Pulse at the Expo, Podcast Interviews

Whether or not you've seen the Pulse pilot online here or not, you may want to pop along to the London MCM Expo tomorrow (Sunday), when at Noon there'll be a panel featuring myself, Executive Producer Simon Heath and several of our lovely cast. If you have seen the show, please post a comment on the website: the numbers are already exciting, but it all helps towards getting us a series. At 2pm that day, I'll also be taking part in an onstage game show battle between comic artists and writers. Obviously, we'll win.

Meanwhile, I've popped up on the Wordpunk Radio and Creeping With Armstrong podcasts, talking about the show, Doctor Who, and all sorts of other stuff.

And Iz McAuliffe is running the Cardiff Half Marathon dressed as Tank Girl in aid of The Stroke Association. A very personal cause for this maven of UK comic podcasters.

If you're coming along to the Expo, do say hello. Until next time, Cheerio!

Watch Pulse Online Now!

Okay, here we go! Those living in the UK (I assume, if you're outside the UK give it a try and let me know) can now see the entire Pulse pilot episode online at the BBC3 website here.

If you check it out, do make sure to leave a comment and let them know you enjoyed it. That's one of the steps towards us getting a series. Hope you enjoy it. Cheerio!

BBC3 Pulse Guest Blogging

Today I'm a Guest Blogger at BBC3, talking about Pulse.

And here's our lead, Claire Foy, talking about the show for The Stage Podcast.

Only eight days to go! The team will be at the London MCM Expo on Sunday. We're pick of the day in the Radio Times. Now I just have to work out where I'm going to be for broadcast night...

Pulse Trailer and Lois Lane Related Rage


And may I just say, woo hoo! (I love 'contains horror'.) It's brilliant to actually be able to share some clips with the world.

For those of you not in the UK, here's that trailer on YouTube:

To join the Facebook fan page for Pulse, which is now accessible wherever you are in the world, go here.

And myself, Executive Producer Simon Heath and actors Arsher Ali, Emily Beecham and Gregg Chillin will be appearing on a Pulse panel at noon, Sunday 30th May, at the MCM London Expo. All the details can be found here.

There'll be more Pulse news shortly.

Secondly, a huge controversy erupted overnight about this interview. I made the mistake of teasing that Lex Luthor, in my story arc in Action Comics, would be taking Lois Lane along with him 'as his girlfirend'. I, and this is silly of me in retrospect, expected the reaction to be 'oh, well, that can't possibly be true, I wonder what it really means, I'm so intrigued', instead of which, the actual reaction was 'arrgggghhhhhhhhhloveLoisandClarkasacouplekillyoukillyoukillyou!'

Now, we all know of creators whose response to this situation would be to continue to tease the audience and maybe get a 'Lex and Lois 4 Ever' tattoo. And I did indeed give that some thought, because that brave stance increases publicity. But, having slept on it, well, if we did that, we're not going to get any extra sales out of it. We're going to get one guy who'd have bought it anyway telling everyone 'oh, I've just looked at it, it's not what you think', and then everyone else blaming us for the anger they'd felt.

I'm not going to tell you what the actual Lex/Lois deal is, because that really would be spoiling the issue, and would be unjust to my lovely editors, who are probably as surprised at all this as I am. But I will say: if you're a Lois and Clark fan, you'll see, a few pages in, that you have no reason to be angry. I respect your love for these characters, I love your passion, and I want to write for that passion, not against it. We'll get sales not out of artificial controversy, but because we're telling a good story. I think this is a good story, and I don't want to distract from it by creating fake suspense over something that's a side issue. Just... trust me, okay?

Phew. I even had an old friend of my wife's pop up about this. People in the real world care about these characters. And they absolutely should.

And finally, here is an interview I did for the 2 Minute Time Lord podcast, about Pulse and my love for the new Doctor Who.

I'm looking forward to the Bristol Comics Expo, starting with the usual epic curry and booze session tonight. I'm most looking forward to seeing my gang of British comics writers and artists, but there's also Ian Edginton's Sherlock Holmes graphic novels, the Classic Comics Shakespeare, the French translations and the t-shirts I buy only at comic conventions. If you're there, do say hello. Until then, Cheerio! (Lois and Clark 4 Ever.)

Pulse Fan Page and Spitfire

Pulse now has an official Facebook fan page, with many new cast photos, and links to all the previews and reviews that are out there already. If you're on Facebook, take a look here.

EDIT: That link should now work internationally.

Spitfire #1 is out in August! It's a one-shot, part of the Women of Marvel event, and it details the covert op Jac and Blade are running in New York while the rest of MI-13 are attending Steve Rogers' reception (as shown in Age of Heroes #1, which is out tomorrow in the States, Thursday in the UK, volcanic ash clouds permitting). The artist on Spitfire is the wonderful Elena Casagrande, and this lovely cover -

- is by Jenny Frison. Cheerio!

