My Worldcon Schedule: Love and War

We've just come back from a joyously relaxing week on the Isle of Skye, occupying a friend's house.  There was much boiling of a whistling kettle on an Aga stove, walking across windswept heather and eating fine seafood.  (I got a lot of writing done too, at a large desk overlooking the great outdoors.)  It was just the break Caroline, myself, and the lovely foetus Spud needed.  And now I've got one night at home before flying off to Chicago for Worldcon (Caroline is staying put, a little close to the due date now to risk such a long journey).

As I've been saying on Twitter, I'm very much in two minds about Chicon.  It's hard to tell what's signal and what's noise.  For an afternoon, we at the SF Squeecast were being told by the programmers that we had too many women on our panel, and needed to get some men on there.  But that was so swiftly reversed that one is left not knowing if that was some mad short-lived policy about Panel Parity, a joke, a mistake, or some sort of sarcastic insult.  I started off with no panels at all, then gained two when a publisher asked if that was really going to be Chicon's way of tacking the Parity thing.  But actually, in context with what other authors are getting, two panels or less is pretty much par for the course.  And a good chunk of Chicon's panels display a good chunk of Parity, or feature a female majority.  (Though there are several standout exceptions.)  There's obviously an effort being made.  I'm happy for them to put me on no panels at all if it means more women get places.  But like I say, it's hard to hear the signal of what the aims of the programme might be through the noise of all the confusion.  So I'm going to go along, tweet about the experiences of women on panels (and if anyone decides to alter the constituency of the panel they're on), and have what, hopefully, will be the usual Worldcon good time.

I'm also up for two Hugo Awards (one for Best Novelette, one as part of the Squeecast).  So wish me luck on Sunday night.  After the Hugo parties, I aim to do bartender duty at the UK Worldcon (2014) pitch party.  (And you'll be able to find me at the CONvergence party on many occasions.)

Here's what I'm doing otherwise:

Friday 31st August: 4pm-4.30pm:  Reading from London Falling (Dusable).
                              4.30pm-6pm:  Wild Cards Panel (with George R.R.Martin and the gang) (Crystal A).

Saturday 1st September: 9am: I'll be Strolling With The Stars, see the program for details of where we're wandering from and to in this gentle attempt at group exercise.
                                      10.30am-Noon: Kaffeeklatsch (Kaffeeklatsch 4).
                                      1.30pm-3pm: Autograph Session 9.  (Autograph Tables.)
                                      5pm-6.30pm: Literary Beer (Toronto LB2).

Sunday 2nd September: Noon-1.30pm: SF Squeecast Live!  (Crystal B).

And that's it.

While I was up north, CBR were kind enough to publish this interview with me about Demon Knights.

And, enormous news, Big Finish has announced that their new full cast adaptation of my New Adventures novel Love and War will be out in October.  You can check out their announcement and pre-order here.

It's a great adaptation by Jacqueline Rayner, directed by Gary Russell, a wonderful production all round.  (I'm, erm, in it!)  It's Bernice Summerfield's origin story, the start of her anniversary celebrations, and it was a pleasure to hear Sophie and Sylvester 'meeting her'.  And look at that cover art by Andy Lambert!  That takes my back.  Let me know what you make of it come October.

If it's all right with those playing our year-long prediction game, I'll wait until I get back from Chicago to add in forthcoming points about Republican candidates, Marvel Essentials and Hugo winners in one big update.   hope I'll be seeing some of you out there.  Until then, Cheerio!

The Sequel Continues

I've just finished another 8K week, pushing along on the sequel to London Falling, and I'm celebrating by going along tonight to the High Fantasy Night at Blackwell's in London's Charing Cross Road.  This week I also got back to the mysterious Project M, and made progress with various other exciting things, including going to see the in-laws to get an enormous pile of baby clothes.  I'm writing a novel and expecting a child and doing a million other things at the same time.  I rather like the rush of the huge workload, but I feel like my brain might well be going ping at the idea of sustaining this for very long.  And the stress seems to be manifesting itself physically too, from time to time.  Expect some strange times ahead.  You should see my dreams!

