Gallifrey and Things

You know, I'm still not quite in the right time zone.  I'm about an hour out, somewhere over the Atlantic, perhaps approaching the Irish coast.  I promised a convention report about Gallifrey, and I don't know how much of one I can sensibly construct right now, especially with many other things vying for attention, but I can at least proffer the promised photos.  Some of them.  

Everyone says how lovely the atmosphere of 'Gally' is, and it is.  It's always quite a shock.  It's like the usual cynicism of fans vanishes while inside a magical boundary, and is replaced by love and glee.  That's why the forum threads, post convention, where a couple of people harp on about Colin Baker's autograph charges and the like (he charged, having been flown over by a dealer, but the convention doesn't) feel so shocking.  There was actually someone there not feeling it! Or maybe they did at the time, but then woke up when they stepped outside the hotel, shook their head to clear the cobwebs, and rushed off to their keyboard to express their pain once again.  This feeling of all-consuming happiness takes British fans, especially, offguard.  To us it's like being unexpectedly lovebombed and embraced by some sort of wonderful cult.  Kool Aid, you say? Thank you, I shall!  That's why the barriers drop, emnities vanish, and professional Doctor Who, as it has since we started coming over with Gary Russell, twelve years ago, gains a new perspective on itself.  The influence of this convention, across the fifteen years between the old show and the new, and increasingly with the new show, can't be underestimated.  

Lovely things across the weekend: I was a great panel about the impact of new/girl fandom on old/boy fandom (and part of it was about how that bipolarity isn't entirely accurate).  Between us and the audience we managed to set out what the situation is now, what the debates are, and where everything's going, a load of useful analysis being done on the fly.  I spent a lot of time on comics panels with Tony Lee.  I met comics legend Marv Wolfman, a hero of mine who I'd missed in New York.  I stayed up late drinking ginger ale with Tara O'Shea and Liz Myles and people like Mark Wright, James Moran and Peter Anghelides, who these days I basically only see in the USA.  Which every year we say we should do something about.  I'd got psyched up about Toby Hadoke performing his show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, and so had Toby, pacing the lobby, muttering, nerves shredded.  It didn't help that the masquerade (always a moveable feast) over ran, and he went on an hour later than intended.  (And a lot of the audience were there for him, and started to kind of resent the costume skits, a feeling which a choice of entertainments normally prevents.) And then the tech crew were frankly incompetent, missing every music cue he'd set up but one, and playing them instead in the wrong places, even when he'd joked they'd do that.  I use such unusually harsh words when talking about Gally because nobody else so far has, and those techies deserved a mention.  Toby, however, rose way above it, got the audience onside, standing ovation.  (And Shaun and Robbie, the organisers, have already indicated a thorough knowledge of the problems and a splendid willingness to fix them, without anyone needing to mention them.)  My own onstage show, Just a Minute, went much more smoothly, Toby beating an equally competitive Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury and Phil Collinson, who kept trying to lure the others into letting him tell his scandalous stories of men called Sven.  What can I say about Phil?  He was everywhere, buying rounds for every fan in the bar, serving drinks at the Volcano Day toga party, always available for chatter, and clearly bowled over by the appreciation of his work.  It was brilliant to see him thanked so much, and to see his kindness in return.  Now I want Russell to come over and get his standing ovation.  

I got to know Phil Ford and Keith Temple, who are two other charming gentlemen, and who also took to Gally like fishes to rainy climate-changed L.A..  I read out a message from Moffat (it's out there, go and seek it).  I taught an audience how to do that little dance Gary Russell does when he's happy.  I went out for dinner with Tara and Javier Middleman Grillo-Marxuach, who'd brought his own Doctor Who scarf, and happily wandered the parties and the pool all night, surprising Middleman fans with his presence.  

So, okay, there was one ugly incident.  And Scott Pilgrim fans will recognise now easily this can happen.  Yeah, I got into a fight... with the White Robot...

The White Robot has entered the party!

I tried to give as good as I got, but...


Well, serves me right for telling him he wasn't real.  

And, apart from Margaret Kistler giving us an Over the Rhine CD to replace the one we'd lost in the car crash, this was perhaps my favourite fan encounter of the weekend...

