The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy

[book review – written in 2012]

This books provides a good overview of what to consider what trying to publish your work. To some extent it is applicable to any genre as much of the writing and publishing process is the same, it is of course looked at from a science fiction perspective. Although there is the inclusion of fantasy and horror; SF has a rather broad definition anyway. One key point to note is that the book was written in 99/00, so while some of the information is timeless there are some sections that are quite dated in 2012.

There are many important topics covered such as contracts, agents and taxes. This is perhaps some of the more boring stuff that you need to do once you have written your ”masterpiece” but it is even more important than the writing itself. The authors do a good job of presenting the information in an easy to digest and actually non-boring way. The occasional humour is also welcome.

The section near the end on promoting your material is a little bit dated when they review the electronic forms of promotion. Yes, it mentions websites but there is no mention of social media which is currently a dominant form of advertising. Facebook is obviously popular but Twitter seems to be awash with aspiring writers and their myriad spam posts to buy their wares. There are more self-publishing websites than they mentioned too, such as Lulu and now Amazon via the Kindle Direct Publishing.

I think speculative fiction will always be a strong selling genre, perhaps the authors should consider an update.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Paperback)


This piece was my unfinished attempt at NaNoWrimo 2013. Unfortunately writing often takes a back seat to life so stories are never finished in accordance to the original plan. The excerpt below is not the full story but a taster. The full story (it’s a short story!) has not been finished yet, but when it is finished I’ll place it here.

This story follows a gambler’s chain of thoughts through a game which will sound like a mix of chess and poker. There is some inspiration drawn from Iain Banks, which is despite my criticism of his works. There is some overlap in what he has written and what I link to think about. My complaint of his work would be the execution rather than a complaint of his underlying ideas.

For those that have read my collection of sci-fi short stories may also be pleased to know that this one is set in the same Universe. :-)

Continue reading Convexity

The lion and the goose

This is a (very) short piece of fan fiction for the upcoming online game Shroud of the Avatar. It can have wide appeal as it isn’t strictly fantasy despite the game’s obvious setting. Check out the story and comment below. Also check out the game if you are into MMOs. :-)

Also posted on the Shroud of the Avatar forums.

Now available as spoken word (free!) at The Caverns.

Continue reading The lion and the goose

Science fiction is more than just economics

I recently read that economist Paul Krugman was a fan of science fiction. I can recall him citing Charles Stross when he blogged about Bitcoin but I was unaware that he was a fan of the genre. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but rather I figured that Stross was a fan of Krugman rather than the other way around. It may be mutual fandom, and I’m sure the two are politically aligned.

Continue reading Science fiction is more than just economics

Terosan Tales

Finally! I managed to get something published. Ok, so it is self-published rather than through a traditional publishing house but it is a milestone none-the-less. It is something that I could have / should have done years ago.

I’ve been writing for years and wandered aimlessly through the self-publishing (killing?) fields without actually pulling the trigger. In 2013 I created a new Twitter account for my creative writing and have engaged in some writing chatter. After year of wandering I decide that I should get something published. Anything. I enjoy writing and I think that the universes I’ve created are interesting and intriguing. Eventually, I came across Smashwords and decided that was the best way to go. And now I can present my first finished published work (excluding my PhD thesis of course, does that even count?):

Terosan Tales
Terson Tales – A collection of short stories by Edward A Thomson

Smashwords link: Terosan Tales

Four short stories set in the same universe which are the beginnings of a larger tapestry of interwoven stories.

For a brief summary of each story click on “Continue reading”:

Continue reading Terosan Tales

Reflections on technical, discursive and creative writing

I’ve had quite a long break from creative writing and finally catching up this weekend. Not actually writing but typing up notes and finally released my first short story collection to Smashwords. The last time I wrote creatively was my failed attempt at the NaNoWriMo. Since then I’ve mostly done technical and discursive writing. This post covers my thoughts on the differences in motivation and thought processes between technical and creative writing.

(note: Long read. Actually ended up longer than intended.)

Continue reading Reflections on technical, discursive and creative writing

The background to my sci-fi Universe (novel)

So I’m finally getting around to chatting about the sci-fi Universe I’ve created. As I said in my first post on this blog I originally created the universe in my teens and have writing a novel on-and-off for the last 10 years. What originally start as a custom made RPG became an (incomplete) novel. About a year ago I decide to create short stories (might have been for nanowrimo actually) in that Universe with the aim of getting those self-published and to be shared with anyone who is interested. I will refer back to my previous blog posts and try to show how they weave together into a greater story. Hopefully this helps get me into the zone for this year’s NaNoWriMo too.

Continue reading The background to my sci-fi Universe (novel)

Review: Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks

Caution: may contain spoilers.

I’m somewhat disappointed with this book. Banks is so highly praised by many people I know that I had high expectations for this work. I tried to read Use of Weapons but didn’t enjoy it (will discuss that in a separate review), so I tried Consider Phlebas instead. I finished it and will admit that there are parts that I enjoyed or thought were cool but on the whole I’m unimpressed.

[Short Story] Apocalypse Short

Ok, so this short story is a little bit rougher around the edges than previous stories. It started off as a ‘cool’ idea but then I ran out of steam. As a drive to put more of my work online I’ve decided to upload it in a “sold as seen” state. It was inspired by the end of the Mayan calendar on 22nd December 2012 and by the book Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. The latter (if you are not familiar) is about large and mostly unforeseen events that have a huge negative impact: e.g. global financial crisis. Ergo, this book has a financial edge to it. I’ve tried to shoe horn the idea into sci-fi because that’s the genre I’m most comfortable with, plus I was trying to think of a way to weave it into the Universe I’ve already created. It isn’t quite there but I’m trying. I hope you enjoy. Comments welcome.

Note: “Short” is relating to the concept of running a short position where a financial instrument is borrowed and sold. It is mostly a metaphor here.

Continue reading [Short Story] Apocalypse Short

Allow me to recommend some popular science books on the Universe

For those who are interested in brushing on their knowledge of Cosmology, i.e. the study of the Cosmos (“Universe”), then I would like to recommend the following books. While there is a lot of good info on the web already (wiki is updated by experts I know for a fact) I still believe in having a good book that presents a structured and coherent account of the modern understanding of the Universe. Understandably, the books are not necessarily easy to read but I also believe that the effort will provide its own rewards. Such topics still fill me with wonder despite any cynicism I sometimes convey when asked about professional research: the topics are interesting and that is something I haven’t forgotten. So here is a brief list of my top picks…

Continue reading Allow me to recommend some popular science books on the Universe