Issue II -- British Writers

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Read about the contributors to our second issue and see excerpts from each article or story.  

Like a Pendulum Do -- Paul Kincaid © 2001 Paul Kincaid

Paul Kincaid is the author of A Very British Genre: A short history of British Fantasy and Science Fiction. As well as being the current administrator of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, he writes a regular column for Science Fiction Chronicle and in this editorial looks at how British Science Fiction has changed and continues to change:

    In 1968, Judith Merril used Roger Miller’s trite little song about swinging London for the title of a groundbreaking anthology: England Swings SF. It was meant as an introduction for American readers to the new wave (still uncapitalised back then) of science fiction being written in Britain, and featured stories by Brian Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, Christopher Priest, Keith Roberts, Hilary Bailey, Josephine Saxton, and a handful of other writers now mostly forgotten. Though she did not grace the book with an introduction, Merril’s message was obvious: British science fiction had left the cozy catastrophe behind and was doing something fresh.

Can't Live Without You -- Brian Stableford © 2001 Brian Stableford

        It started quietly, with dark and silent calls on the videophone in her room at the nurses' home. At first, Pris just said hello a few times, then cut the connection, but she eventually became impatient with herself for doing that. It seemed superfluous saying hello to a black screen twice or three times if the first one elicited no response. After calling him a sad bastard three times she got impatient with herself all over again, and resolved to be more inventive, but she ran out of synonyms for "sad bastard" sooner than she would have imagined possible. He never bothered to withhold the number from which he was calling, but he used public plug-ins located in the hospital complex, of which there were hundreds.

The New Thing -- John Brunner © 1969 by Brunner Fact and Fiction Ltd. Reprinted by permission of John Hawkins and Associates, Inc.

This story of John Brunner's was first published in 1969 and warns us what could happen if we take the Guinness Book of Records too seriously.

        This was the place to which proud spokesmen from thousands of the planets that Man now occupied had come, anxious to have their accomplishments also marked in the imperishable pattern of the computer memories as Records: the FIRST time such-and-such was done THESE were they who did it.

    Here now, hoping against hope that the long, long time they waited for a verdict on the offerings they had brought, were four isolated individuals. As the glowing red figures showed, it was ten thousand three hundred and ninety-four years since a new Record had been entered on the list.

 

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