The Impression That I Get

It’s like I blinked, and a week and a half has rushed past in the interim. Suddenly, I’m packing a bag again, as I’m heading off again tomorrow, this time for London Book Fair (which is likely to be an even odder experience than I was expecting, thanks to the fact that a massive number of international publishers have been stranded thanks to the Icelandic Volcano). So once again I’ve packed, and am primed to set off tomorrow at about 10am.

It’s been a fast week and a half. Last week was tricky, thanks to the end of unit 4 of my proofing course being amazingly traumatic (I can only liken it to having my brain squirted out of my ears – and this isn’t even the hard bit – there’s still the hardest unit to go…). Thankfully, since then I’ve been able to do an amazing amount of writing (I even notched up 7,500 words in one day, a wordcount I haven’t managed in a very long time), and have made significant progress on the book. It’s now standing at 137,000 words, and the words left are significantly large but not insanely large. It’s got a real chance of being very good. All I’ve got to do is just keep going…

And Eastercon? Eastercon was tons of fun. It didn’t quite reach the heights of Rock Band and singing ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ last year, but then I wasn’t expecting it to – it was wonderful getting to meet up with people, have fun, socialise, and actually feel like I was getting into the con vibe in a way I’m not sure I’ve managed before. To be honest, the actual convention side of it was… a little disappointing. There were fewer panels that actually grabbed me this year, which meant I went to very few – and even the ones that did interest me seemed to be scheduled very bizarrely (either early on Friday morning or very late on Monday night). It was good, but it didn’t seem to have a cohesive identity – something which next year’s Eastercon (the pulp/military-themed ‘Illustrious’, aka ‘ManlyCon) does at least seem to have (even if the guests of honour – David Weber and Peter F. Hamilton – don’t exactly fill me with excitement). And, as if that wasn’t enough, in another week and a bit, I’ll be heading off to London again for the annual bunfight of the Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

So things are good. I actually feel like I am where I need to be in my life right now. I’ve got tons of projects I need to complete, lots to keep me occupied, and the regular fun of Thursday’s Comics Night at Travelling Man to keep me entertained (where, this week, we proved that there isn’t a single line from any Star Wars film that can’t be improved with a West Country accent).

Right. Off to finish packing…

(And there’ll be an understandable silence on Who-related topics while I’m in London. I might save it all up for a double-blog post, tackling this Saturday’s ep along with the first half of the Weeping Angels two-parter. We shall see…)

Mona Lisa Overdrive

It’s been a pretty quiet week – one of those times when you just get on with an epic amount of work, and then blink when you realise exactly how much time has passed. One thing has occurred to me, and that is that from next week onwards, I really need to get myself back in a writing groove. I’m missing it at the moment – I’ve been giving myself a break, partly due to work, and partly due to waiting for feedback on the rewritten version of The Hypernova Gambit. But the break is going to be ending next week, as it’s time to get myself moving once again. In the meantime, this morning I’m departing for three-and-a-bit days to London, for the Clarke Awards and to catch up with various people. It’s going to be slightly odd to be back in something resembling a touristy mood in London – I don’t have anything specifically work-related happening other than the Clarke Awards – so I’m going to be doing my best to have fun. Then I’m back late Thursday, to a weekend of finishing proofreading and worryingly practical stuff like sorting out financial paperwork and taxes. Still, it’s got to be done. But for the next three days I’m likely to be somewhat quiet online – so don’t get up to anything too dramatic without me…

P.S.: A couple of links came my way over the last week. You can catch up with the posted photos of the Eastercon Rock Band experience here. And you can read the rather unexpected blog post that Tim Clague, a filmmaker and friend from my University days, has written about me (something of a surprise, I can tell you…) here.

