From Dublin to the Culture with Tuxedo

Well, the Dublin Comic Convention was excellent. The Hendrick brothers always provide lush hospitality for their guests, and as well as meeting a bunch of lovely professionals like C.B.Cebulski, Steve McNiven and Jock, it was good to catch up with mates I only see when I’m in Ireland, like Catie Murphy. The late night drunken shenanigans collided with the day job spectacularly in the early hours of Saturday when one fan showed up at 4am to start queuing for a Jim Lee sketch, and found not the lonely vigil he anticipated, but the party in full swing.

The quiz on the Saturday night, as always ably and eccentrically set by dear Russell, was sheer bloody slaughter, with Mark Millar’s team (‘the Sex Panthers’, I ask you) continually picking on my – well no, on me, to be precise – catcalling about my drunken antics last time Marvel boss Joe Quesada was in town. And buying me pints. Legendary artist Jim Lee is too nice to do that, he just joined in with the tactical alcohol procuring, when my team (‘Team Excalibur’) were in the lead. But then, his vast legion of a team, which included almost every professional present and was probably, I don’t know, using time travel to go back and write the questions, found a new low to sink to. They started selling original sketches for answers. Peyton, on my team, finally broke. He ran over to their table with our answer sheet. Granted, they didn’t believe it, but he got his Batman sketch. Was it worth it, Peyton? Well, yes, probably, but in the end all the cheating and being cheated at professionals teams finished behind a pure team of real people who deserved their win. Millar, of course, made a stirring victory speech for coming joint third. I picked a hardback copy of 300 as my prize. And nearly twatted Peyton with it.

One of the best things about the weekend was seeing new Doctor Who comic artist Nick Roche sketching for kids and showing off his Who art. His David and Freema are stylised and spot on, really capturing their body language. I was on my first Marvel panel too, which made me feel warm inside.

On the Sunday morning I breakfasted in my tuxedo (and nothing makes one seem so louche, it is as if you’re ending the day rather than starting it), then flew to London to attend the Writers’ Guild Awards at BAFTA. Myself, Moffat, Gareth and Stephen Greenhorn were there representing all the writers of Season Three of Doctor Who for a series award, up against the previous seasons of Life on Mars and New Tricks. Jeremy Hardy compered with an irreverence appropriate for writers, there were classy presentations from the likes of Joan Collins, and much support for the Writers’ Guild of America strike, which is to secure rights that, largely, British writers already enjoy (they’re on zero royalties for online screening, for goodness’ sake). The editor of Radio Times presented our award, and hey, we won! Moffat made a typically brilliant speech, indicating that he was putting the podium to a use dictated by being confined in the room for too long. And I got to meet various screenwriter heroes like, goodness me, Rosemary Anne Sissons!

And to finish off this trawl through where I’ve been lately, midweek I popped along to Imperial College for a BSFA open meeting, with Iain Banks being interviewed. I got the chance to meet him in the pub beforehand, and what a sweet chap. (We’d vaguely encountered each other in Belfast earlier this year.) The physics lecture theatre where the interview took place had pen doodles deeply etched into the wood of the partitions in front of the seats, so my Agent made a paper plane, and had me chuck it at Third Row Fandom, who were of course down near the front. Lovely to see my SF friends, albeit for far too short a time, but I hope to remedy that a bit tonight, when we’re off for dinner in Oxford. After having experienced the delights of Festive Faringdon, where the town gets together in the Market Place, drinks a gallon of mulled wine, listens to local talent and then Father Christmas arrives on Thomas the Tank Engine and switches on the lights. And that’s the official start of Christmas here. My town does Christmas better than anyone, and the atmosphere of numinous power thus created always takes me on a journey, which I will, as per last year, plot out for you in, once again… The Twelve Blogs of Christmas, one a day, across the holiday. Because I have to.

Oh, and also, hey, this week those nice people at Forbidden Planet found a little Pete Wisdom Heroclix figure, about an inch tall, and sent him to me in the post. He now sits on a small shelf I have, being towered over by Captain Britain (so no change there) and running up behind the Patlabor crew, who are attending a suitably sized Tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell.

And apropos of nothing, an old friend of mine recently found the following e-mail promotion amusing:

‘Greetings from,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by P.G. Wodehouse have also purchased Medically Assisted Death by Robert Young. For this reason, you might like to know that Medically Assisted Death is now available. You can order yours for just £15.19 by following the link below.’

I think P.G. would have approved.

But what of work, you ask? Well, I’m waiting on a few things, and have signed on for a couple of cool things (one TV and one radio) of which I cannot say anything yet. Also, I’m seeing the first lovely artwork from a comic that you don’t know about yet. So I’ve been spending my days writing SF short stories at high speed, in a series which I plucked the ideas for out of a dream, and have been throwing down on the page. And having finished the first one I discovered that there’s little as satisfying as completing a story and selling it to an anthology on the same day. It’d be cool to have a series of stories about the same character placed in anthologies and magazines, like used to happen back in the day.

Caroline has nearly finished her thesis, I believe that’s today, so I may see her for more than five minutes soon. And I promise I shall blog more. People down the pub have started to comment. So, we’re backed up on quite a few –


ITEM! In a bold move, those fine folk at Solaris Books are publishing my friend Chris Roberson’s brand new SF novel Three Unbroken in serial form, online, for free, two chapters per week:

As the press release puts it: ‘Three Unbroken is the next epic novel in the Celestial Empire sequence and details the explosive war between the Chinese and Aztec empires as they battle for control of the red planet, Fire Star. Based on the sixty-four elements of the I-Ching, Three Unbroken follows the lives of three soldiers from their induction into the armed forces to their eventual fight for survival on the frontline. The events of the novel are contemporaneous with those of The Dragon’s Nine Sons, the first novel in the sequence, set to be published by Solaris in February 2008. The novel will then be published in book form in 2009.’

