Speculative Fiction

Hey MSF! What’cha readin’?

‘Hey MSF!’ is a column where Manchester Speculative Fiction writers reply to a short prompt. This month, ‘What are you reading?’

This is the first in a recurring column on the Manchester Speculative Fiction website, where our writers reply to a short prompt, anything from ‘What are you writing?’ via. ‘What keeps you up at night?’ all the way to ‘Did Han shoot first?’.

This month: Hey MSF! What’cha readin’?

Most writerly folk will have heard some variation of the old adage “if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first”. But while reading is key to learning the craft (you know, through osmosis or whatever) and filling up our inner wells of inspiration, at the end of the day, most of us crack spines and ruffle pages for the same reasons: the pleasure of glorious prose, the thrill of a good story.

Whether you’ll looking for something to read right now or yet another book to add to your to-be-read pile, maybe we can give you some ideas to scratch that itch.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham JonesM.O. is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graeme Jones.

Halfway through this one and adoring it. Coming of age + nasty werewolves mythos, what’s not to love.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn MuirNorah is reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir.

A lovecraftian-esque romp with necromancers (and lesbians) on a spaceship. It was wild; the protagonist had a very fun voice.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Graeme recently reached the end of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy (AnnihilationAuthorityAcceptance).

The first one is superb (and nothing like the Netflix adaptation). Not sure I’d really recommend the other two, though.

The Black Company by Glen CookAndrew is reading The Black Company by Glen Cook.

I’m on the last book of the series (which inspired my current project, The Walls of Carryck). Proper down to earth, almost epistolary in nature, it tells around forty years of a mercenary company’s history from the perspective of their historian. My favourite series for sure. The first omnibus is called The Chronicles of the Black Company, if you’re interested.

Richard is reading Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson.

I find this series so engrossing in its world-building and the strong characterisation of each of its main players. This is the fourth in the series, and I whole-heartedly urge any speculative fiction reader or writer to give it a go!

Lots of BooksBryn is reading… a lot (!)

Rereading Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun series, which is still superb; reading the final Mistborn novel (for the first time), to which I’m lukewarm; audiobooking The Colour Purple, which is grim but great. Oh, and still dipping in and out of The Hot Zone to remind myself there are worse kinds of pandemics to be caught up in.

Hey Reader!

While we’re happy to share our thoughts on the matter, we’d love to hear from you guys, too. So, contact us, dear readers, and let us know what you’re reading this month.

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By M.O. Pirson

M.O. Pirson joined Manchester Speculative Fiction Writing Group in 2016. He writes novels that are too short and short stories that are too long.