Pulse Transmission Date

News just in from the press screening this morning: Pulse will be broadcast on BBC3 at 9pm on Thursday, June 3rd.

Watch this space, or my Twitter feed, for a forthcoming trailer, website, and how you can see the episode before broadcast. Our Twitter hashtag is: #pulsebbc3.

It was brilliant to get such great reactions from the journalists and reviewers along this morning. This bodes well, I hope. A big online reaction will make all the difference about whether or not we make it to a series. Cheerio!

Ten Things for the Nebulas Weekend

I thought I'd better get another blog post up for a start. That 'general election' one makes the blog look like it's from a past age. I remain stunned. I'm also stunned that Lib Dems, and the general public, seem content with the result. When David Cameron goes on holiday for the first time, it could well be that Nick Clegg, the first Liberal to sit on the government benches in decades, will stand up defend the policy to keep a nuclear deterrent, or to keep tuition fees, or... the list goes on. My Lib Dem friends (and wife) have already found themselves defending a dodgy constitutional amendment that they'd have howled about in opposition. That's the thin end of the wedge. This is how parties become the opposite of what their name means, as has happened so many times in other countries. And I don't know what I fear most: watching in horror as fan friends, following the flag rather than the detail, defend the indefensible as being all right really; or watching them mentally return to being eternally in opposition, never in charge, because that's a more comfortable place to be. Where I am now, frankly.

But onto happier matters. It's been a while since we've had Ten Things. So let's have one!

1: Most important of all, the Hugo Voter Packet is out now. This is the remarkable scheme whereby the purchase of a supporting membership (£25) to Worldcon gets you ebook copies of: six novels; six novellas; six novelettes; five short stories; six non-fiction books... all the nominated works in each of those Hugo categories, and I could go on, with vast swathes of material from all the other categories. It's a huge bargain, and beside that, you get to vote in the Hugo Awards! Go on, take part in our SF democracy and get the most talked-about books of the year at a knockdown price!

2: On Saturday evening, May 15th, at 8.15pm (EDT in the US), this year's Nebula Awards ceremony begins. In an exciting development, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America will be broadcasting the event live. You can see it here. The SFWA have, in recent years, been doing much to restore the pomp to their awards system, and a proper show, seen all over the world, is the cherry on the cake. Good luck, everyone! (Ooh, I wonder what Mary Robinette Kowal will be wearing?)

3: The Starship Sofa podcast is up for a Hugo this year in the Best Fanzine category (the first podcast to be so honoured) and has an excellent Hugo Runners and Riders edition out now, featuring Cheryl Morgan and Jonathan Strahan.

4: Closer to home, my own beloved Faringdon Arts Festival has a much enhanced online presence this year. Running from 4-11 July, with the big concert weekend at the end of that (which I'll be MCing as usual), this year's Festival boasts authors Sarah Pinborough, Ian Whates and Juliet E. McKenna, and actor Jeremy Bulloch. I'm also looking forward to introducing my favourite young band, Quadrophobe.

5: I'm going to be going along to the Comic Village at the London MCM Expo just on the Sunday, 30th May. I'm told I'm going to be involved in a gameshow showdown, writers vs. artists, on a writers team that also contains Richard Starkings, Tony Lee, Robin Furth and Andy Diggle, against the artistic might of Jock, Svetlana Chmakova, Sarah McIntyre, Marc Ellerby and Paul Duffield. Also, and I'll be making more of a fuss about this nearer the time, I hear there'll be a Pulse event of some kind.

6: My friends at the wonderful BBC Archive have just put up online every episode of physics genius and science populariser Richard Feynman's Fun To Imagine series. Feynman's enthusiasm is always an inspiration, and if this gets a lot of hits there's a lot more science goodness waiting in the Beeb's basement.

7: Rob Williams' Captain Britain issue of Deadpool Team-Up (#893) is in British comic shops today.

I know Rob's always wanted to write Cap, so do grab a copy. Pete Wisdom's in it too.

8: I've been for some time now to post about Maura McHugh's Roisin Dubh an Irish steampunk high romantic horror comic (someone from it will be along to clarify my genre reaching and add accents shortly I suspect) with, I think, a bright future ahead of it. The Pre-Raphaelite cover scarce indicates the bloodthirstiness within.

9: If you're going to the Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo this year, as I am, you may find this Geek Syndicate Guide to what you can expect to see there useful. I think I'm on a DC panel, and will be signing Cap to publicise Bristolcon in November. More details later.

10: And for our horse-related TV title sequence this week, I thought I'd get to a show from my childhood that's already been mentioned in the comments...

From the days when you could pay your lead in hay. I knew all the lyrics to that when I was six. Until next time, Cheerio!

