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About Adam

Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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Welcome to www.AdamRoberts.com

This is www.adamroberts.com, official homepage of British science fiction writer Adam Roberts. Please use the links in the menu bar above if you're here to find out more about Adam's published books to-date, or more about Adam himself, or if you want to get in touch with Adam.

Or, if you're here to see what Adam's been up to recently, just keep reading:

Latest News

Chet for the win

By Adam Roberts | September 18, 2012
Categories: Book News


Yesterday's rather vulgarly pluggy post went against the grain, rather, if I'm honest. I'll be a touch more circumspect today in this, another post catching up on stuff of mine that has appeared over the summer. The first thing is to direct you to the site of the excellent Pandemonium press, run by good people, and with its heart in the right place ('Pandemonium books are released as both limited editions and ebooks, with a portion of all proceeds from our sales going towards charitable causes'). The next thing is to point you in the direction of their Novelettes (scroll down). There I am!

I wrote a story about a trip to the moon, a lunar adventure, an encounter with strange aliens (all that). Then I bethought me of the good old days when my novels were called things like Salt, On, W and !. Now there was a naming convention! Accordingly I named my new novelette An account of a voyage from World to World again, by way of the Moon, 1726, in the Commission of Georgius Rex Primus, Monarch of Northern Europe and Lord of Selenic Territories, Defender of the Faith. Undertaken by Captain Wm. Chetwin aboard the Cometes Georgius. I think this might catch on, as a new novel-naming convention.

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Saucy Jack, he’s a haughty one, saucy Jack, he’s a naughty one

By Adam Roberts | September 17, 2012
Categories: Book News


Buy from: amazon.co.uk; other retailers; kobo ebooks.

So, how've you been?

Yes, yes, it's been a while. I shall keep things more up to date around here from now on, I promise -- starting with this post about my latest novel Jack Glass. This is pure plug. Impure semi-plug and other posts to follow.

Anyway, this is the book with, by general opinion, the nicest cover of any of my novels (thank you, Blacksheep). More, according to the entirely disinterested opinion of, er, my wife, it's my best novel yet. You wouldn't want to call my wife a liar, now, would you? Less subjectively it is a mash-up Golden Age SF space opera and Golden Age whodunit. If you don't like those two things then you won't like this, but if you do like them, then ... who knows? Maybe my wife is right. Here's one reader's amazon.com opinion: from a certain N. O. Tasockpuppet: 'This is most excellent stuff, this triptych of "locked-room mysteries". Inspired by both the "Golden Age of Sci-Fi" and similarly classic whodunits, Adam Roberts has fashioned a Space Opera that satisfies both the imagination and the intellect.' See?

There have been a few published reviews as well, and I'll run briefly through them. To start with the less than enthusiastic: Saxon Bullock, at SFX, was lukewarm -- the review isn't online, I'm afraid, but in a nutshell it was: 'this is a book in three parts; it's good but the first part is exceptionally good so the whole thing doesn't really work, 3 stars out of 5'. Which is hard to argue with. The estimable Guy Haley, despite opening his review with one of the nicest things I've ever read about myself ('Roberts' books are truly difficult to rate, because there isn't anything else like them in the modern SF genre') overall blows as cool as he does hot about the novel. And the great Christopher Priest reviewed the book in The Guardian. It's a review that's difficult to excerpt, and, as you'll see if you click the link, manages to be both positive and rather puzzled and negative at the same time. I tend to the view that it's as close as Priest will come to a dithyrambic review of my writing, given the parameters of his Reviewer's Voice, and his mixed reaction to my writing more generally. But maybe I'm fooling myself.

Other reviews are more straightforwardly positive. Niall Alexander at Tor.com calls it 'magnificent' (' ... perfectly plotted, winningly worded, and as rewarding, despite everything, as anything you’re apt to read this year, this trifecta of golden age goodness is yet another example of Adam Roberts’ tremendous talents').

