Eastercon Approaching

In the end, I only did a couple of days of the World Horror Convention down in Brighton. It was good fun, but with a script to write, and meetings tomorrow, it felt like both indulgence and exhaustion at the same time. I very much enjoyed seeing friends like Rob Shearman (so at home in that genre now), Sarah Pinborough and Kim Newman, and meeting a few new folk, like the great David Pirie, whose A New Heritage of Horror, a new edition of one of the classic books on British gothic film, has been rarely out of my hands since.

So on Thursday I'm off to Heathrow for Odyssey 2010, this year's Eastercon. In contrast to my one panel at World Horror (a rather neat and chirpy one with a whole bunch of us defining the genre), I'm on no less than ten panels or events, which are:

9.00, Friday: Were Fans Bullied at School? I very much wanted to do this, if only to confirm my own instincts that fandom is a culture of post traumatic stress disorder. I'm moderating, and I'm hopeful that, though we may be going over some highly emotional ground, we're going to keep it calm.

11,00, Friday: Kate Bush as Fantasy Author. It's my presentation from Worldcon in Montreal again, updated to include some notes offered by the audience on that occasion.

14.00, Friday: The English in the Marvelverse. About the influence of UK creators on the Marvel Universe. I should think one of the first things somebody will say is that Grant Morrison is Scottish.

9.00, Saturday: Female Superheroes: Why aren't there more of them? As long as the audience don't think it's my fault.

Noon, Saturday: autographs.

15.00, Saturday: SF/F and Social Media. (Do check out the link to moderator Danie Ware's summing up of the panel.) The #LiveCon hashtag will let those of you on Twitter ask questions live, even if you're not physically there, and #EasterCon will be the general tag for the whole weekend. I believe we'll also be in 3D.

15.00, Sunday: Guest of Honour Interview: Mike Carey. I'd proud and somewhat nervous to be interviewing the comics writer and novelist about all aspects of his career.

20.00, Sunday: Writing for Audio. I've done it. A bit. It'll be fine.

14.00, Monday: Icons, Symbolism and Archetypes. A panel about the use and appearance of religious imagery in fantasy and SF. I always used to think that religion panels at SF events were going to end up in a row, but every time everyone's been so worried about that that they turn out to be lovely. Let's hope this one doesn't buck the trend.

15.00, Monday: Dollhouse: Ethics and Identity. Or maybe this will be the scary panel. It's not like I've got an easy downhill run right at the end. Phew.

In other news, I've been interviewed about comics by Stacey and Iz of the Comic Racks Podcast. I think I went on a bit but did okay.

If you see me at Eastercon, do prop me up and offer me vitamins. Until then, Cheerio!

And, the best interview -

The BSFA survey I filled in for Niall Harrison at Torque Control. Which sums me up, really. Cheerio.

Two Interviews

Today I should be back to writing Pulse, but I've just got time to pop in and chunter about two recent interviews. I'm answering Marvel audience questions at The X-Position and talking to Chip of the lovely Two Minute Time Lord podcast about all things Doctor Who.

Tomorrow I'm off to the World Horror Convention in Brighton, which I hope to blog about a bit. But you know my record on doing that as we go. You may have to wait until I'm back. Until then, Cheerio.

Back at my Desk

Phew, sorry about that mid-season break. Normal transmission has been resumed. I'm now sitting in my new office on the third floor of a lovely house, surrounded, for the first time in my life, by all my geeky stuff in one place. (I'm currently seeking a glass-fronted display case for all the little nick nacks.) Photos will follow when it's no longer a work in progress. It's been a bit like one of those puzzles where you've got one clear space in the frame, and have to move the other pieces around to make a picture. The 'box room', which will eventually be the spare bedroom (we have a spare bedroom!) is still full of stuff, but I may actually clear that today. The new village is lovely, much smaller than Faringdon was, quiet and peaceful. I still seek a pub quiz.

In the midst of moving, I've also been working, finishing a rewrite on episode two of Pulse (which the BBC have kindly commissioned a script for, despite us still not knowing whether we're going to series or being shown as a pilot), and doing a few more exciting things of which you'll hear in the future. We've been talking to SFX Magazine about Pulse recently, so there should be something in a forthcoming issue.

It seems a bit useless to do a Gallifrey One review so long after the event, so I'll content myself with saying that the usual excellent time was had, and the convention surpassed itself. You know you're at the heart of a fandom when there's one welcome video from the executive producer and the current star pops up in the next. It was great to spend time with old friends like Tara, Liz, Javier and Mark, and new ones like Katy, John Fay and Alice Troughton. Javier won Just A Minute, which was so bounced about in the schedule and deprived of technical prep that I think we tested that format to destruction this year. It survived largely because of the good spirits of our guests, amongst which Katy Manning shone. But Javi got a look in his eye and pushed for the finishing line for the USA. I may put up a list of winners over the years, if I can remember. Anyone with a better memory: please help. On the morning after, rather than mope like I usually do, me, Tara, Katy and Lizzie had breakfast and then lunch in the same four seats, and had an excellent time.

Aww, tiny Dalek!

