William Gibson: I was losing a sense of how weird the real world was’

The writer who invented cyberspace and possibly the most influential living sci-fi author on the challenges of keeping up with a reality even stranger than fiction In 2016, Pattern Recognition the first of his novels set in a near contemporary version of reality when the Twin Towers fell, forcing him to rewrite that novels world and the backstories of its characters. His future had to catch up with the present. That said, Gibsons futures have always got a little tangled up with the present. Probably the most influential living writer of speculative fiction, his best known aphorism is the futures already here its just not very evenly distributed. Two or three generations of readers have now seen the futures he …

Bad sex award: shortlist announced for ‘Britain’s most dreaded literary prize’

Dubious honour lines up contenders for the years most outstandingly awful sexual scene, with Elizabeth Gilbert and Didier Decoin among the nominees Describing itself as Britains most dreaded literary prize, the Literary Reviews Bad sex in fiction award has unveiled this years shortlist, which ranges from Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, to the acclaimed French novelist Didier Decoin. Dreamed up in 1993 by the Literary Reviews the editor Auberon Waugh and critic Rhoda Koenig, the award is for the years most outstandingly awful scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel. It is intended to draw attention to the poorly written, redundant, or downright cringeworthy passages of sexual description in modern fiction. This years contenders …

Author hits back after library removes LGBT picture book from shelves

Gay adults grew up reading straight romances, says writer Daniel Haack after US library withdraws Prince & Knight from shelves The author of a rhyming picture book removed from the shelves of a West Virginia library has hit back at protesters, suggesting that anyone concerned the book could turn someone gay should remember all the gay adults who grew up only reading about straight romances. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack was pulled from West Virginias Upshur County public library earlier this week, a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle. The book tells the story of a prince and a knight who fall in love, ending on the lines: And on the two mens …

Margaret Atwood: Shes ahead of everyone in the room

As excitement mounts for the sequel to The Handmaids Tale, we talk to publishers and writers about the great novelist The hoopla around the launch of Margaret Atwoods The Testaments is more reminiscent of the unveiling of an iPhone or something Pokmon-related than that of a mere book. On the evening of 9 September, 400 people will gather outside the doors of Waterstones Piccadilly store in London for the midnight release of the sequel to The Blind Assassin in 2000, and had five other novels shortlisted. She has yet to be given the Nobel prize for literature but that is widely seen as an error to be righted. When an embarrassed The Heart Goes Last, you may relish her wit …