Archives for category: Science Fiction

In Search of Space, 2012

So, my final post of 2012, and another idea suggested by Deanne. I’ve attempted a round-up of all the books featured in TFIPM in the last year (in reverse order of appearance). Before we get to the round-up, I’d like to say thank you to Stephen D. for lunch yesterday (fab!), and to everyone who has visited, liked, commented or contacted the blog in the last year – I really appreciate it.

Stephen D, 2012

I posted an awards page (https://thefutureispapiermache.wordpress.com/awards/digging-for-fire/) a couple of days ago. Lazy I know, but I haven’t got the time or energy to email everyone to tell them they’ve been nominated, so please check it out. And I started a new blog here: TFIPM Remix if you want to see a lot of the street portraits in one place.

A big thank you to John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans, and to J.E. Lattimer (Arcane Arrangements , Mysteries of the Wasteland, and Fictional Machines ) for a fantastic collaboration on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

And lastly but not leastly to Richard from CK Ponderings for being a brilliant, inspiring collaborator for the last six months (and a bit), and an all-round cool guy – it was great to finally meet him in November.

Right onwards…Taxi!

Taxi!, 2012

Recommendations 2012

From the bookshelves:

Hotel World (2001) by Ali Smith

Triangle Square Circle (1995) by William Wegman

House of Suns (2008) by Alasdair Reynolds

Re-Make/ Re-model (2007) by Michael Bracewell

Riddley Walker (1980) by Russell Hoban

Empty Space (2012) by M John Harrison

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (2008) by Xiaolu Guo

The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps (2001) by Michel Faber

The Entropy Tango (1981) by Michael Moorcock

England’s Dreaming (1991) by Jon Savage

The Lowlife (1963) by Alexander Baron

Sombrero Fallout (1976) by Richard Brautigan

Stone Junction (1990) by Jim Dodge

Travel Arrangements (2001) by M John Harrison

Kleinzeit (1974) by Russell Hoban

Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) by Georges Perec

A Brief History of Time (1988) by Stephen Hawking

Exit Music (2007) by Ian Rankin

Ask The Dust (1939) by John Fante

The Dancers At The End of Time (1981) by Michael Moorcock

Under The Clock (2005) by Tony Harrison

Utopia Parkway (1997) by Deborah Solomon

The Frequency of Souls (1996) by Mary Kay Zuravleff

The Light of Day (2003) by Graham Swift

The Happy Owls (1963) by Celestino Piatti

The Accidental (2005) by Ali Smith

Fowler’s End (1957) by Gerald Kersh

Five Miles From Outer Hope (2000) by Nicola Barker

Pale Fire (1962) by Vladimir Nabakov

Walking on Glass (1985) by Iain Banks

From The History of Abstract Painting Week:

History of Abstract Painting (1989) by Jean-Luc Daval

From Science Fiction Fortnight:

The Cornelius Quartet (Comprising The Final Programme (1969), A Cure For Cancer (1971), The English Assassin (1972) and The Condition of Muzak (1977) by Michael Moorcock

The Ash Circus (a short story) (1969) by M John Harrison

Millenium People (2003) by J G Ballard

The Lathe of Heaven (1971) by Ursula K Le Guin

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by George Orwell

Signal To Noise (a short story) (2006) by Alasdair Reynolds

Perdido Street Station (2000) by China Meiville

The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester

Breakfast In The Ruins (1972) by Michael Moorcock

Swarm (a short story) (1982) by Bruce Sterling

In The Country of Last Things (1987) by Paul Auster

Crash (1973) by J G Ballard

King of the City (2000) by Michael Moorcock

I, Robot (1957) by Isaac Asimov

Blood Music (1983) by Greg Bear

Under The Skin (2000) by Michel Faber

Light (2002) by M John Harrison

The Illustrated Man (1951) by Ray Bradbury

The War of the Worlds (1898) by H G Wells

The City and the Stars (1956) by Arthur C Clarke

Slaughterhouse 5 (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut

The Stainless Steel Rat (1961) by Harry Harrison

Concrete Island (1974) by J G Ballard

Call to arm Syrian rebel fighters

The exiled opposition Syrian National Council calls for foreign states to arm rebel fighters, as government troops continue their assault on Aleppo. (BBC news website, 29.07.12)

