Writers' Guild Awards

Just a quick note to say how proud I am to share in the Writers' Guild Award for the scripts of Season Three of Doctor Who, presented last night at Bafta. A concise and witty ceremony, compared by Jeremy Hardy, included Joan Collins accepting for J.K. Rowling, a much-deserved Lifetime Achivement Award for Alan Plater, and the showing of some of the YouTube videos that the American Writers' Guild have made to explain their current (vastly justifed) industrial action. (I'll be putting links up next blog.) Doctor Who beat Life on Mars Season Two, and the current series of New Tricks. It was a pleasure to accept the award alongside Steven Moffat (who made a typically funny speech), Gareth Roberts and Stephen Greenhorn, Russell, Helen and Chris being unable to make it. So I'm very chuffed. Until next time, and tales of Dublin, Cheerio.

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.