Paul di Filippo says nice things about my writing, and this novel, in a locusonline review; wondering as he goes why 'Roberts’s books slide under everyone’s radar, consumer and reviewer alike ... drastically ignored by peers (no Nebula nominations) and fans (no Hugo nominations). But why? His work is always elegantly written, thought-provoking, suspenseful, ingeniously speculative and deftly plotted. He knows the history of the field inside and out (having written a big critical history of our lineage). He honors mainstream fiction as well. I find his characters eminently lifelike, his tone droll and acerbic and yet not insensitive to common human passions. In short, he seems the very model of a modern SF writer.'

Harry Ritchie, at the Daily Mail, says: 'The ingenuity factor is impressive enough, but this is a novel that also manages to shift our sympathy towards the infamous culprit, as we discover not only who done it and how but why, for this is a mightily oppressive future where trillions are governed by a dictatorial elite and capitalism at its rawest. Startlingly clever - a maestro’s performance.'

Liviu Siciu, over at Fantasy Book Critic: '[To say] "it is an extraordinary novel" is quite the understatement. A top 10 novel of 2012 for me.'

The Material Witness blog wasn't sure what to say: 'It's been about a month since I raced through Jack Glass in the space of 24 hours, and the reason it's taken me this long to review it is that I simply haven't been able to figure out how to write about it. That has nothing to do with the writing of Adam Roberts, which is exquisite throughout - smart, witty and addictive - nor the brilliance of Jack Glass, which is a fascinating, compelling and challenging tale of personality, politics and socio-economics. I have enjoyed no novel more during 2012.'

John Clute has some spontaneous jactitations over at Strange Horizons. he breaks open the R S Thomas (that great poet), amongst other things.

And finally, the hugely perceptive and rather neglected critic Dan Hartland, despite making cruel aspersions about my male pattern baldness ('... and between you and me, my hair is thinning a bit ...'), says some very interesting things.

8 Comments to-date;

Forthcoming

By Adam Roberts | July 5, 2012
Categories: Book News

Ian Whates, that excellent man, has just sent this through; the cover-art for the forthcoming Solaris Rising 1.5, including a story from me. Runs, ahem, rings around most short-story-collections cover art.

1 Comment so far

Next Stop, Utop

By Adam Roberts | July 3, 2012
Categories: Events and Appearances

This is where I'm at for the next few days:

13th International Conference
UTOPIAN STUDIES SOCIETY
Tarragona, 4th-7th July 2012

I'll be giving the opening keynote; very exciting. There's a wine reception afterwards!

No Comments Yet - Please feel free

Adam Robots

By Adam Roberts | June 22, 2012
Categories: Book News

That thing Keats said about a thing of beauty? It applies here.

This is the latest iteration of the cover for my forthcoming Collected Short Stories, which Gollancz are putting out next year. It is, in a nutshell, yet another blinder played by the genius people at Blacksheep. I'm very conscious how lucky I have been with my cover art, and each of the last few (all Blacksheep designs) have upped the bar. I didn't think it was possible to get any better than the cover for Jack Glass, but this comes close to topping it.

4 Comments to-date;

Resurrection Engines

By Adam Roberts | April 30, 2012
Categories: Book News


Nice cover! Who's inside?

"The anthology will feature sixteen brand new stories from some of the most exciting names writing in genre fiction today, and will be Steampunk ‘reimaginings’ or ‘retellings’ of classic works of literary fiction. Below is a list of the authors contributing to the book, along with their chosen literary work. "Resurrection Engines: Sixteen Extraordinary Tales of Scientific Romance" will be published in hardback on June 30th, then released in paperback in time for Christmas!"

01 - Brian Herbert & Bruce Taylor (H.G. Wells)
02 - Lavie Tidhar (Alice in Wonderland)
03 - Adam Roberts (Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
04 - Philip Palmer (Wilkie Collins)
05 - Juliet E. McKenna (H. Rider Haggard)
06 – Jonathan Green (Moby Dick)
07 - Alan K. Baker (Journey to the Centre of the Earth)
08 – Roland Moore (White Fang)
09 - Scott Harrison (Jekyll & Hyde)
10 - Alison Littlewood (Silas Marner)
11 - Jim Mortimore (Robin Hood)
12 – Cavan Scott (Snow White)
13 – Kim Lakin-Smith (Peter Pan / The Island of Doctor Moreau)
14 – Paul Magrs (Wuthering Heights)
15 – Simon Bucher-Jones (A Christmas Carol)
16 – Rachel E. Pollock (Treasure Island)

Comes out on my birthday, which is nice.

