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How to do a 3D Star Map that’s Not Overwhelming

(For my alternative to 3D mapping, scroll down.) I’ve been revisiting Traveller RPG. One thing that’s not changed over the years is that the star charts are flat. Here’s an example (right). As a kid I hated this. I’d have

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Posted in Blog Post, Roleplaying, Space Opera Tagged with: , ,

COVERS DEPICT ACTUAL STORY CONTENT

Just in case you were confused by artistic conventions, the covers of my SWORDS VERSUS TANKS series depict the Actual Story Content! They are NOT montages. Here’s the first book: Armoured heroes clash across the centuries! Sir Ranulph Dacre (left), armed with

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Posted in Steampunk, Swords Versus Tanks Tagged with:

You can’t pwn Science Fiction because it doesn’t exist

This weekend’s… non-events… show that, though you use smart-arse hacks to pwn an award’s nomination process, you can’t also hack its voting community. Just suppose you could, and ensure only tales about square jawed white male imperialists win prizes, or that the Hugo Awards from now on

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Posted in Blog Post, Genre, Uncategorized

Aliens and Snipers in the Belfry

(This is me thinking aloud, rather than offering cast-iron literary theory) I am a proponent of the Snipers in the Belfries Rule; if you want readers to notice your belfries, put snipers in them because nothing is real to the

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Posted in Space Opera, Writing Tips Tagged with: ,

We need a Jim Baen Memorial “Blowing Shit Up In Space” Award…

With regard to the current unpleasantness around awards, it sometimes seems that people are at crossed purposes. Are the Hugos for “great read”, “great literature” or “great innovation”, two of these, or all of these? Leaving aside that these definitions

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Posted in Genre

Quit beating on EL James (and leave JK Rowling alone as well)

I’m starting to get uncomfortable with the way people, especially wannabe authors, beat on E.L. James. Most of us write in a genre that somebody else holds in contempt. How is it that “Mommy Porn” about erotic power and kinky sex

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Posted in Gender, Genre, Uncategorized Tagged with:

Edmond Hamilton, one of Space Opera’s fathers and almost certainly an influence on Douglas Adams

I must admit I started on Hamilton because he was married to Leigh Brackett, one of my all time heroes. My first thought on reading him was, “Oh good, he wasn’t bad at all. That must have been nice for her.”

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Posted in Genre, Pulp, Reviews, Space Opera Tagged with: ,

Shieldwall: Barbarians!

I’ve just published my YA novel [amazon template=add to cart&asin=B00VAMJ5FS] and – frankly – I am exhausted. Indy publishing sounds all edgy and exciting, but really it’s an exercise in micro management and networking. I really missed having an editor on

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Posted in Pulp, YA Historical Adventure

Decluttering the trash

I have a decluttering hangover. No, not rhyming slang – cleaning out our Cupboard of Lost Years allowed the Dust of Decades to burrow into my brain and set off an almighty headache. Also there’s a spiritual aftershock from spending

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Posted in Geek Parenting, Genre Tagged with:

Bones of the Old Ones

“See, frost, snow covered landscape… this is a good Christmas read!” I say, not entirely seriously. I’m reading Kurtzhau – age 10 – the almost appropriate adult Fantasy novel, The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones. Kurtzhau is playfully

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Posted in Fantasy