A Blog for Halloween

Having baby Thomas in our lives continues to be a delight, albeit a delight that includes much poo.  Some exciting work things are happening too, but, being so pressed for time, I can't produce a lengthy blog.  However, three things do call for immediate attention.

Firstly, over at the website of my publishers, Tor, I've written a special blog for Halloween, entitled The Things That Really Scare Us, which tries to be a bit more serious than the average take on this festival.  I'd be interested to hear your own lists in the comments section over there.

My old friend, the great artist John Picacio has a Kickstarter project going, a 2012 calendar of his best work.  He's already two thirds of the way to his target, the price for just the calendar is very reasonable, and the extreme end of the perks gets truly epic.  Great Christmas presents there, I think.  Here's John to tell you about it...


And finally, Demon Knights after I've left looks awesome. Love that cover and the emphasis on the Horsewoman.

Now, I've got a bucket of sweets ready for trick or treaters, and will hopefully have Tom greet them at the door with a sudden stretch and his war cry of 'aiieee!'  He's going to be a little handful.  Cheerio!

Everything That Isn't Tom

We have a son, Thomas Joseph Cornell, born 8.07am on October 21st 2012, weighing in at 8lb 3oz.



Nothing else matters very much.  We're now well into the business of being new parents, with all the sleepless nights that involves, and so I don't have the energy to tell the full story of his arrival right now, though I will.  I've managed to keep working, mainly because whatever hormones are pushing me around in the child rearing part of my life are active there too.  So a few small matters needed doing on the blog, and I thought I'd get them sorted and then get back to changing nappies.

There's a big new interview with me at SF Signal, covering just about everything that's happening in my writing life right now.

The softcover collection of Saucer Country 1-6 (plus the prologue from Strange Adventures) has arrived on my desk, but won't get into stores until November 21st...




Irene Gallo of Tor.com has been kind enough to release Scott Bakal's lovely artwork for the story (it is now revealed) I've written to appear on their site this December: The Ghosts of Christmas.  



It's an honour to have been asked to do it, and I'm very proud of the story.  

The full-cast Big Finish drama adaptation of Love and War has now been released

And finally, a point's been scored in the This Time Next Year Game, with rheitzmann guessing that a volume of The Essential Thor would be released in the time frame covered.  This leaves our league table looking like this:

L.M. Myles: 11
Paul F: 11
RHeitzmann: 11

Soru: 10

Fizzle: 9
Liz: 9
Phil Hansen: 9
Uther Dean: 9

B-Guymer: 8
Matthew Hyde: 8
Michael Lee: 8

C.A. Young: 7
David Bishop: 7
Nick Pheas: 7
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 7
Tom: 7

Dean Hazell: 6
PSmithsonian: 6

Jennifer Kelley: 5
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 5

Ads: 4
James Fairlie: 4

Kendersule: 3
N.J.: 3
Run Iago: 3

Adam Short: 2
L.L.: 2

As I said, it's nothing enormous compared to the joy that's arrived in our lives.  He really is wonderful.  And now I want to get back to him.  Until next time, Cheerio!

Bernice Summerfield's 20th Anniversary

(This post contains a This Time Next Year Game update, for those looking out for such things.)

Still no sign of Spud, who'll be a week overdue on Saturday.  We say let nature take its course.  It's comfy in there, though we keep telling the little one there's more fun to be had out here.  Caroline's now on maternity leave, which seems to mean her playing lots of XCom: Enemy Unknown, while I keep up my word count.

I hope you like the new blog photo.  It was taken by Rob Monk, and the full version will appear as part of a feature in SFX Magazine, to which the image is copyright 2012. 

Monday, the 15th, was the twentieth anniversary of the first appearance of Bernice Summerfield, the Doctor Who companion I created for Virgin's range of Who novels.  Doctor Who Magazine marks the date in its new issue with a lovely piece about her, including contributions by yours truly.  The article mentions the full cast adaptation of Love and War that Big Finish are doing, out this month, and its follow-up, the month after, the celebratory release Many Happy Returns, for which I've written my first new Benny material in ages.  (All proceeds from that one go to Let's Do It For ME, the charity funding research into M.E..)  The latter I'll be blogging about at greater length when it's out.

