Doctor Who Wins Hugo Now On Video

The wonders of the modern world, eh? That's Jane Espenson, and the chap reading out Moffat's message is Craig Miller, who organised the convention's 1056 panels and events.

I'm now back at my desk, and wondering why I don't have a panel today. I tried to hold one on the aircraft. I've reorganised the page a bit in order to feature many more blogs and get rid of Last FM (whose box kept featuring the same afternoon's playlist). Much more Worldcon and holiday anecdotage at the weekend.

Doctor Who Wins Hugo Award Shock

'And the winner is...' said the lovely Jane Espenson, 'Doctor Who...' Sharp intake of breath from the audience. '"The Empty Child".' Huge applause. And suddenly the audience realises that there was a reason why the 'Empty Child' clip had got whoops and cheers when it was shown, and that the absolute favourite going into the awards, Battlestar Galactica, hadn't been what people on the ground had been voting for.

I'd been going to go up and collect for any of the guys that won, but had been told that Moffat had sent a note instead at the last minute, and that I was 'mentioned in it'. Said note was a typically witty story of when Moffat had first heard of the Hugo as a kid, about 'people with the names Harlan or Ellison or sometimes both' (Harlan having been up to give and take awards himself earlier). It ended with 'and give Paul a hug... he'll hate it.' Yeah, so you made the audience laugh across the Atlantic, in what I hear was your hungover Edinburgh TV Festival sleep, you bastard. And you'd also had the thought that going up to collect something one wants to win without actually having won it... might on the night have been kind of hard. Wit and depth. Which is why you won.

On the way out of the audiorium, and I'll talk about everything else and the whole world here and all the drama and the frocks, a handout is given, detailing, this being SF fandom, exactly how everyone did, in fine detail. And it turns out Doctor Who took all top three places, with Rob in second and me in third.

The Galactica writer, Anne Cofell Saunders, was there on the night also, and was absolutely charming. Her show and her episode are of the absolute highest calibre. She wished our show well, and I wished hers well on our part. Because I do love it, and thought we'd had no chance against such a fine piece of work.

But as it turned out, it was our, and particularly Moffat's, night.

Wish Me Luck

We''re back in our hotel room, getting ready for tonight's Hugo Award ceremony. Today I've been on panels with V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd and producers from House and Smallville, also an excellent discussion about women in anime. Last night's party crawl was good, with Tara O'Shea and Javier from Lost and Medium, throwing back tequila, and sushi with author Ian McDonald. It featured, in the middle, which explains a lot, a panel on 'The Morals of Future Sex'. Me, and authors Pat Cadigan and Cecilia Tan. It was surprisingly serious, or maybe that's just my memory of it. The last thing I recall is publisher Lou Anders talking to me and the guys from Solaris Publishing at the Tor Books party about how the two of us met, twelve years ago.

And underneath it all, I've been absolutely not thinking about the Awards, about how I've wanted one of these since I saw the word Hugo written on the cover of my brother's stash of dogeared paperbacks. I am still of the reassuring certainty that I can't win, that the Battlestar Galactica episode 'The Pegasus' will kick our collective buttocks. Or even that Jack Jack Attack will spring a surprise. Or even if Doctor Who does win, it'll be Steve or Rob. And I'll get up and collect it for them and will absolutely mean it when I say they deserve it.

The great Buffy writer Jane Espenson will be giving out the award. There will be a clip shown after each nominee is read out. Before the ceremony, there's the Nominees Party, and there will be Chris Roberson, up for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Ian McDonald, up for Best Novella, Cheryl Morgan, Best Fan Writer, and John Picacio, who this year I hope will get the Best Professional Artist nod he's so long deserved. So I'll be with friends. And Caroline, and it's so good to have her here.

It all starts in forty five minutes, so I have to go. Put on my tux. You know. Couple of drinks. Wish me luck.

Worldcon and Never Let Your Agent Look After Your House

Worldcon is gorgeous, we're hanging out with a gang centered around author Chris Roberson and Pyr Books publisher Lou Anders, and it's wonderful to have adventures and then have a gang in the bar to get back to. Highlights so far: being on panels with original Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana and Stainless Steel Rat creator Harry Harrison, both of whom were charming; some very interesting business lunches; some randomly crashed parties (I think Interzone magazines guys were surprised when our wandering team walked, okay, fell, through their patio window); and a rousing game of Just A Minute, where writer and reviewer Jay Lake triumphed over authors Simon Brown, David Louis Edelman, Lou and Chris. We also met Marvel comics creator Stan Lee's right hand man, Mike Kelly, who we were delighted to learn, Stan calls 'Mghty' Mike Kelly.

But I hear terrible news from home. My Agent has not been the most dilligent of Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls fantasy X-Box360 game homesitters. Go and look at his blog and weep with me for my lovely house.

Pete Wisdom Solicited and Hello from L.A.

