Notes from sf author Stephen Palmer

The Girl With Two Souls – first review

The first review is in for The Girl With Two Souls, at SFF Chronicles.

“[I] am not a great fan of alternate history or YA so it was really something of a pleasant surprise that I found the book really very enjoyable… I am looking forward to continuing with the next part and learning more about Kora’s/Roka’s rather intriguing world.”


Sheffield 1910

The world of the Factory Girl trilogy is an alternative Edwardian Sheffield.

Here’s a slideshow of photographs to get you in the mood…

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Walking into the imagination

I read this review of Waterstones Book of the Year The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and it chimed exactly with how I felt about the Factory Girl trilogy:-

… the plot for the novel “walked into her imagination” fully formed as she passed the village of Henham, the real-life model for Aldwinter and home of the legend at the heart of the book. “I was driving past Henham with my husband when he mentioned the legend,” she told the Guardian. “By the time we reached home 45 minutes later I had the entire outline of the book in my head, including Cora Seaborne and her son.”

She likened writing the book, which comes in at more than 100,000 words, to a “possession”. “I felt so full of joy writing it. It was as if I had read this book several times and loved it so much that the only way to tell people about it was to write it and let them read it for themselves.”   (The Guardian)


Guest blog via Teresa Edgerton

Factory Girl/Crafting Author.

A guest blog on Teresa Edgerton’s site about researching for the Factory Girl trilogy.



The Girl With One Friend: published

The Girl With One Friend is published today, and here are the links:

Kindle UK

Paperback UK

Kindle US

Paperback US


Independent Science

Does it matter that the activity of science across the world at the moment is overwhelmingly in the hands of commercial interests? So long as the science is done, who cares?

Well, James Lovelock might care. Britain’s most independent scientist (an appellation the man is rightly fond of, and proud of) isn’t restricted in what he researches, is able to use his intuition, instinct and massive experience to answer questions other scientists wouldn’t think of. Recently he said of his position, “In most nations of the developed world, they rule out the greater and more interesting parts of hands-on science. True, it might be possible for a present-day Descartes, Einstein or Newton to think and use paper or a PC to record and expand their thoughts, but a Faraday or a Darwin would be buried in paperwork and obliged to spend their time solving problems concerning health and safety, and political correctness, today’s equivalent of the theocratic oppression of Galileo. In the world of corporate science there would be little time left for their singular and breath-taking ideas.”

With the vast majority of science now done to make money for a small elite who exist inside commercial and corporate structures, what does this mean for the future? It could be worse than you think. Take the issue of hybrid corn. In decades past, a farmer who used a particularly good strain of corn would keep back a small proportion of seed to plant for the following year. In this way, further in the past, and over a longer time period, agriculturalists did experiments with genetics, creating strains of corn that best suited the needs of the communities they lived in. But hybrid seeds, which now flood the world via the companies that make them, have one crucial difference. Though they give larger yields, because they are hybrids they never breed true. And that means a farmer has to buy seed every year from a company. This then is the main reason for the flood of hybrid varieties. Under the cover of offering a larger yield, the agricultural world – that is, all our food production – is owned by commerce.

This to my mind does not seem right. And the example given above can be extended to many other vitally important area, not least health.

Erich Fromm saw the dangers decades ago, when the level of commercial control was much less. One of his suggestions for a humane future was to break the deeply unhealthy link between science and commerce by creating an independent science auditing structure. This would of course have an additional benefit, since so much of the damage done by capitalism has been on the planet’s ecosystems. It has long been a call from environmentalists that the future consequences of any scientific development be factored into the cost and ethics of making that development.

But as James Lovelock said: “You mustn’t take what I say as gospel because no one can second-guess the future.” So let’s get independent. Let’s listen to the planet, not to money, which makes people the juvenile dependents of its corporate culture.


Manics faves

In a break from all the author/Factory Girl things, here’s my top 10 songs by the Manic Street Preachers:

  1. A Design For Life
  2. The Everlasting
  3. So Why So Sad
  4. I Think I Found It
  5. Australia
  6. (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love
  7. There By The Grace Of God
  8. Interiors (Song For Willem De Kooning)
  9. This Sullen Welsh Heart
  10. The Second Great Depression

Louche and lazy

In which, like some kind of louche, penniless artist in his garret, I do nothing for a year.


A second new interview

Following Andrew Leon Hudson’s interview yesterday, here’s another one, at SFF World, which covers some different territory…


New interview

Here’s a new interview with me, conducted by Andrew Leon Hudson at Cartesian Theatre.


The Girl With Two Souls