The uncanny (or ‘unheimlich’ in German) is not the strange, but ‘the familiar become strange’ according to Freud’s 1919 essay. He provides a useful catalogue of entities that trigger the feeling of uncanny (such as doppelgängers) and tries to explain it as a fear of castration (!). One mark of the uncanny is that it […]
I haven’t been able to see much of Frankfurt, apart from the immediate neighbourhood where I take my daily ‘exercise’ around the same few streets in Bockenheim. Because my German isn’t (yet) fluent I’m very conscious of all the language I encounter on my walks. Passers-by talk to each other and their words dissipate into […]
In January I moved from Scotland to Frankfurt, where I’m living with my partner in a rented flat. Now we’re both working from the kitchen table, which is also the dining table as well as a catch-all storage facility. It’s a curious bubble-like existence. From the windows of the flat we can see the city […]
A few things I’ve had published this year: A review of the film ‘The Invisible Man’ in the TLS. A review of a biography of John Wyndham by Amy Binns, also in the TLS. A flash non-fiction ‘Q is for Quasar’ in Mslexia. An essay ‘Alternative Geometries’ in Litro – about meeting Valentina Tereshkova. Also […]
Last week I went to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to see Cut and Paste, an exhibition of collages. One of the works included from the early twentieth century is ‘According to the Laws of Chance’, created by the German/French artist Hans/Jean Arp in 1933 when he ripped a sheet of black paper […]
I’m taking part in an event at the Bradford Literary Festival (on 29 June) to celebrate and examine space exploration 50 years after Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon. I’ll be discussing this with science writer and editor Oliver Morton.
I’m part of a project called Social Dimensions of Outer Space and have contributed a short story exploring the notion of a future Scottish spaceport (it’s going to happen, kids) ‘Welcome to Planet Alba’, which will be read and discussed at this event on 23rd May with other SF authors Russell Jones and Laura Lam. […]
I’m going back to Heidelberg (after being a writer-in-residence there last year) and reading in two events at their ‘Literaturtage’ in May. On 18th May I’ll be reading my essay which examines the meaning of ‘being at home’ in Germany for someone like me, who has German ancestry. Later on that evening I’m reading SF […]
I’m giving a talk at this academic-poetic conference ‘Corroding the Now‘ in London on 12-13 April. This is allegedly the first major academic event dedicated to exploring the links between poetry, science and science fiction. I’ll be talking about how our perception of the night sky is increasingly mediated by technology, and what poetry says […]
My essay ‘A random walk between Germany and Scotland’ is included in ‘A Place They Called Home’; an anthology of work by Jewish people exploring their new German citizenship, edited by Donna Swarthout and published by Berlinica Press.