Dude, they're, like, cosplaying my unbound!  

It was also a pleasure to encounter, selling her books (notably Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan) in the dealers' room, a really great expressive cartoonist, Aimee Major Steinberger, who's produced an A5 fanzine/sketchbook, The Stuff of Legend, largely about her reactions to discovering Doctor Who:

and ask, and she might well send you one.  

Gally had its biggest ever audience this year, and with what they have planned for next year, they're going to need a bigger boat.  And from what I hear, they're building one.  I look forward to it as I always do.  

New York now is just a blur of Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, DWNY, Greenwich Village and one enormous, extraordinary convention, as previously reported here.  But I haven't had the chance to share my photos before, so here we go:

That's me and Mark Brooks, the artist on our upcoming Young Avengers: Dark Reign.

That's the audience of that enormous Marvel panel I was on.

And that's the gang who make Captain Britain and MI-13, together for the first time. From the right, Editor Nick Lowe, myself, artist Leonard Kirk and Assistant Editor Daniel Ketchum.  

Phew.  Having not at all recovered from jet lag from those two events, then I popped up to Coventry, where Rob Shearman (back only the day before!) and I were guests at Redemption, the convention run by the fans who used to follow Blake's 7, then Babylon 5, and now are basically having fun, holding panels about anything they like, and waiting to agree, like some lost tribe of fandom, on what the next thing is they should appreciate.  I find that very pure, high fan culture indeed.  They were a thoroughly decent crowd, great time, good interviews, lucid panels, and the nicest, most straightforwardly friendly hotel staff I've ever encountered at a British convention.  Maybe the attitude of Gally sometimes drifts across the water.  

That's it for the convention reports.   As always, there are a few more things to mention...

ITEM!   The BBC Radio 3, 4 and 7 Science Fiction Season has started (with some oddly scary television trailers).  Here's a list of all the goodness:

Amongst which you'll note my Afternoon Play on March 5th, which I'll be blogging about nearer the time.  

ITEM!   Out now is the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3...

In which can be found my story 'One of Our Bastards is Missing', the sequel to 'Catherine Drewe' and the second in my Jonathan Hamilton series.  Available everywhere, do check it out.

ITEM!   I'm interviewed, along with many other comic pros, in the Tripwire Superhero Special, available in all good UK bookshops by this Saturday, in the US by early March... 

ITEM!   There's a short Cap interview with me at Forces of Geek...

ITEM!   And on a personal note, my wife's just been told she can proceed to attend her Selection Conference this summer, basically the two day job interview that will decide whether or not she can become a vicar.  After that, if she's successful, will follow years of training before she can actually start doing the vicaring thing.  So hooray!

Big changes will also be hopefully coming soon for this blog, which is, I think, looking a bit threadbare, so with some professional help we're going to have a bit of a spring clean.  Anyone got any ideas?  (Yes, I can hear all of you on LJ now.  No, I don't know what causes that problem either.  But I hope to get it fixed.)  Now, back to work and jetlag cold turkey.  Until early next week, Cheerio!

Loads of Links

I've staggered back to my desk, and have been working hard prior to heading off to the Redemption convention in Coventry tonight (three cons in three weekends: arrgggh!)  I'm planning on a Gallifrey convention report soon (with photos), but straight away want to thank someone for the kindest gesture of the event: a lady gave us a (signed!) CD by Over the Rhine, to replace the one we lost in the car crash!  If you are that person, please pop up in the comments section, because I made a note of your name and then lost it!  Sorry!  Loads more cool stuff from Gally to come. 


Meanwhile, however, I now have too many links not to post.  So here we go.  First up, my short story 'Catherine Drewe' is up for a Locus Award (that is to say, it appeared on the magazine's recommended reading list and has therefore been plonked into contention), but because of the way Locus' technology counts words, it's listed on the drop down menu in the Novelette category:


If you've read it and liked it, why not check out some of the competition and then see if it's worthy of your vote.  Cheers.


