There is a lot to be said for ‘found art’ – something true for writers too. Let me explain. I once heard a wonderful story about the time Rick Wakeman – then keyboard player for Yes – was sufficiently unimpressed by the artwork for their 1978 album Yes Tor that he hurled a tomato at … More The joys of ‘found art’ for writers
I have never completely understood the latest sci-fi fixation with ‘super powers’, where the main protagonist is just some ordinary person who just happens to be able to go invisible, or read minds, or teleport (but not all three). Inevitably this singular ability then becomes the ‘gimmick’ on which plots are hung. To which I … More Why super-powers should be all or nothing in sci-fi
I have to admit I get irritated every so often with the current war on adverbs. One of the outcomes is that well-meaning but inexperienced editors go through an author’s work slashing out anything that has even the slightest hint of an adverb, as if the author doesn’t know what they are doing (and sometimes … More Why you actually need adverbs – really!
I sometimes get the impression that the e-publishing revolution has led to people with a bit of knowledge (enough to be dangerous) offering guidance to people with none. The thing is that writing, like any profession, is a practised skill that is also as difficult and time-consuming to obtain as becoming a concert pianist. There … More A few thoughts from a grumpy old writer…
One of the things that happens these days with ‘book reviews’ of the Amazon variety is the intrusion of personal opinion as a way of judging the book. You know ‘I liked it, so I’ll give it five stars’. Or ‘it didn’t appeal to me, so I’ll give it one star’. The point being that … More All about book reviews and personal opinion
One of my favourite books as a kid was Robert A Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. It was the last of his ‘juveniles’, written in 1958 as a deliberate riff on space opera and 1950s teen culture. It’s set in an undefined ‘near future’ and pivots around a spacesuit won by teen genius Kip Russell, … More Have Spacesuit, Will Be a Klutz In It
A commenter on one of my older – but relentlessly popular – technical posts about battleship design got a bit exercised the other week when I suggested a particular naval source book was ‘partisan’. He was determined to assert his absolute view over what he supposed mine to be – finally informing me I was … More The key to human understanding is abstraction