Science Fiction Now and Tomorrow

The Guardian runs a very good books podcast that I recommend listening to.  They talk about all sort of literature and developments in the field and they’re not afraid to muck around in genre.

This week’s episode is particularly interesting as it features 2 of my favourite authors :  Alistair Reynolds and Jeff Noon.  Yes, that’s right Jeff speaks!  I’m a bit of a fan (as anyone who has read this blog before will know) and his new novel sounds as trippy as you’d expect.  Michael Moorcock also talks about his general disappointment with Science Fiction as it is now.

Check it out here.

Lauren Beukes also features.  Between her, District 9 and the well regarded Pumzi it looks like there’s a real renaissance in African Science Fiction at the moment.  Even Reynolds latest book features a near future Africa.

Whatever happened to… Jeff Noon

Back in my 20s I remember I had to get a train.  I can’t remember where I was going but I remember the journey.  I remember that journey very well because it was the day I picked up Jeff Noon‘s Vurt.Awesomesauce

Vurt is a strange book.  At the time I was very into Cyberpunk and I clearly remember reading the blurb and thinking, “Wow, Brit Cyberpunk!”  however I wasn’t prepared for the book I ended up reading.  It’s a book about the nature of reality, how we interact with each other, drugs, counter-culture and the interface between man and machine.  It’s a fascinating book and I was astonished at how much I enjoyed it.

After that point I made sure that I read anything by Noon I could find.  There are 2 direct sequels to Vurt:  Pollen and Nymphomation (strictly speaking this one’s a prequel…).  Together they make a sort of Lord of the Rings epic of the near future, describing a reality that’s malleable and inconstant.

Then there’s [my favourite] Automated Alice which brings all of the various allusions to Carroll in his other books together in a story where Alice falls through the rabbit hole and end up in a future Manchester.  Brilliant stuff.  I am not sure how he managed to ape the playfulness of Carroll while not writing pastiche.  And this is also loosely part of the Vurt sequence.

He also wrote Pixel Juice, Falling out of Cars, Needle in the Groove and Cobralingus.  Last I heard he was working on something called 217 babel street which is a sort-of shared world with other authors.  I remember looking at the website and deciding it wasn’t my thing and settling down to wait for his new book.

And I waited.

And I waited.


And nothing.

Everything went quiet.

It was something of a surprise  to discover that a [short?] film of his short story Creeping Zero is in production.  I stumbled across some concept work and early stills and I find myself excited.

Where have you been Jeff?  Why haven’t you been writing?  You are missed!


I’ve had to edit this as it appears that the stills I linked to have been removed.  I’ve linked to an IMDB news item which I hope will at least be more permanent.  When things get pulled I get worried.  Films that go into development hell rarely get made.  Those that do are more often than not… terrible.  Here’s hoping that I’m wrong.

I’ve been getting a lot of hits from people look for information on Jeff.  If anyone out there happens to know if he can be contacted – feel free to pass his details on.

PS.  The company making Creeping Zero is called Dan Films.  They made the interesting Creep and Triangle.