1 Comment so far

Martin Citywit

By Adam Roberts | March 30, 2012
Categories: Short Fiction


Captures my mood rather well at the moment, actually: artwork by the estimable Gary Northfield based on a short story of mine called 'Martin Citywit' which will be appearing in Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke, a collection of SF shorts based on Dickens and edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin. The book is out soon, and you should buy it, for a portion of proceeds will go to PEN, which is a very good cause. But more proximately, you should pop over to the Pornokitsch site right now and take part in the auction. Gary N. has very generously donated all the half-dozen illustrations he did for the volume; and they are things of beauty indeed. Bid, I bid ye! Bid!

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Heman Chong

By Adam Roberts | March 20, 2012
Categories: Chitchat

A friend sent me the link to the latest Rossi & Rossi exhibition: some splendid, beautiful canvases by Heman Chong, a snip at £2300, including the Headless and Snow images, below. Speaking as an author: I'm flattered to be included in such company, and to have provoked such fine art.

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Vec-tor and the Snow-Dog

By Adam Roberts | February 18, 2012
Categories: Non-Fiction

The new Vector is out; and the obscure music-related pun in this post title, up there, is my way of indicating that I've an article in it: 'On Science Fiction Music', pp22-28. Worth the price of admission on its own, I'd say.

2 Comments to-date;

PAN

By Adam Roberts | February 16, 2012
Categories: Events and Appearances

Come along, why don't you? Saturday 25th Feb, Senate House in central London, from 2pm: entrance is free.

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Odd Strange Fantasy

By Adam Roberts | February 16, 2012
Categories: Book News

You wait for ages for a book to come along containing a contribution from yourself, and then three come along all at once. First, the Gollancz Masterworks reissue of Stapledon's Odd John (1935) with a new introduction by Y.T.:

Fishbowltastic cover, I think, though of limited relevance to the actual story. Then there's Keith Brooke's anthology of original critical essays Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the Sub-Genres of Science Fiction (Palgrave 2012), containing my essay on SF and Religion called 'Does God Need a Starship?'.

And finally, The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature (edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn). I contributed the 'Gothic and Horror Fiction' essay to that one:

So in sum: odd; strange; fantastic.

2 Comments to-date;

Jack Glass Cover

By Adam Roberts | February 7, 2012
Categories: Book News


I've known about this for a while, and now that's it's been officially announced (on the Victor Gollancz website) I can go public. This is the cover for Jack Glass; my favourite, I think, of all my covers. To quote Aishwarya (a real person with a twitter account; although also, confusingly, a character in Jack Glass): 'Okay, wow. I see @arrroberts' run of great covers continues.' It's true!

Click, as they say, to embiggen.

9 Comments to-date;

University of Kent at Canterbury Reading

By Adam Roberts | January 29, 2012
Categories: Events and Appearances


I'm giving one of the University of Kent at Canterbury 'CREATIVE WRITING TUESDAY READINGS' (6 pm; £2 entry; Darwin College Senior Common Room) next Tuesday (31st Jan). I grew up in Canterbury, so I'm really looking forward to this event.

3 Comments to-date;

2012 BSFA Awards

By Adam Roberts | January 24, 2012
Categories: Awards


I'm immensely pleased and honoured that By Light Alone has been shortlisted for the 2012 BSFA Award for Best Novel. The shortlist is a very strong one, this year:

Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith (Newcon Press)
Embassytown by China Mieville (Macmillan)
The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)

BSFA members and attendees at Eastercon can vote, the winners being announced at Olypmus 2012, this year's Eastercon. It's a tricky call deciding which of that list is best: I don't envy you having to make your decisions!

