Ian Whates lives in a comfortable home down a quiet cul-de-sac in an idyllic Cambridgeshire village, which he shares with his partner Helen and their pets – Honey the golden cocker spaniel, Calvin the tailless black cat and Inky the goldfish (sadly, Binky died a few years ago).
Ian’s earliest memories of science fiction are fragmented. He remembers loving Dr Who from an early age and other TV shows such as Lost in Space and Star Trek, but a defining moment came when he heard a radio adaptation of John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids. From that moment on he was hooked and became a frequent haunter of the local library, voraciously devouring the contents of their SF section.
This early love of science fiction manifested most tellingly during his school days, when he produced an SF murder mystery as homework after being set the essay title “The Language of Shakespeare”, much to the bemusement of his English teacher.
Ian’s first published stories appeared in the late 1980s in small press magazines such as Dream and New Moon Quarterly, after which he took a break from writing in order to research his chosen fields of science fiction and fantasy. In other words, he read copious amounts of both. Clearly the research was extensive, because he published nothing further for some seventeen years. In the early 2000s he made the decision to pursue writing seriously, joining the Northampton SF Writers Group in 2004 after being introduced to its chairman, Ian Watson.
In 2006 he started submitting stories again, and has subsequently been surprised at how many otherwise eminently sensible people have chosen to publish him. A couple have even appeared in the science journal Nature, and one, “The Gift of Joy”, even found its way onto the five-strong shortlist for best short story in the British Science Fiction Association Awards. And it didn’t come last! Ironically, the award was actually won by Ken MacLeod’s “Lighting Out”, a piece Ian had commissioned, edited and published in the NewCon Press anthology disLOCATIONS (2007).
In 2006 Ian launched independent publisher NewCon Press, quite by accident (buy him a pint sometime and he’ll tell you about it). Through NewCon he has been privileged to publish original stories from some of the biggest names in genre fiction, as well as provide debuts to some genuinely talented newcomers. The books, their covers and contents have racked up an impressive array of credits – four BSFA Awards, one BSF Award to date, inclusion in ‘Year’s Best’ anthologies and recommendations and honourable mentions from the likes of Gardner Dozios and Locus magazine.
In addition to his publishing and writing, Ian is currently a director of both the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), editing Matrix, the online news and media reviews magazine, for the latter.
His first two completed novels are both due to appear in early 2010: City of Dreams and Nightmare via Harper Collins’ imprint Angry Robot, and The Noise Within from Rebellion imprint Solaris, with sequels to follow. When not pinching himself to make sure this is all really happening, Ian is currently beavering away at the sequels… honest!