The Final Programme, 2012

The Final Programme is the first novel in Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Quartet. It was published in 1969 and was the first to feature the character, Jerry Cornelius. The book is a fairly straightforward SF adventure story with a  conventional episodic structure. Jerry Cornelius, a physicist and hip secret agent, attempts to subvert a plot by his (drug-addled and generally disreputable) brother Frank and a Miss Brunner (who has a vampiric appetite for young flesh) to build a super computer for nefarious ends. There’s also the little matter of rescuing his sister Catherine from their clutches.

In 1973 the book was adapted for cinema by Robert Fuest, who also directed. But Moorcock was quick to distance himself from the film when it was released.

Locog vows to solve empty seats problem

‘Olympic family’ areas stand empty as 500 places unoccupied at Phelps v Lochte swimming heats and more than 1,000 at gymnastics. (The Guardian, 29.07.12)

A Cure for Cancer, 2012

A Cure for Cancer was published in 1971, and is described in the original book’s blurb thus: “Up from the ocean depths comes the jet-black caucasian transvestite champion. Resplendant in warpaint, wampum beads and silk suit by Cardin, armed only with a tomahawk and vibragun, he returns to the napalmed ruins of London to resurrect his sister and wrest from the disgusting Bishop Beesley and his formidable henchwomen the black box which has diffracted the cosmos and set the world spinning at super-speed towards its own final solution. Lock up your daughters, hide your stash, keep to the shadows.”

The book has an unconventional structure, Moorcock claiming that it follows a kind of wave form, which dictates that the climax to the book comes right slap-bang in the middle. It’s my personal favourite – I just love the exhilerating chaos and disorientation of it. But if you’re planning to read the quartet, I wouldn’t start here.

“It was a bit of a laugh”: The Queen tells of her delight after acting debut alongside Daniel Craig. (The Mirror, 29.07.12)

The English Assassin, 2012

The English Assassin was published in 1972, and finds Jerry Cornelius comatose in a coffin for most of the book. The book posits eight alternative apocalypses and progresses in predictable unpredictability. The world is coming apart at the seams – time has broken down – the cossacks are crossing Europe. London is near to collapse. Jerry finds himself at the center of events, still able to stir things up – valuable but also dangerous to those who employ him.

It’s an odd novel – there are so many strands to it and Jerry seems to have ceded the spotlight to another character, Una Persson. What could be going on?

The sections of the book are prefaced by brief newspaper reports of generally horrific crimes. Jerry’s adventures may often seem shocking, but they pale against reports from the real world.

Rain causes floods and landslip

Scores of homes are flooded in North Somerset following heavy rain, which also caused a landslip. (BBC news website, 05.08.12)

The Condition of Muzak, 2012

The Condition of Muzak was published in 1977. And things have fractured and dissipated further – Europe is nothing but a collection of tiny principalities, of burning city states, of chaotic gestures. And Jerry’s not up to much – he’s withdrawn and sulky, busy transforming himself from one character type to another. Specifically Harlequin to Pierrot, for we are seeing a world refracted through the lens of the Italian Commedia dell’arte. (Wikipedia: The characters of the commedia usually represent fixed social types, stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado). All the characters from the previous novels are back to reprise their roles in this new theatre of the catastrophe. While civilisation burns Jerry/ Pierrot slinks off to leave them to it, in search of his dead sister, Catherine.

The Quartet is a genre all of its own – by the fourth book, Moorcock has turned the SF novel inside out – narrative threads are (untangled and) resolved, but only according to the Quartet’s internal logic. Character, plot, narrative structure have all appear to have been disolved.

What I love about Jerry Cornelius is that he always asks more questions than he answers.

You can read more about the Cornelius Quartet, including Michael Moorcock’s take on it here. Michael Moorcock’s website (a must if you’re in any way interested in his work, and he can often be found on its message boards) is here.