4 Comments to-date;

First Fictions

By Adam Roberts | January 19, 2012
Categories: Events and Appearances

I'm appearing at the First Fictions event this weekend, at the University of Sussex -- Sunday 22nd Jan. It would be great to see you, if you're there, or thereabouts.

At 4pm I'll be interviewing the superb Elleke Boehmer, both a brilliant literary critic and postcolonial theorist, and an exceptional novelist.

Then, two hours later at 6pm, I'm talking about my most beloved subject, science fiction, sharing the stage with crime writer Andrew Pepper.

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Ellison, and on, and on

By Adam Roberts | January 14, 2012
Categories: Book News


Through the frontdoor post-hole this morning: my copy of the Gollancz 'SF Masterworks' edition of this great classic of the genre, Edited By Harlan Ellison, by Dan G. Rous Visions. 600 pages of stories that changed science fiction: £9.99 on the back cover (£5.29 from amazon right now, I see), unmissable. This new edition incorporates introductions from both Mr Visions himself, and from Michael Moorcock (these date from a 2002 reissue of the book) plus a brand new extra introduction by me. Two more things: (1) I see the SF Masterworks series even has its own Wikipedia page; and (2) isn't that a superb piece of cover design by the peerless Vincent Chong? Check out his website page on the brief.

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By Light Alone

By Adam Roberts | January 13, 2012
Categories: Reviews

A little belatedly (must attend to this 'bsite more frequently): a brief round-up of things that have been written about By Light Alone. To begin with a couple of actual readers, since they're the most important people. First Lizzie Barrett, on facebook:

I have just finished By Light Alone by Adam Roberts. If you like political literary novels, if you like emotionally compelling stories, if you like science fiction, you will like this. Hell, if you like your words strung together in beautiful and profound sentences so that you reread them for the sheer joy of language, you will like this.

Then, for balance, an anonymous reader, reported by Michelle Howe:

I recommended BLA to a collegue who likes hard sf and political intrigue, so of course I thought he'd love it. He didn't, and now is telling everyone not to trust my recs or reviews.

Marmite-acious. Over on the Strange Horizons blog Niall Harrison, that tall man, has written a characteristically insightful and intelligent account of the novel, putting it in the wider context of plays novels what I write:

Adam Roberts novels, it seems to me today, often worry at questions of sincerity and insincerity -- or authenticity and inauthenticity... For someone often pegged as a quite cynical, sardonic commentator, Roberts' fiction concerns itself quite often with what you might call verities of "the human condition", as conventionally understood -- there are essays to be written about love in Adam Roberts novels, and war in Adam Roberts novels -- albeit rarely in conventional forms, indeed usually deliberately contrary or challenging: the emotional arcs in Swiftly most infamously, perhaps. And more significantly, science fiction as published today is a fundamentally sincere genre: earnest, even, both politically and stylistically. Because Adam Roberts novels are only ever sincere in backhanded ways, and frequently insincere in obvious ways, it's easy to see them as critiquing science fiction; and they usually are; but per Puchalsky they're usually doing more than that as well, I think.

Niall links to pieces by Rich Puchalsky and Paul Kincaid that I've mentioned before on this site, but he also links to an interesting essay by Lavie Tidhar about me qua problem, 'Shall I Tell You The Problem With Adam Roberts?'. The whole thing is thought-provoking, but Lavie's thesis is summed-up in his conclusion: 'He is both the Fool and Knave of science fiction.'

So there you go.

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Langer’s Science Fiction and Postcolonialism

By Adam Roberts | December 19, 2011
Categories: Book News

Here's something to take not of (erm, '... of which to take note') if you're interested in SF. The brilliant Jessica Langer's brilliant Science Fiction and Postcolonialism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) is now available. Three things you should do.

1. Buy a copy.

2. Check out io9.com tomorrow (Tuesday, around 10 AM North American time), who are running an except from the book.

3. Nominate Dr Langer for a best-related Hugo and/or best-related BSFA award, if you have that power.

That is all. (What's that? My 'buy a copy' link goes to a UK site? Oh, right. Here you go).

