Jaine Fenn's Blog
April 5, 2017
I missed last year’s Eastercon, so I’m really looking forward to this year’s. As it’s only just over a week away it’s time to post my schedule:
Friday 19:00 – 20:00 – Emotional Storytelling Through Music.
The trailer for Logan, the third solo Wolverine movie, was backed up by Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt. It immediately indicated to the audience that this would not be like any other Wolverine or X-Men movie. In this session panelists discuss how essential to storytelling on screen music is and how it can change a story and shape the viewer’s emotions. We explore when music has triumphed in supporting a story, and when it has failed. With D Franklin, Juliet Kemp, Russell Smith and Mike Cobley.
Saturday 13:00 – 14:00 – Kaffeklatsch.
Saturday 16:00 – 17:00 – Far Futures of Today.
The far future can follow a philosophical or scientific trajectory – or indeed both – and explore or include eschatology, utopia, space opera, evolution, entropy, the end of the world, time travel to name but a few ideas and themes. In this session we explore current works of far future and where this sub-genre might be going. With Ian Watson, Wyken Seagrave, Zoe Sumra and Mem Morman.
Sunday 19:00 – 20:00 – Author reading (slot shared with Tej Turner).
And of course I’ll be at the BSFA Awards, milking my shortlisted status for all it’s worth (any excuse to dress up), and later I’ll be shaking my funky stuff at the ‘pyjama party’, though not in a onesie.
March 16, 2017
More good stuff to celebrate, although not unexpected; I’ve now been on Patreon for a full year. It still gives me a genuine warm and fuzzy feeling to know people are willing to give up some of their hard-earned dosh to help me get my stories out there.
Partly in general exuberance, but mainly because I have no shame, I’ve posted a ‘free for all’ audio story on Patreon, because I think the ‘Your First One’s Free…’ business model can apply to good things too.
February 21, 2017
Picocon was excellent. It’s one of those small-but-perfectly-formed one-day cons, in this case with added student silliness (may contain fish). This year’s programme was live-streamed via periscope, and my talk is now out there for posterity (or however long these things last). May I also recommend the talks from the other three Guests of Honour, Al Robertson, Paul McAuley and Justina Robson – Justina’s, on AI, was so awesome the Q&A afterwards turned into a whole panel.
I saw many old friends at the con – apologies if this includes you and I was too busy to chat – but had to keep quiet about my Big News, though as it’s now official I’m going on about it all over the web. Just in case you don’t know, I’ve had a story shortlisted for this year’s BSFA awards. I am delighted by this, as I’ve been going to Eastercon (where the awards ceremony is held) for decades, have attended many such ceremonies and have also been a member of the BSFA.
The story, ‘Liberty Bird’, had one of those simple ‘what if?’ seeds, which came to me as I was chugging around Lake Coniston on a restored Victorian steam launch. The tour showed us where Donald Campbell came to his spectacular end whilst trying to break the water speed record, and told us how no one was quite sure what made him take that last, lethal run with insufficient fuel. I decided to explore why someone might do such a thing, only with space yachts. Several years, and a detailed dissection via Milford later, Ian Whates was kind enough to publish the story in NewCon Press’s Now We Are Ten anthology. And now … shortlisted. Yes, I am chuffed.
January 4, 2017
Happy New Year all. It’s that time of year when we try and find stuff to look forward to, perhaps more than ever this year, and personally I’m looking forward to Saturday 18th February, that being when Picocon will be held at Imperial College, London.
I like this casual little student con and this year they’ve asked me to come along as a Guest of Honour – again! (The first time was in 2009). I’m sharing the bill with some of my favourite writers: Paul McAuley (I’m currently reading one of his early works, Confluence), Justina Robson (note to self: must get her latest) and Al Robertson (if you haven’t read Crashing Heaven then may I recommend it to you?).
The only slight issue is that they’ve billed my talk first, at (ulp) 9.30am. Yes, before ten in the morning. I will try to be sparkling. Or awake, at least.
November 17, 2016
I’ve been a member of the One Step Beyond writers’ group for nearly 20 years, and today we (or rather Tower of Chaos Press) are putting out an anthology of SFF stories from the group. There’s a loads of good stuff in there, including but not limited to: humour, dystopia, AI, alternative cookery, uplifting messages of hope, and camels.
Also good is that all profits from sales of the e-book go to English PEN, who defend and promote freedom of expression around the world. We need someone to do that, frankly.