We've arrived at the convention hotel, well, one of them, swum, drunk our first Worldcon beer, and already met a few old friends. Like hell I'm blogging every day, but I'll do my best to pop up with a few reports. But I couldn't wait for this: Wisdom is solicited with Marvel's November titles: page down to the Max titles.

If you're near a comic shop, do pop in with an order. Cheerio!

In San Francisco

We've been across to Yosemite National Park ('number of bear incidents last week: 9, number of bear incidents last year: 350, down 89% from 1997, when the Bear Incident Unit was set up', before which bears were presumably operating the ticket desk and answering the phone), and up as far as Mendocino. We've seen Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, drunk a fine Pinot Noir in Calistoga, and driven over the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm approaching relaxed. It always takes me a few days, during which I'm even more antisocial than usual, but this time getting the stress out of my spine has been a real pig. The production office have been kind enough to say I can ignore my Doctor Who episodes until I'm back, and I'm gently tapping away at the third issue of Wisdom, which I've had in my head for weeks now anyway.

San Francisco is a lovely city. It feels very friendly and safe. There's a severe homelessness problem, but apart from that, and yes, that is a very big apart, this place seems to have urban living sorted. We've been walking a lot, to the Museum of Modern Art, the Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and the California Academy of Sciences. Cable Car driver seems to be a very satisfying job. We were taken up serious hillage by Byron, the 2005 Cable Car Bell Ringing Champion, and he indeed had a real battlecry of a ring, and serious patter, and regulars who waited on the corner for him. I felt like filling in an application form. Our hotel room is determinedly, eccentrically old, with an Arts and Crafts jug on top of a wardrobe which should rightfully have been shot full of holes by Sergio Leone. Someone washes up our coffee mugs every morning and carefully places them on the drainer in the kitchen. Around the corner there is Chestnut Street, with the Pitta Pit, the Squat and Gobble crepe house, two always full bars for people in suits and ties and a row of the mentally ill, deliberately identifying themselves with tins, signs and supermarket trolleys, outside the drug store. That shouldn't sound bitter, because I appreciate the decency of the man who makes fine pittas, but as a visitor... it is just a very big apart.

We were lucky enough to arrive on the last day of the Nihonmachi Festival, the yearly event where Japantown closes the streets and puts up rows of stalls. We found the motherlode of anime, and fed my new Patlabor obsession. I bought the biggest soft Tortoro that I could fit into my luggage.

Isotope Comics (, is run by James Sime, a flamboyantly Groucho/Zappa guy who keeps a collection of lavatory seat covers decorated by various comic artists (I mean drawn on, okay?) around the walls of his shop. It seems this all started when Ian Gibson took his pens into the shop bathroom one night. James got me to write a Pete Wisdom/Doctor Who meeting first panel description on one. It's hard to concentrate on your prose when you're faced with serious porcelain. Not as cheap as A4. The best of the collection has to be Jim Lee's seriously rendered Dr. Strange. Jim must have been working away on that toilet seat all night. James also introduced me to the work of his girlfriend, Kirsten Baldock, whose graphic novel about warring cigarette girls, Smoke & Guns ( is extremely good work, punchy, funny, and the stuff of movie adaptations.

Tomorrow, we seek horseback riding in Big Sur. Then on to the desert and perhaps Mexico, and visits with writers Fiona Avery and Darin Henry. And on the horizon, lovely Worldcon, be still my aching liver. Until next time I find a hotel room with serious wi-fi, cheerio.

Worldcon anticipated

Caroline and I fly off next week for a joyous two weeks of driving around California, followed by a joyous five days or so of the science fiction Worldcon (which this year is known as L.A.Con IV), including the Hugo Awards ceremony. I’m packing my tux, ready to put that brave losers’ smile on my face and applaud any of the several entrants in my category who thoroughly deserve to win.

I’m happy to find that the organisers took me at my word when I said I wanted to do loads of stuff, and have put me down for fifteen panels. I love it. I revise for it. There’s something life-affirming about waking up hungover and having to spout, semi-eloquently, on a subject someone else has assigned to you, three times a day. Add that to a couple of business lunches, drinking on a mission with old friends like editor Lou Anders, salonista Tara O’Shea, authors Fiona Avery and Chris Roberson and artist John Picacio, appointments to have drinks with a number of other fine folk, and a programme that has at least ten other things going on at the time of any of these panels, and that sounds like a lifestyle to me. Did I mention the drinking? The Hugos feature a nominees party, a winners party and an, obviously much larger, losers party. And I want to see the Masquerade too. And they’ll be showing so much new anime. I’m sure I mentioned the drinking.

Here’s a list of my panels. These times are all vastly subject to change, depending on how the schedule shifts before it settles.

Wednesday 23rd August:

(With Tom Galloway, Priscilla Olson, Chris Weber.)
‘Even fans who read few or no other comics seem to find something in The Legion of Super Heroes to keep them buying and reading the comic, some of them for decades. Just what is there about the Legion?’ I’m a big fan, particularly of Mark Waid’s current version, and of the Legion circa ‘The Great Darkness Saga’, when there were dodgy beards aplenty.

