World Fantasy, Dublin, and a Certain Suspicion about the Knee

I got back from the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York, a week or so ago now, and on Friday I’m off to Dublin for the Comics Convention. In between, I’ve responded to my agent’s (sheer genius) notes on the novel manuscript, finished the first draft of a (British, I hasten to add) television pilot script, and done some comics work. Caroline’s started working for a publisher in Oxford, so I have the house to myself in the daytime. (Which is odd, I’m concentrating at a whole new level, but go a bit mad at any sighting of people. I’ve also started to talk to myself again. When the phone rang the other day, I said ‘I wonder who that is?’ Which you’d never get away with in a script.) And my knee has gone ping. I fell down the stairs, and it leapt up at an awkward angle, and then I found it hurt to bend it at all. But that’s got a lot better overnight. I’m still walking with it held stiffly, though, because the cliché pirate gait lets me actually get to places at a reasonable rate. Heaven knows what havoc Guinness will play with that. Or stairs.

World Fantasy was joyous and relaxed as always. Basically, my daily schedule was: wake up a bit surprised in my surprisingly comfy motel room, walk a mile down a crisp and autumnal classic American mainstreet, go out to breakfast with guest of honour author Kim Newman and publisher Stephen Jones, argue with Stephen Jones, spend day wandering from bar to fireside sofa to dealers’ room to art show, arrive rather too early back at the bar, where Chris Roberson was, and thence to my other old friends, Lou Anders, John Picacio and their traveling circus, all doing the badda bing chat, vamping like wideboy meerkats and introducing me to esteemed author folk such as Alan Dean Foster and Joe Haldeman. And so to dinner, usually on the good folk from Solaris books. There was one panel in the midst of all that, with a group of lovely fantasy writers (including Esther Friesner, who just sent me a book, bless her) and we had a good back and forth about ‘varieties of ghostly experience’, and I popped in to see David Louis Edelman read from his second novel, Multireal, entirely because I wanted to hear some of what happened next. And at one point Orbit books held a party at a bar in town, and filled it from top to toe with our folk, and a jolly time was had by all.

One of Lou’s extended crew is the academic Jess Nevins, who writes the footnotes and commentaries for Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics. Hearing of my fondness for British spaceships of a certain age, he was kind enough to show me some panels of the latest Moore extravaganza, The Black Dossier, and I was able to make a handful of indentifications of pop culture references that he hadn’t got round to pinning down. My proudest moment came when I was able to inform Jess about Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men, based entirely on him mentioning the use of the word ‘flob’. The results, so far, of Jess’ labours, can be found here:

My old mucker and Trek writer of note Melinda Snodgrass was kind enough to introduce me to the great author George R.R. Martin, a kind and cheerful chap. And dear Deanna Hoak, the august copyeditor, who’s been in the wars lately, didn’t win her World Fantasy Award, but her nomination (thanks to you lot) broke new territory in terms of the genre recognising all its talent. And she got to be very glam on the night. A mate of hers at our table for the awards, Mary Robinette Kowal, as well as being one of those multi-talented people who does things like magic tricks and making ancient typewriter keyboards for laptops, turned out to be a puppeteer on Lazytown, a reference which will play entirely to parents of small children, and godfathers, who live outside the USA.

I came away having made many promises of short stories, feeling that just for once, with the novel nearly completed, I wasn’t being entirely a charlatan in such company.

Next weekend should be equally lovely, being the opportunity to hang out with my gang of comics friends (I should really hold some sort of four way sports event between my town, comics, SF and Doctor Who gangs). It’ll be good to catch up with Mark Millar and Andy Diggle, as well as the bunch of Millarworlders I always end up drinking amongst. And there’s a quiz on the Friday night, in which I will form part of Team Excalibur. We even have t-shirts.

And finally, Nev Fountain found this insane but highly talented take on the Doctor Who story ‘Time Flight’…

Until we see each other again, possibly in Dublin, Cheerio.

21 Response to "World Fantasy, Dublin, and a Certain Suspicion about the Knee"

  • A-M Says:

    "OUCH!" about the knee! I fell down stairs at the beginning of September and cracked my poor knee on a concrete floor. I was out of action - on the sofa with my leg elevated and my laptop balanced on my good knee - for a little over three weeks and it's still not right. Hope yours is fine and dandy soon.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Actually, it's much better today, thanks for asking.

  • Paul Campbell Says:


    Lazytown? You mean, like, for real?


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Yeah! Huge fame with the tinies!

  • Garpu the Fork Says:

    Hope the knee's better...and that video was hysterical. The trope in the middle with the toclafane really makes it, I think.

  • heather Says:

    heard you were going to be writing Excalibur or something similar soon - when's that coming out?

  • Anonymous Says:

    Heh, have you seen his "Five Doctors" ones, too? They're equally great!

  • Michele Says:

    *hands you ice pack for the knee*


    Glad you had a good time at the World Fantasy Con.

    It was my birthday last week so I finally got to undo my tantalising parcel of Benny paperbacks from BF - and I've now read the short story collection (The Dead Men Diaries)! What fun ! Next up will be The Doomsday Manuscript ! (I also got some New Who goodies, so I am very happy !)

    Off to check out the YT link...

  • Michele Says:

    Flight of the Darned - that was BRILLIANT in so many ways... Thanks for sharing...

  • Dozeymagz Says:

    I always find Guinness a great help with any injury. Indeed it is a complete healing aid. As you take a nice cold can from the fridge - you can apply it to said injury, then immediately after - glug it down. So you see not only does it sooth the hurt, but then you don't care much about it afterward. Perfection!
    As for Lazytown - well, I bow before your mere whiff of association with such illustrious acquaintances!

    Oh yes - and glad you had fun at the WFC!

  • heatherfeather Says:


    As one w/a 'gimpy' knee, I know how painful falls can be- but since you're in Dublin, a healthy dose of Guinness should help!

    Loved "Time Crash"- Moffat knows the right amount of sweetness and DW to put in a scene. Ranks up there along w/ 'The Curse of Fatal Death".

  • buckbeakbabie Says:


    Briege (who lives in Dublin) was meant to go see you today, but she is made of fail and has gone to work instead. Boo. *shakes fist at her*

    I've left the country, living in London now, or I'd have dragged myself to the Pale to see you. I will eventually make it to something over here, so wanted to go to Manchester but couldn't make it.

    Have a good time, hope the knee is okay!

  • Paul B. =:o} Says:

    Re. Knee: Ouch! [WINCE]

    Re. "Flight of the Darned". Curse you! I'd only just sown up my sides from the last time... =:o}

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    The knee is now much better, able to get up and down stairs even, so thanks for asking, all. I am indeed going to be writing Excalibur, Heather, we're planning stuff now, and it'll happen sometime next year. I must look into this video chap's other stuff. Hope you enjoy your Bennies, Michele. Maybe it was the (draft) Guinness that did it, Mags. Indeed, Heather, I loved 'Time Crash'. And I'm sorry I didn't see her. Cheers, all!

  • Michele Says:

    Definite enjoyment of "The Doomsday Manuscript", thanks !

  • Anonymous Says:

    I forgot to ask how you'd done the annotations for Jess.

    Mark P

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I met him in Saratoga, and he asked if anyone knew about 1950s British spaceships.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I used to play an online rpg with Jess using pulp characters.

    Looking forward to actually seeing the book

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I look forward to it also.

  • farmergeddon71 Says:

    Thanks for the mention Mr Cornell -and while I'm here, thanks for 'Human Nature'/'The Family of Blood' too.
    farmergeddon71 (Michael).

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks, and well done with your videos.