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This is the final post in my Science Fiction “fortnight” (probably about three weeks) – I was going to make a joke about time machines, but in the end I couldn’t be bothered. The second hand on my watch appears to be coming to a halt…

Huge thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who has just finished using classic Dr. Who serials as titles for his work – check his blog out now. And to a more recent collaborator, J.E. Lattimer, who is doing really interesting things with text and image over at Arcane Arrangements.

You’d be a fool not to visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, and Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera.  And if you fancy listening to some mighty fine songs, try Cathryn Stone, whose White Sun Dark Moon has been a soundtrack to a lot of my recent shots.

Next week, Medical Romances…

The Ash Circus, 2012

The Ash Circus is a short story by M. John Harrison. It was published in 1970 as part of a short story collection called The Nature of the Catastrophe. The book collected all of Michael Moorcock’s stories about Jerry Cornelius, along with several by other authors.

I’ll be writing more about Jerry Cornelius soon, but in short he is a postmodern confection – an aspiring musician and accomplished assassin, (as well as being a Pierrot figure). Jerry is amoral – he is sexually and in every other way ambiguous.

When he was editing New Worlds magazine, Moorcock invented Jerry Cornelius as both a character and a method of writing – the idea was to expand SF’s horizons to include experimental writing and hold a mirror up to the society of the sixties and early seventies. He also made the character available for other writers to interpret. Moorcock has since said he thinks M. John Harrison’s Jerry stories were the best.

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Well now, for the last “fortnight” I have been naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels, stories and anthologies.

Thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is using classic Dr. Who serials as titles for his work – check them out now.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. two posts ago…and another thank you to Cathryn Stone, whose White Sun Dark Moon has been a soundtrack to quite a lot of these recent shots.

Millenium People (Naikari), 2012

I was immediately drawn to Naikari, because of her great clothes, and her cool sunglasses. She very generously agreed to a photograph. Thanks for posing for this Naikari! Tennis racket is model’s own.

Millenium People was J.G. Ballard’s penultimate novel. It was published in 2003. If you’re interested in learning a little more about J.G. Ballard, Bill Chance has written a great review of The Collected Short Stories here.

* * *

For the next couple of days I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

A big thank you to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings who is naming his posts after Dr. Who serials.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. a few posts back…

The Lathe of Heaven, 2012

The Lathe of Heaven is a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. It was published in 1971, and was adapted for television twice, once in 1980 and again in 2002. I haven’t read this one, but c’mon the title, the title! In my defence, I loved the Earthsea Trilogy as a lad (but that’s a whole other genre).

According to Wikipedia The Lathe of Heaven is about a character whose dreams alter reality. Nikki says it’s brilliant – the first SF book she read that she liked. So there’s a recommendation.

* * *

Heh, heh, for the last “fortnight” I have been naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels. There’s a few more to come and then it’s out into the cold vacuum of space with no space-suit  for the lot of them.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is naming his photographs after Dr. Who serials – great work going on over there.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. two posts ago…

Millenium People (XI), 2012

Millenium People was J.G. Ballard’s penultimate novel. It was published in 2003. If you’re interested in learning a little more about J.G. Ballard, Bill Chance has written a great review of The Collected Short Stories here.

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RIP Gore Vidal

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For the time being I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

A big thank you to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings who is naming his posts after Dr. Who serials.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. in the previous post…

A very special post today…

Nineteen Eighty-Four (for Josh), 2012

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s sixth novel. It was published in 1949 and is the dystopian novel. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it is set on Airstrip One (roughly, the UK), and follows the travails of Winston Smith in a country tyrannised by The Party, an omnipresent and, thanks to their use of surveillance techniques, near-omniscient government. Through various means (the destruction of free expression, the deliberate impoverishment of language, all the usual propaganda devices such as television programmes, and brutal police intervention) The Party seeks to control the minds of the country’s populace. Many of the novel’s key concepts have entered everyday parlance, such as Big Brother, double-think, and thought-crime. And unfortunately a number of recent rulers seem to have seen the book not as a work of fiction, but as a handbook for effective government.

