling, highly imaginative novel in which all the many elements fail to resolve into a satisfying whole.

And L.J. Hurst discusses Desperate Moon:

Heidel’s two admitted influences are Ellison and Ray Bradbury, and they stand out, because if you like Bradbury you’ll like the mixture to be found here. On the other hand you will not find much advance on what Ray Bradbury was doing in mixing fantasies and horror stories in his collections in the 1950s. You will also find some stories remind you of other works within sf (‘The Thing-In-The-Back-Yard’ is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s short story ‘The Father-Thing’, for example) and outside of it (‘Dead Drunk’, in which a character meets Death, echoes Woody Allen’s sketch ‘Getting Even’).

While I’m at it, I should note that the Matrix website has also been updated. New content there includes Lon S. Cohen on fan-made films, Richard Matthews on an adaptation of The Atrocity Exhibition, and Martin McGrath on season two of Battlestar Galactica:

BSG does two very rare things. First, it recognises that while politics is messy, annoying and full of political differences that may be forever intractable, the democratic political process remains crucial to any kind of good society. And, second, it asks the viewer to do a very difficult thing – to like and respect those with whom you fundamentally disagree. BSG contains characters and plot elements that can resonate with or infuriate those on both the left and the right, yet it almost never collapses into a cosy centralism that imagines that everything would be better if people could forget their principles and “just get along”.

In The Grim Darkness Of The Far Future …

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do ever since the Vector website went up is to start reprinting content from the 45+ years of back issues. In fact, I had my eye on one essay in particular, from Vector 229, which is now online:

Freedom in an Owned World: Warhammer fiction and the Interzone Generation
By Stephen Baxter

‘”Curse all manling coach drivers and all manling women,” muttered Gotrek Gurnisson, adding a curse in Dwarvish …’

That’s the first line of ‘Geheimnisnacht’ by William King, the first story in the first book of Warhammer fiction, the anthology Ignorant Armies, published in 1989. Since that beginning there has been published a whole string of books, magazines and comics, set in the universes of the highly successful war games and role-playing games marketed by Games Workshop (GW).

Partly because of the involvement of Interzone editor David Pringle, who was editor of the GW line from 1988 to 1991, over the years several prominent British writers of sf and fantasy have contributed to the various series, many from what used to be known as the ‘Interzone generation’. My own involvement was modest, two short stories published in 1989 and 1990; there have been much more significant contributions from David Garnett, Kim Newman, Brian Stableford, Ian Watson and others. Today GW publishes new and reprinted fiction — great mountains of it, in fact — under its ‘Black Library’ imprint. But over the years GW fiction itself has been the subject of a saga of gamers and business suits, of orthodoxies and heresies, of Stakhanovites and rebels, of collapses and recoveries, of intriguing lost possibilities, and of struggles for literary freedom in an ‘owned universe’.

Go read it. It’s very long — over 10,000 words — but it is, I think, my favourite of the articles that have been published in Vector in the time I’ve been reading it. Oddly enough, what prompted me to get around to putting it online was Abigail’s excellent post on Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners”, in which she quite rightly talks about how central the depiction of fannish behaviour is to understanding the story:

… there’s nothing that’s not familiar about the all-consuming devotion with which Jeremy and his friends incorporate The Library into their everyday lives. They watch — and re-watch — the episodes together, as a communal experience, discuss and analyze the events of each episode, and dress up as their favorite characters. I don’t imagine there are many people reading this post who can’t sympathize, or offer an example of similar behavior. For me, it was The X-Files, but I imagine there are people my age who might offer up Babylon 5 as their first fannish love, and folks a bit older who first geeked out over Star Trek: The Next Generation. Whatever television show it was that once captured your heart to the extent that it became part of your life, “Magic for Beginners” will read, in some ways, like excerpts from your own adolescence.

