Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I haven’t so far, partly out of laziness (with a hint of being run off my arse with work), partly due to the the fear of missing someone off the list. You see, I want to do a shout out to people who directly or indirectly give me a helping hand and keep me writing, and I’m one of those people who never took acting classes because of the fear of missing some people from the inevitable Oscar acceptance speeches For all my four portrayals of James Bond, obviously.
First off a few authors. I’m not going to give links to the Neil Gaimans and China Mievilles. They don’t need it, and you know who they are. Instead it’s people like Felix Gilman, Aaron Bembski-Bowden, Richard Harland.
Felix was very nearly responsible for making sure I never wrote a word. Go read his marvellous début Thunderer and you’ll realise why. It’s hard to find such beautifully constructed writing in the same pages of concepts which are wide ranging enough to fill a novel themselves, let alone each page they seem to pop up on.
Aaron’s work doesn’t stretch further than the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 IP, but don’t let that fool you. His writing is as evocative and attention holding as any I’ve read. I’m sure in time, once he breaks further away from Space Marines and into his own worlds, he’ll be as well regarded as his Black Library stable mate Dan Abnett. (nerd warning; his blog contains more the usual number of war games models, best to steer clear if terms like ‘d20’ and ‘shooting phase’ bring you out in hives).
And Richard just writes fantastic steampunk. Seriously, I can’t put it more bluntly.
I don’t read nearly the amount of books I used to, so I’m fairly discerning when it comes to sinking time into one of the few novels I’m going to be able to read in a year, so I’m more and more going for the recommended and tried and true writers, but if you’re reading this it’s likely you’re here because of my writing, and if you liked that (and thank and bless you if you did) you should check these three writers out.
Next up, a few support sites for fledgling authors. First up would be the ever-so-useful I Should Be Writing from the ever-so-feisty Mur Lafferty. I don’t listen to ISBW (as it’s known to its friends) as much as I used to, although that is mainly because I finally took the constant urging to stop thinking about writing and actually write dammit to heart. But still, it was always there as I was initially finding my feet.
And then there’s the mighty Writing Excuses. Hosted by the talented in the extreme Mary Robinette Kowell, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor and Dan Wells. This podcast tackles a subject about writing, the craft and art and even the business each week, with each host, each a more than established author in their own right, taking control. I have no doubt I will continue to listen to WE no matter how long they continue to cast, it’s that inspiring.
And this list wouldn’t be complete without some of the (free!) fiction I routinely listen to.
First up, The Drabblecast. If you’ve listened to any speculative fiction podcasts it’s almost certain you’re at least aware of The Drabblecast and it’s enigmatic host Norma Sherman. If not, here’s a brief summery. Ahem. It’s awesomely weird and funny. OK, that’s it, nothing more. Norm and his readers pick out some truly stand out stories, and the production values are second to absolutely no one. Each week you can look forward to a short story, 1 100 word and a 100 character story, and also plenty of banter from the Shermanator himself which is always worth perking up and listening to.
Next, but certainly not least, is the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. Big Anklevich and Rish Outfield, the Dunesteef’s hosts, ten to pick up longer stories than the Drabblecast, but their subjects are just as left field. What really sets the Dunesteef aside from other casts is the dicussion between Big and Rish after the story (itself always a joy to listen to) about themes, characters, and basically anything else which strikes them. The talks can go on much longer than the story itself but I never mind. It’s like having two friends over for a chat.
And pulling up the rear just because it’s the youngest is the Journey Into… podcast. Eagle eyed readers may realise I sold a story to Marshal Latham who produces Journey Into… last week, but even had I not, it would still be in this list. It’s the Outer Limits, the Twilight Zone of podcasts. I’m left feeling fulfilled and often nostalgic after each cast.
OK, that’s it. Go out, read, listen, enjoy! Enough of me, get to it!