TOMTECH, INC. by Alex Voakes

  “Thanks for this interview. Our readers are very interested in all things organic.” Janet glanced down the gleaming-white corridor. She knew that the word ‘organic’ conjured up a very different picture in the minds of the subscribers to Renewable World. “Our methods are impeccable – we recycle the majority of our water, our solar panels actually feed excess energy into the national grid, and in the past we used natural biological controls on pests.” Dr Bryan smiled. “Ladybirds. Ideal for removing aphids. But since we really locked down on physical interfaces, very little has been getting in or out. We aim for only two organisms in this entire complex. Humans and tomatoes.” “Physical interfaces?” “Where the outside world meets Read More

How to Break Through Writer’s Block by Alex Voakes

Writer’s Block. It sounds almost reassuring, doesn’t it? You may not be actually producing anything, you may be knotted up and despairing, or guilty and restless and convinced of your own worthlessness as both a creative and a human being, but at least a) there’s a name for it and b) that name includes the word ‘writer’. It could be caused by all sorts of reasons – writing is, if not exactly hard labour, then definitely time-consuming and difficult, and it could be that the writer is too worried about money, or is wrestling with a bout of TB, or has to look after six children under five, or is dealing with PTSD from a recent event, or any one Read More

Hasta La Vista, Lady: Is Sarah Connor a Female Action Hero?

Any film which includes a woman suddenly busting out a roundhouse kick or making a withering remark about penis size risks getting hailed as a beacon of feminism, even if her character is otherwise paper-thin or disposable. Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton in the first two movies in the Terminator franchise, is sometimes held up alongside Ripley from Aliens and GI Jane as an example of a female action hero. But is the fact that ‘there’s a woman in it and she kicks some ass’ really enough? At first blush, it doesn’t seem that Sarah Connor has any of the qualities you’d expect of an action hero. Her value lies not in what she herself is going to do, Read More