Meanwhile, Lee Sullivan has found, in his attic, his original painting for the cover of the Love and War novel, and he's put it on ebay. I think there's going to be quite a fight to get hold of that.

I couldn't be more pleased that Bernice has an almost continuous publishing history over the last twenty years. It's really all down to the energy of the community that grew up around her, and the commitment of her small, but beautiful, audience.  (And of course, where would we be these days without Lisa Bowerman?)  Well done the lot of you.

To move on to a few other delightful matters...

Lone Boy is the home for creator-owned works from Hugo Award- winning artist John Picacio, including an upcoming calendar Kickstarter project and a new set of cards for the classic game of Loteria.  Do check out the amazing things my old friend is doing.

And from 29th October to 3rd November, a play that's in the form of what might be called a horror anthology is running at the Leicester Square Theatre in London.  It's called The Halloween Sessions.  The writers include my friends Paul McAuley, Maura McHugh, Kim Newman and Stephen Volk.  It stars Sarah Douglas at the head of a talented cast, and you can book tickets here. There's also a trailer.

I hope we get the chance to go along, but baby might make that difficult.

And finally, here's that update to the status of this blog's year-long prediction game.  Now that the writers for this season of Doctor Who have all been announced, betting on Mark Gatiss and Neil Gaiman has yielded points in question four for: rheitzmann; Michael Lee; CA Young; Matthew Hyde; Soru; Uther Dean; Nick Pheas; Paul F; Ads; James Fairlie and David Bishop.  Which leaves the league table looking like this:


L.M. Myles: 11
Paul F: 11

RHeitzmann: 10
Soru: 10

Fizzle: 9
Liz: 9
Phil Hansen: 9
Uther Dean: 9

B-Guymer: 8
Matthew Hyde: 8
Michael Lee: 8

C.A. Young: 7
David Bishop: 7
Nick Pheas: 7
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 7
Tom: 7

Dean Hazell: 6
PSmithsonian: 6

Jennifer Kelley: 5
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 5

Ads: 4
James Fairlie: 4

Kendersule: 3
N.J.: 3
Run Iago: 3

Adam Short: 2
L.L.: 2

There's all still to play for.  And you're all doing very well.  Wish us luck with Spud, and until next time, Cheerio!




The Future of Demon Knights

A couple of days back came the official announcement of something I'd decided upon weeks before, that I'd be leaving Demon Knights with #15.  I felt I was getting tired, and once I was sure that the title would continue without me, I thought it'd be best to leave after 16 issues (including #0), the nearest approximation to my two time personal best of 15 issues and an Annual (on both Action Comics and Captain Britain and MI-13).  I know that comics fans sometimes see 'I'm giving up the title when you leave' as a compliment, but I really want to see this world that myself, Matt Idelson, Chris Conroy and Dio built continue, especially since the wonderful Bernard Chang is staying on as artist.  And indeed, judging by the response on Twitter, the majority of you are going to stay put, which is immensely pleasing, so thank you for that.  And also, thanks for all the kind words about my work on the title.  I get the feeling it's become a favourite with a lot of people, and I suspect that'll continue.

I couldn't be more pleased that the writer taking over the title is new to DC Comics, someone who's built up a fine reputation outside of the big two, the creator of The Surrogates (so he's already had a movie made from his work)  and the current writer of X-O Manowar, Robert Venditti.


I thought it only proper to ask Robert to pop along today, say hello, and tell us a little about what his future plans are for the title.  So here he is...

"I imagine many of you are surprised to see me here. I’m surprised to be here. First, an explanation: If you haven’t heard, I’m going to be taking over the writing duties for Demon Knights with issue sixteen, which will be on the stands this January. Paul, class act that he is, offered me the chance to introduce myself to the series’ readers on his blog. An act of generosity that exceeds the already uniformly positive things I’ve known or heard about Paul.

Just as surprising is that I’d find myself in this position at all. I came to comics through a somewhat circuitous route. I didn’t read my first comic book until I was twenty-six years old, and when I set out to write them, never did I imagine I’d someday be writing a book that featured high adventure, magic, knights, demons, scoundrels, dragons (both real and mechanical), and a whole host of things that to twenty-six-year-old me would’ve seemed like winning the storytelling lottery.

