June 21st 2013
Hello. I’ve been busy: could you tell?
Probably only by the profound silence – I have many emails to reply to, letters to answer, ‘stuff’ to do, which I haven’t done. But I have achieved, oh yes.
My school reports, all sixty of them, are done: the little treasures will find out in, er, unalloyed terms, what I think of them shortly.
I have help launch a book, The Lowest Heaven, down in that London. The evening was terrific, fantastically well organised by the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. We signed long and hard into the night, and I just about caught the last train back to my temporary lodgings by dint of cunning navigation of the Underground and sprinting between platforms. Me, sprinting: I know, not a pretty sight…
I have, hopefully, finished the edits to Arcanum. There have been …problems… which I shall gracefully elide over, but we are currently still on track for publication in January 2014 (and not Novemeber 2013 – please adjust your Christmas lists appropriately). It is a real beast of a book, currently resting like a beached bull seal at a mighty 285,000 words. And yet, it doesn’t feel long. There’s very little of the noodling that might usually be found in a fantasy brick (no T*m B*mbadil, for example), so it’s pretty much all plot. It’ll either be the a huge success, or an epic failure. I don’t think ‘equivocal’ comes into it, and I’ll happily settle for ‘flawed masterpiece’. Caveat Emptor! as they say in Carinthia.
I have also – shh, whisper it quietly – been working in conjunction with a producer about original script ideas for The Movies. I turned in something very first drafty today, and it might be that nothing ever comes of anything I do in this regard, but it’s not only fun, it’s really very different from novel writing. I’m used to just sitting down with a blank page and bashing the words into it, fully formed; this process is not so much that, more sketching part, have someone else sketch part, and so on, until you have a whole, which you can still change. Even working with another person is a bit strange. I’m sure I’ll cope…
So now I’ve got all those things out of the way, it’s time to get Petrovitch and company out of the suspended animation I left them in at around 30,000 words. Brace for impact.
May 23rd 2013
News from Greenwich is that not only are the hardback books going quickly (reserve your copy here), but the tickets to the exclusive ‘after dark’ extravaganza are also disappearing fast – get them here.
And there’s been two reviews of the anthology so far, both of them, er, stellar. The first was from Starburst, which mentioned me by name (which was nice), and the second from Tor.com (which unfortunately blows the cryptic meaning of my title out of the water – so, spoilers).
Niall Alexander on the Tor blog puts it very well – and is certainly the mood which I was going for.
There can be no questioning the value of this artful anthology: it’s as inspiring as it is inspired. But The Lowest Heaven is also a timely and ultimately touching reminder of what we stand to lose by turning inwards as opposed to venturing again into the unknown. Granted, the universe is vast—and vastly dangerous, I dare say—but consider the wonders we stand to discover; the places, the races!
I will definitely be there – the train tickets are booked, and I’ll be dashing about the South like a dervish for three days – I’ll have my signing pen with me.
May 9th 2013
Pandemonium’s latest is almost on us, and, (selects random accent from data bank – settles on cod Northern) “By ‘eck, lad, it’s reet grand.”
You all know from his work on Thy Kingdom Come what a fantastically awesome artist Joey HiFi is. The cover for The Lowest Heaven is utterly wonderful. If you look very closely at Mars, you’ll even see a tiny representation of the Pacific in orbit around it, from my story WWBD. Joey talks more about the process on the National Maritime Museum’s blog, and how the anthology ties into the Visions of the Universe exhibition by the Royal Observatory.
The table of contents is, er, impressive. I think that’s the right word. Behold:
- Introduction by Dr. Marek Kukula (Royal Observatory Greenwich)
- “Golden Apple” by Sophia McDougall (The Sun)
- “A Map of Mercury” by Alastair Reynolds (Mercury)
- “Ashen Light” by Archie Black (Venus)
- “The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Earth)
- “An account of a voyage from World to World again, by way of the Moon, 1726″ by Adam Roberts (The Moon)
- “WWBD” by Simon Morden (Mars)
- “Saga’s Children” by E.J. Swift (Ceres)
- “The Jupiter Files” by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Jupiter)
- “Magnus Lucretius” by Mark Charan Newton (Europa)
- “Air, Water and the Grove” by Kaaron Warren (Saturn)
- “Only Human” by Lavie Tidhar (Titan)
- “Uranus” by Esther Saxey (Uranus)
- “From This Day Forward” by David Bryher (Neptune)
- “We’ll Always Be Here” by S.L. Grey (Pluto & Charon)
- “Enyo-Enyo” by Kameron Hurley (Eris)
- “The Comet’s Tale” by Matt Jones (Halley’s Comet)
- “The Grand Tour” by James Smythe (Voyager I)
Arts by Joey, edited by Jared Shurin and Anne C Perry. That’s not the end of the Joey HiFi love, either. The limited edition hardback version has a fold-out map of the solar system. It is a thing of wonder and beauty, and I can’t wait to see it for real.