One exciting thing that happened this week was the publication of Saucer Country #6, a special one-off issue intended as a break for our regular artist, Ryan Kelly, and instead featuring the art of my old Knight and Squire partner Jimmy Broxton.  It not only serves as a good jumping-on point for the series, but as something that can be read just in its own right, being as it is an illustrated history of the UFO phenomenon.  You can see the first three pages here.

It was also, pleasant, comics-wise, to see Demon Knights get a review on SF Signal.  I always enjoy it when my SF and graphic story worlds collide, and Brian Ruckley here points out something about endings and influences that I was hoping somebody would notice.  Our new regular artist on DK is the great Bernard Chang (with many thanks to Diogenes for his outstanding art thus far), and as a few of you have noticed, the next story arc introduces a 'black diamond' which also appears in several other DC titles that month.  We're where that all starts.

The new edition of the SF Squeecast is out today, recorded live at CONvergence, with special guest Lois McMaster Bujold!  I talk about William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.  About Lois' subject I have just two words for you: 'bat bomb'.  You'll see.  At one point, I'm laughing so much I lose the ability to speak.

My friends at Geek Syndicate have started a free, quaterly digital magazine, covering the world of all things fannish in quite some depth.  You can find the second issue here.

Another group of friends is the musical collective known as Golau Glau. They've got a new album forthcoming, the official soundtrack to architecture writer Owen Hatherley's new book A New Kind of Bleak.  You can listen to clips from and pre-order this haunting piece of electronica from iTunes on either side of the Atlantic.  They're actually singing about architecture.

And finally, another friend of mine, producer Joe Stephenson, is one of the team behind this, Stephen Fry's proposed animated reading of The Little Prince in support of The National Literacy Trust. It's a great cause, and deserves your support.  And, as always, there are some nice perks for doing so.

I understand that working so hard means that the blog is suffering a bit, but hopefully that'll change in a few weeks when the book is delivered.  But, hmm, a new baby might get in the way of that.  We appreciate your patience during this time of vital maintenance.  Cheerio!

The This Time Next Year Game Update

The final medal table for the 2012 Olympics puts the USA in front, and thus gives us another answer in our year-long prediction game.  No less than 17 people opted for the right answer, giving us our own new leaderboard, as follows:

Phil Hansen: 6
RHeitzmann: 6
Soru: 6

Liz: 5
Paul F: 5
Tom: 5

B-Guymer: 4
C.A. Young: 4
David Bishop: 4
Dean Hazell: 4
Fizzle: 4
L.M. Myles: 4
Michael Lee: 4

Kendersule: 3
Matthew Hyde: 3
PSmithsonian: 3
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 3
Uther Dean: 3

Adam Short: 2
Ads: 2
James Fairlie: 2
Jennifer Kelley: 2
Nick Pheas: 2
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 2
Run Iago: 2

L.L.: 1 
N.J.: 1

It's getting exciting at the top!  Cheerio!

The 8K Week

I'm managing to motor along at a steady 8000 words a week at the moment.  Another eight weeks of that and the sequel to London Falling will be in good shape for the first draft deadline.  Still no 10K week.  I seem to need a day off in the middle, or my brain turns to porridge, and Caroline's day off on Thursday thus provides a handy oasis.  I've also finished and sent off a new issue of Saucer Country and made progress on all sorts of exciting other projects.

On Thursday evening I firstly popped in on Tom Pollock's reading and signing at Forbidden Planet, one of this summer's welcome series of debut SFF authors making their first appearance, then I had to dash over to an arts studio in Bethnal Green, where a work-in-progress version of Mirage Men (do take a look at the trailer) was being shown.  Based on Mark Pilkington's book of the same name, this new documentary is possibly the only sane factual film about UFOs.  Despite it being a warm night and a crowded space, we remained attentive throughout.  I look forward to it being released.

The enormous news this week was that Tor UK (the home of London Falling come December), have just launched their own DRM-free ebook store, where you can find all the imprint's excellent SFF authors.  And just be commenting, you can win the entire Tor library on a USB stick, a total of over 150 books!  (And it's flattering, with nothing yet out from them, how many times I get a mention in the comments list.)

