Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Introduction and Linkdump For Your Reading Pleasure

Greetings, newcomers, old friends, random internet strangers and bots of every flavor. Since a lot of people have recently discovered my work, it was suggested to me that I might like to throw together some links of the choicest stuff I’ve come out with in the past not-so-long. I’m very tired and I had about fifteen minutes to do this, but here you go. Knock yourself, figuratively speaking, out.

For those of you who haven’t much of a clue who I am: I’m a small shy British weirdo and I spend most of my time reading. I write non-fiction and also some fiction. I was established in the late autumn of 1986 and received more education than is strictly healthy. I’m a nerd and a feminist and on team queer, and I continue to become more radical as I get older, if only to piss off everyone who told me I was going to turn into Melanie Phillips. I like tea and cuddles and having my hair stroked and ridiculous little dogs and am thin-skinned and easily startled, none of which is very gonzo. I never know where my keys are. Apparently I’m ‘much nicer in real life.’

Also, I write a lot. This is because I have rent to pay and get bored easily. I’ve been churning out at least a hundred pieces a year for seven years to the extent that I’m no longer fit for any other useful employment. These are my favourite that I remember from the last twelve months or so. I have also written some books and you should buy them so I can keep the nine reprobates I live with supplied with gin and ribbons.

Latest Books:

Unspeakable Things

Everything Belongs To The Future

Non-fiction:

I’m With The Banned

I Want My Country Back

Why The Great British Bakeoff Is The Best Thing On Television Now Or Ever

How To Boil A Frog

Maybe You Should Just Be Single

How To Be A Genderqueer Feminist

When Life Imitates Game Of Thrones

Life Hacks Of The Poor And Aimless

The Tragedy Of James Bond

Robots Are Coming For Your Job, And That’s OK

“Mad Max” Is A Feminist Playbook For Surviving Dystopia

What To Do When You’re Not The Hero Anymore

What We Talk About When We Talk About Millennials

‘Clean For The Queen’ is Tory Britain at its Worst

What David Cameron Did to the Pig, His Party is Now Doing to the Country

The New Chauvinists

Fiction:

Your Orisons May Be Recorded

The Killing Jar

Blue Monday

Welcome to the Scream Room – Medium

Follow my coverage of the 2016 Republican National Convention titled Welcome to the Scream Room here.

What Women Problem?

That was the slogan on flyers at the Women Vote Trump fringe event at the Republican National Convention. And this was the scene a few minutes after the advertised start time. None of the people sitting down in this picture are Trump supporters. They’re all with the media.
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Nobody’s Safe at the RNC

‘Make America Safe Again.’

That was the theme of the opening night of the 2016 Republican Convention, with such luminaries as Duck Dynasty star Will Robertson taking the stage in place of Republican grandees who have steered clear of Trump’s toxic platform.

It raised the inevitable questions: safe from what? And safe for whom?

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I’m With The Banned

This is a story about how trolls took the wheel of the clown car of modern politics. It’s a story about the insider traders of the attention economy. It’s a story about fear and loathing and Donald Trump and you and me. It’s not a story about Milo Yiannopoulos, the professional alt-right provocateur who was just banned from Twitter permanently for sending racist abuse to actor Leslie Jones.

But it does start with Milo. So I should probably explain how we know each other and how, on a hot, weird night in Cleveland, I came to be riding in the backseat of his swank black trollmobile to the gayest neo-fascist rally at the RNC.

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The British People Have Been Suckered

Written June 28th 2016 for Time Magazine.

We’re so, so, sorry. British people say that a lot, but this time we mean it—at least, the 48.1% of us who did not vote to light the funhouse on fire and see what happened. There is a cartoon logic to the slow-motion car-crash of British politics. Days after the country voted by a very narrow margin to leave the E.U., in a referendum engineered by a weak prime minister to secure his own power, it feels like we’ve got to the part in one of those old looney-tunes shows where Wile E. Coyote chases Roadrunner right off the edge of a cliff, and hangs there in mid-air, his legs pinwheeling. Just one look down and we’re plummeting into the worst political crisis in living memory.

Brexit is a shameful, concocted word for a shameful, concocted situation. Hours after the vote was in, the prime minister had resigned, and his party descended into civil war, with the Labour opposition not far behind as the stock markets tumbled and Scotland and Northern Ireland opened the question of breaking up the union. Meanwhile, racists across the nation were emboldened with a venal sense of victory, and started assaulting Asian children in the street, posting cards through their neighbors’ doorstelling “Muslims” and “vermin” to go “home.” The government has no plan for what happens next. The “leave” campaign has no plan, either. The Labour Party is busy tearing itself to shreds. We thought we were better than this. We were wrong.

