By Paul Kincaid.
What a long strange decade it has been. Ten years ago it looked as if social democracy was in the ascendant around the world; today, populist, nationalist, right-wing governments are in power in Britain, the USA, Australia, Israel, India, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere. The world has become a scary, unwelcoming, unpleasant place to live. Politicians took the voters for granted, and voters became tired and disdainful of the politicians, so real life is coming more and more to resemble the dystopias we used to read. Which may be why there are no dystopias on my list of the ten books that I have chosen as representative of the last ten years in science fiction.
Which is not to suggest that politics is absent from the list. Far from it, in fact I begin with what is, I think, the most politically acute novel science fiction has produced this decade: Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson (2014). Published two years before the Brexit referendum, it captures with uncanny prescience the mood of fragmentation and disintegration that Brexit embodies. Startlingly, the three subsequent volumes, which I don’t think Hutchinson had even conceived at the time he wrote the first book, maintain the awareness and the quality of the first. And in the final volume, Europe at Dawn (2018), there is a passage set among refugees on a Greek island that perfectly encapsulates the damage that fear of the other has done to Europe.
Continue reading “Ten Years, Ten Books”
In August we caught up with Dave Hutchinson at Nine Worlds in London.
Are you enjoying the con so far?
I always enjoy Nine Worlds. It’s different to Eastercon of course. The emphasis isn’t quite so much on fiction – it’s more multimedia and general culture. Just saw a panel about villains, which was good … that was Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jeannette Ng, Anna Stephens and Mike Brooks.
Oh yeah, I saw that. That was good.
There was some conversation there about the Bond franchise, and the way the villains are frequently ‘othered,’ whether that’s a racialized other, or what-have-you. It struck me that it’s always been that way. Bond was always fighting the Russians, it was always the West versus the East. The Russians disappeared as the geopolitical other, although perhaps that dynamic has returned to some extent. But we are sort of looking for different ‘others.’
And meanwhile, there are increasingly plausible rumours about getting our first Black Bond.
Idris Elba? He’s a terrific actor. He’d be really good. One of the many reasons I hated Prometheus is that it totally wasted him.
I’ll watch anything that’s got him in it.
Haven’t seen Prometheus though! Maybe that’s …
You may want to draw the line with Prometheus. [Laughs]. It really is a terrible film.
What else do you plan to see at Nine Worlds? Continue reading “Dave Hutchinson interview”
The last two BSFA London meetings can be heard as audio podcasts.
Paul Cornell, from November 2012: http://thedoctorwhopodcast.com/upload/CornellBSFA.mp3
Dave Hutchinson from January 2013: https://www.dropbox.com/s/529fegd6kx5p5u5/BSFA%20Meeting%2030.1.13.m4a
Thanks to Paul Cornell, Tony Whitmore and the Doctor Who Podcast for the first, and to Dave Hutchinson for the second.
Location: The Cellar Bar, The Argyle Public House, 1 Greville Street (off Leather Lane), London EC1N 8PQ
On Wednesday 30th January 2013, Dave Hutchinson (writer, editor and journalist; author of The Villages, 2001, and The Push, 2009) will be interviewed by Ian Whates (chair of the BSFA).
Please note the change of date – this meeting is taking place on the fifth Wednesday.
ALL WELCOME – FREE ENTRY (Non-members welcome)
The interview will start at 7 pm. We have the room from 6 pm (and if early, fans are in the ground floor bar from 5ish).
There will be a raffle (£1 for five tickets), with a selection of sf novels as prizes.
Map is here. Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane (Central Line).
27th February 2013 – Elizabeth Hand, interviewed by Farah Mendlesohn
20th March 2013** – BSFA Awards discussion
24th April 2013 – Lavie Tidhar; interviewer TBC
* Note that this is a month with five Wednesdays. The meeting will be on the fourth, not the last, Wednesday of the month.
** Note that due to the proximity of Easter to the fourth Wednesday of the month, this meeting will be held on the third Wednesday.
Ark by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
Lavinia by Ursula K Le Guin (Gollancz)
The City & The City by China Mieville (Macmillan)
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Best Short Fiction
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster (Interzone 220)
The Push by Dave Hutchinson (Newcon Press)
“Johnnie and Emmie-Lou Get Married” by Kim Lakin-Smith (Interzone 222)
“Vishnu at the Cat Circus” by Ian McDonald (in Cyberabad Days, Gollancz)
“The Beloved Time of Their Lives” [pdf link] by Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia (in The Beloved of My Beloved, Newcon Press)
“The Assistant” by Ian Whates (in The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3, ed. George Mann)
Alternate cover art for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (art project), Nitzan Klamer
“Emerald” by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Cover of Desolation Road by Ian McDonald, by Stephan Martinière, jacket design by Jacqueline Nasso Cooke
Cover of Interzone 220, Adam Tredowski
Cover of Interzone 224, Adam Tredowski
Cover of Interzone 225, Adam Tredowski
Canary Fever by John Clute (Beccon)
“I Didn’t Dream of Dragons” by Deepa D
“Ethics and Enthusiasm” by Hal Duncan [Note: withdrawn from consideration]
“Mutant Popcorn” by Nick Lowe (Interzone)
A Short History of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James (Middlesex University Press)
Congratulations to all the nominees! Note that there are only four nominees in the Best Novel category, and six nominees in the Best Short Fiction and Best Artwork categories due to ties for fifth place. The Awards will be presented at this year’s Eastercon, Odyssey.