The biggest thing to happen at the convention, though, was the arrival of this:

Chicks Dig Time Lords is a compilation of writing about the female experience of Doctor Who, from fun memories of first fandom to creative endeavours to academic critique to a new Torchwood Babiez comic strip. It's awesome, and the first of its kind, and marks a kind of watershed, I think. Gallifrey this year had a huge female audience, not quite 50/50, but getting there, bringing the cosplay and the squee and the fun. This is a good thing. The Chicks editors and writers had an amazing panel, along which stretched about twenty of them, led by Lynne and Tara. They expected it to be controversial, which just shows, but it was lovely, and afterwards they were mobbed by people getting their copies signed.

They shifted every one they brought. The book's available from the publishers here. I'm told Amazon in the UK will shortly be getting its act together and selling some. But your local specialist or everyday bookshop will be able to get it. Trust me, it's a delight. And a book whose time has come.

In other news, Avengers Vs. Atlas #3 is in your comic stores and shops now, and features a back-up strip by me and Luscious Leonard Kirk, in which Venus, the goddess of love, answers readers' letters. I had a lot of fun with that.

Next weekend I'll be at the World Horror Convention in Brighton. I only have one panel, at 2pm on the Thursday, entitled 'What Is Horror?' Considering that I will have arrived in Brighton slightly less than two hours before, and will have run to the venue from my hotel, I think my mere appearance may answer that.

The weekend after is Eastercon, at which, in contrast, I'm doing all the panels in the world. I'll blog a list of them between the events. I've decided that this year I'll be going all to Comic Con in San Diego for the first time. Everyone's got to do it once, and since the New York Comic Con is on the same weekend as Newcon in Northampton, this will be my comics spree this year. Going from this village to an enormous event like that will probably be a bit of a culture shock. I may keep asking where the well is. I'm also very much looking forward to visiting Melbourne again for Worldcon. I have very happy memories of times spent there, and it'll be good to catch up with my Aussie friends.

And of course, we're in the middle of that lovely pre-season training feeling concerning Doctor Who. The first clips and interviews from the new season are out there, and everyone's getting excited. I realised the other day that I'm in a position to say to Matt Smith: 'Do you know, I was active in Doctor Who fandom before you were born?' Remind me not to.

It's good to be back. Until next time, Cheerio!

My Novelette Online

Have moved! Popping in to Caroline's college to post this link! Loads to tell you! When I get broadband at home, I will!

But in the meantime, with the Hugo nomination deadline on Saturday, a bit urgent. 'One of Our Bastards is Missing', my second Jonathan Hamilton story, complete to read online, originally in The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction #3, for your consideration in the Novelette category, is here:


Oh, and Dark X-Men #5, the conclusion, is out now. Until broadband arrives to save me, Cheerio!

Moving Day

We're moving house today, so I'm going to be offline for several days. I'm not sure how emotional I'm going to get. We've had wonderful times here in Faringdon. I was reminded of them the other night when many of our local friends came to a party. All I can say is, we'll always come back here, we're not vanishing forever.

Last night was the cast and crew showing of Pulse, which looked even better on the big screen. Awesome director and cast. The screening was just round the corner from the Fitzroy Tavern, where I met the producers beforehand. While the first Thursday of the month Doctor Who related drinks were happening. I had to explain that this was where my tribe lived. Come on, let's have a series!

It's hard to wake up in the night surrounded by stacks of boxes and not imagine oneself in a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Mean Streets. 'You're in Monolith territory now, kid!'

I'm going to do my best to say goodbye to the old place out loud. See you in the new house. Until then, Cheerio!

My Oscar Bets

Quick post to firm up this yearly ritual. What I'm after is value. If I agree that it's a 100% certainty that the favourite will win, and the odds will just give me pennies, I won't always bet. That's only worth doing if you're willing to put large sums of money down, and my rule is always that I only bet what I can lose without giving it a second thought. I'm not after winning all of these. I'm after winning one that will pay for all the others.

Best Picture: Inglourious Basterds at 14/1. Yes, I know. One of Avatar or The Hurt Locker will win. But... the odds on this picture are getting smaller and smaller, after producer Harvey Weinstein made one of his self-fulfilling prophecies. And it's a Jewish-themed movie. Remember how The Pianist surprised everyone? Yes, it's a long shot. That's the point.

Best Director: James Cameron at 5/2. Because Kathryn Bigelow is now 1/4 on.

Best Actor: Morgan Freeman for Invictus at 18/1. Of course Jeff Bridges is going to win it. There is no surer thing. But I just couldn't resist this perfect storm of all my rules for winning an Oscar, chief of which is: this is an perfect impersonation of a recognisable figure. (My other big rule is: as soon as Johnny Depp appears in a serious enough film, he has a Best Actor waiting for him.)

Best Actress: I broke my own rule and will make mere pennies when Sandra Bullock wins it at 8/13 on. The others just aren't going to. (Too many already (x2) young enough to have another go (x2).) Maybe there's just a touch of recognisable figure about Meryl Streep's Julia, but that'd only get me 7/4 anyway.

Best Supporting Actor: again, it's Christoph Waltz at bloody 1/25. No point in betting against for the hell of it.

Best Supporting Actress: it will almost certainly be Mo'Nique. But I just wonder if the Academy is ready for an African American villain who's from right at home, not a glorious bastard like Idi Amin. I'm wondering if a slight wince might bounce it elsewhere. And so I went for Anna Kendrick in Up In The Air (the film about which everyone will say otherwise, wait, that got nothing?!) at 12/1.

I put down a tenner on each of the above, so I'm looking to make more than £60. Please don't follow me, this is just a bit of fun for you at home. Until next time, when hopefully I'll have moved house, Cheerio!