One of the aspects of the book that interests me most is Orwell’s invented language Newspeak used by The Party for its totalitarian ends. (Follow the link to a full description on Wikipedia.) The gist is: “to prevent any alternative thinking — “thoughtcrime — by destroying any vocabulary that expresses such concepts as freedom, free enquiry, individualism, resistance to the authority of the state and so on.” While, in the UK, we are not suffering anything on the scale of Newspeak, it’s interesting to see the way language is used to control the way we think (Michael Moorcock famously said that in the eighties alternative points of view were becoming increasingly difficult to put across because with the coming of Margaret Thatcher, the rhetoric had changed so radically). The photograph above is a sign which was erected on The Strand in London prior to the opening of the Olympic Games. While it doesn’t say much, it speaks volumes. Two words. No please, no thank you, no reason. This sign says, “I’m threatening you, and I’m not prepared to treat you as an adult. Do as you are told”. There’s no answer to the question, “What will happen if I don’t avoid this area?” And because of this ambiguity, should anything go wrong, the sign also leaves plenty of room for the owner of the sign to shift liability to the individual – “We did warn you.” Of course, I may just be reading too much into this…

A little while back, J.E. Lattimer from Arcane Arrangements , Mysteries of the Wasteland, and Fictional Machines got in touch to say he had an image he wanted to post should I blog about Nineteen Eighty-Four. As it turned out he had two. I am honoured to be the one to post these. Thank you so much, Josh – an incredible contribution (and a pleasure to collaborate with you). They capture the essence and meaning of the book far more clearly than my tangential effort. Enjoy…

1984-1 by J.E. Lattimer

1984-2 by J.E. Lattimer

* * *

For the next few days I will be naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is naming his photographs after Dr. Who serials – with some great results.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, because it’s fantastic!! (and for her suggestion that we start a book club based on these posts). And you have to see Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods for no other reason than it is unique and brilliant (and in some ways fits in with the current SF theme on here). Also, don’t miss out on Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera.

Millenium People (for and of Louis), 2012

Millenium People (for and of Cat), 2012

Covent Garden is just great for capturing extremely stylish people. Louis was at work. Cat had just finished work. They both look great! And it was so nice of them to pose for these photographs. I’m very grateful, and hope if either of you are looking at this that you like your photographs.

And as a little extra today, I bumped into some members of the Russian Olympic team. Sadly my Russian is non-existent, so I have no idea what their names are. Can anyone help me out?

Millenium People (for and of members of the Russian Olympic Fencing team: Nikolai Kovalev; Veniamin Reshetnikov; Pavel Bikov), 2012

Millenium People was J.G. Ballard’s penultimate novel. It was published in 2003. If you’re interested in learning a little more about J.G. Ballard, Bill Chance has written a great review of The Collected Short Stories here.

* * *

For the time being I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

A big thank you to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings who is naming his posts after Dr. Who serials.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods and Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera.

Signal To Noise, 2012

Signal To Noise is a short story by Alastair Reynolds. It was published in 2006, as part of Zima Blue and Other Stories. It’s atypical of his writing in general in that it is set partly in a parallel world in roughly the present day. It’s a good read, but I prefer his space opera, for which he has rightly won many plaudits. I’ve been trying to work in a title from his Revelation Space series, but they’re tricky blighters to pin down. The series manages to be simultaneously very human and terrifically vast in scale, and features massive space-ships, cyborgs who are sniffy about travellers without “enhancements”, people who spend their whole lives sealed in moveable boxes, and some interesting spins on the psychological and emotional effects of space travel. Plus a universal steriliser that looks like a trumpet. I wish he’d written more…

* * *

For the next few days I will be naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is naming his photographs after Dr. Who serials – some great work over there already.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, and Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods.

Millenium People (IV), 2012

Millenium People (V), 2012

OK, so again I didn’t get these guys’ names, which is a real shame and very bad on my part (see also MP (III)). They were so nice to pose for these photographs and I’m really grateful. They are also incredibly snappy dressers! If either or both of you are out there, it would be great to hear from you.

Gurinder Singh just got in touch about his photograph in this post, which is great.

Millenium People was J.G. Ballard’s penultimate novel. It was published in 2003. If you’re interested in learning a little more about J.G. Ballard, Bill Chance has written a great review of The Collected Short Stories here.

* * *

For the time being I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

A big thank you to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings who is naming his posts after Dr. Who serials.

I also highly recommend Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, and Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods.