Convention Schedule (or: Everybody’s Doing It, So Why Can’t I?)

A quick update (for anyone who’s interested):

I’ve spent the last couple of months rewriting my current book. I’m 80% done with a draft. The last 20% is probably going to be hard as hell, but it’s nice to be almost there.

I won’t be getting much done in the next couple of weeks, because the 10 days of Convention Insanity (which I’ve been watching approach like a custard pie flying through the air towards me) finally arrive at the end of this week.

From the 8th of August to the 11th of August, Emma and I are at Discworld Con 2014. It promises to be great fun – I’ve heard very good things about Discworld Cons in the past, and it’s happening in Manchester, so we finally get to go to a con and sleep in our own bed. I am also DJing the Saturday night party – my first time ever – which is going to be a very interesting and hopefully fun experience, as long as I don’t get lynched thanks to my absolute refusal to play ‘Star Trekkin” by The Firm (I’ve been to one too many con discos where that’s been played, and my only response is NOT ON MY WATCH).

On the 12th of August, we’re not doing anything. Yes, I was surprised too. (Although by ‘not doing anything’, I mean we’ll be frantically getting our stuff sorted and our clothes clean while also doing our best to recover from Discworld Con).

Then, on the 13th of August, we’re off on the train to London for six days, and the mind-juddering experience that is going to be LonCon 3, otherwise known as Worldcon 2014, the biggest con in the SF calendar. I’ve never been to a Worldcon, mainly because they’re usually held in easy-to-get-to locations like Denver or Tokyo, and this Worldcon is on course to the biggest ever, with a current membership of around 9000 people. (That’s four times the size of the biggest con we’ve ever been to). It’s going to be fascinating and strange and a little boggling, and the programme is so terrifyingly huge that I’ve barely got my head around what I’m going to be catching (there’s very few hours of the day where there aren’t at least eleven different things happening AT THE SAME TIME). But, for anyone who wants to know, I’m going to be on three panels! And my schedule runs like this:

1: 2014 Hugos: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

The nominees for this year’s Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form, are:

An Adventure in Space and Time written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)

Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)

Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)

Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space / BBC America)

But which should win? Our panel will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the nominees, try to second-guess the voters, and tell you what else should have been on the ballot.



2: The Seriousness Business

Sunday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

Perhaps the two most critically acclaimed SF series of the last decade are Battlestar Galactica and Game of Thrones, and in each case the most common reason for that acclaim is their supposed seriousness: here are SF and fantasy with depth and darkness. Why is this the kind of genre material that the mainstream has embraced? Does the presumed “realism” of this approach hold up to scrutiny? Has seriousness become a cliche? And to what extent do these shows, and their imitators, tell original stories, and to what extent do they reinscribe a normative straight white heroism?




3: You’ve Ruined It For Me

Sunday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Screen adaptations of genre works are big business, and fan conversation about them often revolves around issues of accuracy and deviation. But what are the other discussions we could be having about the relationship between novel and film? How does our experience of an adaptation shape the way we read a particular book, whether for the first time or on a re-read? Is it possible, any more, to talk about The Lord of the Rings without reference to Peter Jackson? Are ‘book purists’ too defensive against what is, after all, simply someone else’s reading of a work with a budget, or do blockbuster adaptations carry a popular cultural weight that makes them hard to escape?



Yes, two consecutive panels. On Sunday night, when the con will have already been going since Thursday, and I’ll probably be fighting off serious levels of exhaustion. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

So, that’s the next couple of weeks we’ve got in store. And when we get back, I’ve got a birthday happening, and any rumours that I might be turning 40 are all bald-faced lies that have been spread by obvious communist sympathisers. In between recovering from the con, I’ll be celebrating relatively quietly and will definitely not be 40. Glad I was able to clear that up.

I’ve also got another creative project that I’ll hopefully be able to announce in the next few days, as long as luck and technical issues are on my side. But until then, all I can do is look at the next couple of weeks and try not to go “Wibble”…

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