3 Comments to-date;

Adam Robots

By Adam Roberts | December 13, 2011
Categories: Book News

Luke Yexley is a talented individual presently doing an A-Level in design. As part of his coursework, and in consultation with me, he has designed a cover for a collection of my short stories. And here's the result -- very nice, I think. I'd suggest you click-to-embiggen the above brother-of-simon Jay Pegg, and decide for yourself. [I have signed a contract with Gollancz to issue a collection of short fiction, actually: should be out some time next year I think].

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Kitschies Steampunk Evening

By Adam Roberts | December 7, 2011
Categories: Events and Appearances


Tomorrow evening (that's Thursday 8th December, 6:00-8:30pm at Blackwells Bookshop, 100 Charing Cross Road): entrance free -- come and meet Jonathan Green, Frances Hardinge, Kim Lakin-Smith, Philip Reeve, me, Lavie Tidhar and China Miéville. I shall wear a tie. It would be rude of you not to come.

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Teletubtopia

By Adam Roberts | November 23, 2011
Categories: Blogging


Read all about it.

1 Comment so far

Solaris Rising

By Adam Roberts | November 10, 2011
Categories: Book News, Events and Appearances

After three previous volumes (two of which contained stories by me) Solaris is rising again, thanks to the metaphorical yeast of Ian Whates, that excellent individual. My contribution this time is a story called 'Shall I Tell You The Trouble With Time Travel?' In this story, I tell you, the reader, the trouble with time travel.

[14 Nov: this just in from amazon.com, whose reader reviews are, as we all know, infallible: 'OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I first read the Peter Hamilton story ... and the Adam Roberts story which features another crazy explanation of a sf trope, this time the paradoxes of time travel and has the expected superb prose and characters, while not much later I also read the Alastair Reynolds story which contained the author's trademark serious cosmological stuff interspersed with human interest that has made him the leading hard sf voice of our time ... In addition to the trio above, the stories by Eric Brown/Keith Brooke and Jaine Fenn respectively were also excellent ... great prose and characters added these two stories to the A++ top tier ones of the anthology. Overall I would say that Adam Roberts Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel? is my favorite story of the anthology, but all of these five are stories that reminded me again why I love science fiction in the short form too!']

[17 Nov: A signing! A signing in Forbidden Planet, on Saturday 26th November at 1pm!]

[22nd Nov: My last update to this post ... I just saw the SFX review of this volume, sadly not online, which praised the whole thing, and praised my story in particular ('sublimely good ... worth the price of admission alone'). Which is nice.]

5 Comments to-date;

Is Science Fiction the only true relevant literary genre today?

By Adam Roberts | October 24, 2011
Categories: Events and Appearances

You want an answer to that question? Why, then, you must come along to this:

Event: Is Science Fiction the only true relevant literary genre today?
7 November 2011
New Scientist and the Waterstones Gower Street Lecture Series present, Is Science Fiction the only truly relevant literary genre today?

Simon Ings, author of Dead Water, will be chairing this panel discussion on the importance and relevance of science fiction as a literary genre in today's modern world.

The panel will include British sci-fi author and three-time nominee of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Adam Roberts, the director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Tom Hunter and John Sutherland, Emeritus Professor of Modern English Literature at UCL and author of the new book Lives of the Novelists.

Tickets are £6 for New Scientist readers and £5 for students. To purchase your tickets visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2361210444/eorg.

