Geoff Ryman Story Online and Me at Eastercon

The lovely Geoff Ryman, author of such novels as Was, Lust, 253, The Child Garden and Air, is up for a Hugo award this time round, in the Best Novelette category, for a beautiful story that he's made available online and free to view:

It's called 'Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter'. It's about forgiveness. It aches with Geoff's usual sense of reality and place, and with all due respect to my friend and nominee in that category Ian McDonald, I love it to pieces. I ask you to consider it if you're one of those LAcon or Nippon attendees with a ballot to fill in.

Geoff is someone who figures in the lives of so many people in the British SF scene, authors and otherwise. He's often thanked for offering encouragement, notably in Susanna Clarke's Hugo acceptance speech. For someone of such intellectual and literary standing, he does not look down on that which is pulpy and fun. His 'Mundane SF' manifesto, asking why we in the genre are still dealing in time travel and faster than light drives when there's a planet here that needs attention may sum up the future of our work. He throws the best parties.

I particularly have good cause to thank him, though. When I first started hanging around in Brit SF circles, I found myself suddenly, painfully, shy. (Doctor Who fans may boggle at this point.) I went to my first Clarke Awards party, and found myself far too aware of the reputations of... well, everybody in the room, really. Particularly Geoff. Who I could barely talk to. He kept on making me feel better, went out of his way to calm those nerves, until I wasn't actually going to scream and run for the door. He had to do it again at Eastercon a while later. And all through dinner at his house. And then we argued about politics and we were fine. (And typically, he showed up at one of my panels after that debate, to make sure I was.) And from then on in SF fandom I've been as loud and rubbish as I am everywhere else. So... you lot have nothing to thank him for, really. But I do. Hmm. If he's reading this, he's probably stopped by this point.

Anyhow, since it was Geoff's literary abilities that made me into that gibbering mass, it's good to be able to try and make you, dear reader, gibber too. I hope you like the story as much as I did.

Hugo-wise, it's good to see that, in the Longform Drama category, the initial ballot was wrong, and this year we actually have a contest between Pan's Labyrinth (which had been missed out); Children of Men; The Prestige; A Scanner Darkly and V for Vendetta. That's the strongest field... ever, really. I have yet to decide between Prestige and Pan.

I'm off to Eastercon in Chester on Friday, and though the final programme hasn't been announced yet (at least, not that I'm aware of), it seems likely that I'll be on the following panels:

Friday, 10pm: 'Current SF, a Fireside Chat. Paul Cornell, author and scriptwriter, chats with Dave Bradley, editor of SFX magazine, about the current world of British SF.' We'll have to build that fire. And isn't it a bit warm for that? We're planning to cover everything and offer a kind of overview, and give an insight into SFX itself. Really pleased we got this together.

Saturday, 3pm: 'Universal Donor. Is it time for science fiction to stop bleeding? Other genres - fantasy, technothriller, historical - have been recently reinvigorated by taking a science-fictional approach: the New Weird in fantasy, the recent work of ( e.g.) Greg Bear, the resurgence of alternate history and time travel. Authors identified with SF have 'bled' towards the mainstream or other genres. Science fiction has become the default multimedia landscape. Is SF making a blood donation - or bleeding to death?' With Jo Fletcher, Freda Warrington, Graham Sleight, Ian Watson. (I'm moderating this. Looking forward to it hugely.)

Monday, Noon: 'Politics and Ethics in Battlestar Galactica.' With Simon Bradshaw, Phil Nansen, John Richards (moderator).

I think that's a nice blend, and gives me time for a lot of chattering and, post-Lent, drinking. If you're going to be there, do come over and say hello. Until then, Cheerio.

12 Response to "Geoff Ryman Story Online and Me at Eastercon"

  • William Salmon Says:

    Wow, that is a strong list of films. I found The Prestige a little dissapointing - and I'm a huge Nolan fan. Pan and Children of Men were both superb though. And as for V...well, it's shonky and misjudged in places, but I love it still. It's not the comic, but the ending never fails to bring a little lump to my throat. Like Fahrenheit 451, its flaws actually endear it to me more. It's heart is in the right place, and that means something.

  • jackooo Says:

    i hope you enjoyed the shakespeare code as much as we did =)

  • Matthew Says:

    Paul Cornell, Steven Moffat and Gareth Roberts. You are the new Bad Boys of Doctor Who.

    Congrats! The Shakey Code was the best yet.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Pan would be my favourite. I absolutely loved 'The Shakespeare Code'. The audience at Eastercon laughed their heads off in all the right places. And one small child had to wander over to the door of the hall so that she could leave at the moment things got too scary, witch-wise. Lovely to hear Gareth's tone of voice again, also. Just got back, so may take a few days for a new blog. Cheerio.

  • LJC Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • LJC Says:

    Is it wrong that, vaing now read the novel at last, I much prefer the film of The Prestige? Particularly the ending...

    I am filled with squee still over TSC.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Yes, that is wrong. Bad and wrong. Ahem.

  • Matthew Says:

    Is it safe to discuss Life On Mars here? Or have you not seen the finale?

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Stop! Still three episodes behind!

  • LJC Says:

    well hurry up then... cos the universe is hell bent on spoiling people about the finale.

  • Nadine Says:

    But the novel field is really strong too-if you haven't read Blindsight,go and do it-it's available free online if you can't find a copy(unfortunately quite likely).

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    My own favourite novel of the year, Infoquake, wasn't even nominated (I just gave it a write-in for the Locus poll)!