Here is your weekly reminder that it is Friday, just in case you’re losing track of time. Gods know, I am. But hey, good news! Friday means it’s time for another issue of your favourite* interwub digest—The Cut!Continue reading The Cut – Issue 3
I’m not really awake, but drifting in and out of consciousness. I’ve been in this state since probably half-four, perhaps a little earlier if old-man bladder hasn’t already forced me into a stumble to the loo. The alarm is set for 05:30, and as ever, I promise that I’ll stay in bed until it goes off.
Inevitably, I break that promise. I’m too awake to stay put now, so I zombie-walk into the shower. Thirty seconds after leaving the sweet embrace of the duvet, I’m upright and wet.
The alarm goes off. It’s a cheap Chinese activity tracker with a vibrate built in. It’s showerproof, but the touch-sensitive surface doesn’t react well to the pummelling of the shower head, and I can’t switch it off. Doesn’t matter, I’m awake now. I let the device burr at me and get soapy.
Dryish, dressed-ish. I’m often accused of looking like I dressed in the dark and well, that ain’t so far off the truth. I work in a place where contact with clients is minimal. Frankly as long as I turn up with a pair of jeans and a top on, no-one could care less.
Downstairs, harried all the way by Millie the cat, who has been dogging my heels since I hit the shower. In the dark it’s sometimes hard to see her and she has a habit of flinging herself full-length at the bathroom door, or twining around my ankles while I’m trying to negotiate the stairs. I swear, one of us will end up dead because of her antics.
Kettle on. Now for tea. I’m a coffee fiend at work, but the world doesn’t look right if I don’t start things off with a cuppa. Nothing fancy. PG in a mug, splash of cow-juice. While the brew stews I dole some wet food into Millie’s bowl. She goes in headfirst, slurping at the moggy-chow like she’s half-starved. Which, I can assure you, she is not.
A bit of quiet time. If I’m feeling virtuous, I’ll get a bit of writing done. This is a good time to work–with brain half-engaged some interesting things usually hit the page. In the depths of winter, though, inspiration can be tough to dredge up. It’s more likely that the newsfeeds and Twitter get a once-over while the tea gradually gets my cogs spinning.
The kettle goes back on. Tea for TLC. If I time it right, delivery of said hot beverage coincides with her phone alarm going off. I swipe it to snooze for her, and plant a kiss. She mumbles a sweetness back at me. She’ll be in the shower by the time I leave, so this is the only contact we have until the evening. We never skip this bit of the morning ritual. It would be honestly unthinkable.
A little more reading, perhaps give Millie a fuss if she’s in the mood. My eyes keep drifting back to the clock. My brain is beginning to turn over now, filling with the cruft of the work day ahead. Tasks to do, excuses and apologies to make. Crisis avoidance strategies. You know, the usual.
Boots on. The inevitable patting of pockets. Wallet, work-pass, phone, keys. Check checky check-check. Over time, my everyday carry has been stripped back to these essentials. Potentially, everything I need for a working day could go in a single pocket of my jeans. Less to think about means less to worry about.
I crack the airlock and step outside. It’s cold, dark and quiet. I wake the car with a click of the fob and slide into the driver’s seat. I slot the key and turn the car to power. My OnePlus gets plugged into a flying charge lead, and music starts. Either a Spotify playlist streamed from the phone (modern psychedelia, classic funk, maybe some Americana or rockabilly. No podcasts, no radio, no voices that aren’t singing) or a random pick from the USB stick hooked into the stereo. I sit, just for a second, and let the tunes wash over me. I breathe in, deeply, hold it for a count of five, let it out again. Then I turn the key one last click.
Main engine start.
Once again into the wild blue yonder.
Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula books are wild, freewheeling takes on alternative history that that gleefully mash together fictional and historical figures to tell the story of a word where Dracula is real. A meta-fictional treat for anyone that likes their pulp. Rob and Clive certainly do…
As usual with our short story posts, we urge you to read the story before listening.
A parable on the sacrifices even the most utopian societies have to make. Does Ursula LeGuin’s acclaimed story dig into a deeper truth…or is it simply stating the obvious? Worse, is it suggesting that the best we can do when faced with atrocity is walk away? Rob and Clive try to unpick this most knotty of threads, only to find themselves more deeply tangled than before…
In which Rob fanbois so hard over Ray Bradbury that he nearly breaks something.
Seriously, though, A Sound Of Thunder is a formative SF text, and hence very worth of a one over from the Curiosity Crew. Just stay away from the movie, ok?
Once again, we believe you should read the story before you listen to the podcast. Not such a hard grind when it’s this good…
A classic piece of short SF, and a landmark story in all sorts of ways. Join Rob and Clive as they look at this dark parody of masculinity, which comes to some pretty brutal conclusions about the role and future of women on this planet.
We recommend you read the story before listening to the podcast. Check it out here.
Let’s talk about some proper SF, with a nose around Ted Chiang’s Nebula-Award winning short story Story Of Your Life. If you want discussion on the challenges of living in a deterministic universe or Fermat’s Theorem of Least Time, then do we have a treat for you!
If not, don’t worry, we’ll be back to the zap guns and little green men soon enough.
Hey, if you want to read the story in question, lucky you! Check it out here (If you like it, we do urge you to buy the collection of stories in which it’s housed for yet more head-mangling goodness).
Yesterday was pretty momentous for me. It saw the long-awaited release of my second novel, Pirates Of The Moon. Finally, oh my lovely Readership, you get a chance to read my first foray into long-form science fiction. Continue reading Blast-off! Launching Pirates Of The Moon
The Grandmaster of Science Fiction. Not just prolific but absurdly talented, Brian Aldiss is a Great British Author in every sense of the word. Rob and Clive celebrate the man and his work: not just as writer, but editor, artist and advocate for SF in all its forms.
If his work is good enough for Kubrick and Spielberg, it’s good enough for us!
Here’s a look at the film version of his deeply odd conjoined-twin punk opera, Brothers Of The Head. A strange and very English piece of work.
More short story action from Rob, Clive and that thrice-damn’d CycloMedia. This episode, they look at Samuel R. Delaney’s “Aye, And Gomorrah…”, a bracing antidote to the macho American view of what space explorers should be like.
Are we not men? Interesting question…
Dangerous Visions, the anthology in which “Aye, and Gomorrah…” appears, is back in print for the first time in decades. It’s one of the most important collections in SF, and and any selfrespecting fan-being should own a copy.