The Family of Blood

I hope you like Saturday's Doctor Who episode. I was lucky enough to have been present at the filming of both. In 'Human Nature', myself and Caroline stood at the bottom of John Smith's bed when he woke up, and I'll tell you after the episode what I was watching being filmed for 'The Family of Blood'.



I'm delighted by what the BBC website team have done with Smith's journal, animating it and subtly adding to Kellyanne Walker's gorgeous original art.

Fan Owen Rickard created this excellent animation, showing the originals of the pictures of past Doctors in said journal:

Doctor Animation

It was great to see Script Editor Lindsay Alford being typically intellectual, and then me being very fat (told you) on Doctor Who Confidential. That team did great things with the piano storyboard sequence especially. I also loved Russell's description of one of the things it's dangerous to do in Doctor Who: have a party. Monsters will always come crashing in. I have an old fanzine article about What Not To Do In Doctor Who somewhere, I really must post it.

We're going to wander off into a forest over the weekend, but we'll have computer and mobile with us, so I'm hoping to hear reactions and then be able to go and lie down in a glade. This really has been the most lovely week for me, and the online reaction to the first episode continues to stun me, so thank you all very much.

There's a few important things to announce also:

Alex Fitch's radio show I'm Ready For My Close-Up is broadcast every Thursday night on Resonance FM, 104.4FM in the London area. Tonight, he includes two interviews with me, one of which is the career overview one with Graham Sleight that took place at the British Science Fiction Association meeting a few months back, the other being specifically about the Doctor Who episodes. If you're not in the London area, or you miss it, the episode will be available online:

Close-Up

On Friday, June 1st, there's an interview with me, covering the Doctor Who episodes and more besides, in the Oxfordshire Limited Edition supplement of the Oxford Times, conducted by journalist Gill Oliver.

On that day also, the new issue of Fractal Matter online magazine (see the link on the right) will feature a review of the full run of Wisdom and a roundtable discussion about 'Human Nature'.

I've been added to the bill of the Gloucester Doctor Who convention The Oncoming Storm, which takes place on June 9th:

The Oncoming Storm

At which I'll be taking the stage with the very talented Thomas Sangster. Do pop along.

Anyhow, I look forward to hearing from you, and can't wait to see how you like the new episode. Until then, Cheerio.

Between Episodes

I've only just finished wading through all the very kind reviews of 'Human Nature' online. And writing many thank you letters in response to personal messages. It's been particularly good to hear from my fellow Who authors, writers I admire in other fields, and to hear about small children pretending to be scarecrows. And sniffing. Which is bad. I'm just rather overwhelmed about the response, really. So thank you all very much.

In the midst of all that, I have two things to do today. Firstly, specialist SF and comics shop Forbidden Planet have been kind enough to offer another special deal to readers of this blog. Before it's released in August, you can use the above link to order the collected edition trade paperback of my Marvel mini-series Wisdom for £9.99 plus p&p. That's a saving of £4.51 on the standard retail price. I'm really pleased to have formed such a fun relationship with the people who actually sell these things.

Secondly, those of you who are attending this year's World Fantasy Convention, or who have voting rights in the World Fantasy Awards, please check out my new blog in support of the nomination of copyeditor Deanna Hoak for such an award:

http://hoakworldfantasyawards.blogspot.com

Those of you who don't, assistance in spreading the word to every SF forum or mailing list you can think of, particularly American ones, would be much appreciated.

Anyhow, I now have to stop wallowing in nice reviews and get back to work. Despite the beer festival where the Magpies are performing this afternoon... Until the next episode is on, Cheerio.

Human Nature

I’ve organised a huge party for tomorrow night’s broadcast of ‘Human Nature’. Last time I had a Doctor Who episode on, ‘Father’s Day’, the room was so packed that people were nearly falling out of the window. This time round we’ve got a few more children coming along (including my God-daughter, who was born a couple of weeks before that episode), and some old fan friends, and many of my local friends.

One of the best things about writing a Who episode these days is the sheer wealth of extras that one gets to wander amongst. I love the work the BBC website team have put in. The animation especially is very impressive. I’ve been able to read the Fear Factor verdicts, written for the site by a panel of children of my acquaintance, and it’s particularly flattering when their yelled- out questions are the ones we answer immediately onscreen. Perhaps all family TV should be shown to a group of children before the final cut. I’ve also downloaded a Smith and Joan wallpaper for my mobile. And I’m looking forward to all the stuff the online team have lined up for the second episode, and for when the original novel reappears online.

