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Of preciousssss and Khaldei…

A 1956 Pobeda sledge
A slightly modified 1956 Pobeda

And so New Scientist‘s Christmas issue should be out tomorrow, with my story (Atomic Dreams) on page 78. (Go and buy it! Buy plenty of it!!!).

It feels wonderful to see one’s name in print — I’m actually going completely Gollum at the moment (“It’s miiine! Miiiiine!!! My precioussssss!!!…“). Please tell me to stop before I retire in a dark cave and start eating nothing but raw fish. (Hmmm, sssssushi… Nice…)

Kudos also to New Scientist’s Art Department for their choice of picture — a Pobeda (Победа — “Victory” in English), one of the first passenger cars produced in the USSR after the Second World War. The car’s design sets it resolutely in the 1940s-1950s (like the turn of my story), yet the curious ring of lights around it brings a definite ‘science-fiction’ note to the picture. How adequate.

The picture’s history also resonates with me, but for a different reason. It was taken by Yevgeny Khaldei, one of the most famous photographers of the Soviet era. You have certainly seen at least one of his pictures — this one:

Soviet flag on the Reichstag roof – Yevgeny Khaldei

This is a very, very, very odd (but nice!) coincidence, considering my other “pet projects” at the moment… But hush. More on this in a few months. 😉


Coming back to the competition, the other winning entries are also very, very good, and I strongly invite you to read them.

Gaius Secundus, ER by Shaun Freney is a very funny collision between ER drama and Roman medicine. (I wonder if it was inspired by Centurion Vorenus‘ incursion in Grey’s Anatomy. Gosh, I wish I had the same idea! It makes so much sense!!!)

I was also amazed by Starfall, by Kevlin Henney. His style is very nice, light yet moving, and I was surprised that it was possible to cram all these events and feelings in such a small space. What a tour de force!

I can’t wait to see the other finalists, which will be published on New Scientist’s website over coming days…


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sushi craving to satisfy.



  1. […] mentioned previously, New Scientist published the three winners to their annual Flash Fiction competition in their […]

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