The General Election

I just got back from voting (Lib Dem, tactically, having been a lifelong Labour voter), something which I always find a joy. For one thing, elections are usually in Spring, and they speak of hope and new growth. For another, to be able to vote is a precious thing. But you'll have heard people talk endlessly about that before, so I won't go on and on.

It's extraordinary how things have worked out in the run up to this election, a politics geek's dream of twists and turns. Those who work for all the parties (and that's another job I'd like if I didn't have this one) will be desperately trying to manage chaos. Anything can happen in the next day or so, or should I say the next week, because I very much doubt we'll wake up with a new government tomorrow morning.

David Cameron went into this election thinking it'd be a cakewalk, that the British electorate would do what they always do, vote against something rather than for something, flip from one state to its perceived opposite. But two things were in place to change that pattern. Firstly, the ground state of the electorate was different, because, bizarrely, and for no other reason I can think of than to boost ailing sales, the Daily Telegraph had spent the previous year making sure the electorate thought that both Labour and the Tories were thoroughly corrupt. This is, of course, not the case. We in the UK enjoy tiny levels of actual political corruption compared to most of Europe. I think most of the MPs who were caught over-claiming on their expenses had been encouraged to think that this was the way they made up for their (genuinely too small) salaries. (That's one thing I hope an incoming government of any stripe does: pays backbench MPs a decent wage, so the stream of talent out of parliament ceases and we're not just left with the fanatics who'd do it for nothing.) So, oddly, a whiff of being 'establishment' clung to Cameron, not just because of his accent and bearing, but because his lot had been tarred with the same brush as the government. Look at that video of him being confronted by the student who says 'I don't believe you'. He looks not like the Leader of the Opposition, but like a cornered government minister. The Telegraph has been desperately trying to make up for this in the last couple of weeks, having doubtless had its collective editorial balls grabbed by Tory whips (ouch). But the damage had been done. The second factor that changed everything was the TV debates. The electorate watched in their masses, they got interested, and they saw three people on the stand. And the third one, surprisingly, was more telegenic than the first two, and he often seemed unhindered by actual policy. (Indeed, some of the things Nick Clegg has promised on television should surely send Lib Dem voters running to consult the manifesto: tighter border controls? Really?) He grabbed the niche of Mr. Nice Guy Not Grim At All, which had been the shoes in which Cameron thought he'd be standing on those nights. The debates were a triumph. The lack of audience applause made actual debate rather than rhetoric the order of the day, they exposed all but the best of tactics (I enjoyed it when Gordon, who turns out to be hopelessly charisma-free on TV, and is let down by his disability, to be frank, moved things to the economy and started thumping, and so grew suddenly in stature) and they let the participants underline what their policy differences were, what they all actually stood for. Immediately afterwards we were in a three party race, and that's changed everything.

Let me pause here for a moment to say: I've never believed 'they're all the same', and I loathe the cant, so prevalent in fandom, that they're all representatives of some great oppressive power. That just saves people from having to think, and gives them the enjoyable frisson of feeling oppressed without having ever stood up for anything. I think one good reason for a Lib Dem government would be to see if Lib Dem supporters, unlike a lot of Labour supporters, could get their heads around supporting people who are actually in charge, or if, in a horribly British way, they'd always prefer to be mentally in opposition.

So what do I think's going to happen? I have no idea. The polls are literally all over the place, and all possible governments now lie within their margins of error. I think a lot of lying to pollsters is going on, possibly in the area of spouses cheekily putting a cross by the Lib Dem candidate, and then exiting the booth wearing their blue ribbons. But I think two outcomes are the most likely, and these will both take a week or so to come into focus. I think either there'll be a formal Labour/Lib Dem coalition (the fulfilment of the New Labour project as one un-named MP was quoted as saying this week), where Labour offer the Lib Dems their own proposed form of proportional representation, instead of the Lib Dem one (and dear God, I hope this one has safeguards against the BNP getting an MP or two), and the Lib Dems say yes, but insist that, for the British public to see change, Gordon has got to go. (I think Gordon might do his party a genuinely heroic service by falling on his sword before such negotiations even begin.) So we end up with David Milliband as Prime Minister, Clegg as Deputy. Which might strike the public as odd. Or, David Cameron will edge enough seats to make a deal with various independents, or, if chaos reigns on the other benches, will try and hack out a minority government, with life or death votes on every single bloody issue, and dare the opposition to treat the public to another General Election.

