Three days days from now, the UK will go to the polls to elect a government in a general election. In a nation where voter turnout has plummeted since before the turn of the millennium and where celebrity commentators urge young people not to bother voting, I’d sincerely like to fair-mindedly trumpet the view that if you’re […]
Sir Terry Pratchett 1948-2015
I never met Sir Terry Pratchett. He had been a familiar figure at cons and book events for years and was a friend or acquaintance to many in the SFF community. I wasn’t that lucky. But to me, Terry Pratchett will always be a well-worn part of my mental furniture as the author who created […]
International Literacy Day 2014
As of this year, at least 781 million adults across the world are unable to read or write. While more than half the world’s illiterate population lives in south and west Asia, the worst literacy rates come from sub-Saharan Africa, where in many countries less than half of the adult population is literate. Of the […]
My Top Ten Most Iconic Moments in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Last week, SFX celebrated its 250th issue with a bumper edition publishing their 250 greatest moments in scifi, fantasy and horror, as voted by readers. Of course, this is the internet, and if there’s something the internet cannot abide, it’s publishing subjective opinion as objective fact, especially when SFX’s subjective opinion is just wrong, dammit. While […]
Buy Britannia: Is Consumable Nationalism a Problem?
What do you think of when someone says ‘Britishness’? Cups of tea, perhaps. The infinite varieties of rain. Cricket in the park on a sunny afternoon. Tikka masala. Saturday football. The Church of England. Embarassment. ‘Jerusalem’. London fried chicken. No example of what one might consider a quintessentially British thing will ever speak to everybody’s experience of […]
Like it or Not, Casting is a Political Decision
Recently, Stephen Moffat has been talking about the possibility of a female Doctor again.
The Health of our Libraries
When I was small, every week my grandmother would take me with her into town. We would go to the greengrocer’s and the butcher’s, the baker’s for an iced bun and maybe the Post Office. Then we’d go to the library. The library was a magical place. It may have only been a couple of […]
Yes, All Women.
TRIGGER WARNING: extreme female-targeted violence, death, rape. In Isla Vista, California, this weekend, six people have been killed in another act of mass violence perpetrated by a young white male. The shooter, Elliot Rodger, who apparently took his own life after being cornered by police, left behind a 140-page online manifesto detailing his motives. He talked of taking […]
Why ‘Whitey’ Isn’t a Racial Slur
The Wednesday before last, I had a minor Twitter debate – not even a spat – over the use of race in argument with one of my favourite authors, Joanne Harris (previously reviewed). Here’s what went down. As Yashika Bageerathi, a nineteen year old A-Level student, was deported to Mauritius, Twitterer @NotAGateway (account run by […]
Happy Bi Day!
It’s September 23rd, which means just one thing – it’s Bisexual Visibility Day! Or Celebrate Bisexuality Day! Or Bi Pride Day! Just as in our sex lives, we’ve got a lot of options. It’s a day for bisexuals – and other non-monosexuals, too, if they’re happy to get in on it – to be proud […]