Eastercon Adventures

It’s just over a week until Eastercon – only seems like yesterday that it was around six months away. I’m looking forward to it, and it’s also going to be a rather mind-boggling contrast to my usual existance, like a concentrated adrenaline shot of socialising. I’m also on a couple of panels – fewer than last year, but I’m making up for it by doing two in a row, on Saturday night no less. Yes, I will be doing a two-hour performance, and the subjects are:

The Reign of Russell T Davies Sat 20:00
“What effect has the resurgence of Dr Who had on UK TV SF and fandom?
Did it give us Life on Mars, or just Robin Hood?”
Tony Keen (moderator)
Jane Killick
Saxon Bullock
Paul F Cockburn

Adapting comics for the big screen Sat 21:00
“What makes a good adaptation of a comic book – faithfulness to the
text, or willingness to change it for the screen? Can you film the
unfilmable? What makes The Dark Knight so good, and The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen so bad?”
John Coxon (moderator)
Lilian Edwards
Persephone Hazard
Andrew Hogg
Martin McGrath
Saxon Bullock

Comics and Who. Not two subjects that I have a great difficulty talking about…

Budget has meant that I won’t be around for the Monday, and am instead vanishing off late-ish on Sunday night. But I will be there from Friday morning onwards, and will be doing my best to have fun….

The Last Story

Monday morning- the latter hours of the con. One thing that has been a constant for the last week or so is not getting enough sleep- I got to bed at a much more reasonable hour last night, but still only managed about five hours. As a result, my decision to stick around until about 2.30ish and then head for home is now feeling even more sensible than before (the fact that my throat feels somewhat appalling certainly helps). Yesterday was another good day, and I managed to catch more panels- the GoH speech from Charlie Stross (where, to nobody’s surprise, the words “computers” and “Open source” were used quite frequently) which was very interesting and info-heavy, the GoH speech from Neil Gaiman which was incredibly different in style (readings and an informal chat about Eastercons past, including one very entertaining tale about John Jarrold and a 48 hour stay in a bar…), one about politics in YA novels (with some great input from China Mieville and Cory Doctorow), one about writing gritty fantasy, one about collaboration in comics, plus a very entertaining music quiz. I was one of the contestants on a three-man team (we were ‘The Atonals’), and it was a kind of odd mix of Name That Tune and Never Mind The Buzzcocks (although they tried to do the ‘intros’ round without actually checking if the people doing the intros knew the tune. I mean- could you hum the seriously nondescript theme tune to Life on Mars just from memory?) which went well, even though there were technical hitches, with many of the clips either being too quiet, or sounding like they were emanating from some distant underwater kingdom. Anyway, our team won by a serious majority, so all ended well, and I finished the night taking it easy in the bar, chatting about comics and bonding with China Mieville over the joys and tribulations of having an odd name. There’s a couple more panels to go, and a chance to do a final crash dive on the Dealer’s Room, but leaving mid-afternoon will give me the chance to spend some of the evening recovering, before I have to hurl myself back out to do another three days subbing.

At some point, I’m actually going to get some rest…

Lets take a ride, run with the dogs tonight, in Suburbia…

Sunday morning. Just the right time for a hangover.

The con’s going very well so far- I just have to consider whether the red wine strategy last night was really that wise, especially when I know how dehydrated it leaves me (and how utterly non-fantastic I end up feeling when I’m dehydrated). Anyhow, my two panels yesterday (Adapting Tolkien for Film, and What Books do and don’t make Good Films) went very well- the second one was a little more fun than the first, and I was generally left wishing I’d actually ended up on more. After a certain amount of fretting, it turns out that speaking in front of groups like this really isn’t too much of a problem. The day progressed with plenty of time in the Dealer’s Room (nabbing me various books,including some Asimov and a J.G. Ballard collection) and a major chat with Dave Bradley from SFX, all of which led up to the BSFA awards (which was won by Ian McDonald’s BRASYL). I then spent the rest of the night in the bar drunkenly chatting with people like Simon Kavanagh, Paul Cornell and China Mieville, before proceeding to dance my ass off in the disco (although I drew the line at dancing to Bon Jovi. I have some standards…) Not much sleep thanks to the dehydration- I might try and get a doze later, or just save it up for tonight. I’m aiming to go to more panels today, and also make certain that I’m still having fun.