Last week I retrieved the last of my publishing licenses from Penguin Random House. Yeah, I know. Most authors crawl over broken glass to get a contract with PRH or one of the other big houses. Me? I’ve been asking for my contracts back. I had over thirty of them, all for out-of-print books which, … More Hot titles from my writing past – and they’re baaaaack!
I discovered a cool ‘face off’ contest the other day between sci-fi spaceships. If you had to take on a Death Star, what ship from another TV show or movie would you use? The answers spanned the usual gamut from multiple Galactica-verse Battlestars to the Enterprise (various editions), and so forth. One of the most … More In a Death Star showdown, my money’s on The Lexx
There are over a million individual words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is xiphoid. It means sword-shaped, and is an eighteenth century term from the Greek xiphoeides. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word. Copyright © Matthew … More The obscure word of the week is xiphoid
It occurred to me the other day that the first broadcasts of The Brady Bunch – which originally aired on US TV in 1969 – have reached the following stars, all 47-48 light years distant: Nu Lupi, Theta Boötis, Asellus Primus, Iota Ursae Majoris, Talita (HR7898), Psi Capricorni, 111 Tauri, Psi Serpentis, Psi Capricorni and … More A list of star systems reached by ‘The Brady Bunch’ broadcasts
I’ve decided the other day that computer operating system names and numbers have lost something since the early eighties. Back then, Microsoft were producing a thing called ‘DOS’, which stood for ‘Disk Operating System’ and was sensibly issued in successive versions – 1, 2, 3 and so on. I think the last one I saw … More I prefer operating systems that aren’t named after beaches. Or ice cream.
One of my pet irritations about Christmas is the zombie mall frenzy, when shoppers go into a kind of trance amidst the glitz and glitter of the mall and start shelling out cash for chintzy consumer items made of cheap plastic. Most of these gee-gaws break 28 seconds after being unwrapped, and by 29 December … More Where did the commercial Christmas zombie frenzy start?
It always intrigues me that ‘writing’, to most people, appears to be ‘writing fiction’. Time and again I’ll see stuff on social media pivoting on that idea – ‘writers – what’s your character arc?’, or ‘what’s your latest plot twist’ or whatever. Whereas non-fiction writing is always seen as a secondary product of expertise in … More Why even non-fiction has to tell a story