I have previously said that Angel fandom, and specifically the corner of it found in uk.media.tv.angel, was my first fandom. That’s not quite accurate; what it was, was my first fandom that endured, the first fandom in which I formed friendships that are still going strong. That didn’t happen for me with The X-Files, or Babylon 5, or any other earlier TV show — it’s hard to be genuinely fannish about something when you don’t have the internet, and don’t know anyone else who watches it in the way you do. But before all of them, my first actual fandom was Games Workshop and their tabletop fantasy wargames.

So for me, reading Baxter’s essay is not-unlike a trip down memory lane. Except it’s a slightly odd trip, because my involvement with GW coincides quite neatly with the period in which they weren’t putting out fiction. I got into the hobby — or, if you prefer, the cult — sometime in 1993, and got out of it, finally, in 1999. Baxter’s essay spends most time on the period between 1987, when GW fiction was started, and 1995, when Ian Watson’s Chaos Child was the last GW title to be published. By that time I was deep into the hobby, and I remember that, and it was an event, Speaking of the later reissuing of his books, Watson says they added “fictional prefaces denouncing the books, my suggestion, as tissues of heresy and lies, the ideal solution …” but I remember Chaos Child being presented as heretical even at the time of publication. GW stores didn’t stock it; the staff (GW stores having a deliberate “hobby” ethos, the staff and regular customers often got to know each other quite well) would tell teasing tales of how brilliant the first two volumes in the trilogy, now unavailable, were; there were excited rumours that a copy had been sighted in the WH Smith’s round the corner; and so on. I did eventually get my hands on copies of all three of Watson’s books — I think I still have them — and I remember them as being exactly the sort of dark and twisted thing I wanted from 40K fiction.

And then, a couple of years later, I was there for the launch of the short fiction magazine Inferno!, and the subsequent launch of the full Black Library imprint. By that point, or about that time, I was actually working for the Evil Empire myself. I was incredibly picky about getting a part-time job as a teenager — having set my heart on working for GW, nothing else would do — and for some reason my parents let me get away with it. To be fair, it may have been pragmatism on their part, since if I hadn’t been working there and enjoying the staff discount (miniatures at lead weight!) I suspect they’d have gone bankrupt trying to feed my habit. But I got the job, and it was quite an experience — on the one hand, a lot of fun, on the other, a steep learning curve about exactly how corporate GW really was, and how much the hobbyism was a veneer.

Of course, it was still incredibly addictive. I had armies, plural, for all the major games (If you’re wondering, Wood Elves, Chaos Dwarves and Dwarves — now all overpowered runic weapons to the end! — in Warhammer, and Dark Angels, Tyranids and Eldar — now all ludicrously powerful everything to the end! — in 40K; I’m not going to list everything, at least not unless prompted in the comments); was there every games night, Thursdays ’till 8, even when I wasn’t working; spent god knows how many hours painting the miniatures; and went to the exercise in controlled mass hysteria that was Games Day every autumn. Did I care that the universes in which the games were set were thinly-disguised ripoffs of, well, everything else? No, not a bit — although in my defence, I was never as far gone as this guy. Games Workshop is even responsible for my first and only foray into fanfic — if memory serves, I wrote about a young girl from a farm planet who stowed away on a ship to Earth but got captured by an Arbitrator.

What got me out of it, in the end, was going to university. I tried to carry on the job part-time, but quickly realised that wasn’t going to work; I went along to the local gaming club for a while, but never really got to know the people there as well as I’d known the regulars at my home store, not least because I had so much less time to devote to the hobby. I think there was probably a short period during which my GW addiction was tailing off, and my Angel fandom was just starting up, but I don’t think I could say for sure. And while it is my Angel fandom experiences that resonate most strongly when I read “Magic for Beginners”, there are certainly elements of the story — the camaraderie, the anticipation of new releases — that carry back into GW fandom as well.