October 24, 2016
It’s that time of year again, when I get to attend one of my favourite conventions. BristolCon is on next Saturday in, well, Bristol. My own small part in it is as follows:
11am – Guest of Honour Interview. No, they haven’t asked me to be GoH again, but one of this year’s GoHs, Ken McLeod, has asked me to interview him. I’m actually more nervous about this than I was about being interviewed last year, as he’s a writer I admire very much.
4pm – Under the Covers. A panel on books covers, with anecdotes.
5pm – Running the World/Cleaning the Toilets. A utopia/dystopia panel with a difference.
Hope to see some of you there!
October 13, 2016
This year hasn’t seen much action on the novel front, though I’m hoping that’ll change next year. I have had two very different short stories published, firstly ‘Liberty Bird’ (a space opera inspired by a trip to the Lake District – no really) appeared in Newcon Press’s Now We Are Ten anthology, while ‘A Dormitory Haunting’ (a mystery set in a Victorian girls’ school) appeared in Associates of Sherlock Holmes, published by Titan books.
In a month’s time, Tower of Chaos press will be putting out an publication close to my heart. One Step Beyond is an anthology named after the writers’ group I’ve been part of for – eek! – nearly two decades now, featuring stories from members of that group, including yours truly. All profits from the anthology will go to charity. It’s due out on November 17th and I’ll post more details here in due course. Before that, may I also commend to you Sons of Earth, a collection of by Vaughan Stanger, one of the group’s most widely-published short story writers.
September 30, 2016
I’ve not been very active on this blog recently due to – guess what – being busy in the real world. The Creative Writing teaching is taking off, and I’ve also been writing content for a well-known and much-loved video game. It’s been amazing work, and I’d love to share some of what I’ve done, but the games industry is understandably cagey about details of games getting out before their official release, so I’ll not say more, on pain of lawyers.
That particular contract has now come to an end, and I’m currently in one of those transitional mental spaces, a change reflected by the sense of imminent autumn in the world outside. Not that I’m expecting to be bored as the days get darker and colder. I’ve got plenty on my to do list, including a commissioned novella I’m really looking forward to writing, a chance to revise Shadowlands which – I now realise after having set it aside for a while – still needs a lot of work, and a self-imposed deadline for recording more stories for my lovely Patreon supporters to listen to on the cold winter nights (I record in a makeshift studio in my house, and any appliance/utility noises may show up on the recording; as this includes the central heating, I can only record when the weather’s not too cold, as otherwise the sound of my teeth chattering will ruin the session).
I’ve got a couple of writing-related bits of news, both still to be confirmed, but when I do you’ll hear them here first. And then there’s the non-writing stuff, like Project Declutter, which I will document via Twitter (with pictures). So, as the days shorten I promise to be more active online; watch this space, as they say. I’ll make sure I put stuff in it.
May 22, 2016
Here’s what I’ll be up to next weekend in Glasgow:
Saturday 10:30am – Opening Ceremony, during which I’m going to attempt something I’ve never done before. If you want to find out what, you’ll have to come along.
Saturday 11am – Kaffeklatch; or rather, in my case Teaklatch.
Saturday 3:30pm – Guest of Honour slot; I’ll be interviewed by Ian Whates, and probably do a reading, given I like such things.
Saturday 6pm – Writing Space: how do writers and space artists make their future technology believable?
(I note they have a disco that night, bringing with it the risk of semi-rhythmic drunken flailing from yours truly.)
Sunday midday – Room 101. I’ve had fun picking stuff to go in there…
Sunday 2pm – Tech vs Evolution: Is the future of mankind biological or technological?
Sunday 19:30pm – Closing Ceremony. And hence to the bar…
If you’re local but can’t make the con (reasonably priced though membership is), don’t forget I’m doing a reading, Q&A and signing at Waterstones Glasgow before the con, at 6.30pm on Friday evening.
May 18, 2016
In just over a week I’ll be heading up to Glasgow to be the author guest of honour at Satellite 5. I’m really looking forward to it (except the bit where I have to get up at sparrow-fart to catch the plane). If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, do join me: as well as my interview and various panels, I’ll be giving a (short but) serious scientific talk, a la the late great Bob Shaw.
If you can’t make the con but are in Glasgow, why not come along to Waterstones on the evening of Friday 27th, where I’ll be doing a (free) pre-con reading and Q&A?