April 1st 2012
After charging down to London for the Olympic Park 5 mile run (not me, I hasten to add), I find myself back in the Metrozone next weekend for Olympus – the 2012 Eastercon. I’ll be there from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, and am appearing on the official programme precisely once: the Personal is Political, on the ethics of writing, at 7pm on Sunday in Room 38.
I will, at most other times be found wandering the corridors of the Con hotel (note: no walk-ins: the Con is officially full), listening to panels and propping up the bar. I am, as ever, always up for a chat about stuff in general, the Metrozone in particular, and will sign pretty much anything as long as I’m not going to get arrested/divorced for it afterwards.
With luck and a following wind, I’ll be blogging Eastercon again. There’s also a small matter of the Philip K Dick awards being announced Friday night, Pacific Daylight Time. That’s an 8 hour difference, I think, so if the ceremony starts at 6.55pm PDT, it all kicks off at 3am on Saturday as far as I’m concerned. It’s also being streamed live on USTREAM, so I could, if I was conscious, watch someone else win the award! Feel free to commiserate with the humbled loser on Saturday morning.
August 10th 2011
Posted by: Simon Morden in: From the Author, Metrozone, News and Updates
Tags: appearances | Degrees of Freedom | Equations of Life | Forbidden Planet | Metrozone | middle class angst | Orbit | riots | signing | Theories of Flight
While it’s unlikely that the Metrozone books are going to get blamed for inciting riots in the real London, it was nice to visit our capital city before it became wreathed in smoke, and hordes of looters made off with armfuls of expensive consumer products – and stuff from Poundland… I suppose the remarkable thing is that it doesn’t happen more often, given the obvious inequalities of not just wealth, but of opportunity and aspiration.
I live in a country where something like 80% of all the places at our top two universities go to leavers from just six schools – five of which are private. My kids don’t go to the one state school on that list, like 99.99% of their cohort. If either of them wants to go to either Oxford or Cambridge, then the odds are already stacked hugely against them, whereas for the moneyed elite, access to the dreaming spires is simply a matter of buying their children places. I’m sorry if I’m coming over all painfully middle class, but despite the fact they have every advantage in life (except fantastically wealthy parents), that’s the reality of it – and, in my own middle class way, it makes me want to burn stuff down. And don’t get me started on the banks.
Sorry, sidetracked there. Back to the signing.
It was lovely – the whole process was lovely. Forbidden Planet staff were lovely, my fellow authors were lovely (even if Nicole Peeler gets all the goodies – apparently it’s a Romance writer thing), and the pub afterwards was also lovely, even if we did manage to clear out their real ale stocks very quickly.
Everything, including the photographic evidence of beardage, is on the Orbit website.
July 29th 2011
Just a reminder that Philip Palmer, Tim Lebbon and Nicole Peeler and me – and my beard – will be signing books (presumably ones we’ve written, but hey, we’re an open-minded lot…) at Forbidden Planet in Shaftsbury Avenue, olde London Town, from 3-4pm tomorrow, 30th July.
July 8th 2011
… or something like that.
There will be authors -Tim Lebbon, Philip Palmer, Nicole Peeler, and me. There will be books – Tim’s Echo City, Philip’s Hellship, Nicole’s Tempest Rising, and with luck and a following wind, all three Metrozone books. There will, undoubtedly, be some witty banter and authorial sagacity, and there will be the opportunity not only to buy books, but have them signed.
It will be in the Forbidden Planet store in Shaftsbury Avenue, Olde London Town, 3-4pm on July 30th.
It would be brilliant if anyone’s within striking distance could come along (I know you’re all coming to see Tim, but share the love, okay?).
April 25th 2011
I’m not going to have time to do this in the morning, as I have to be packed and checked out of my room by 10am. And yes, I intend not to be up at the crack o’dawn. So I’m here with a cup of (decaf) tea and my 3G dongle, while the ventilators outside the window rumble away and the lights of the NEC shine through the nets.
Sunday. Easter Day. It’s weird not being in church – it was weird last year, and it will remain weird – attending an SF convention over what is several of the most significant days of the Christian calendar with no religious input at all is a strange experience for someone who has always attended at least two services over the four-day period. Yes, I am at work: not so much selling books, as doing that nebulous networking thing that may or may not produce fruit a month or a year down the line. Being seen and showing willing is almost important as meeting people and saying the right things.
Breakfast was a much more civilised affair – no light opera fans mixing it with the SF crowd – so I get to eat my own body weight in fried food again, wash it down with tea, back to my room to blog. That done, because I’d heard good reports about the pool, and having remembered to bring my trunks and goggles, I headed for the hotel pool.
And very pleasant it was too. Being roughly circular and having a strip in the middle laned off for Proper Swimming, I got into my usual swimming fugue of just swimming quite quickly, not worrying about the time or how many lengths I’d done, not really thinking about swimming at all. There were maybe three or four other people in the pool at the same time – certainly not enough to even be vaguely distracting. Just swim and swim and swim until I felt I ought to come out. To be recommended.
