Reasonable Force


Over the last few months, I’ve started getting a bit more involved in self-defence stuff, specifically women’s self-defence.  I got into this through learning escrima – we take some fundamental concepts and apply them for students who have no martial experience whatsoever, in the hope of giving them an idea of what they could do and are permitted to do, both by society and in their own minds.  The aim is to instill a bit of confidence, a dose of awareness and the beginnings of a plan. One question that keeps cropping up is what constitutes reasonable force. As an …

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Down & Out in Edinburgh


I love George Orwell.  I say that – I don’t know a huge amount about him as a human being, because I’m always a bit scared of finding out too much about your heroes just in case – but Homage to Catalonia was and remains one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, and 1984 is genius, and Animal Farm is savage and true and incredible and his essays are often that rare combination of both powerful and beautiful to read and basically… one of my heroes. Also: Down and Out in London and Paris, a book written after …

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At Least He’s Breathing!

Magnifying glass

I was sat in a park near Brixton Underground a few days ago, scribbling away, when a man started having a seizure. He was in his mid-forties, I’d say, and was in the park, lying in the sun, with two of his friends.  We’ll call him John.  John had been there with woman – Jenny – before I arrived, resting on one side, occasionally drinking beer.  His second friend, Joe, had arrived roughly at the same time I was – when he entered the park, he was talking to himself, chiding something no one else could see, but on seeing …

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Derby Festival 2015


I’m coming to Derby!!!  Whoopeee!  Also can I take this moment to say that some truly awesome people are coming, including Mike Carey (the nicest man in comics and author of so much good stuff it’s just daft, including Girl with all the Gifts, the Felix Castor books and the Lucifer comics); Paul McAuley who’s books I’ve been reading since long before I started writing and which still hold a proud place on my shelf; Sarah Pinborough, who as well as being the kind of human being I want to be when I grow up, has written scary fairytales, moving …

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Adventures in… Kansas

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but I’ve had good reason, honest!  To be exact: I’ve been in America!  Whoopee adventure! So yes.  The University of Kansas – specifically the Gunn Centre for SF – very kindly invited me to come and attend the Campbell Conference, and even more kindly gave me a prize for Harry August.  It’s a wonderful thing to receive, not least as the trophy is covered in the names of so many greats that to be included is both a massive honour and hugely geek-joy-tastic.  It was also a wonderful shortlist to be part …

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