Doctor Who Magazine have been very generous. Jason Arnopp re-interviewed me, because, following the episodes being put back one week, DWM decided to adjust its coverage to spread out over two issues. The cover of next issue is a ‘Human Nature’ one, and especially lovely. I think I may get that framed.

I was pleased with the interview in Radio Times, also. That’s one of the little joys of this too, popping over to the newsagent and buying many different listings magazines!

I can’t emphasise enough how happy I am with the finished product. Charles, Lindsay, Russell, Julie, Susie and the cast have done such an impressive job. I think this is my best work. If a couple of years ago I’d have been told that my adaptation of ‘Human Nature’ would screen in the same week as my first Marvel Comics mini-series finished, well, I’d have taken that for a future.

So that’s what I’m going to be doing tomorrow, clearing up the house and emptying the lounge as much as possible. With the cricket on. I shall doubtless have a couple of drinks. I hope you have a good day, and enjoy the episode, and do pop in and tell me what you think afterwards. Cheerio.

Many Small Things and Eagle Awards Anger

I’ve been ill for the last couple of weeks, and, during that, went to three days of meetings in a row. This must be what it’s like to have a job. Or actually not, because if I had a job I could get sick leave. At one of said meetings, I was offered a towel to pat my fevered brow. I think they feared my sallow looks. My bronchitis, constant companion while I was in Ireland, may well be back.

Anyhow, I had a wonderful time at the Bristol Comics Expo. The panel with Grey's Anatomy and Young Avengers writer Allan Heinberg was great fun. We ended up just chattering away about craft in front of an audience. He seems a very kind and generous man. It was also a pleasure to catch up with artists like Mark Buckingham, D’Israeli, Liam Sharp and too many others to mention. Old mate comic scribe Rob Williams is now a father. How is that allowed? It was also good to meet Brian K. Vaughan, who now writes for Lost as well as having created my current favourite comic, Runaways (to the party of which I know I am very late). It was lovely as always to have a gang to hang out with, in this case the folks from Millarworld. Caroline got to chat about manga. And one of the best things is that so many blog readers pop up at things like this these days and say hello. (Hello back, especially to those two student Who fans who'd flown down from the North.)
The convention itself was an enormous hit, a crowded warehouse-sized sales area, and a beery convention hotel with lots of programming. Perfectly organised. Who could ask for more?

The Eagle Awards, on the other hand, were the usual meaningless fiasco. The online voting system: great. The statuettes themselves: excellent. Everything in-between: rubbish. One is proud to even be nominated for one of the science fiction community’s Hugo awards, because they take the honour they impart very seriously. I’m not sure some Eagle winners this year will even notice. I hope for change every year, and every year I’m disappointed. Could the winners not present not be notified beforehand, and thus send a speech, or even a video file? Would just a little bit of un-self-mocking non-drunken pomp be so out of the question? Would a rehearsal, to stop the vast Eighties Brits Awards –like stumbling amateurishness of it all, be too much to ask for? Pah. I say again, pah. But those present that night will have heard me go on about this too much already. For some reason, there’s nothing that annoys me more than a useless awards ceremony.

I’m in the midst of the novel re-write now, but that will take a backseat for a couple of weeks as I move into the next Primeval draft. Many exciting unmentionable things are also happening. I say that just to let a tiny bit of the excitement leak out and calm me down. And thus hopefully stop wheezing so much.

I’m intending to blog towards the end of the week about my forthcoming Doctor Who episodes, ‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family of Blood’, the first of which is on next Saturday. (I was very excited to see the trailer yesterday.) In the meantime, I thought I’d get through quite a lot of announcements that have piled up while I’ve been ill…

ITEM! The sixth and final issue of Wisdom will be in comic shops Wednesday in the States, Thursday over here. And those of you who ordered the whole series in one stop, via the banner above, should get their packages a day or so later. Through the sheer courtesy of Marvel, the last issue has two extra pages. I’m very proud of what, I hope you’ll see, turns out to be one complete six-issue story, that ties up neatly. And… well, horrifically, really. Marvel’s solicitation reads:

It's only Pete Wisdom, Captain Britain, the King of the Fairies, the Master of Kung Fu and the Skrull Beatles vs. multiple Jack the Rippers and an all out alien invasion. We may throw in Dick Van Dyke. Don’t miss the catastrophic conclusion to your favourite MAX book.

