If you've read the bio page (which I might change sometime soon) then you'll know Clifford Simak's book of that name just blew my mind away. In 1968, so half a century ago. Entropy is everywhere...

I don't normally blog about the craft of writing, but I'll give you a fun fact here: when Alastair Reynolds started getting published, maybe a little before I did (although I'm older), he carved out time to write every day. It didn't just fall into his lap: he was working full time and had a home a long way from his workplace at the European Space Agency, but he made it happen.

Every week, Al spent three times the number of hours writing that I did. And it shows.

Or you could turn that around, and I could feel happy that I managed to carve out the time that I did, even with the four-and-a-half-hours-upwards commuting time, and the every-night-in-the-gym-or-dojo hours, and working for Europe's largest software house as a senior consultant.

Likewise, when I decided not to be a full-time writer because I wanted to finish my master's degree at Oxford. (I met Juliet McKenna for lunch on the day I handed in my dissertation - in bound hardcopy - and Jules said: "It's better than handing in a manuscript, isn't it?" I was surprised to realise in retrospect just how much completing the MSc meant to me.) Priorities, you see.

If you're a writer, unpublished or seasoned pro, grabbing those slices of time is fundamental. Dean Wesley Smith has a free set of videos on exactly that subject, which you can link to from this blogpost on his site,with some unexpected depth of passion in the last two clips.

Don't worry... They won't take too much time to watch.


Thanks to Jimmy for pointing out that Laura Steele and Bone Song got a mention on TV Tropes, in their article on Attractive Zombies. (Click on Literature to find it.)

To quote the article: "Nowadays, the depiction of a zombie as sentient, humane and seeking equality with humans is a frequent metaphor for real-life discriminated groups and for the de-objectification of them; to amplify the effect, he or she may be portrayed as physically attractive and sometimes even in a romantic relationship with a human."

All very true, although the discrimination theme is more of a feature in Dark Blood/Black Blood. (Yes, the book still has two different titles depending on which side of the Atlantic the particular copy was printed. Publishers' decisions. Perfectly okay, until a copy is imported in one direction or the other, and someone thinks they've found a different book.)

Some of those concerns linger in Tristopolis Requiem, without being limited to zombies, but for the most part it's Donal on a mission to save his city and rediscover his purpose in life. Or unlife...