Browsing Archive: January, 2010

Unknown countries (6) : After London

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, January 29, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

I’d heard of Richard Jefferies’ 1885 novel After London, or Wild England for a while before I got round to reading it. Given that this is meant to be one of the great ur-texts of the English Catastrophe tradition – it is granddaddy, whether authors or readers are aware of it or not, to Ballard’s The Drowned World, John Wyndham’s The ...

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Interlude on e-books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, In : Reality Street 
We interrupt this series to pose a question.

Recently, a couple of authors who have Reality Street books forthcoming have enquired about e-book versions of their published work. Am I planning to make such available? Or if not, do they retain the right to do so?

The answer to the first question is that I haven't given it much thought, but a moment's reflection suggests that there isn't (yet) a history of readers willing to pay for e-book versions of small press poetry collections and works of im...
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Unknown countries (5): The Unconsoled

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

This is the one that surprised me most out of the eight – and in a favourable way.

The book had lain on the shelves here unread for ten years. To be honest, I’d never had any great desire to get started on it, or on any other book by Kazuo Ishiguro. Nor had I seen the 1993 film made of his earlier Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of t...
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Unknown countries (4): The Possibility of an Island

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, January 17, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

I knew a bit about Michel Houellebecq, the supposed bad boy of French letters. How he was prosecuted unsuccessfully for racism for asserting in his 2003 novel Platform that Islam was the stupidest religion. How he hated his mum and his mum hated him. That he’d written a book about H P Lovecraft. His repudiation first by French leftist writer...
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Unknown countries (3): The Man Who was Thursday

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, January 11, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Terrorism isn’t something that was invented on 11 September 2001, nor even thirty years before that in Northern Ireland. A hundred years ago, terrorism obsessed the Western world much as it does today. The bogeymen in those days were not Islamic extremists but revolutionary anarchists. Dynamite was the weapon of choice.

Conrad’s The Secret ...
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Unknown countries (2): In the Country of Last Things

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Paul Auster has been getting it in the neck from The New Yorker critic James Wood. Wood takes the opportunity of a review of Auster’s most recent novel, Invisible, to parody his oeuvre, concluding with a damning precis of what he takes to be the stereotypical Auster novel:

“A protagonist, nearly always male, often a writer or an intellectua...
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Unknown countries: speculation in fiction

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, January 1, 2010, In : writing 
A Happy New Decade to all regular readers and to those stumbling across this blog from wherever.

One of the projects I set myself in the year just gone was to research what exactly I mean by “speculative fiction” – a term coined in the days of New Worlds magazine in the 1960s/70s as an alternative spelling-out of the initials SF.

The idea was that the term would seek to encompass not just science fiction but any narrative that involves an element of fantasy, or to be more precise (since ...
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Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at http://www.kenedwards.eu/