My Worldcon Schedule

The good people at Denvention in Denver (August 6th-10th) have plonked me on quite a few panels, across which my knowledge level varies wildly, but that's the joy of it.

Post-apocalypic fiction: why is it such a big draw? Wed 13:00

The Greatest Villains in SF. Wed 16:00

Does Science Fiction Matter? How does it impact the world and our future? Thur 10:00

Shakespeare's themes in SF. Fri 10:00

Levers in the Time Stream: the most Change for the Least Effort. Fri 14:30

Doctor, Doctor, Who's the Best Doctor? Sun 10:00

I'm very much looking forward to them. Especially that juicy Shakespeare one. And shall make sure to do my revision.

Also, on the Friday at 9.00, I’ll be joining a daily event they’re calling ‘Stroll with the Stars’, where myself, Pyr editor Lou Anders (who just sent me a copy of David Louis Edelman’s new novel, Multireal, bless him), artist John Picacio and Weird Tales editor Stephen H. Segal will be wandering around Denver with the host, Stu Segal, and a bunch of signed-up attendees. It’ll be good for the circulation.

I hope to see some of you there, and until next time, Cheerio.

SF Short Story, Doctor Who Comic Maker

I’m pleased to say that now I can announce the third of the three SF short stories I’ve got coming out in forthcoming anthologies. ‘One of Our Bastards is Missing’ is the second in my series featuring the character Jonathan Hamilton, and it’s in the forthcoming third volume of the Solaris Book of New SF. So my SF short stories list goes:

‘Catherine Drewe’ in Fast Forward 2 from Pyr, October 2008.

‘Michael Laurits is: Drowning’ in Eclipse 2 from Nightshade, also October 2008.

‘One of Our Bastards is Missing’ in Solaris 3 from, obviously, Solaris, March 2009.

I’m thus very proud to have a story in the next volume of every continuing non-theme SF anthology series out there. Short stories are the lifeblood of SF, where the genre comes from in so many ways, and I can’t tell you how enthused I am about getting involved in that field. That’s by no means the end of it either: I hope to make the SF short story something I keep returning to in future years, to the point where I have enough for an anthology.

In other news, my attempt to do something fun with the BBC’s Doctor Who Comic Maker has now appeared on their site. The script’s by me, the fine art of placing figures and buildings and booms is down to the good people who run the place. Do check it out:

Ah, I’m going to be in three anthologies! Hope I’m not boring you with that now. But: whee! Until next I see you, Cheerio!

Short Story, Sell Out, Signing, Stuff

The first thing I have to report is that having sold out of issue one of Captain Britain and MI-13, we’ve just sold out issue two as well! So a second edition of that, with a Black Knight wraparound cover, will soon be on its way! That makes a total of five covers for two issues, which can’t be bad.

I’ll be signing any of that, and anything else, from 1pm this Saturday, the 21st., at the Proud Lion comic shop in Cheltenham:

And here’s the lovely Bryan Hitch cover to issue five:

And an interview about where we go from here, complete with a couple of pages of preview art from issue three:

Now, onto the main business of this blog. As editor Jonathan Strahan has just revealed:

I have a short story, ‘Michael Laurits is: Drowning’ in the second volume of his ongoing SF anthology series, Eclipse. The book is out from Night Shade in October, and will be launched at the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary. I’m honoured to be in the company of writers like Nancy Kress, Peter S. Beagle, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter. This is the second of three SF short story sales I’ve made to anthologies this year, the third of which I haven’t told you about yet. I’m gleeful.

The wonderful cartoonist Laurie Pink has recently let me achieve what had been a secret ambition by turning me, and also comic artist Mike Collins, into cartoon characters. Paul and Mike have already had several single-panel outings, and now there are a couple of full page adventures, of which my favourite is 'It's All About the Word Count'. They can all be found here:

I do like the word ‘crinkle’. I hope that, in future years, these characters may become famous, and it will be an odd little urban myth that I was the basis of one of them.

Speaking of literary SF, I was recently tagged by the great artist John Picacio on his blog, to carry on this latest internet meme. Here’s how it goes: ‘to participate, you grab any book, go to page 123, find the fifth sentence, and blog it. Then tag five people.’ So, I chose Kim Stanley Robinson’s challenging and serious climate change novel, Forty Signs of Rain (reads like a bestseller, treats science seriously, left me with such mixed feelings about whether it was great or lacklustre that for possibly the first time in my life I couldn’t honestly deliver a verdict, but I adore its aims), and the fifth sentence on page 123 goes thus:

‘He was the kind of scientist who habitually displayed an ultra-pure devotion to the scientific method, in the form of a relentless scepticism about everything.’

Which, oddly for a line for this mean, does rather sum up the tone of the novel. So onwards, I tag the following five bloggers, selected to take this out of the SF heartland now...

Tara O’Shea:


Simon Guerrier:


Mark Roberts:

There we go. My part in the chain is done.

