Christopher Priest – 23 April 7:30pm

Christopher Priest flyerJoin the Facebook event here.

Read more about Christopher Priest in his writer profile.

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Jonathan Barnes

Jonathan Barnes

Jonathan Barnes is the author of two novels, The Somnambulist (2007) and The Domino Men (2008), which have, between them, been translated into eight languages. A writer-in-residence at Kingston University, he contributes regularly to the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review. He is also the author of a number of full-cast audio dramas including Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner and the forthcoming Doctor Who: Persuasion and The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes.

His official website is www.jonathan-barnes.com. He blogs, occasionally, at www.jonathanbarnes.blogspot.co.uk/ and tweets, even more occasionally, as @jbarneswriter.

Jonathan is a Writer-in-Residence at Kingston University. He taught a Critical Reading session on 13 November 2012 and a Teaching and Writing Workshop on 19 February 2013. Back in October of 2011 he gave NoDeadWhiteMen a reading list that you can read here, but we’ve made him do it again.

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Jonathan’s Recommended Reading

Some fiction:

At the Chime of a City Clock and Secondhand Daylight by D J Taylor – A pair of wonderful crime stories, set in the 1930s and inspired by the rackety life of the writer Julian MacLaren-Ross.

The Possessions of Doctor Forrest by Richard T Kelly – The finest piece of twenty-first century gothic fiction that I have read to date.

Blood and Water and other tales by Patrick McGrath – Superb, grisly short stories from another master of contemporary gothic.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan – Touching, exciting, ultimately profound – a story of survival after a disaster at sea.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon – Perhaps the perfect campus comedy.

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen – Distinctive, fascinating and weird – a dark fruit of the fin de siècle

Some non-fiction:

Damn His Blood: Being a True and Detailed History of the Most Barbarous and Inhumane Murder at Oddingley and the Quick and Awful Retribution by Peter Moore – A work of popular history – and the most purely thrilling book that I’ve read in a long while.

The English Ghost by Peter Ackroyd – A collection of real (?) ghost stories from English history which possesses a strange cumulative power.

The War Against Cliché by Martin Amis – Amis is a divisive figure but this is fine, inspiring criticism, written in prose of a very high order.

Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest is an English writer of novels, short stories, biographies, critical works and more. He has written radio drama for BBC Radio 4, television programs for Thames TV and HTV and his reviews and features have been published in the Guardian, The Times, the Scotsman and other broadsheets and numerous magazines.

His 1995 novel, The Prestige, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and, in 2006, was made into a film of the same name starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johannson. Christopher Nolan directed and it was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Christopher has garnered several international awards, including the Eurocon Award (Yugoslavia), the Kurd Lasswitz Award (Germany), the Ditmar Award (Australia) and Le Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire (France). In 2001, he was awarded France’s Prix Utopia for lifetime achievement. In 2002, he won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award for his novel The Separation. The Islanders won the 2011 BSFA Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. The Adjacent will be released in June.

Find out more about Christopher on his website: http://www.christopher-priest.co.uk/

 

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Christopher will be reading at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 in JG 3003, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road. This is a free reading and open to the public.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Fiction

The Adjacent (June 2013)

The Islanders (2011)

The Separation (2002)

The Prestige (1995)

The Quiet Woman (1990)

The Glamour (1988)

The Affirmation (1981)

An Infinite Summer (1979)

The Space Machine (1976)

Fugue for a Darkening Island (1972)

Indoctrinaire (1970)

 

Essays

‘Top Ten Slipstream Books’, The Guardian, May 2003

‘John Wyndham and H G Wells’, a talk given at Midhurst, West Sussex in December 2000

 ‘Independent Cinemas’, The Independent, 1999

 ‘The Beatles’, Chuch, 1986

 

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Christopher Priest’s Recommended Reading List

 

NON-FICTION:

A Sort of Life – Graham Greene

(The first volume of Greene’s autobiography, this is in my experience the only book

that tells the truth about what it is to be a writer.)

Bomber County – Daniel Swift

(About the poetry written by combatants in the second world war.)

The King’s English – Kingsley Amis

(A book of English usage, idiosyncratic and amusing.)

Song of the Sky – Guy Murchie

(A lyrical account of the nature of the sky: winds, clouds, storms, etc.)

 

FICTION:

Disappearances – William Wiser

Loitering with Intent – Muriel Spark

Larry’s Party – Carol Shields

Pavane – Keith Roberts

Collected Stories – Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov

The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski

Fame – Daniel Kehlmann

Ice – Anna Kavan

Dubliners – James Joyce

The Magus – John Fowles

2666 – Roberto Bolaño

The Voices of Time – J. G. Ballard

Is Science Fiction Out of Ideas?

Vivienne Raper is working on a science fiction novel with the help of the Kingston MFA.

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‘THE OVERWHELMING SENSE ONE GETS, working through so many stories that are presented as the very best that science fiction and fantasy have to offer, is exhaustion… In the main, there is no sense that the writers have any real conviction about what they are doing. Rather, the genre has become a set of tropes to be repeated and repeated until all meaning has been drained from them.’

So begins British science fiction critic Paul Kincaid’s 2012 review of The Year’s Best Science Fiction in the Los Angeles Review of Books. He argued today’s short science fiction ‘unadventurously’ rehashes robot and spaceship stories seventy years old, historical tales on Mars, or fairy stories where technology replaces magic. He concludes that science fiction authors have lost faith in the future.

Amazing Stories

          His review sparked debate, including a fascinating – although incoherent – essay by freelance critic Jonathan McCalmont. Entitled ‘Cowardice, Laziness and Irony: How Science Fiction Lost the Future’. In it, McCalmont argues that speculative fiction authors are evading their responsibility to tackle political subjects.

But are Kincaid and McCalmont right? I’d argue not. The crisis in science fiction is not exhaustion or pessimism, but overload. At least four different technologies are advancing simultaneously. Their lockstep development over the next fifty years could reshape humans, nature and society in exhilarating and terrifying ways.  More

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