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If like me you write speculative fiction that's mostly set in the present day or near future, then sooner or later you'll end up facing the problem of event-induced obsolescence. William Gibson turned to writing fiction set in the  recent past rather than the near future. I completely understand why.

To give a mundane personal example: a few years ago I realised that three of my unpublished stories contained descriptions of characters smoking in pubs, clubs and concert venues, something which was banned In the UK in 2007. So, I made some swift edits and sent them out again. One of those stories recently sold.

Even worse than that, sometimes I use real people in my stories. Believe me, that's a tactic fraught with danger. I don't recommend it, even though I continue to do it. Sigh.

Today, another of my fictional futures went away, thanks to an untimely (if much anticipated) death. Published last year in the Music for Another World anthology. Star in a Glass features a drug-raddled female vocalist, name of Diva, who was explicitly modelled on Amy Winehouse. I even gave a nod to "Dame Amy" towards the end of the story. I rather liked the idea, however improbable, that eventually she would clean up her act and become not just a member of the rock establishment, but a member of the British aristocracy. Wasn't to be. No surprise there, sadly. But I wasn't trying to predict the future, just having fun with it.

I'm no fan of Amy Winehouse's music, and like many eventually became bored reading about her antics, but I'm still sad that she died so young.

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A very nice (if tiny) review of Star in a Glass, also the anthology (Music for Another World) that it appears in:

"Vaughan Stanger's outstanding 'Star in a Glass', describing Diva's tortured and destructive rise to musical supremacy." (from p61)

And that wasn't even the Midnight Street's editor's favourite story!

If you love music and speculative fiction, this really is the anthology for you. It's still available for purchase (paper and electronic) here:
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The sound quality isn't great, but if you click this link you can watch me give my first ever reading of my own fiction, at the recent Music for Another World gig.


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Needless to say, I had a lot of fun during my short trip to Glasgow. The highlight, of course, was the Music for Another World gig at The Universal on Thursday evening. I read an extract from Star in a Glass, which seemed to go pretty well, especially considering that I've not read my work in public before. Everyone was very friendly. It was great to meet Mark Harding (editor/publisher), plus fellow MfAW authors Neil Williamson, Jim Steel and Sean Martin, also other notable local writers like Hal Duncan. And then there were the delightfully retro musical delights of Markee de Saw and Bert Finkle. The former is delightful (and hugely talented); the latter bears an uncanny resemblence to Neil (who is also hugely talented, of course).

I expect there will be some photos and clips from the gig
here in due course, to accompany those from the first event in the series, which was held last year.

Glasgow is a vibrant, culturally rich city. I explored the Necropolis, ploughed through as many of the (excellent) galleries and museums as I could manage before exhaustion set in, drank a load of beer (thanks, guys), and came home happy. I hope to go again some day, to meet-up with my new-found friends and continue the campaign of cultural absorption.
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So, it's my first day off since adopting a four days a week working pattern and did I do any writing?

Well, kind of, a bit...

All I got done was a preamble to the extract from my story, Star in a Glass, that I'll be reading in public at the second Music For Another World gig, a week tomorrow. Yes, the World Tour continues! More information here:

I've never read my own** work in public before, so I hope the audience of (predominantly) Glaswegians will be in a generous mood ;-)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to visiting Glasgow!

** I have read the work of others, though, as is hinted at here: (Sadly, the referenced article, which described the my experiences, does not appear to be on-line at the moment. Perhaps I'll re-post it here some day.)
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I'm delighted to learn that Neil Williamson's story, Arrhythmia, has made it through to the shortlist (of four) for the BSFA short fiction award.

As well as a thoroughly well deserved nod for Neil, this is a superb result for Mutation Press, given that Music for Another World was its first publication. Editor/publisher Mark Harding has done a wonderful job with the book. What can I say other than "go buy it!" If you want a taster, Neil's story is available for download on the web site (

Also worth noting that all four categories of the BSFA award have very strong-looking shortlists:

(In passing, I should add that I was thrilled to have my own MfAW story nominated for the award too, one of three stories from the anthology that were so recognised.)
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(Advisory: X-Posted to Facebook)

It's doubtless uncool to do an in-depth review of an anthology that contains a story of one's own, so I'll restrict myself to a brief note here.

It's fair to say that I enjoyed every story in Music for Another World, to a greater or lesser extent. Every one of them was well-written and had an interesting take on what music means to "us". Even those that didn't quite gel were still worth my time. Overall, I’d give this book a 4* review, which is high for a themed anthology. My favourite piece is Shostakovich Ensemble, The, by Jim Steel, but there were several others vying for that accolade, mostly written by authors I'm not familiar with (always a good sign). I do hope that Jim writes some more stories (or even a novel) in the alternate history that his story alludes to so skilfully. 

Production standards for this book are very high, especially considering that Mutation Press is a one-man operation. I found very few typos and only a handful of exceedingly minor formatting problems, none of which detracted from the reading experience. The cover is stunning.

And finally: Is it my imagination, or does the book's back cover somewhat resemble that of King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic album? (Which just happens to be a favourite album of mine.) The background colour, text font and colour, the general layout – all look oddly familiar. Or am I just experiencing one of those face-in-the-pizza effects that the editor, Mark Harding, refers to in his introduction?

Available to purchase here:

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My complimentary copy turned up today, with added postcards. This book is beautiful. You know, if I didn't have a story in this anthology, I'd still buy a copy if I saw it in a shop or on Amazon. Just gaze at the cover for a while. (Sorry, I can't find a way to expand the image without blurring it.)

The line-up is awesome too, including [ profile] aliettedb amongst other luminaries. I'm relishing the prospect of reading so many SF&F stories on my favourite subject.

Paypal buttons here:
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You can buy the book here:

(Or you can find it on Amazon.)

This handsome-looking anthology contains my story, Star in a Glass, plus lots of enticing work by some very fine writers, including [ profile] aliettedb of this parish.

Happy reading!

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I blogged the acceptance a while back, but needless to say I'm thrilled to be playing in this group!

Out in August.

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I've received an acceptance for my story 'Star in a Glass' from British anthology, Music For Another World (

And so ended a dry spell that lasted 554 days. Boy, am I ever glad about that. This is my first acceptance for a themed anthology, too.

For those who are interested, this story started life as a very different piece called A Glassful of Stars, which was workshopped at Milford in 2005. [ profile] maeve_the_red, [ profile] mevennen  and [ profile] merriehaskell may, perhaps, dimly remember it. Their criticism was hard but fair. My writers' group, One Step Beyond, also suffered through the story's various incarnations.  It seems I got it right in the end :-)

Persistence pays.


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September 2017

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