Which is lovely of them.

ITEM! The BBC Doctor Who website team were kind enough to let me have a play with their new Comic Maker, a device which lets you compose your own Who comic strips online, and is thoroughly addictive. It also, incidentally, teaches the basics of comic composition through doing. You can’t have a single expression deliver more than one emotion. And there’s not enough room to show that spectacular battle scene when you also need a big close up on a shocked reaction. Most of all, I really hadn’t appreciated the trouble to which I put my letterers. Those bubbles don’t place themselves! Anyhow, here’s my silly effort, do have a play:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/comicmaker/player.shtml?cid=20071161921106462733


ITEM! I've been following with glee the new audio re-imaginging (or Battlestarring as one of my mates at Bristol put it) of Blake's 7, adapted by my old mucker Ben Aaronovitch. With an entirely new cast, and a very modern attitude, it takes any expectations of cheese and in-jokery and sinks them under the noise of whirling helicopter blades and gunfire. The adaptation is freeform, with the basic story suddenly sprouting all sorts of interesting new twists and characters. I couldn't imagine it being done better. And it's free to listen! Do check it out:

http://player26.narrowstep.tv/nsp.aspx?player=SciFi_Channel&idxtab=25192

ITEM! Favourite author Geoff Ryman, an internationalist if ever there was one, has a show about Cambodian rap music being broadcast, at 7pm on Monday, 21st May, on Resonance FM, 104.4 FM if you’re in London, or afterwards on the web:

http://resonancefm.com/audio.htm

We’re promised ‘music by and interviews with Prach Ly, Sok Visal, A Ping, DJ Boomer, Tony Real, and Silong’. Anyone now nodding your head wisely, you’re either lying or on the programme. I think that’s going to be a mind-expanding listen.

ITEM! Fellow Who author Mags Halliday tells me she will shortly bring online a new Doctor Who fan fiction ezine, Lost Luggage, for which I’ve written an introduction. It will be found here:

http://lostluggage.org.uk/

ITEM! Caroline’s folk/country rock band The Magpies will be playing the courtyard of Faringdon pub The Crown at 4pm on the Bank Holiday Monday, 28th May. If you’re in the area, do come along.

Anyhow, I shall see you all again around midweek, by which time my eager anticipation for next Saturday will know no bounds. Until then, Cheerio!


British Summertime in the USA

I was very pleased to be sent the lovely new John Picacio cover for the first American edition of my second SF novel, British Summertime.




It's in bookshops at the end of the month, and it's available to order now, direct from the good people at Monkeybrain Books, who've really got behind the novel, and come up with some excellent new blurbage:

http://www.monkeybrainbooks.com/British_Summertime.html

It's very pleasing to have a book out in the USA. I was sure we wouldn't be able to keep the original title, but they even went with that. And I love the square-jawed look of our hero, Leyton, on that cover. The background is entirely apt too. I had a little moment of 'ooh, that's the face of the Golden Men!' Do give their site a look.

In other news, about that SF Pub Quiz at the London SF Film Festival the other day... well, we, erm, won it. Beating the SFX Magazine team into fourth place. The unfortunately-named Team Awesome (which was Graham Sleight's idea, because he thought it'd be funny when we lost) trounced all opposition. Because there were about twenty of us. But that was allowed in the rules, and one plays to the rules. It was very well run, I thought, with assistants running back and forth to collect the papers. Afterwards, Third Row Fandom and SFX went and sat in the park and drank our winnings, and me and SFX's Nick Setchfield talked a lot about Prince. Because we're getting old.

There's a new and lovely website for this year's Faringdon Arts Festival, taking place on the 6th, 7th and 8th of July, in my lovely Oxfordshire town of Faringdon. It's here:

http://www.faringdonartsfestival.org

The Friday night in the Market Place is the big party night, truly something to be experienced, and there are all sorts of delights on the rest of the weekend, including the chance for children (and hey, only children) to ride in a Dalek. If you do come along, find me in the crowd, I'll be the one in a fetching yellow tabard.

