Fame at Last, I'm in the Lancet!

I'm sorry to say that I won't be at Fantasycon in Brighton this weekend.  We're now at the point where Spud could arrive at any moment, and wouldn't be premature.  I'd originally thought I could drive down and get back if Caroline went into labour, but given parking in Brighton, in the end I thought I'd prefer not to risk it.  I hope everyone has a great time.

In a rather startling development, I've been interviewed for a feature in this week's edition of the leading British peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.  Niall Boyce's article 'The Psychiatrist who wanted to Believe' concerns Harvard professor John Mack, who started to use hypnotic regression to uncover 'memories of alien abduction'.  It's a great piece, and it's especially fascinating to see UFO mythology being dealt with from a medical perspective.

Obsessed (with Joseph Scrimshaw) is a podcast that's great fun in which geeky comedian Joe invites guests to discuss things they're obsessed by.  His latest episode, #10, has Bonnie Burton talking about Godzilla, and me going on a bit about Kate Bush, and was recorded live at CONvergence.  I really enjoyed it.

And speaking of CONvergence, I've been invited to be a Returning Guest of Honour at next year's event.  This suits me down to the ground.  CONvergence is my convention home, something I hold up as the ideal of what events should be like, and I always feel tremendously welcome there.  And this year, hopefully, you guys get to meet Spud.  I think the little one should be on a panel.  The subject of the panel should probably be poo.

There's a new edition of The SF Squeecast out, and it's a great one, recorded live in Chicago before we won the Hugo, with guest Jay Lake being very funny.  His bear joke is very Not Safe For Work.

I'll update our year-long prediction game soon.  All the clever folk who said 'Tesla' for the 'nominate a historical figure who'll be named in Warehouse 13 this year' must be getting worried that, four episodes in, our heroes haven't yet mentioned their Tesla guns.

And finally, Graham Sleight's The Doctor's Monsters, for which I've written the introduction, is now available.  It's an excellent combination of academia and fannishness, an easy introduction to SF criticism for those who share Graham's love for the monsters of Doctor Who.

I shall try and continue to have an online presence as the birth approaches, and then not to post too many baby pictures.  Until next time, Cheerio!

Saucer Country Decompressed

Not long to go now.  I mean that October 13th is our due date, when Spud might arrive in the world.  Fantasycon is perilously close to the time when he or she might appear.  So if you see me running for the door, that's what's going on (probably).

Meanwhile, I'm tapping away at high speed on the novel sequel, the comics, and a range of rather exciting new projects.  And, following a lunch at Tor this week, I can say that the run-up to the publication of London Falling in December will be full of promotional coolness.

But there's one big thing to mention today.  Fellow comicker Kieron Gillen puts out a podcast called Decompressed, in which he interviews creators about one particular issue of their comic.  In this episode he talks to Jimmy Broxton and I about Saucer Country #6.  It's well worth a listen, a rare opportunity to hear people in the field talk about the craft of making comics.

Incidentally, I'm watching the new season of Warehouse 13 with a view to the This Time Next Year Game, a note of who nominated which historical figures to be named therein at my side.  They somehow managed to get through the first episode without mentioning Tesla!

Until next time, Cheerio!

New Comics Day and Retcon!

I'm off soon to have lunch with my editor and publicist (I love saying that), so this is just a quick note to say that in your comic shops today (and on digital from around teatime), are Demon Knights #0 and Saucer Country #7.  Both are special one-off issues, and both are excellent jumping-on points (and hello to the many new readers who we're told, judging by the pre-orders, have joined us).

Demon Knights #0 tells the story of the rivalry between Lucifer and Etrigan, and of what Jason Blood's life in Camelot was like before he was bonded with the Demon, and gives an insight into why that curse was placed upon both their heads.  It's drawn by new regular series artist Bernard Chang (who's doing a terrific job), and you can find a link to a preview in my last blog entry.  

Saucer Country #7 is our second issue spotlighting the history of the flying saucer myth, but this time from an entirely different point of view, that of the mysterious Bluebirds, a group of aviation engineers who believe in a rather nuts and bolts version of history.  It's drawn by the great David Lapham, and is full of extraordinary sights.  (Next issue our regular artist Ryan Kelly returns for the start of our second story arc, a three-parter called 'The Reticulan Candidate'.)

I'd also like, if you'll give me a moment of your time, to promote an Indiegogo project, which does involve a friend of mine, but which I wouldn't put such effort into talking about if I didn't think it was very professional and worthwhile.  Check out this video. Retcon is a web-based SF comedy/drama involving some major acting (Firefly, Ben 10) and behind the scenes talent.  'Bridget Jones in the world of Alias.'  You can learn more here, and donate in return for some cool perks.  I like how mainstream and geeky at the same time this show feels, with a bit of a Middleman vibe to it.