My friends at the BBC Archive have relaunched their site, featuring lots of lovely online content, including Andrew Martin talking expertly about ‘the bits between the programmes’, that is idents, trails, etc.:

Here’s a new interview I’ve done about my upcoming Fantastic Four miniseries, True Story:

And the downloadable Doctor Who fanzine Shooty Dog Thing has reached its sixth issue:

Until next time, Cheerio!

Captain Britain Issue Two

The second issue of Captain Britain and MI-13 is out today in the States, tomorrow in the UK, and, in a bit of an outreach effort, we've plonked the address of this blog in there, with the aim of starting up a sort of unofficial letters page. Do feel free to comment on the issue, therefore, but do keep it clean. And you know that thing where an otherwise positive letter says 'you rock, unlike Barnabas Cantwrite-Comics, who can't write comics!'? Don't do that. Barnabas, or Barney as I like to call him, might be a friend of mine, and even if he's not, I'll extend him the respect of a fellow professional, and thus not print said letter.

But you remember those classic letters pages of the past, like in Master of Kung-Fu? We're aiming for something like that: erudition; wit; banter. Go on, have a go!

Ooh, and here's a rather nice review of issue two, with those seven pages of preview art. Bless you, David Wallace:

My non-comics readers will by now be baffled, so I offer this, an interview about the craft of writing I just did for
SFX magazine, bits of which have been used in their pieces on their short story contest. I'm rather proud of this, it's my answer to fellow Who writer James Moran's recent piece on the same subject:

Hope you like the issue. The new printing of issue one, with new wraparound cover, should be alongside it in your comic shop. No major political figures featured this time, however. As I just told some journalists. Until next time, Cheerio!

Iain Banks, Captain Britain and Gordon Brown

‘The good news: no more six in the morning phone calls from Gordon ... The bad news: he's coming round in person.'

It’s been quite a week. On Monday and Tuesday, I was in Manchester, recording my BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Iain M. Banks’ 'The State of the Art'. I’ve never been involved in radio drama before, and it was a very pleasurable experience. We had a cracking cast, in the form of Sir Antony Sher as the Ship, Nina Sosanya as Sma, and Paterson Joseph as Linter (with Brigit Forsyth, Graeme Hawley and Conrad Nelson playing all the other parts). The power of some of that voice acting! And such nice people in person.

Unlike in television, there’s a place in studio for the writer of a radio play. I sat next to the lovely Nadia Molinari, the producer/director, present to discuss the lines with her or the actors, and cut to order. The most flattering thing of all was the level of attention to the meaning of the text. A wonderful team of sound effects, audio and organisational people occupied the studio, clearly a very professional outfit that it was a pleasure to hang out with. I am in the background of one scene with all of them, laughing and clinking glasses. The result will be an Afternoon Play sometime early next year.

But on the second morning, suddenly something else started to happen. I was woken in my hotel by a call from BBC Radio Scotland and then Radio 5. I did interviews before breakfast. All day there were news agencies and broadcasters leaving messages on my phone, and in the breaks I managed to get back to quite a few of them. At lunchtime, I rushed upstairs at BBC Manchester, and plonked myself down in front of a video camera to be on News 24.

All this was about the appearance of Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the first issue of my Marvel comic, Captain Britain and MI-13. Most of the interviewers assumed he was going to be a superhero, but I managed to plug our selling out the first edition, and Leonard Kirk’s lovely art, and came away from most of them with a score draw, I think.

The newspaper coverage was quite reasonable to the strip, the Telegraph in particular printing a nice chunk of it. I’m told the Today programme and many DJs also mentioned it, as did The Daily Politics. By the time we got to BBC Breakfast News on the Wednesday, with my mate Graham Kibble-White on to discuss it, I was kind of accepting of all this as just something weird and mad that happens sometimes. (And okay, so the guys from new weekly comic The DFC rather hijacked that item, but they were up and dressed and deserve it. And hearing impressionist Jon Culshaw read the dialogue as Gordon was rather splendid.) Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Commons passed without a mention, but I do wonder about Have I Got News For You this weekend.

But you know what finally made me go ‘oh, that was an extraordinary week’? My work has influenced a political cartoon. The one at the top of this blog, by Mac.

That makes me feel really rather giddy.

And I should take the space here to thank my agent, Simon, who’s been having a wonderful time prodding all this into motion with a nudge here and a whisper in the ear there. Publicity like this is really his great art form.

The new edition of Cap issue one (with another new cover) should be in your local comic shop next week, along with, on Wednesday in the US, Thursday in the UK, issue two! No major political figures featured, sorry. Well, no human ones. Seven pages of lovely finished artwork can be found here:

And from 1pm on Saturday 21st June, I’ll be signing both issues at Cheltenham’s Proud Lion comic shop:

Phew. It was a lovely week, but it’s left me panting, rather. Until next time, Cheerio!


And the New York Times just joined in, complete with JFK meeting Superman!