So. It has come to this.

I’m giving a paper at Swords, Sorcery, Sandals and Space: A Science Fiction Foundation Conference, Liverpool, 29 June- 1 July 2013. My paper’s on the reception of Minoan civilisation in science fiction. I had a fun time writing it, and putting together the slideshow. I think it’s an interesting paper – even if it is rather tangentially related to my thesis.

I applied for my university’s postgraduate travel funding to help with the 600 euro it’s going to cost me to go, stay, eat enough to stay on track, and get back. Yesterday, I got a message from the travel fund administrators: they’re giving me one hundred euro.

I can’t afford to go.

This isn’t hyperbole. The reasons are to do with family health. (And perhaps, with certain misjudgements, like choosing to buy new clothes when the old ones develop holes.) I prefer not to discuss the awful whole, but suffice to say I was rather counting on the postgraduate travel fund administrators being reasonably generous.

If the travel fund had awarded me 300 euro, I’d be able to attend secure in the knowledge that the month of July wouldn’t involve a diet of beans and an embarrassing inability to leave the house. (Two hundred euro! A lot of money when you haven’t got it…)

So, it’s come to this. After talking it over with some friends, I’m swallowing my pride and appealing for donations. If you can spare a few pence to forward academic intercourse, I’m asking.

Donate here.

The done thing is to follow the Kickstarter model and offer rewards. So here goes.


If donations reach E50.00, I will write a 500-word review of a book chosen by the person who donated most.

If donations reach E100.00, I’ll write a 500-word review of Lucian’s True History as though it were an SFF novel written this century.

If donations reach E150.00, I’ll write a 500-word review of G.W. Bowerstock’s The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars On The Eve Of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2013).

If donations reach E200.00, I’ll write a 750-word review of Mary Renault’s The King Must Die.


If donations exceed E250.00, I’ll write up every session I attend at the conference.

If donations exceed E350.00, I’ll review with as much detail as possible Paul Roberts’ Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Thank you.

UPDATE 1200 June 14.

Your generosity has humbled and overwhelmed me. The cost of attending the conference has been more than covered: I will write proper thanks as soon as I am able, and follow up when I am slightly less gobsmacked, humbled, and overwhelmed.