Our first ante natal class, last night, turned out to be very scientific and detailed, and left me feeling a good deal more calm.  I now know that, biologically speaking, it's very odd for a mammal to go somewhere new and meet lots of people just before giving birth, that lying down to do it is pushing uphill, and that one of the best foods to support what's akin to running a marathon in terms of energy loss is jelly babies.

Until next time, Cheerio!


I'm now back at my desk following a week in Chicago which, honestly, was not the greatest, considering it involved missing one day to airline chaos (a broken altimeter, really?!) another to what was either food poisoning or the norovirus, and various fandom horrors that are too huge to get into here (but that you'll hear much more about in the future).  In the midst of all that, it was great to spend time with LM Myles, Lee Harris, Emma Newman, Bill Willingham, Kate Kligman, George RR Martin and the Wildcards gang, and many other old friends.  On the last day, Mary Robinette Kowal invited us to her house, and on a blissful evening on the balcony, we watched her lovely Dad play the saw with a bow.

But still, in the midst of all that, the SF Squeecast team won a Hugo!  Here we all are, onstage, clutching our trophies!

(Photo by the wonderful E. Lily Yu.)  From the left, that's Bear ('yes, yes!'), me ('funny story, these two blokes walk into a bar...'), Lynne ('greetings, people of Earth'), Seanan ('imperius rex!') and Cat ('I have a rosy apple for you, my pretty!')  The superdresses made me feel rather louche and offhand in comparison.

I took my Hugo back through the airport in a specially-provided box, leading to a lovely chat with a TSA guy (I think we have a new listener there).  It's got a crack in it, but I treasure that crack, I feel it's an apt reminder of the weekend.

I tried to get to my reading on the day when I had the bug, but having thrown up three times between my room and the elevators, I decided the audience could do without the special effects.  But, bless them, they did show up, and Ferrett Steinmetz took this picture of them...

They've just been told I won't be there.  Is that guy shaking his fist or going 'yes!'?

I managed to do a couple of meet-the-audience appearances.  (And they were brilliant.)  I didn't get to take the temperature of Panel Parity at the event much at all.  (I think strides were made, but also I heard a few horror stories, like the 'Blind Spots of Fandom' panel (which was, amazingly, less than eight hours long), where a woman talking at the end got literally shouted down.)  Parity is of course the tip of an iceberg, and at the end of the year I'm now looking forward to joining up with organisations that'll do more for the cause of women in fandom in a much less silly and bashy way than what my approach in 2012 has been.

It was, all in all, really good to get back to Caroline and Spud, who is now performing daily rhythmic gymnastics routines in the womb.

Meanwhile, back home, Noel Clarke, bless him, has been reading London Falling, and telling the world. 

And Newsarama has put up a preview of several pages of next week's Demon Knights #0, an issue that relates how Etrigan and Lucifer came to be at odds, and how that influenced Etrigan's bond with Jason Blood.

I'm now doing my best to catch up with work (on the weekend, breaking one of my rules).  I must say it was good to meet so many of you in Chicago.  Until next time, Cheerio!

The This Time Next Year Game: Update

Phew, got back from the US today, but let's not get into that now.  Now is the time to update our year-long prediction game, a number of answers to which have come in while I was away.  To be specific:

Question 4: Toby Whithouse and Chris Chibnall have been confirmed as writing for this season of Doctor Who.  (Points to: Jennifer Kelley; Dean Hazell; Penny Heal & Jason Stevens.)

Question 6: Among Others by Jo Walton won the Hugo Award for Best Novel.  (Point to Soru.)

Question 7: 'The Doctor's Wife' by Neil Gaiman won Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form at the same ceremony.  (Points to: Matthew Hyde; Soru; Uther Dean; Fizzle; Paul F; Liz; Michael Lee; rheitzmann; LM Myles; Penny Heal & Jason Stevens.)

Question 14: Marvel published The Essential Warlock.  (Point to Nick Pheas.)

Question 26: Mitt Romney got the Republican nomination for US President. (Points to: Jennifer Kelley; Tom;   B-Guymer; RunIago; CA Young; Matthew Hyde; PSmithsonian; Uther Dean; Nick Pheas; Fizzle; Phil Hansen; Paul F; Liz; Michael Lee; rheitzmann; LM Myles; David Bishop; Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre; Penny Heal & Jason Stevens.)

So that leaves our league table like this:

RHeitzmann: 8
Soru: 8

Liz: 7
Paul F: 7
Phil Hansen: 7

Fizzle: 6
L.M. Myles: 6
Michael Lee: 6
Tom: 6

B-Guymer: 5
C.A. Young: 5
David Bishop: 5
Dean Hazell: 5
Matthew Hyde: 5
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 5
Uther Dean: 5

Jennifer Kelley: 4
Nick Pheas: 4
PSmithsonian: 4
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 4

Kendersule: 3

Adam Short: 2
Ads: 2
James Fairlie: 2
Run Iago: 3

L.L.: 1 
N.J.: 1

The field is starting to stretch out!  You're all doing very well!