At the New York Comic Con, I recorded a couple of interviews.  Firstly, here's the Mighty Marvel Podcast:


And here's me on video for Newsarama:


Here's me answering reader questions for X-Position:


And Tim Stevens has a regular feature called Psych Ward where he analyses a comic book character, and this time deals with Spitfire.  I think Jac would have a thing or two to say about his conclusions:


And here's a wide-ranging CBR interview:


And last but by no means least, here’s Wired magazine on Cap’s adventures on Twitter:


And that’s it!  Phew.  That stuff does build up if you leave it.  Gally pictures, gossip, and even more links next time, and now, back to the work!  Cheerio!

Cap Day and New York Adventures

First off, let me point out that this is the day Captain Britain and MI-13 #10, the start of our new arc, 'Vampire State', hits comic shops here in the USA, tomorrow in the UK. It's an ideal jumping-on point for those who haven't tried the title previously. This blog, as always, will serve as letters page.

We've been having an amazing time in the city of New York, both personally and professionally. On Monday, we had lunch with Cap editor Nick Lowe, his assistant Daniel Ketchum, and artist Leonard Kirk. Photos were taken (I'll put up all the photos from the trip when I'm back in Britain). We talked about the story arc to follow 'Vampire State', possible additions to the cast, a possible crossover, what's going to happen in the annual. And we celebrated, this being the first time we were all in the same room, the teamwork that's got us this far. Then Caroline and I wandered down the island, stopping in bookshops and cafes and comic shops, taking the whole afternoon to do it, until we were in Greenwich Village, where we found the Peculier Pub (sic), where the New York Doctor Who group meets. That evening they were hosting myself and Tony Lee, who's celebrating the fact that his Doctor Who comic from IDW is now an ongoing. The group turned out to be great fun, full of personality, and many good conversations were had. As well as photos with Daleks and presentations of mugs. If you're in the NY area and you like who, these are the guys to go find. And that night the Podshock team were there too. Many of these folk will be following us to L.A.. I'm not drinking for 2009, but Caroline, on the real ale, had an Old Peculiar and two Arrogant Bastards. (Insert your own joke about how that sounds like a night at the Fitzroy Tavern.)

Yesterday we wandered around Central Park, then lunch with my old friend from Pocket Books, Jen Heddle. Then we made our way down to the Village once more, for dinner with Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi, at a winery where Mary's husband is on the winemaking team, that being his speciality. Again, I lamented my non-boozy state. But Caroline is drinking for two. ('When's the happy event?' someone asked at NY Who when I said that. I just looked at them until all the pennies dropped.) Mary was celebrating the acceptance, that very day, of her first novel. Scalzi is in town being Scalzi, and has much to celebrate himself. Their company, as always, was of the finest. And at the end of the evening, we hunted for, and found, a wandering dessert truck, which provides chocolate bread pudding into the night.

What a humane and excellent city this is. I do think we've evolved to wander around the base of tall buildings like this as if they're trees. And whenever your eyes pine for the savannah, there's that huge park. Today is two more meetings, exciting ones again, and then this continuing convention moves on to the other coast. Until then, Cheerio!

NYCC, Young Avengers Interviews, Cap Previews

Phew, well, that was a huge experience. NYCC still feels just huge enough, but any more huge and you'd need tasers to get from one side of the hall to the other. I staggered between two parties on the Saturday night, that of I, Fanboy (who later filmed a video podcast in which I'm very over-excited) and then that of the charming C.B. Cebulski, where I met Jim McCann's volleyball team and cheerleaders, Matt Fraction (more coherent than his Twitter feed, but just as entertaining) Rick Remender, John Barber and his lovely wife. It was also a chance to catch up with Hickman, Gillen and McKelvie and Marjorie 'Dark Wolverine' Liu. And finally, rolling in from what looked like their Senior Prom, so young and so well-dressed, the future Mr. and Mrs. Nick Lowe. P.J. Holden revealed that he'd got carried away and bought pick and mix M&Ms to the value of one hundred dollars. At the end I had to find my long dark coat from a rough pile of what all comic creators wear: long dark coats. I felt thoroughly slammed to the bosom of a rather boisterous but warm-hearted organisation, very New York. And it's a pleasure that meetings with various of them are going to continue into the week. Put together with a couple of other meetings, with equally lovely folk, and this has been a very creatively exciting weekend. Sunday was more laid-back, and we just popped back to the convention to spend money and shake Cebulski's hand on the way out. We were going to pop in to the pubs that had become the home of Brit comic creators over the weekend (there's always an encampment) and then go on to Jamie McKelvie's party (I now know so much about his love life, thanks for that, Jamie) but we went to see The Lion King (magnificent) on Broadway, and then chose from all these excellent Japanese restaurants, and in the end were just too knackered. Tonight I'm going to meet with the New York Doctor Who group at the Peculier Pub in Greenwich Village, but since they still haven't mentioned me on their website, this may be a trap. Or there'll just be an old man standing there, who'll say there was a Who group who met here, years ago, but they all died.