And if you'd like to support your local book shop, London Falling is now available for pre-order at The Hive Network, which brings indie book shops together under one online banner.

This week also saw the publication of Demon Knights #12, completing our first year on a high, with one hell of a cliffhanger.  You can see a five page preview here.

BOOGIEography is a Kickstarter proposal for a Broadway-style dance show by my friend Windy Bowlsby. Typically of the talent of Minnesota fandom, it looks like a tremendous time, but the great thing about funding it is the perks include personalised songs and videos for any occasion.  So you could find yourself with a useful birthday gift or marriage proposal as well as having helped out some extraordinary folk.  Take a look here.

And finally, my friend Eryn Sophia has recently been frequenting the Isotope comic book lounge in San Francisco, and came across this, one of the store's famous toilet seats (on which they normally get artists to draw), on which I'd written a Doctor/Pete Wisdom scene, many years ago.  Nice to know it's still out there.

I'm hoping the rumours turn out to be true, and that Kate Bush does indeed release a new version of 'Running Up That Hill' on Sunday for the Olympic Closing Ceremony (or even, can we hope, appear?) Until then, Cheerio!

The End of a Long Week

I hope you'll excuse me a short blog this week, it's been a one in which I've managed a lot of work, including 8000 words of the sequel to London Falling (I still haven't managed the fabled 10k week), and numerous other things, some of them very exciting indeed.  We went to see the Olympic football match between South Korea and Gabon on Wednesday, a very dull nil nil draw, made exciting by Wembley Stadium and the wonderful Olympic spirit.

Here's Caroline (you can see Spud the foetus making their presence known) outside Wembley...

And here's the match in progress...

And I certainly enjoyed myself...

And yesterday I went along to see Lou Morgan read from and sign her first novel Blood and Feathers. Afterwards, she and a whole bunch of my fellow authors went our carousing, and a lovely time was had by all.  She has been well-launched, I believe.

Two great comics interviews with people I admire have appeared, this one with Saucer Country artist Ryan Kelly (with our editor popping up in the comments afterwards), and this one with Janelle Asselin, who was my editor on Knight and Squire.

And finally I'd like to direct you to this brilliant piece by a mother whose son has Asperger's, about the ways Doctor Who has helped him to understand and deal with the world.  Excellent stuff.  Eli is cool.

As you'll note in the upper right hand corner, you can now find me on Goodreads, the use of which I'm frankly struggling with. Hints and tips much appreciated.

This weekend, I intend to lie in state and enjoy the cricket.  And, erm, go to a couple of parties.  Cheerio!

The This Time Next Year Game: Update

Two of the questions in our year-long prediction game can now be settled: I had (something close to) 18,963 Twitter followers at midnight yesterday, giving a point to both Phil Hansen and David Bishop.  And, of the titles people guessed at, Mr Terrific, Men of War and Hawk and Dove of DC's New 52 comics will not have an issue released this month (unfortunately), which gives points to Tom, RunIago, Soru, Uther Dean, Liz and RHeitzmann.  

For those wondering, I still don't feel the Higgs Boson has been 'generally accepted' by the physics community as being discovered to the required level of certainty, though I wouldn't bet against that happening by the end of the year, so question 16 is still unresolved.  

All this gives us a new league table, thus:

Phil Hansen: 5
RHeitzmann: 5
Soru: 5
Tom: 5

Fizzle: 4
Liz: 4
Paul F: 4

B-Guymer: 3
C.A. Young: 3
David Bishop: 3
Dean Hazell: 3
Kendersule: 3
L.M. Myles: 3
Michael Lee: 3
Uther Dean: 3

Ads: 2
James Fairlie: 2
Matthew Hyde: 2
Nick Pheas: 2
PSmithsonian: 2
Run Iago: 2
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 2

Adam Short: 1
Jennifer Kelley: 1
L.L.: 1 
N.J.: 1
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 1 

You're all doing very well!  Cheerio!