Neither prospect fills me with joy. I think a government should have a clear mandate, and get stuff done. If the Lib Dems won outright, I'd be happy with that, because it'd suck the liberalism out of the Labour party, and it'd serve the Lib Dems right to find that they have to do bad things sometimes. I think the other crap thing about the British is that they sometimes think a hung parliament might be a good thing, because it'd... well, stop anyone doing anything. Because oppositional news reporting has taught them that politicians only ever do bad things. And there are some more informed folk who point to the various times and places where coalitions have worked (note, I don't count those situations where everyone involved is being bombed, I think that imminent invasion tends to focus the mind). I think where there's genuine common ground, with a quite liberal Labour party and a right-moving Lib Dem party, then good government might result. They could write a quick shared manifesto, share a whip, actually nail something together than could just about float. When it's the Tories in continual panic and MPs being hauled in for late night votes of confidence every other week... not so much. The prospect of Italian politics is rearing its ugly head. Coalitions aren't like the Great Council of the Fair Kingdom, where everyone dresses in robes and wisdom prevails after learned debate. They're like a Mexican standoff in Reservoir Dogs, about who's pointing a gun where and who can blackmail who.

But still, exciting times. All one can do is vote, and say to everyone that this time, even if you believe this wasn't the case before, it's important. Cheerio.

The Best News Ever!

It's the novel! Finally, I'm back writing full length prose. I've been sitting on this news for weeks, so it's a great pleasure to be able to reproduce the following press release:

p r e s s r e l e a s e

5th May 2010 - Tor UK acquire new novel from Paul Cornell

Fresh from his double Hugo nomination, Paul Cornell has just signed a new book deal with Julie Crisp at Tor UK.

Tor will be publishing a contemporary urban fantasy, featuring a group of characters exposed to side of London they haven’t seen before, in October 2011.

Julie Crisp, Tor’s Senior Commissioning Editor, said: ‘Tor UK is thrilled to be able to welcome such a prestigious talent to the team. Paul’s a brilliant writer and his novel is full of the imagination and originality demonstrated in his writing for BBC’s Doctor Who and Marvel’s Captain Britain’.

Paul had the following to say: ‘I'm delighted to be working with such a brilliant team, and honoured to be part of such a fine imprint as Tor’.

To sign up to receive the Tor UK newsletter, click here. Follow Tor on twitter: http://twitter.com/uktor

And that's all I can say for now. Apart from: excited! Cheerio!

Age of Heroes and Worldcon Memories

Age of Heroes #1, including a Captain Britain and MI-13 story by me and Leonard Kirk, is in US comic stores on May 19th, and you can hear me, Kurt Busiek, Rick Remender and Dan Slott talking about it here. And there's a page of the art too. I do like being part of an anthology.

And Renovation, the Worldcon after next, to be held in Reno, have started assembling a page of Worldcon Memories by such folk as Greg Benford, Cory Doctorow, Robert Silverberg and, for some reason, me. Silverberg's story, about he and Harlan Ellison as convention room-mates, is particularly cool.

It's the election tomorrow, and we still haven't got our polling cards. This is getting worrying. Cheerio!

Hub Magazine on Pulse

Pulse people: from left, Claire Foy as Hannah; Emily Beecham as Stella; Gregg Chillin as Rafee; Arsher Ali as Adam; Matti Houghton as Jess.

#120 of the excellent Hub online magazine carries a very kind review of the Pulse pilot, and an interview with myself talking about it. You can find that, and check out the previous issues, here.

And SFX Magazine #196, which should start sneaking into shops early today, has a news piece about the pilot, chats with me and Executive Producer Simon Heath, and doubtless has some more photos.

I gather that Lisa Bowerman's reading of my Bernice Summerfield short play Closure at the end of the Sci-Fi London Doctor Who day went very well. Congratulations to all involved. We couldn't make it because of a wedding of some old friends of ours, which was a lovely thing to be part of, and went into the early hours, and had a handy break for Doctor Who. (We're doing three weddings in five weeks, it seems to be the fashion this Spring.)

I've already mentioned how my love for Doctor Who is at some sort of all time high right now, but Moffat's latest two parter broke the dial, and caused me to exclaim, as I virtually never do, 'best... Doctor Who... ever!' It wasn't just that mixture of the epic and the personal, and the feeling of unrolling myth, and those incredible leads, it was the attention to detail, and how the whole piece never forgot it was a horror story. 'For fun, sir.' And I should mention, because we people of the book so rarely do when it's a positive, the heroic Christian character, who isn't a hypocrite, and doesn't come to see the error of his ways, and impresses the Doctor. I was moved by that kindness on the part of an atheist author. I'm now in the midst of a fandom of an intensity I haven't felt since I was ten, that I've recognised in other people since, but haven't truly shared. This must be what it feels like to follow a football team like they're your loved ones. It's great, but kind of scary. All the Doctors were wonderful, of course, and so were all the companions, but the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond... and I'm sure shortly the wonderful Rory... in twenty years time, I think I'm going to be saying 'that was my Doctor.' Cheerio!