Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Hugo Voting – An Unexpected Bonus

May 5, 2009

Recently I took out supporting membership for Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Montreal in early August 2009. I already had voting rights from attending Denvention, and one unexpected benefit that I discovered was that as well as having the right to vote for the Hugo Awards, I also get a Hugo voting pack. This comprises a zip file of most of the novels, short fiction and non-fiction books on the ballot.

A quick trawl around Amazon shows that the four novels (out of five, as Neal Stephenson’s Anathem isn’t included) retail at about £25, while each of the non-fiction books costs close to that each.

So all told, the material available on Amazon has a retail price of £70 -over one hundred dollars- while much of the short fiction isn’t available there at all. That’s not a bad little bonus for my fifty dollar fee.

And if the WSFS (World Science Fiction Society) repeat the deal next year, it’ll be even better as I’ll still be eligible for that one as well. I‘ll still buy some of those books, especially the Hugo winners, because a downloaded pdf –even if it’s printed out—just isn’t the same as a proper book.

But it’s still a heck of a deal, and kudos to the WSFS for arranging it.

Advertisements

And The Winners Are…

April 20, 2009

here.

And said winners are the BSFA Awards, by the way. Just so you know before you click on the link!

Monday — The Last Day of Eastercon

April 16, 2009

Here‘s the fourth and last Blog post.

Cheers

Sunday At Eastercon

April 15, 2009

More about Eastercon here.

Saturday at Eastercon

April 14, 2009

The reason that you’re only reading about Saturday at Eastercon on the following Tuesday is that unlike last year at Heathrow, there was no free wi-fi either in the con or my hotel.  So with much grumbling I decided that rather than pay £12 for 24 hours –most of which would be wasted– I would just book one hour, although at £6.50 it doesn’t half concentrate the mind.

However, having queued to get a log-on ID, I found that to add insult to injury, I couldn’t log on. The hotel had obviously had this problem before as they hadn’t charged me -telling me to check the access first– but when I went back to reception, a mile-long queue had spontaneously generated, so with dark mutterings, I abandoned the blog for the weekend. I’d already wasted enough time, and I had a meeting scheduled with my publisher.

 After lunch I met up with Sharon and our friend Rob and spend an afternoon in the bar, just easing back.

 Then it was time for the BSFA awards. Kim Newman and Paul McAuley gave another brilliant performance as Masters of Ceremonies, including an imaginary interview between David Frost and Sir Arthur C. Clarke in 1969, with Clarke giving some wildly inaccurate predictions of how the world would look in 1999 and 2009.

Then the long-awaited Doctor Who special: only a middling episode, but still the best thing on TV all week.

Before rounding off a great day with the long-planned Codex Curry, for which people had come from France, Germany – even the USA.  OK, so maybe they hadn’t just come for the dinner…

And it was one of the best curries I’ve had in ages, eaten in good company. From a fairly crappy start, the day had turned out really well.

Back from the Dead — Or Rather Eastercon

April 14, 2009

To someone used to near constant internet presence it feels like the same thing. The blog that follows was originally to be posted Saturday, and why it wasn’t will come in the one that was intended for Sunday….

Friday

One of the frustrating aspects of British conventions is the patchy nature of free wi-fi. So despite making it to Eastercon in fairly good time yesterday, I had very little time to investigate what coverage was available. So you get yesterday’s post today.
I travelled up with Gareth, him driving me navigating. My navigational ability is demonstrated by our circling the last stretch of motorway into and out of Bradford like a pair of proverbial Flying Dutchmen looking for my hotel. In the end we decided to register at the con first, and check into our hotels afterwards.

I spent much of the afternoon  scurrying; first to drop the books into the Dealer’s Room – before Richard arrived, then saying hello to him, then racing around getting the featured contributors, Andy Bigwood, Steph Burgis, Christina Lake and Gareth to sign in the quiet corner that I’d found.