Truth be told, signings and readings are odd things for writers. What if no one turns up? I’d chatted to a few of the dealers, and they weren’t doing fantastic business, the Dealers’ room being much quieter than I remember it from Eastercon 2010 – perhaps the effect of folk having less money in their pockets, fewer attendees, the hotel prices. Also, as I found out from the Forbidden Planet people, the hotel’s restriction on leafleting and putting up posters: always a big part of a con, but not allowed except on the very few notice boards dotted around the hotel.
So I yakked to the FP folk, signed their stock, and flogged a couple of books to someone I managed to dazzle long enough that their good sense and judgement was clouded and their wallet opened. Straight after, there was another author event in the Fan bar. I got to sit next to Stan Nichol, who is lovely, but such was the (lack of) interest, we talked to each other pretty much for the whole hour we were scheduled to be there. The lovely Bella from Orbit graciously plonked a pint of Illustrius in front of me, and Liz Williams passed the authorial ‘Consequences’ game to me for a suitably outrageous addition. I had to work with an enraged giant porcupine in the previous sentence, but I don’t know why it was enraged, and what happened to it after I passed it to Stan.
Also signing was Rod Rees. I’d had my eye on a copy of his Demi-Monde for a while, and he very graciously, because I was his first and only customer the entire session, pressed a newly minted copy of the wonderous Quercus hardback on me, signed and stamped, entirely free. An amazing gift, and straight to the top of my to-read pile.
I had afternoon tea (or hot chocolate in Bella’s case) and played on Bella’s Sony e-reader thingy. I still remain to be convinced of its superiority over the humble paperback, but certainly, for an industry pro, it beats lugging around a dozen manuscripts. They certainly have their place.
The reading. It’s hard, when you’re a classic introvert, to read something you’ve written, out loud, in public. I used to have real problems (as in Too Much Information sort of problems): now I just get incredibly nervous. My secret weapon was BSFA award-winning, Nebula award nominated (and later on that evening Hugo award nominated too) Aliette de Bodard. She’s this tiny bundle of talent who is clearly going places, and I was very lucky to be paired with her – because people came to hear her, and stayed to hear me. I’m grateful. She read a hauntingly beautiful story about the Aztecs. I read stuff that made people laugh. I was even forgiven when I went on too long. But there were cookies and flapjacks as well, and the audience nommed appreciatively.
Phoned home on my steam-powered and increasingly unreliable mobile, then downstairs to hear the Hugo nominations. Orbit have two authors in the Best Novel category: Mira Grant for Feed, and NK Jemsin’s A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
A long beer in the Fan bar with Roy Gray of Interzone, some mad New Zealanders, and a couple of others – the conversation naturally turned to rocket planes and real ale. And so to bed.
Tomorrow sees me here almost to the bitter end, but not quite. I’ve a panel at noon, and the train leaves late afternoon. I have to assume there’s a world outside the con for me to return to – it does become very bubble-like after a couple of days.
April 24th 2011
While I’m on.
I’m signing Equations of Life and Theories of Flight on the Forbidden Planet stall in the Dealers’ room, 2pm.
I’m reading with (Nebula nominated and BSFA-award winning) Aliette de Bodard at 7.30pm in Gladstone. We have cookies.
April 18th 2011
Come and say hello, even if you’re not buying a book!
April 12th 2011
Eastercon is upon us once more, or rather Illustrious, the 62nd Eastercon is, from the 22nd to the 25th April at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC, Birmingham (UK – but you knew that already, right?)
I will be a busy little bee – partly due to saying “ooh, that looks interesting” to the Programme Co-ordinator and assuming I’d get bumped off the panels in question when More Important people came along – and partly due to stuff I’ve agreed to do in order to promote the books.
So, in hopefully the right order, and subject to last minute changes, management reserves the right etc etc… I’m kind of assuming I’ll get a chance to eat at some point during the weekend.
Saturday 4:30pm Earls “SF Infrastructure & Engineering”
Sub orbital flights, underground trans-continental high speed trains; LEO space station factories; Mag-lev high speed trains; Undersea communities; Floating cities – in the air and on the sea. Pournelle, Heinlein, Harrison, Anderson to name a few all had big infrastructure as a backdrop to their stories. Why don’t we have it now in the 21st century? Is it cost, science or engineering?
Saturday 9pm Earls “Real World Cyberwar”
The panel discuss real current-to-v-soon tech, DDOS, robot drones and swarms, cyber espionage, biowar, augmented terminators & legality of it: the push to a cyberwar treaty – a start of a Geneva Convention for cyberwar.
Sunday At some point Dealers’ Room – Forbidden Planet stall Signing
Pretty much what it says on the tin. With luck and a following wind, there will be copies of Theories of Flight available as well as Equations of Life. No idea what time this will be yet. Sorry.
Sunday 7:30pm Gladstone “Author reading #5: de Bodard & Morden”
The authors reads from some of their recent works. There will also be cookies. And maybe some flapjacks.
Monday 12noon Queens “Nuke From Orbit – It’s The Only Way To Be Sure”
How would you invade a planet – whether a rogue colony, a rival or just plain pillaging a civilisation? How would you do a sneak attack with an armada of spacecraft in the sky?
I have homework to do.
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