stephenpalmersf

Notes from sf author Stephen Palmer

Beautiful Pulp!

Another fun cover, this time for the not-quite-yet-published Beautiful Intelligence. Created with the fabulous Pulp-o-Mizer. The real novel, incidentally, is due for publication in June or July; from Infinity Plus.

Beautiful Intelligence pulp style...

Beautiful Intelligence pulp style…

“Hairy London” – audio pilot

I’m very pleased to announce that the pilot episode of my novel Hairy London, published last year by Infinity Plus, is now on YouTube. Narrated by the marvellous RD Watson, this production is a joint project by myself, and Messrs Watson & PM Wyer.

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Hairy London Audio

Point your browser here!

Life On A Young Planet by Andrew Knoll

I very rarely give 5/5 reviews, and then only to classics, but this is too good to receive four stars. It’s an exceptional guide to the current state of thinking about the three billion years of the evolution of life leading up to the Cambrian Explosion. Written by an expert in the field, with a whole professional life behind him, it’s superbly, clearly and engagingly written – I haven’t read a natural history book as good as this for a while. All phases of life are covered, from the very earliest up to the Cambrian Explosion itself at 541 million years ago. The author is fair-handed, giving alternative evaluations where appropriate and mentioning all the main players in the field. Nor do you need much scientific knowledge to appreciate this book; it’s written with style and clarity. In a nutshell – exceptional.

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Life On A Young Planet

Hairy Pulp!

A couple of years ago I had great fun with the online Pulp-O-Mizer. Here’s a new one for Hairy London…

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Hairy London, pulp-style

After The Fall ebook

The ebook of the Boo Books anthology After The Fall are now available.

UK link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00UT5D3WS

US link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UT5D3WS

AUS link – http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00UT5D3WS

This book contains a story from me: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.

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After The Fall

Assisted Something Else

Assisted Something Else

Though I read and enjoyed Terry Pratchett’s first few books, I was never a fan in the traditional sense, and I dropped out of the milieu after about book number eight. I do think though that his work on Alzheimer’s Disease and in particular on assisted suicide is at least as important as his many literary achievements.

But that phrase assisted suicide bothers me. Suicide has negative connotations in our culture, as in so many cultures – in some, it is a sin – and in certain circumstances I don’t think the word should be used. Terry’s most remarkable film was the one broadcast in 2011, when he followed a British man, Peter Smedley, to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. I watched the whole programme, as did so many at the time. It was inspirational. But to me that event was not assisted suicide, it was assisted something else.

There is a scene in The Lord Of The Rings – a fragment of a moment, not even in the book itself, rather in one of the appendices – where Tolkien describes the end of Aragorn’s life. Aragorn, being a man of Numenor, is “allowed” (ie by Tolkien’s Christianesque hierarchy) to lay down his life when he knows it is done. That scene has always meant a lot to me. As an atheist who knows you only live once, that you have no soul or spirit, and are wholly bound to your body, I know that a life is a once only event. You have to live every day, contribute to society and to life, and take back from them in equal measure; and if possible fulfil all your potential. Of course, not everyone can do that, but I think it is the only way to avoid decades of fear of death.

So let’s distinguish between suicide and laying down your life. Let’s have a new description of what could happen at the end of a full life, whether that life be happy, unhappy, or, as in 99.99999% of cases, somewhere in between.

There should be no “assisted suicide.” There should be assisted laying down of your life. If at all possible, that’s what I will be doing.

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Terry Pratchett

Survivors by Richard Fortey

Outstanding natural history book from one of the great men of our time – superb author, important palaeologist, good TV presenter. This book relates to the TV series of the same name, which was a good watch. The book begins with the horseshoe crab, then goes backwards into Precambrian time to look at a series of animals that have lasted through some or even all of Earth’s major mass extinctions; then the tale goes forward to our own epoch, looking at various plants and animals. Beautifully written and endlessly fascinating.

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Survivors by Richard Fortey

Beautiful Intelligence blurb

After some editing (thank you, Jonathan) we have a back cover blurb for Beautiful Intelligence. It’s a cliche, I know, but these blurbs really are difficult to write…

I’m looking forward to the cover-reveal. Those few who’ve seen the cover like it a great deal; two people have independently said “that cover would definitely make me pick up the book.”

Promising!

On GoodReads

I’m on GoodReads if any of you have yet to find me there. Been there for a while, always an interesting place.

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Stephen Palmer

Medieval Travellers by Margaret Wade Labarge

Good book about the state of local, national and global travel in medieval times. Would have liked more on international travellers and less on kings and queens, but that’s just me.

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Medieval Travellers

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