I’ll be reading from my current novel in progress, and hopefully from a variety of other work down the years. And at 5pm: AUTOGRAPHS.

Thursday 24th August:

I’m running this SF version of the classic British radio game show. The aim of the game is to talk for one minute on a subject given by the Quizmaster, without hesitation, deviation from the subject or repetition. It’s usually very funny, and gives the guests a chance to shine with their quick wit. I’m in the process of securing four celebrity guests. I’ll let you know who they are as and when. New: our first signed-up guest is the great comics writer Mark Waid!

With D.C. Fontana (writer on the original Star Trek), Robert Gordon, Melinda Snodgrass and J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5).

(With Simon R Green, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Scott Alan Woodard.)
‘With the new Doctor Who, there's a resurgence of Science Fiction on UK television. Hear what it is we're missing on this side of the pond.’ I’m moderating this one. With a fire extinguisher and a lump of small change in a sock.

Friday 25th August:

(With Mary Ann Johanson, Shaun Lyon, Lee Whiteside.)
‘More than just a euphemism for "remake" and "cashing in", some TV series are actually well-thought out new adaptations of the same material. Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who are two good examples of high quality shows that respect their antecedents but bring much that is new and good to the material. What changes get made and why? Are the audiences and commercial pressures different now than for the original?’ And I’m moderating this one. I get to talk onstage about Galactica. Last time I did it was just a delighted fannish love rant. A fan of the old version of the show got up and left with a cry of disgust, slamming the door on his way out. It was like a sighting of a rare beast, say, the Yeti, there and gone in a moment. I hope he finds someone else who prefers the old version, out there somewhere. Then they can breed.

(With Harry Harrison, Greg Pak, Christopher Young and Doselle Young.)
And I’m modding this one. They must trust my moderating skills. But how and why would one ever hope to moderate the creator of The Stainless Steel Rat?

(With Pat Cadigan, Cecilia Tan.)
I have no idea why they picked me. I’m just glad my mate Pat is going to be there to hold my hand. ‘What's going to happen with sex in the future? Sex with not just dolls but androids? With specially created clones? Are there any rules? Should there be? What about moral issues? (This will be a late evening panel.)’ I hope they’re ready for a stream of double entendres from this direction, rather than, you know, actually talking about… stuff. I shall just have to stick it out and see what comes up.

Saturday 26th August:

(With Rachel Manija Brown, James Hay, Fred Patten, Tom Schaad.)
‘How did Japan's male dominant culture produce so many kick-butt female characters? Did Japanese anime creators develop the concept themselves, or did they all watch lots of Avengers episodes when they were young?’ Even the blurb makes me want to say about eight different things. I don’t think the heroine of Fruits Basket would ‘kick one’s butt’ if one bent over and painted a target on it. Perhaps if it was to save one from a life-threatening illness, or to reunite one with an estranged sibling, but even then she’d only daintily tap it while apologising and looking the other way with one hand over her mouth.

(With Jane Espenson, Gillian Horvath, Shaun Lyon.)
‘Some showrunners are now reading fan boards & fanfic sites to gauge reaction to what they're doing on their shows. Others avoid sites in order to keep "untainted". Writers and producers talk about the effect the fan community has on how a show develops.’ (Another subject close to my heart, and with Buffy’s Jane Espenson on there.)

(With Steve Englehart, Josef Rubenstein, Christopher Young, Doselle Young.)
Steve Englehart! And they expect me to be able to speak? How can I do that when I am not worthy?

(With Simon R Green, Eric L. Hoffman, Charles Lee Jackson II, Bill Warren.)
‘Horror on television, from 1949 to today, including The Twilight Zone, Thriller, One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits, etc..’ I’m on there to talk about the original version of The Outer Limits, a subject very dear to me, and maybe Doctor Who.

Sunday 27th August:

That is, a one to one between me and anyone who wants to show up. (I think there’s a sign-up system in place.) There is often coffee involved. But not always.

Let’s see if Rob Shearman makes it across the Atlantic to join me and Shaun Lyon.

What a lovely prospect. My only regret is that it’s all media-related and I don’t get to talk SF books a bit more. If you’re going to be there, do say hello. But you may have to repeat it a few times.


ITEM! Mags Halliday informs me of this call for academic papers on the subject of Veronica Mars. I for one welcome this.


ITEM! New from Argos, the shop not the planet, this handy TARDIS 'zipperobe'. So that would be a Zipperobe from Argos, sounding neatly like an alien from one of the annuals. Product not bigger on the inside than the outside. Will not take you on adventures in time and space.


ITEM! On the right you'll see a new link to my agent's mad Oblivion-related blog. Which is, erm, named after me. It's on it's second version of that name now, after I complained.