A Trip Down Memory Lane
In 1994 I bought my first issue of Interzone. It was half price from a cardboard box of back issues in a secondhand book shop on Camden High Street, just before the canal. The bookshop is long gone but the experience was formative. For my birthday that year, I asked for a subscription to the magazine and I remained a subscriber for the next twelve years. This obviously wasn’t my first exposure to speculative fiction but it was my first sustained, systematic reading of the genre and it was my first exposure to SF criticism. I have forgotten the names of many of the reviewers who introduced me to writing about SF but some like John clute and Nick Lowe, writing about fiction and cinema respectively, have stuck with me ever since.
That same year, I also asked for a copy of the second edition of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia, edited by Clute and Peter Nicholls. My uncle duly bought it for me and, out of ignorance and hunger, I decided to read this bloody big book cover to cover. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this but it is hard to think of a better crash course in the history of the genre, its possibilities and the possibilities of writing about it.
So it was a slightly strange experience to find myself last week in flat not five minutes walk away from that lost bookshop, having dinner with Clute, Lowe and Graham Sleight, the managing editor of the third edition of encyclopedia. Strange but extremely enjoyable. The upshot of this meal is that I will be writing some of the cinema entries need to update the encyclopedia from 1992 to 2012. The first three of these have already been published: Pandorum, Avatar and Moon. Those last two were co-authored with Lowe which feels more than a little surreal to write. I will continue to work with him on ensuring that the essential films and directors are covered but, for the moment, I am mostly going to be concentrating on children’s animated science fiction of the last decade or so.