Similarly, I'm off in a minute to the Bristol Comics Expo, a link to which is on the right. Much fun anticipated with the Millarworld crowd. 'Now,' said my Agent, 'if you're going to approach any editors, make sure you do it... early in the evening.' Sage advice indeed.

I'm now in the revision stage of novel writing, about a hundred and fifty pages in, and changing loads as I go. Now it's really about taking the scaffolding down, especially the bits that are there to support things you ended up deciding not to build. 'It's kind of...' I began to say to my Agent. 'The end now feels really weird and rushed, and you're not sure how you can attach it to the start, and you're worried about sorting it out. But I've heard this a million times before from authors, and it always works out fine,' he finished. Which was perhaps the single most useful professional thing anyone has ever said to me. And all that without him having read more than a few chapters. So I'm going through it on a much calmer basis now, and enjoying the ride.

Next week will be really mad work-wise, so you may not hear from me for a few days. In the meantime, Cheerio.

Finished!

I've just written the words 'The End' for my novel, Chalk, after 141, 281 words. This is, of course, only the start of the process. Now I have to go back and do a final edit of my own, adding all those thoughts and changes I've written down as I approached the end. (Of course, I've also gone back and done such edits many, many times already.) And then I'll give it to my Agent for his notes and edits. But I wanted to note this moment, and how relieved it makes me feel. Because for the last few months I've been terribly afraid that I'd never finish it. But I did!

In other news, Big Finish have announced the writers of their 100th Doctor Who audio play, entitled 100. It's a collection of four single-episode stories, one of which is written by me:

http://www.doctorwho.co.uk/

And I'm pleased to share it with Rob Shearman, Joe Lidster and Jac Rayner. My story is called 'The One Hundred Days of the Doctor'. It's especially pleasing for me to complete my collection of writing for so many different Doctors with the one I'd previously missed out on, Colin Baker. And yes, that was one of the things I couldn't tell you about yesterday.

Anyhow, I'm now off to relax and celebrate before I get down to the real work. If and when you finally see the book, I hope you like it. Cheerio.

The Next Couple of Weeks

I'm very busy, which is always good. Into the final stretch of the novel. Which is an emotional time, because I'm having to deal with some big stuff in the writing of it. I may well write the words 'The End' this week, and will blog when I do. But I've been writing myself notes along the way about many different things to fix when I go back over it for the last time before sending it to my Agent. The word on draft one of Primeval is good, and I'm having a meeting with them next week. And I'm also working on a few more things I can't talk about yet.

We've registered for Worldcon in Yokohama, and I've voted in the Hugos, pushing the Doctor Who team vote, obviously. And I've nearly got to the end of the vastly tortuous process of actually getting a room in the nearest hotel, the last hurdle being that we don't own a credit card... and we should!

Yesterday, I did a lovely interview with Gill Oliver, a journalist on The Oxford Times, for a forthcoming feature. I'll let you know when it's out. Tonight is the Clarke Awards, which I always have fun at, and moreso now that I know the British SF gang and have many friends going. And I shall have my Agent alongside me, so there will be fun. Then on Friday we're off to see the new Ghost In The Shell anime movie, Solid State Society (and an episode of the very patchily funny anime comedy Cromartie High School, for some reason), introduced by anime expert Jonathan Clements, as part of the Sci-Fi London film festival:

http://www.sci-fi-london.com/2007web/moviepages/gits-sss.html

To which we'll also be popping along on Sunday, to join a team as part of their Pub Quiz. Many of my new aquaintances in Third Row Fandom should be enlivening these events, and I believe there will be noodles beforehand on Friday.

On Saturday, my wife's folk band The Magpies will be playing Faringdon, and then next week, on Monday evening, the nineteen piece rhythm and blues orchestra for which she is one of the three girl vocalists, Boogie Me, will be playing here in support of former Squeeze man Chris Difford:

http://www.boogie-me.co.uk/

And that Friday, I'll be guesting at the Bristol Comics Expo:

http://www.comicexpo.net/events.html

Where I'm pleased to say that I'll be sharing a panel with Allan Heinberg, writer of Grey's Anatomy, The O.C. and now, for comics, Wonder Woman and Young Avengers, on the whole TV/comics crossover thing.

Phew! Still, it's good to be busy! Wish me luck, and I'm sure I shall see you again in the meantime. Cheerio!