Is Science Fiction the only truly relevant literary genre today?
Chaired by Simon Ings
Date: Monday 7th November 2011, 7pm
Location: UCL, London, WC1E 7JG

5 Comments to-date;

Jahr Jahr Binks

By Adam Roberts | October 22, 2011
Categories: Book News


Sascha Mamczak, Wolfgang Jeschke (eds) Das Science Fiction Jahr 2011 (Heyne 2011) -- Es kam in der Post. Es war groß, sehr groß und gefüllt mit SF - inklusive einem Interview mit "Adam Roberts" von Sascha Mamczak. Voon. Der. Bar. (Seriously -- 1312 pages! How do they do it? Amazing)

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SFE3

By Adam Roberts | October 15, 2011
Categories: Book News

Very exciting: the long-awaited, much-expanded 3rd edition of the genre's standard reference work, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (edited John Clute, Peter Nicholls and David Langford) has at last gone live -- or at least, its Beta edition has (you can find out what the 'beta edition' is, here). I've made some miniscule contribution to this by writing a few entries on SF Music; but really this staggering, amazing achievement belongs to Peter, John and David, not to mention the estimable Graham Sleight. I'm more delighted for them than I can easily say; and I'm very honoured to be associated with the project, even in a marginal sense.

Since going live, there's been a good quantity of feedback from fans and readers, which is an excellent thing. I'm very happy to take corrections where my music entries are concerned, of course; either here or through the site's own contact page (or via Graham's SFE3 blog). It's also good to get suggestions of SF music I've not yet got to: I'm very grateful, for instance, to Jez Winship and Neil Snowdon, whose long, thoughtful response to the release of the SFE3-beta contains a wealth of suggestions for more music entries. I'm writing some of these now, as it happens.

3 Comments to-date;

Cheltenham Literary Festival 2011

By Adam Roberts | October 11, 2011
Categories: Events and Appearances

I'm appearing at the Cheltenham Literary Festival tomorrow (Wednesday) ayt 17:00, in company of the eloquently intelligent Mark Brake. Come along: it would be great to see you! (The event is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, an excellent organisation, and deserving of our support).

Now, now, you may be saying: that's all very well -- but what will you and Mr Brake be talking about? That's a good question. Come along, I urge you, and find out!

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Gollancz 50

By Adam Roberts | October 5, 2011
Categories: Book News


Here are 10 titles you have already read, or if you haven't you (a) ought to be ashamed, and (b) ought to read them at once. Gollancz have yellowed them up nicely, and put them on sale: check them out. One of them has an introduction by me! But I won't tell you which. Oh, alright, it's Pratchett's hilarious, brilliant Eric:

5 Comments to-date;

Wasson and Alder (eds) Gothic Science Fiction 1980-2010 (Liverpool 2011)

By Adam Roberts | October 4, 2011
Categories: Book News


Dev Wasson-Gothic Science Fiction (2)
Nice cover, what? This collection of ver interesting essays is now available, from Liverpool University Press. Its own extensive merits recommend it, without any need for my puffery; although I mention it here because I furnished a brief preface to the volume.

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Karel Čapek Gollanč Masterwork

By Adam Roberts | September 22, 2011
Categories: Book News


In today's post: extra-handsome SF Masterworks edition of two Karel Čapek titles ('R.U.R.' and 'War With The Newts') with an introduction by me. The intro covers various things, although doesn't have space for Čapek's famous collaboration with Jimi Hendrix, the concept album 'R.U.Rxperienced?', nor the 'special advisor' role Ken Livingstone played in the gestation of the War novel. But hopefully there's some interesting stuff in there anyway. On sale now.

No Comments Yet - Please feel free

Term

By Adam Roberts | September 21, 2011
Categories: Book News, Chitchat

That time of year again: a new academic term, which will (of course) soak up the lion's share of my time and energy until Christmas. I'll try not to go wholly silent here (or over here, either; here will keep on plodding its daily plod, regardless), but posting may de-frequentify.

Still: news is -- I've now written a first draft of this title, with some changes (the Captain is now called 'Cloche' instead of 'Mason', for instance). The plan -- if I can persuade him, and he has the time -- is for the most excellent Mahendra Singh to illustrate it, in his initmiable, wonderful way: check out his Carroltastic Snark blog for some examples of what he does. I'm toying with the notion of translating it into French and seeing if les gens Bragelonne would be interested in it. Otherwise, I'm adding a couple more goodies to what will be the e-edition of Jack Glass, my 2012 Gollancz title.

1 Comment so far

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