As for Baxter’s essay, well, having now got into general sf fandom in the way that I have, reading an essay that explains that some of the prehistory of my first fandom is intertwined with what I think of as the modern start of my current fandom (British Boom and all that; I suspect I found Baxter’s Raft at around the same time that I was reading Ian Watson’s Inquisitor novels) inevitably also has enormous resonance. But I think the essay is well worth reading even if you don’t have my personal experience. The list of recognisable names who wrote for GW can be quite startling if you’re not expecting it — Charles Stross, Kim Newman, Nicola Griffith, and Brian Stableford, for starters, with David Pringle editing the initial list — and Baxter does an excellent and entertaining job of filling in the context, as well as investigating the conflicting issues that surround writing franchise fiction. Which, let’s face it, haven’t gone away.

Another thing that hasn’t quite gone away is my desire to play the games. Like a junkie jonesing for a hit, I still sometimes get the urge to break out my armies from their foam-packed stasis and head down to the local store, though I suspect the rules have changed (yet again) since my day, and really (much like World of Warcraft) I know that if I let it gain a foothold, it would swallow my life whole. And then, in the back of my mind, as a compromise measure, I get this crazy notion of contacting the Black Library to ask for some review copies …

International Issue: Articles and Reviews Now Online

Now that our internationally themed issue 247 of Vector is officially loose on the world in paper form, we are free to bring a couple of selected items from it to you online.

Back in January 2006 we asked author Judith Berman to write something for Vector on the topic of cultural appropriation and the experiences she had of writing about other cultures with her novel Bear Daughter. Since then, Judith has spoken on a panel on the same subject at Wiscon, which started off a series of online discussions on matters of cultural appopriation. We’re pleased to be able to help contribute further to that discussion by bringing you Judith’s original Vector article, Bears, Bombs and Popcorn: Some considerations when mining other cultures for source material:

But I wouldn’t myself place all indigenous source materials off limits. For writers of the dominant society to avoid responding artistically to indigenous arts and literatures, even for the best of ethical reasons, for mainstream writers to designate minority writers as the only ones who are to write on freighted topics like race, colonialism, or the very existence of minority cultures (and making it the only employment they can get), merely repaints a corner of the colonial picture with the colors of guilt instead of greed and racism. Fictional Others may far too often be no more than a reflection of the writer’s stereotypes, or a pornography of the exotic, but only through contemplation of difference and the history of difference is there opportunity for genuine transformation of colonial relationships. Freedom of expression is a necessary condition for real conversation; the point isn’t to stop one person talking but to make sure others get heard.

The second feature article we’ve put online from issue 247 is Colourful Stories: Fantastic Fiction by African Descended Authors, by another author who was on the cultural appropriation panel at Wiscon, Nisi Shawl. We asked Nisi if she would write something for us, not about writing other cultures, (something she has already meditated on in print in her book Writing the Other,) but about her experiences of drawing from her own cultural background when writing fiction, as well as the cultural issues and traditions she saw reflected in the speculative fiction of a number of other authors of African origin:

Whether familial, social, and cultural concerns are addressed directly and at the work’s outset, as in the case of So Long Been Dreaming, or are intrinsic to the make-up of particular characters, as in the case of the conjure women of Mama Day, whether they provide a carefully constructed backdrop for the action as they do for Crystal Rain, or represent the conflicting forces at a story’s heart as in Stars in My Pocket… or Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, the frequent presence of these concerns is of arguable importance, denoting as it does both a loss of a former social structure’s sufficiency and stability, and often, that absence’s fulfillment. Keeping in mind the idea that writers of African ancestry are more likely to reflect concerns of these sorts in their work may render visible to readers from other races depths they otherwise might miss. I hope that this essay will attract more readers to fabulist fiction by blacks, and that the possibilities inherent in the perspective I’ve sketched above, that which gives pride of place to family, society, and culture will allow them greater enjoyment of its riches.