I think Chris has got a fascinating world going there, and this is a great way of introducing people to it.

ITEM! Penny Broadhurst, pop singer frequenter of this virtual parish, is one of the twenty finalists in the BBC’s new talent search, The Next Big Thing:

Good luck, Penny!

ITEM! So, you want Davros, creator of the Daleks, doing industrial rap music? Well –

Your wish is my command. I think that one was found by Rob Francis.

ITEM! My home town’s burgeoning but under threat music scene is represented in pictures by this new Flickr group, already with 236 pictures showing the range of talent this place possesses:

ITEM! It you like comics, you may find this, a Mythbusters of comic gossip urban legends, to be a colossal and continuing drain on your work time…

Phew! Well that’s that. I hope to see more of you chaps in the next couple of weeks, and have been saving up subjects and energy for the Twelve Blogs of Christmas. So until next I see you, Cheerio!

20 Response to "From Dublin to the Culture with Tuxedo"

  • Scott Andrews Says:

    So it was YOU hit me in the back with a paper plane!


    Scott ;-)

  • Garpu the Fork Says:

    When does Caroline defend? Here's hoping the revisions aren't extensive and her readers don't lose their copies...(Although when I did my doctoral exams, I had one person on my committee lose all my materials the day of.)

  • Anonymous Says:

    Methinks the TV show Paul has signed up for is a Doctor Who in 2009...

    Good luck Paul...

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Sorry, Scott. But got you, right on target! Hee hee hee! Caroline defends early next year, and let's hope not, Garpu! And Anon, no, that's not it.

  • tlsmith1963 Says:

    Have you ever been to San Diego Comic Con, Paul? It's really fun, but beware the dealer's room. It's huge, & it will tempt you to spend all your money. I know it's tempted me!;)

  • The Sword Is Drawn Says:

    I didn't even know they'd DONE a Pete Wisdom Heroclix figure. I wonder how Wisdom would respond to the concept of being merchandised, let alone being made into some kind of Action Figure? ;D

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I'm thinking of doing it at some point. I shall let everyone know. I didn't know about the figure either. I think he'd get out a magnifying glass and keep talking about the little details.

  • Mark P Says:

    Millar didn't come joint third. He came fourth.

    We'd have never gotten out alive if we'd won.

  • colonel.k Says:

    I remember 20 years ago when Paul's drunken antics were in the fair city of Bath. Your liver must be mush by now. Luckily I've signed the pledge (ahem). I'm going to whip out a copy of an old Fan Aid fanzine and dream of my youth....happy days

  • Anonymous Says:

    Paul, please pass along my wish of good luck to Caroline. Defending and revising my Doctoral dissertation was the second most unpleasant part of my academic career - second only to the Doctoral qualifying exam at my graduate school.

    Jack Beven

  • Michele Says:

    Lovely that Who won the Writers' Guild Award - well done !!

    Can I just say I'm ridiculously excited about the Gary Rusell/Nick Roche DW comic? And I'm not really a comics person (too word-oriented)... Between this and the Eight Doctor Audio Dramas, DW is doing a really good job of broadening my media horizons !

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    You still nearly didn't, Peyton. Actually, Colonel, I've calmed down a lot. Thanks Jack, that's very kind of you. And that's good to hear, Michele.

  • Mark P Says:

    Paul's blanking out that the real reason we almost got lynched was because one of the questions was about Captain Midlands.

  • The Sword Is Drawn Says:

    Really? ;D

    On the subject of the no-nonsense Captain, after a brief discussion with some guys I know I got bored with a copy of Paintshop Pro. The following happened:

    I posted it up on the Excalibur thread over CBR's X-Men board. Seemed to get a positive response.

    Well, with Steve Rogers now dead there's a vacancy for a Captain out their to protect people's freedoms.

    Even if he may have to complain about his arthritis in the process... ;D

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    That's great, thanks! The question was an easy ball for us: what's Sid Ridley's secret identity. I'm not sure the Captain would want to protect modern things like freedoms.

  • The Moz Says:

    Team Excalibur won a moral victory in the face of extreme cheating and pragmatic professional pencilling. Serves the Googling Blackberries (not so much a group, more a small enclave) right in coming only second.

    Team Excalibur photo up at my own blog (and shares bought in Gaviscon) to remind us all of good times...

    And once again, congrats to you and the whole Who team (Whosies, Whoobies Whosaleers?) for the well deserved award.

  • Steve Says:

    I *loved* your Dalek/Davros video, quite funny. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the blog, its interesting seeing that your life is as crazy as the rest of us.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Tell Carolyn to break a leg with her thesis! (Or break a pencil or whatever seems to fit.)


  • Anonymous Says:

    Paul, was just wondering mate! I am a regular reader of your blog, and good luck in whatever you're planning.


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thank you once again, Moz. The Googling Blackberries! I'll have to call a team that! It's not my video, Steve, just something a mate found on YouTube, but ta! Caroline's now doing some minor revisions, but is basically there, thanks for asking, Erik, and thank you, anon.