Sucking on the Tailpipe of 2016


So four days to go in the year and we’re all panicking every time an artist who has made an impact on our lives starts trending on Twitter. I just woke up to the news about Carrie Fisher. I had to Google it just to confirm that it was less than a year ago that I was writing about the death of Umberto Eco. The best among us are going too soon.

Before I sign off for the year, a few pieces of desk-clearing of my own. In the criticism / journalism sphere, my review of Oliver Langmead’s Metronome is up on the Shoreline of Infinity website, as is our obligatory ‘Best SF of 2016‘ article. Issue 6 is also out now should you need escapism over the tail end of 2016. My contribution to the Japan Times books of 2016 is here.

Speaking of lists, The Waves Burn Bright made it into three ‘Best of 2016’ lists, courtesy of Scots Whay Hae, the Scottish Book Trust and Nothing in the Rule Book, so much gratitude to them, and to everyone who bought, read and reviewed The Waves Burn Bright this year. Twelve months ago I still hadn’t seen the cover and was caught in that hideous pendulum of wanting it out as soon as possible while dreading potential negative responses. Now, I’m basking in the post-draft exhaustion of the next novel. I had perhaps the most productive Christmas ever: my wife was working and my family are all 5000 miles away on one Eurasian parenthesis while I’m here on the other, so over Christmas Day and Boxing Day I had a clear run to the end of draft one of The Fortune Keeper. It’s a total mess – in fact the plot directly contradicts itself at least twice – but that’s what editing and redrafting is all about. The story is told, and story is the bedrock upon which literature is built.


So, strap in for 2017. I don’t know what will happen but I do know, flashing some insider knowledge here, that Freight have some fantastic books coming in 2017 which is always cause for celebration. Also Hari Kunzru has a new novel out and Explosions in the Sky are coming to Nagoya, so that’s a few things to look forward to. In the meantime, have a happy Hogmanay and to paraphrase one of those we lost this year, let’s party like the worst is over.


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