Towards the end of her article, Nisi mentions the work of the Carl Brandon Society, which I’d like to take the opportunity to promote here too. The mission statement from their website:

The Carl Brandon Society is dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres such as science fiction, fantasy and horror. We aim to foster dialogue about issues of race, ethnicity and culture, raise awareness both inside and outside the fantastical fiction communities, promote inclusivity in publication/production, and celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Last I heard, they were woefully short on British members, so come on chaps, sign up already (or donate to the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund instead if you’d rather).

As well as those two feature articles, we’ve also put up a number of reviews from First Impressions. In keeping with the international theme of the issue, two are reviews of novels in translation: Elizabeth A. Billinger’s review of Albert Sánchez Piñol’s Cold Skin and my own review of Johanna Sinisalo’s Not Before Sundown. On top of that, you can also read reviews by Niall, comparing feature writer Judith Berman’s novel Bear Daughter with Frances Hardinge’s Fly by Night, and by previous Vector editor Andrew M. Butler, discussing a bushel of John Sladek short stories.

And for those of you waiting on tenterhooks for the third instalment of Graham Sleight’s column The New X, it is also now up on the Vector website, entitled The walls are down, unfortunately.

More First Impressions

Three more reviews have just gone up on the Vector website, this time from issue 246.

Mark Morris' Nowhere Near An Angel reviewed by Martin Lewis:

There's another problem, though not one with the book itself. PS Publishing has a remit covering sf, fantasy, horror and crime/suspense; Vector does not. Nowhere Near An Angel is a dark thriller in the vein of Iain Banks' Complicity. In his introduction to the book Stephen Gallagher says "This book isn't, by any obvious definition, a horror novel, but I'd be willing to contend that it's the kind of novel only a born horror writer could have produced." That's debateable but it is certainly true that no definition used by the BSFA would encompass it. Still if a book like A Thread Of Grace by Mary Doria Russell can get reviewed in these pages then there is definitely room for Nowhere Near An Angel.

Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant's The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighteenth Annual Collection reviewed by me, Geneva Melzack:

The classification of these stories as being fantasy and/or horror could be seen as a narrowness of scope, an attempt to wall fantasy and horror up into the genre ghetto. But again, the diversity of the markets these stories have been taken from belies this argument. Datlow, Link and Grant haven't just looked at fiction published under the banner of fantasy and horror; they've also included stories originally published in mainstream or young adult markets. Indeed, publishing stories such as Chuck Palahniuk's 'Guts' — originally published as mainstream fiction — in a fantasy and horror collection actually adds an extra layer to the story, which provides a new method for appreciating it.

Keith Brooke's Genetopia reviewed by Ben Jeapes:

Genetopia is set in a low-tech world of genetic engineering gone bonkers, and it is convincing precisely because it's so low tech. The simplest effects available to the people of this world are way in advance of anything we can do now, but they are still very hit and miss. You expose people to changing vectors, maybe pray a little, and see what happens.

Author Keith Brooke will be interviewed by Molly Brown at the BSFA meeting next Wednesday 28th June.

More reviews and features to come when international issue 247 comes out.

First Impressions

Some Saturday-morning reviews for you, from Vector 245.

Neil Barron’s Anatomy of Wonder, reviewed by Steve Jeffrey:

This is the fifth, and judging by Barron’s valedictory Preface, possibly the final edition of Anatomy of Wonder. It has been substantially updated, revised and enlarged from its 1995 predecessor and now weighs in at over twice the length of its original incarnation in 1976. The first and third editions of this Guide were previously reviewed in Vector by Brian Stableford (Nov 1976), and Paul Kincaid (April 1988) who are both contributors to this volume, alongside an impressive list of critics, reviewers, academics and commentators.

J. Shaun Lyon’s Back to the Vortex, reviewed by Martin McGrath:

Back to the Vortex is a perfect example of a book designed to serve a market that cares how many times someone says the word “fantastic” in the new series of Doctor Who or the number of people who die in each episode. As such, the author, J. Shaun Lyon, should be congratulated. I can’t imagine a more comprehensive volume. But it is not without flaws.