So what exactly will I be doing with this ragtag band of misfits we all know and love? Well, without getting too deep into spoilers, I can say that the end of issue fifteen will offer an opportunity to spin things in a new direction, while still remaining true to the mythology that Paul has laid down. Issue sixteen will begin decades removed from the previous arc, and the team will find themselves thrown together after having spent many years apart. Most of them will not be happy about this. And rest assured, all the core cast members will be present— though in ways I hope will surprise you—and for some the years will have been kinder than others.

My sincere thanks to DC for bringing me aboard, and even more thanks to Paul for leaving me with so many great characters and storylines to play with. Above all, my focus will be to maintain the high level of action, story, and nuanced character that Paul has made a hallmark of the series.

See you all in January,

Robert Venditti
Writer of The Surrogates, X-O Manowar, and soon . . . Demon Knights!"

Very kind of him.  I look forward to reading it.  And the 'meet up again decades later' idea has a real mythic resonance to it; an intriguing place to begin.  With the same editor in place (the wonderful Chris Conroy), Demon Knights' place in the wider DC Universe remains, and the plans laid down will, I'm sure, continue.  So please stick around and support the new team.

I'm not gone yet, mind you.  Demon Knights #13-15 is our Hell arc, which I think is some of my best work on the title.  It introduces concepts that will play out across the DCU, and ends with a bang.  Saucer Country continues at Vertigo, with a three-parter, 'The Reticulan Candidate' starting next Wednesday that I think may be some of my best work in any comic.  And there'll be some big comics news from me soon.

We're still waiting for Spud to arrive.  Tomorrow is the actual due date, so we're sure now that our little one is thoroughly baked.  It shouldn't be a surprise that they're comfy in there and don't want to come out.  The nursery has now been supplied with large numbers of baby books (mostly supplied by Tor, who load me up with them whenever I visit the offices).  I've managed to focus and do loads of work in the run-in, passing 100k on the sequel novel, and working on some very exciting projects in various media.

And of course, in a few weeks, the publicity drive for London Falling will begin.  And I'll be doing that with a Spud onboard!

So our lives continue to change in ways big and small.  I hope you'll continue to be along for the ride.  Cheerio!

This Time Next Year Game Update - Again!

Another one so soon?  Yes, because Rihanna's 'Diamonds' going to Number One has resulted in a slew of points for people who correctly predicted the answer to the first question in our year-long guessing game, namely: B-Guymer; Matthew Hyde; Nick Pheas; Paul F; Liz and LM Myles.  

Which makes the new league table look like this:


L.M. Myles: 11

Paul F: 10

Fizzle: 9
Liz: 9
Phil Hansen: 9
RHeitzmann: 9
Soru: 9

B-Guymer: 8
Uther Dean: 8

Matthew Hyde: 7
Michael Lee: 7
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 7
Tom: 7

C.A. Young: 6
David Bishop: 6
Dean Hazell: 6
Nick Pheas: 6
PSmithsonian: 6

Jennifer Kelley: 5
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 5

Ads: 3
James Fairlie: 3
Kendersule: 3
N.J.: 3
Run Iago: 3

Adam Short: 2
L.L.: 2

And if Adele gets there next week, a few more will be added!  Phew, it's all go, isn't it?  Cheerio!

Chicks Unravel Time and Other Matters

(For those who are looking out for them, this post contains a This Time Next Year Game Update.)

Chicks Unravel Time is the new book in the Chicks Dig Time Lords series, this one being a season by season survey of Doctor Who by women writers.  Those include a number of friends of mine, including Juliet McKenna, Tempest Bradford, Aliette de Bodard, Teresa Jusino, Lynne Thomas, Mags Halliday and Seanan McGuire, and one of the editors is my great friend L.M.Myles.




From the table of contents, it's clear the book has a refreshingly radical agenda, taking on race and culture in Who in ways which are still quite new to that fandom.  And given the heft of talent involved, I should think it's a brilliantly entertaining read.  But the main reason I want to bring it to your attention is that my wife Caroline Symcox also has an essay in there, on spirituality in Season Eleven.  The books is released in Britain on 13th November, and you can pre-order it here.