Those Young Avengers interviews have started to appear, here are two:


And scroll down here for a preview of issue ten of Captain Britain and MI-13, which is out on Wednesday here, Thursday in the UK:

As I said on that Marvel panel, thanks very much to everyone who's shown such support for the title, with banners, forum icons, etc.. It's greatly appreciated. Did I mention we're not cancelled? Until there's more to tell you, Cheerio!

Young Avengers: Dark Reign

Hello from New York! It is offensively cold, particularly at East-West crosswalks, but otherwise this continues to be one of my favourite cities. Day one of the Comic Convention was extraordinary. It was particularly cool to have Chris Claremont wander up to the signing and say hello. Good to catch up with Peter David, Mike Carey, Leonard, Diggle, Jon Hickman, et al. The Marvel party was, as always, rocking. I popped up on my first Marvel panel: row of creators; packed room; really enthusiatic audience, and was plonked next to Frank Tieri by Joe Q, on the basis that Frank was the most Brooklyn person he knew, and the two of us together would be like some sort of matter/antimatter reaction. (Joe thinks I'm very English, and if this is my niche then so be it.) Amongst all sorts of pleasing announcements concerning my friends and colleagues, Tom B let it be known that I'll be writing Dark Reign: Young Avengers, with Mark Brooks, who drew my issue of Young Avengers Presents (and having met him yesterday is a lovely chap) on art. This is a bit of a dream project for me. It's basically the Young Avengers running head on into a new group of, well, are they heroes or not? At any rate, they've stolen the Young Avengers' name. Our heroes are put in the same place as the original Avengers were put when they themselves appeared, how do they react to these new kids who don't really know what they're doing: fight; mentor; feel attracted to? How about varying degrees of all three? Here's Mark's cover for the first issue, and his character designs (I'll talk more about who each of these guys are nearer the time, and there'll be several interviews up over the next few days), both of which, I hope you agree, are awesome. Do find me if you can, meetings today, until tomorrow, Cheerio!

Roberson on MI-13

Packing for New York is made even more pleasant by Chris Roberson's wonderful review, part of his history of 'secret services', of the story of MI-13:

Thanks, Chris.  Cheerio!

On the Locus List!

I'm very pleased that my short story 'Catherine Drewe' -

- made the Locus magazine Recommended Reading list of work from 2008!

They list it as a Novelette, which means that may well be its category come the Locus Award Poll (despite it being less than 7000 words in length, and definitely therefore a short story), but I'm told this is an error caused by their word-counting software.  Hey, I'm just honoured to be included.

New Cap Banners, Podcast, Party

I'm trying to sort my life out before I leave for New York and LA.  So, swift meetings this week, a school appearance tomorrow, and, blissfully, today, finishing the first section of the novel, about a quarter of the whole thing.  So I've just popped in swiftly to mention three things:

If you'd like to show your support for Captain Britain and MI-13 on a newsgroup or forum, may I suggest using one of these lovely banners, created by Mark Roberts?

They're designed to give a boost to the start of our new story arc, Vampire State, which begins in issue ten, on sale on the 11th/12th of February, an ideal place for new readers to join us.  

Speaking of which, the Waiting for the Trade podcast is very flattering about our first collection here:

And if you're in New York next weekend for the Comic Convention, then you could do worse than pop along to the I, Fanboy party, where I'll be showing my face:

I hope the guys feel more secure now: I've mentioned it, you see?  Now I have to go!  I'm really looking forward to doing two of my favourite conventions back to back, and I hope to chatter away about how it all goes both on here and on Twitter.  I hope I'll see some of you there.  Until then, Cheerio.