And Holly Phillips’ In the Palace of Repose, reviewed by me:

It is perhaps only in the sf field that a debut short story collection consisting mostly of original stories might be greeted with suspicion. Where, we wonder (I wonder, before I catch myself doing it) are the publication credits? Why were these stories not published in the magazines? What’s wrong with them? And yet to think along such lines is, increasingly, to miss out: here is a debut collection where the majority of the stories are making their first appearance, but which without a doubt marks the arrival of an interesting new voice.

We plan to put a few reviews online from each issue, so watch this space for more.

Review of 2005

… and it’s hello from me. To explain a little more about scheduling: the BSFA publishes three magazines, Vector, the news magazine Matrix, and the writers’ magazine Focus. Vector and Matrix are bimonthly, and Focus is biannual; unfortunately, this year we’ve had a bit of a publication backlog, because the distribution company that actually did the magazine mailing went bust, and it’s taken a little while to get a replacement lined up.

Still, everything seems to be working again now. The March/April issue, which as Geneva mentioned was the Review of 2005 issue, has now been published. It features articles by Colin Odell and Mitch LeBlanc on the films of the year, Mattia Valente on 2005’s TV, Claire Brialey on ‘Best Related Relatedness’ (non-fiction, critical and academic happenings), and a couple of pieces we’ve put on the website: a second column by Graham Sleight, on ‘The Vanishing Midlist, Revisited‘, and Matthew Cheney’s ‘Confessions of a Short-Story Burnout‘, his thoughts on the short fiction of 2005.

Most importantly, the issue features the results of the annual Vector survey of the best books of the year, compiled and with commentary by the reviews editor, Paul N. Billinger. The raw results of the survey, plus the complete list of nominated titles (which we didn’t have room to print in the issue itself) can be found here. This year’s winner was 9Tail Fox by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (reviewed by Paul Billinger here), with Charles Stross’s Accelerando (reviewed by Paul Kincaid here) the runner-up.

You may well notice what may look like some slightly odd nominations as you look down the list. This is a feature, not a bug; unlike, say, the Locus Recommended Reading List, or the SF Site readers’ and editors’ picks of the year, the Vector survey asks for what respondents read in the previous year, not what was published in the previous year. Preference is given to recent books, and to sf/fantasy books, but so long as someone read it and thinks it’s ‘of interest to BSFA members’, it’s fair game. Which is how you can get last year’s winner, Ian McDonald’s River of Gods, making a respectable showing this time out as well.

(Mind you, Pride and Prejudice does still seem like a bit of a stretch.)

Introduction

Look, we have a blog! And a website! We, by the way, being the editors of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association: myself, Geneva Melzack, and my co-editor Niall Harrison.

We've put some articles from issue 245, which was the first issue Niall and I edited after taking over from previous editor Andrew M. Butler, up on the website, as well as some articles from issue 246 which has just come out. We plan to post a couple of articles and a selection of reviews from each issue online, to give a bit of a flavour of what we're publishing in Vector, and hopefully to spark some interest in the kind of issues we want to use Vector to talk about.

I'd just like to take this opportunity to pimp the stuff from issue 245, which was on science fiction manifestos and movements. In his article 'No More New World Orders' Martin Lewis explores some of the genre's major movements by looking at the books that are thought to represent them. Meanwhile, in 'Morning Children, the first of his regular columns for Vector, Graham Sleight ponders the implications online communication is having/will have for sf movements. The rest of the issue also included articles by Ian McDonald and Trent Walters on the Mundane manifesto, Norman Spinrad on the New Weird, and Meghan McCarron with a brief and terrible history of Infernokrusher.

Niall and I will be using this blog to point out more of the great articles we'll be putting on our website, so expect to hear more soon about the articles we've already put up from issue 246, which was the Review of 2005 issue. And we'll also be blogging about the interesting writings we find around and about on the 'net, and posting our own thoughts on various matters to do with sf, books and reading.