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The SFF Chronicles Science Fiction & Fantasy Community

Review of Dan Jones' Man O'War

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Not many Sci Fi novels could make me think of classic English Literature, but E. M. Forster’s ideology of ‘Only Connect’ as depicted in his turn of the Nineteenth Century’s Howards End, repeatedly came to mind whilst reading Dan Jones’ debut novel.

Man O’War (MOW) pulls no punches and offers no hand-holding throughout its 470-odd pages. But don’t let that suggest it’s anything but a compelling and accessible read. Jones’ day job in the UK Space Agency has clearly informed...

July 2019: Reading Thread

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Hope no one minds me starting this off as I can't find one already started!

The Quarry by Iain M Banks - Others seem to hate this book but I loved it. A poignant goodbye from Iain Banks. More here.
Thin Air by Richard K Morgan - Same world as Thirteen (aka Black Man) but somewhat better in my opinion. More here.

Tracking your progress, identifying productivity

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[This will probably not be of any interest to anyone who doesn't use Scrivener]

There are a multitude of enhancements that Scrivener gives over a simple word processor, but I find that since 2012 I've not used them often (the thought of using its name generator gives me cold sweats). Normally I use the ones that check project goals, project statistics, text-as-compiled (which compiles all the documents you have checked as final drafts or 'include in compile' and gives a specific word count)...

Is this the key to writing great characterization?

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I've been reading J. Michael Straczynski's notes on writing Babylon 5, when I came across the following he'd made:

Here is the key to characterization: who is your character, what does he want, how far will he go to get it, and what is he prepared to lose in that process?

I find that interesting, because all too often writers initially think of characters and characterization in terms of physical attributes, interests and personality - I certainly did!

However, as I've...

Should you write more than one novel at a time?

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Hello Everyone,

@Cathbad inspired me in a recent post by highlighting that two novels were being worked on at the same time as opposed to the usual one. I was impressed, my brain started ticking. The question here is in the title. Should those that want to write a novel write more than one at a time? The reason? Simple, I am writing a Sci-fi - aiming for about one hundred thousand words. I get lost in the drama of my own writing, the endless files, I rush things...

Is writing your main job?

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And if so, how did you get to the point where it is your only source of income? This question is more targeted towards fiction writers as non fiction can relatively be easier to sell if you have high credentials I think. But anywho, writing is one of my hobbies that I would love to turn into a profitable career but I don't ever really seeing it replacing my main job.

If David Gemmell was still with us..?

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If David Gemmell hadn't passed on so prematurely, how do we think his work would have evolved over the last 13 years?

Personally I think, in his later work he started to lean towards a more pacifistic ideology. I think it's clear he still admired acts of great valour, but his later books seem to be more admiring of characters and personalities who looked for peaceful resolutions before resorting to violence.

Extended writing work

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I wanted to start a thread to share and support our related-writing activities.

Whether it be first time at a panel, or chairing one, or guidance on convention etiquette. Advice on extended opportunities or what to charge for a workshop.

I have a pretty substantive writing life now and these are all up and coming in the next few months:
Attending a very lovely, invite only posh festival launch (tomorrow night - I’ll have to get glammed up!)
A writing workshop for young adults
A one...

Third person stories

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Just takes it out of me and I can't get into the them. When I read, I wanna feel as if I'm in the character's shoes and not as if I'm on the outside looking in. Does anyone else feel the same? And I think becsuse of this, I miss out on some pretty decent writing .

It goes without saying that I think first person narratives are the best

Best and Worst Audible Narrators

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I don't spend a lot of time listening to books but I love the idea of them. I find the narrator can make or break the book. So who, in your opinion, are the best and worst narrators you've come across.

My best, at the moment, is Stephen Fry reading the Complete Sherlock Holmes. I know Fry is a huge Holmes fan so I think he really enjoys reading it and that comes through.

The worst, for me at least, is Jonathan Davis reading Snow Crash. It sounds like he's sneering through the...

Ascendant by Jack Campbell

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Ascendant is Campbell’s second book in his prequel series to the Lost Fleet. Rob Geary’s colony world of Glenlyon is under threat again and the government must once again turn to Rob to save the day. Whilst their fellow colonists on Kotsatka are facing internal revolution funded by their and Glenlyon’s common enemies and who inevitably are going to need guess who to save their day as well!

Although great fun adventure science fiction, these are definitely on the lighter side of my reading...

Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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This is the sequel to Children of Time and begins on another planet to which a colonisation expedition had been sent by Earth (before it self-destructed). This time it is octopuses that have been elevated to higher intelligence but there is also a truly alien intelligence to deal with. And the arrival of the descendants, both human and arachnid, of the characters from Children of Time soon creates a fascinating dilemma for all concerned.

Despite a rather slow and distinctly un-hooky start...

June Photo Challenge entries

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This month's theme is


Usual rules apply:
- Only two photographs per participant
- All photographs entered must be owned and have been taken by the member posting
- Do not use photographs already posted around the site
- The Challenge will close on the 27th of June, whereafter the POLL will be up for 3 days.
- The winner must post a new challenge within a couple of days
- All Chrons members welcome to enter
- All Chrons members may vote (including those who do not enter the...

June 2019: Reading Thread

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On to Gridlinked by Neal Asher.

I must confess to have put off Neal's "Agent Cormac" books for some reason, even though I love all of Neal's work that I have read so far. Time to remedy that as I have bought all five books in the series.

June 2019: 75-Word Story Challenge—VICTORY TO VICTORIA SILVERWOLF!

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Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title.

ONE entry per person.

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own.


All stories...

Am I losing my love of Discworld?

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As a young teen, if anyone asked me who my favourite author was I would have said Terry Pratchett, hands down. Despite that, I only read probably less than ten Discworld books at that time (in a weird order because we didn’t think to ask the internet how to read books back then), mostly because I spent most of my spare time playing the guitar or listening to music rather than reading.

I read a few more over time, but hadn’t read any for about five years until recently reading Moving...

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes

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When Angry Robot tweeted about this book a few weeks ago, I jumped up and down in excitement and was delighted when I got a NetGalley ARC. The idea of a detective in a dream-land of ideas and stories? Gold. And the detective is a fluffy Triceratops, greatest of the dinosaurs?

I was, and am, actively jealous of Tyler Hayes for having the idea first.

What I didn't know at the time was that the book is written in present tense, which would have cooled my excitement no small degree. That's my...

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

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Humans have expanded out to the stars but the inconvenient light speed limit imposed by physics would make trade and communication across such interstellar distances impossible. However the ‘flow’ was discovered, a kind of little understood hyperspace that has allowed short cuts between locations in real space. It is this flow that has made the Interdependency Empire possible but it seems the flow is about to collapse making travel and communication between the colonies in the empire...

Xenophobia by Peter Cawdron

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When an alien spacecraft unexpectedly arrives in orbit the UN peacekeeping force is pulled out of Malawi allowing it to collapse into the civil war the UN has just about been managing to keep the lid on. Are the aliens friends or foes? And with no common language to allow meaningful communication do the UN or any of the world’s governments dare gamble on them being friendly especially when much of the human population are terrified of them and attacking any of their draft on sight.


The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K Dick

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Perky Pat Layouts are making a comfortable profit from their monopoly providing colonists on marginally inhabitable planets with an escape to an idealised ‘virtual’ earth-side reality (virtual in experience but drug induced dream world rather than cyberpunk-style). Then Palmer Eldritch returns from Proxima with a competitive product, only his drug is apparently much less harmful than P.P. Layouts. Although no cause is identified in the book, Earth itself is far from an idealised reality with...