?

Log in

Recent Entries Friends Archive Profile Tags Jeamland
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aside from this glowing review (key references, Ballard, Stephenson, DeLillo; key phrase, "reinvention of the past as though it were science fiction"; review titled 'Pattern Recognition'), on Simon Ings' website we find this disclosure:
And finally. Weight's mysterious, slightly farcical philosophical society exists: it’s called the Science Fiction Foundation, and it was founded by George Hay, a friend of Arthur Clarke, Fred Hoyle and Solly Zuckerman. I don’t think it’s too much to say that Hay – long dead, alas – was the last of a grand line of Fabian eccentrics, the greatest of whom, I suppose, was Zuckerman’s wartime collaborator J D Bernal (the model for Weight's J D Arven). Hay wanted to create an organisation along the lines of Isaac Asimov’s fictional ‘Foundation’ – a shadowy elite with a hotline to government, providing it with the sort of thought experiments and long-term technical and sociological perspectives that the best science fiction could provide. To this end, he allotted me – his last and least protege (Mike Moorcock and Christopher Priest had preceded me), a number of more or less absurd tasks. I set up a dial-a-poem service. I typed up a previously unpublished soft-porn novel by a renowned science fiction author who really should have known better.

Funnily enough, a couple of years ago the Whitehall Foresight team invited a bunch of science fiction writers and myself to a hotel in St Pancras to perform for them (I seem to remember their theme was ‘The Future of Crime’ – their ideas were much better than ours were) – so obviously either Hay has had his influence, or – incredibly – he knew what he was talking about.

Today, Foundation survives only as a library at the University of Liverpool, picked over by a handful of dubious PhDs. A pity.
In other news, somewhere in this flat is my mobile phone. It's just that I can't find it and it's switched off. Nobody expect a quick response to any text messages today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I think a response to Mr Ings may be in order, noting that a 20,000-item collection is perhaps not to be dismissed so lightly; that publication of a peer-reviewed critical journal thrice yearly to a subscription list of several hundred should not be ignored, and nor should the SFF's line of SF Studies books; and that last but not least, the staff and students at Liverpool may take umbrage at a description of 'dubious'.
I think it's probably hard to tell how far his tongue is or is not in his cheek without first reading the book.
That sounds like the Simon Ings I used to know... a little too cynical about the SF community but entertainingly self-righteous when he started.

Incidentally, The Independent seems to think this is his debut novel. I think its his sixth. Certainly City Of The Iron Fish should be thought of as a precursor of New Weird's M John Harrison obsession.
the fact that none of his previous books seem to be particularly available doesn't help. there is a review of it in the telegraph today as well, which i bought for the dvd, only skimmed it so far but didn't see any references to past work.
Lack of availability shouldn't be an excuse. Simon's own website contains his bibliography, Amazon list all his books though not in print. More pertinently, are his publishers not listing his earlier books either in his bio or in the publicity they send out to reviewers? If not, why not?
oh it wasn't an excuse, it was an observation of a crime. books being out of print is something that consistently annoys me.

as for the publisher. i guess there is the old idea of separating his new work from his past work - the impressions i have of this new novel is that it is a departure from his previous work. also it is often the case where a publisher will only mention the work that they have published, and since this is a new publisher for ings (as far as i can tell) they might go that route.

in the meantime, the review in the telegraph refers to three previous novels and calls them thrillers. its worded carefully enough that it doesn't exclude other novels, and it doesn't specify which of those novels are thrillers. headlong i would perhaps say was most obviously a thriller, painkillers maybe to a degree.
i have the book, am a chapter in, probably would be more if it weren't the kind of awkward format that makes carrying it about a nuisance.
Preved