It’s a rare thing when literary, science fiction and different parts of my past life coincide to produce something interesting, but that is exactly what has happened.
There is an article in latest issue of science fiction magazine, Interzone (no. 255), written by Nina Allen entitled ‘Time Pieces’. She introduces us to the author Samantha Harvey, only I know her as Sam Harvey. Samantha Harvey has recently had her third novel, Dear Thief, published.
Her first novel The Wilderness was shortlisted for the the Orange Prize and Guardian First book Award, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and won the Betty Trask Award and AMI Literature Award. So she definitely qualifies as a literary novelist.
I knew her as one of the tutors on my MA Bath Spa Creative Writing course. Whilst she did not tutor me directly, she did tutor one of my friends to write her novel submission – and I could see the tutoring did my friend a heck of a lot of good. She has many wise words to say about how to write fiction.
And this is why Nina Allan picked up on Sam. Writers, no matter of what genre or no genre would be well advised to pick up writing tips from Sam – website here.
To add to the list of coincides, I was actually on the same week-long writing course in 2004 as Nina. Even then her writing had what I call the eerie surreal feel to it that comes across so much more strongly today.
Now I have been accused of writing literary science fiction, though I’m not quite sure what the definition of literary is. In particular this was true of the novel I wrote on my MA. My style in that novel is so very different from the short stories I had published. The style of words, somehow and I don’t really know how, resonate with story. Yet, most of my short stories are straight forward tales. The exception is Agents of Repair, but you would have to be a computer programmer to appreciate the method of resonance, and that is not something the majority of science fiction readers would be aware of.
This brings me to an interesting point… I don’t know of any science fiction books other than Ian Sales’ books that uses some sort of techie stuff to reflect the story. For instance his Adrift on a Sea of Rains has its story sections placed in the order to reflect the circularity of the story. So it’s not surprising it won the 2012 BSFA Award.