There is a launch, on the 13th June, at Greenwich, at which I will (with luck and a following wind) be signing, along with as many of the others who can make it. The limited edition hardcover is only available from the Royal Maritime Museum. Accept no substitutes! After the 13th, the paperback and ebook will be released through the usual outlets. But you want that hardback, don’t you?
April 5th 2013
(now with added hyperlinks!)
There are very good reasons why I didn’t do a day-by-day blog of Eastercon. The first reason is because the convention hotel and the one I was staying at were separated by a bus journey, and nipping back to my room to file a report would have taken a significant chunk of time out of every day. The second reason is allied to the first, in that I didn’t want to lug my steam-powered laptop around with me (and in the event, the con hotel wifi was taking a beating without me adding to the bandwidth). The third reason is probably the most important, however: I was having too good a time to stop. Click to read the rest of this item…
March 23rd 2013
All will become clear shortly.
My itinerary for eightsquaredcon, the Eastercon 2013, is as follows:
Friday, 9pm in Rowan – “Underground London” with Paul Cornell, Roz Kaveney, and Anne Lyle: Take one London. Add magical society hidden from most people. Mix in famous places from the city, and optionally garnish with police procedural. Why is this such a great recipe?
Saturday, 11am in the Conservatory: “Genre get-together: science fiction” with all the other skiffy writers.
Sunday, 1pm in the Boardroom: “Advice for Writers: Setting” with Darren Nash (moderator), Chris Beckett, Aliette de Bodard, and Gaie Sebold: Practical experience and observations on writing believable and detailed environments.
Monday 11am in Rowan: “Selling Space” with John Coxon, Tracy Berg, John Dallman, Anne Lyle: How do you fund space exploration, particle accelerators and other costly scientific endeavours? Why do countries do this, and why are corporations taking an interest? How does academia make its fund-raising media-savvy?
I’ll also be in for the BSFA awards on the Sunday evening, hoping to pick up a gong on behalf of Joey HiFi and the Jurassic London crew.
However, the Ben Jeapes thing: let me explain. Actually no, let me sum up. Ben is having a book launch at Eastercon with Clarion Press. Ben cannot be there. I am standing in for Ben.
All clear? Excellent: I’ll see you in the Conservatory at 8pm on Friday, then. I’m still uncertain as to whether I’m supposed to be signing them, but I could be persuaded…
March 5th 2013
Pwllheli is a long way from anywhere that anyone is. Even for someone used to travelling long distances to get to places, it was hard going. The M62 was stop-start from Leeds through to Manchester, and the Welsh A roads (complete with freezing fog) were little more than jumped-up country lanes. We even stopped once, thinking we’d gone too far, only to discover when we worked out where we were, that we hadn’t gone far enough.
But that was where the Sci-Fi Weekender was, so going anywhere else wasn’t really an option. Me, my merry crew (a special shout-out to my co-pilot Abi, without whom I’d have probably ended up wrapped around a tree somewhere, gently snoring), and about 5000 other people descended on a holiday park (Hafan y Mor, if you need to look it up) to talk, watch and be science fiction for a couple of days before dispersing back across the country again. Click to read the rest of this item…
February 22nd 2013
I’m going to be there, for the very first time. And I’m looking forward to it.
Many moons ago, I wrote my Eastercon blog and wondered what a ‘different’ SFF convention would look like – and suggested the SFX weekender (of which the SciFi weekend is, unsurprisingly, a direct descendent). The programme certainly looks interesting and varied – I’m on a panel in Spaceport at 5pm on Saturday, discussing modern trends in SF and how would it all look to the old folk. Checking the other panellists, I may actually be the oldest one, so no irony there… if they’re not referring to me as ‘granddad’ by the end, I’ll look on it as some sort of triumph.
I’m also signing 6-7pm at the Forbidden Planet stall/kiosk/lander – there may well be copies of The Curve of the Earth to be blagged, but I’m not sure at this stage.