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I Want My Country Back

Written June 24th 2016 for New Statesman.

This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world.

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David Cameron’s big gamble – the future of Britain against his personal political ambitions – has backfired so badly that we’ve blasted clean out of the EU. By the time I’d put the kettle on, the stock markets were in free fall, Scotland was debating a new independence referendum, Sinn Fein was making secession noises, and the prime minister had resigned.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well done, turkeys. Santa’s on his way.

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Extract from Tor novella ‘Everything Belongs to the Future’

Hello all!

You can read the full extract from my upcoming novella, available the 18th of October 2016 from Tor.com starting below. You can pre-order from the Amazon link here.

Time is a weapon wielded by the rich, who have excess of it, against the rest, who must trade every breath of it against the promise of another day’s food and shelter. What kind of world have we made, where human beings can live centuries if only they can afford the fix? What kind of creatures have we become? The same as we always were, but keener.

In the ancient heart of Oxford University, the ultra-rich celebrate their vastly extended lifespans. But a few surprises are in store for them. From Nina and Alex, Margo and Fidget, scruffy anarchists sharing living space with an ever-shifting cast of crusty punks and lost kids. And also from the scientist who invented the longevity treatment in the first place.

 

Letter from Holloway Prison, December 5, 2098.

Dear Daisy,

We were never really friends, were we? Somehow, though, you’re the person I want to write to most in here. I hope these letters get to you. I’m giving them to Alex, who I am absolutely sure is reading them too, and although they aren’t for meant for him, I hope he gets something instructive from them.

Hello, Alex. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re safe. I hope you understand that you are not forgiven. Even after the awful, terrible thing we did. Even after the time bomb, and everything that came afterwards. I can’t let it go. The anger keeps me sharp. Keeps my brain from turning to paste. It’s that or the crossword, and rage is more reliable. I am sorry about your hands, though.

Anyway. I’ve got a story for you, this time. For both of you, as it happens.

Have you heard the one about the Devil’s bridge?

It’s an old story, and there are lots of different tellings, but it goes something like this.

A carpenter wants to build a bridge across a river. Not just any bridge, but the strongest, sturdiest bridge that has ever been made or thought of, to take him and his wife to the far bank, where there are treasures whose nature is unimportant to the story. Let us assume that he has good reasons for wanting to get there, or thinks he does. Let us assume that his tools and skills are insufficient to the task. Let us assume that he is out of options and ideas.

He sits down on the plain, grey bank he calls home and makes a wish.

Instantly there appears before him a handsome man with savage eyes and shining hair, and his clothes are rich and strange and he blinks less than a person ought to, and the carpenter knows that this is the Devil.

I can build a bridge for you, says the Devil. I can build you a bridge across the wild, wide river, and it will be the greatest bridge ever seen, the strongest, the most magnificent. It will stand for a hundred years, and people from all around will come to walk on it and say: the man who made this must be a fine carpenter indeed. The bridge will draw visitors from seven counties. Boys will take their sweethearts here to propose. You can charge an entry fee. You can open a hot-dog stand. Whatever you want.

I’m not really interested in that, says the carpenter. I just want to get to the other side.

Well, says the Devil, that’s part of the package.

What would it cost me? Says the carpenter.

Alright, I don’t have a lot of time left to write. They come in and stop me at guard change.

Meanwhile: consider that time is a weapon.

Before the coming of the Time Bomb, this was true. It was true before men and women of means or special merit could purchase an extra century of youth. It has been true since the invention of the hourglass, the water clock, the wrist watch, the shift-bell, the factory floor. Ever since men could measure time, they have used it to divide each other.

Time is a weapon wielded by the rich, who have excess of it, against the rest, who must trade every breath of it against the promise of another day’s food and shelter. What kind of world have we made, where human beings can live centuries if only they can afford the fix? What kind of creatures have we become?

The Time Bomb. Aerosolised Gerontoxin. Currently being deployed around a world in panic by desperate people with nothing to lose and nothing to make but their point. You know you could have stopped it. Alex, I’m talking to you now. You could have stopped it all from happening. Maybe someday soon I’ll tell them how. After all, so much life has been wasted.

So very much life.

* * *

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