Finally, time for the panel on YA fiction that as always generated a fair degree of impassioned opinion from the audience – including the interesting idea that Wicked is all about Woodrow Wilson’s segregation of Washington DC in 1913. Hmm. Not sure I buy this, but an interesting idea.

Then time for a quick visit to an SF-nal variant of Dragon’s Den, in which six aspiring authors pitch their first page and synopsis to a panel of agents and publishers. It was interesting that what I considered to be only the second or even third best entry was unanimous winner among the judges: Which just goes to show why I’m not a publisher or an agent.

Wrapping up the evening with dinner with Sharon and Elaine in the hotel restaurant; a mistake, since the chilli was more like road-kill. 
But on the plus side, the hotel had brought in some real ales at surprisingly moderate prices, so I spent the rest of the evening drinking beer with Gareth and Sharon and some friends of Gareth’s from last year, Neil and Gem, who seem really nice.

And so -to quote Mr Pepys– to bed.

 

Big News

April 7, 2009

Today I had the great pleasure of signing a contract for two novels with Angry Robot Books, the new division of HarperCollins.

Winter Song will be published in October 2009 in the UK, and at an as yet unspecified date in the US and electronically. It’s the story of an ordinary man -that is, ordinary by thirtieth-century standards- who is ambushed in a remote star-system and crash-lands on a ‘lost’ colony. He has to get home past alien wildlife and unfriendly colonists, unaware that the planet holds a huge secret.

Damage Time is scheduled for May 2010 publication, and is set in a near-future New York, where memories can be copied and sold for entertainment. But there’s a darker trade which leads to a policeman being framed for murder, and when that fails to put him off, he’s attacked and stripped of his memories.

It’s a huge step up for me, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Guest Blog From Mark Eller, Author of Traitor

April 6, 2009

Writing a book is hard, but it’s only a small part of what’s required. Revising, editing, finding a publisher, editing again, marketing are all things that authors face if they want to be successful. It is only after all this is finished that they will learn if the public likes what they have bled over.

I’ve written a number of short stories and books, the first of which is ready to be published. I’ve done a few live interviews and podcasts. With each of these I have put myself out there to be judged by a few thousand people, most of whom I will never meet in person…They will never know me beyond my voice or my written words. My face will be a mystery, my personality quirks unknown. Even so, this was hard stuff for me. Like most writers, I’m definitely an introvert. I had to overcome ingrained habits and my natural preferences to pursue this thing I love, to present myself to a few thousand people I will never meet…
An opportunity has arrived for fourteen authors to get help with this grueling process. In June 2009, Cyrus Webb of Conversations Live is hosting a new reality show on the C.W. Network titled The Write Stuff. The winner will receive a book contract, a marketing plan, a marketing campaign, and an number of other prizes.

These fourteen writers must put themselves and their work up before millions of people. Every word they write will be judged. Every action they take will be seen. Does their personality match their writing, are they manipulative, honest, delusional, or are they uniquely talented people who are finally getting a chance at success? Every aspect of their personalities and talent will be judged by millions of people. This takes the courage to face rejection, criticism, and most of all to reach for success.
I will be cheering for the contestants on The Write Stuff.
Thank you Cyrus, for giving them this chance and letting us see it.

British Fantasy Award Nomination

April 4, 2009

I’m still in shock from the news that Killers has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award.

OK, so it may only be one nomination, which is all that’s needed to get it onto the long list, but the fact remains that someone likes it enough to nominate it. For a small press outfit publishing an anthology edited by a relatively new author this is a huge plus. Not just for the publicity, but also for the sense of vindication.  The real honour goes to the writers who made the book, of course.

It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or get onto the final ballot. It’s a cliche, but being nominated really is an honour.

Yeeeees!

March 21, 2009

Wales 15, Ireland 17.

I’ll be in Dublin next Friday. I have a feeling that after 61 years of waiting for a second ever Grand Slam, the place will still be rocking.