But putting the work to one side, I’m simply interested as to how all this works: it’s a commercial concern, as opposed to a fan-ran, fan funded con – which is why the likes of me have a free ticket etc, and BRIAN BLESSED will be there. I’m even travelling down/across with friends who (whisper it quietly) aren’t writers, but simply fans who are going for the sheer enjoyment of it all. Neither is this a hotel-based convention. It’s in a holiday park in what can be described as far into Wales as you can reasonably get (which is why I’m delighted that one of my travelling companions is a driving instructor who can share the load with me).
I will – undoubtedly – be in the bar, but also roving around. Don’t be a stranger.
December 23rd 2012
Ah, the crashing sound of silence. I’ve been ill – not catastrophically, life-threateningly ill, but for three weeks I’ve been, well not exactly ‘fighting off’ as ‘surrendering at the first whiff of grapeshot’, to every virus that came my way. And I’m still, with two days before Christmas, exhausted and having to pace the few jobs I absolutely have to do by doing a lot of sitting down and drinking tea and having naps. And I’m never – for values of a decade – this ill. At least I was well (the last day I was well, in fact) for the Thy Kingdom Come launch, which was brilliant. More on that shortly.
Firstly, it’s not long now until the fourth book in the Petrovitch trilogy is released – March 2013. The Curve of the Earth has a simply stunning cover, and the first chapter is up here to read now. To celebrate, Orbit are repackaging the original trilogy (can this sound any more like Star Wars?) into one mahoosive ebook. Depending on how things go, there may also be a dead tree version of the compendium at a later date. There’s a new cover to go with that too. In case you were wondering whether Petrovitch still has it, Lauren Panepinto (the original cover artist) has given Curve 5 stars on Goodreads. You can trust her judgement.
Secondly, to go with that, I’ll be at the (what used to be called and as everyone still calls it) SFX weekender, courtesy of Orbit, 1st-3rd March 2013. There’ll probably be a signing down at Forbidden Planet in London, and if I can pull my finger out, one up in Newcastle.
Thirdly, Ignite is go. Orbit don’t hate it, or the fact that it’s 300,000 words long. Publication date is nominally November (just in time for next Christmas!), but I’ve got some work to do on it first, which because I’ve been ill, is slightly behind schedule. Rereading something I haven’t even looked at for eighteen months – the first quarter of the book – I was gratified to realise that it didn’t suck, and was actually quite good. Ignite will have its own page in the new year, which I’ll add to as things progress.
Fourthly, other publishing news. I’ve written a short story. And I’m going to write another one. The first story was, almost inevitably, for a Pandemonium anthology: The Lowest Heaven is a collaboration with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and just look at that list of contributors. I’m in really very good company. I managed to snag Mars as my astronomical body of choice, which I was delighted about. My story ‘WWBD’ will hopefully be up to scratch. Later on in the year, I’m in another collaborative anthology (with an equally impressive list of contributors) edited by Gary Dalkin about plants. But not as you know them. Really looking forward to this one. And finally for this bit, the Thy Kingdom Come story (and Jared’s favourite) ‘Never, never, three times never’ is being reprinted in a Prime Books anthology (available June) called ‘After the End: recent apocalypses‘. With a contributor list that includes Bruce Sterling (I’m in an anthology with Bruce Sterling! Does the happy dance).
It remains for me to say, whether you believe in it or not, have a very merry Christmas. There will be some festive Petrovitch under people’s trees, so I’m led to believe, so I’ll leave you all with this.
November 26th 2012
Two whole days before I descend on that London for the launch of Thy Kingdom Come – the book!
There will be copies for sale, as Jared pulled the pre-order when two-thirds of the print run had gone – but I’ll sign pretty much anything (not other author’s books – I’m given to believe that’s bad form…), and there will be readings and questions and general milling: it’s at Blackwells, Charing Cross, it’s on Wednesday 28th November, and the fun starts at 6pm. Tickets are free, but the store have asked if you could reserve a place by emailing them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 24th 2012
Dear Sir or Madam,
You are cordially invited to Blackwell’s, Charing Cross Road, on the evening of Wednesday 28th November, 2012 to celebrate of 10 years of Thy Kingdom Come, and the launch of Pandemonium’s hardback version of the stories*.
Time to be confirmed 6.30- 8.00pm 6.00pm-7.30pm, dress is optional**.
Author and publisher will be in attendance, and there will be readings! signings! awkward questions from the floor! cake***!
*actual book may be in short supply. Over a third of the available copies went in the first two days.
**it’s London in November. Thick jumpers and sensible shoes might be better.
***the cake is a lie.
(edited twice to add correct time!)
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