We are, as we speak, still waiting for Spud to arrive.  Caroline could go into labour at any moment.  The nursery is prepared (with Winnie the Pooh prints on the walls), a supply of jelly babies (ironically the best labour food, we're told) has been bought, but we still haven't actually packed our bags.  I think we'd better get to that today.

The great fantasy artist Anne Sudworth, one of whose paintings adorns our lounge, has a London exhibition coming up, from 16th-20th October at the SW1 Gallery.

And the Hugo Award-winning John Picacio now has an online shop where he's selling limited edition prints of his work, including his A Song of Ice and Fire calendar pieces.  (That's something else that adorns our wall.)

Talking of George R.R. Martin, he's just started a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who stand up for free speech and free expression in the comics medium.  He's provided them with 100 hardcover copies of the Wild Cards collection Inside Straight, signed by himself and all my WC colleagues featured therein, to be offered to the first hundred donors offering $100 or more.  Great stuff.

There's an exclusive preview of Demon Knights #13, which is out next Wednesday, along with an... intriguing theory about the title at PopMatters.

And finally, here's that game update.  Quite a few of the players of our year-long prediction game realised what I hadn't, that the answer to our 'name someone who'll be mentioned in Warehouse 13' question would most probably be 'Tesla', given that that's the name of our heroes' weapons.  But fair enough, they have earned their point. (Though it was several episodes this year before the name was mentioned.)  Those players are: Matthew Hyde; psmithsonian; Uther Dean; Fizzle; Liz; LM Myles; NJ.  And so that leaves our league table looking like this:


L.M. Myles: 10

Fizzle: 9
Paul F: 9
Phil Hansen: 9
RHeitzmann: 9
Soru: 9

Liz: 8
Uther Dean: 8

B-Guymer: 7
Michael Lee: 7
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 7
Tom: 7

C.A. Young: 6
David Bishop: 6
Dean Hazell: 6
Matthew Hyde: 6
PSmithsonian: 6

Jennifer Kelley: 5
Nick Pheas: 5
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 5

Ads: 3
James Fairlie: 3
Kendersule: 3
N.J.: 3
Run Iago: 3

Adam Short: 2
L.L.: 2

I didn't realise, when I started doing the maths for that, that it'd result in LM taking the lead as well as getting her book promoted, by I guess that's apt today.  Anyway, I'd better get back to baby watch.  Cheerio!





The This Time Next Year Game: Big Update

Okay, so three questions were settled in the last day or so:

15: Who's doing the Skyfall theme?  Adele is.  (Guessed by Ads, B-Guymer, Uther Dean, Fizzle, Phil Hansen, Paul F, LM Myles, David Bishop, Penny Heal & Jason Stevens.)


22: Who's the actor who played the Doctor with the biggest following on Twitter at midnight on October 1st?  Now, the original question did say 'in any medium', and a TV comedy sketch is a medium, so I'm giving that to those who guessed Mark Gatiss, whose 232,954 followers easily eclipses his nearest rival.  (Guessed by Jennifer Kelley, Fizzle, LM Myles.)  


25: Did Captain Britain appear in a single frame of a Marvel comic published in September?  Yes, he did, for just a silent couple of panels in Secret Avengers #31.  (Guessed by Tom, B-Guymer, LL, CA Young, Soru, Uther Dean, Nick Pheas, Phil Hansen, Paul F, Michael Lee, James Fairlie, rheitzmann, LM Myles, NJ, Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Dean Hazell, Penny Heal & Jason Stevens.)


EDIT: I got that wrong when this update was first published.  I've changed the league table to reflect the real answer.  My apologies. 

So that leaves the league table like this:



L.M. Myles: 9
Paul F: 9
Phil Hansen: 9
RHeitzmann: 9
Soru: 9

Fizzle: 8

B-Guymer: 7
Liz: 7
Michael Lee: 7
Penny Heal and Jason Stevens: 7

Tom: 7
Uther Dean: 7

C.A. Young: 6
David Bishop: 6
Dean Hazell: 6

Jennifer Kelley: 5
Matthew Hyde: 5
Nick Pheas: 5
PSmithsonian: 5
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: 5

Ads: 3
James Fairlie: 3
Kendersule: 3
Run Iago: 3

Adam Short: 2
L.L.: 2
N.J.: 2


But there are many more points still to be scored.  You're all doing very well!