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Post-WorldCon WorldCon post

I’m back from being baked in Texas. San Antonio was hot. Austin was hotter. WorldCon was great.

There has been a lot of commentary about WorldCon and its various issues this year – check out thoughts from Chuck Wendig, Tobias Buckell, and Madeline Ashby. Yes, WorldCon felt like an old crowd, but then so does EasterCon and FantasyCon here in the UK. This year’s programming was up the wazoo, but hopefully that will be resolved for next year for London.

But I had a really good time. WorldCon is my annual chance to catch up with mostly US-based friends, colleagues and fans, as well as a chance to meet new people and make new contacts. And this year had some serious highlights: two of my best friends were up for the Campbell Award, and one of them won, and I discovered I came 12th on the ballot; my wife and I got to hang out with astronaut Cady Coleman at the Hugo Losers’ Party; Joe Haldeman liked my suit for the Hugo Awards; Gail Carriger interrupted my reading to personally deliver a freshly brewed cup of tea; my forthcoming novel from Tor, The Burning Dark, was featured at the Tor Presents panel and got one hell of an introduction from Patrick Neilsen Hayden, and the cover was up on the wall at the Tor party that night; I ate a rhino beetle to win a book at the Booksworn party; I had a mighty fine time at Drinks with Authors, where I gave an advance bound manuscript of The Burning Dark to the delightfully enthusiastic Tabitha; we had real Texas BBQ; we melted in the heat as we toured the state capitol in Austin; we walked through the gigantic, cathedral-like caverns of Natural Bridge; Chuck and I made plans for world domination in a non-novel field; there were pancakes.

I’m reluctant to list everyone I met, chatted to, hung out with, because inevitably I’ll just leave someone out. So instead I’ve got a set of photos up on Flickr, and here are some highlights:

The Burning Dark finds its very first reader.

The Burning Dark finds its very first reader.

Eat a bug, win a book! A selection of arthropod snacks. I had a rhino beetle. It wasn't great.

Eat a bug, win a book! A selection of arthropod snacks. I had a rhino beetle. It wasn’t great.

Tor senior editor Patrick Neilsen Hayden describes The Burning Dark to a packed Tor Presents panel.

Tor senior editor Patrick Neilsen Hayden describes The Burning Dark to a packed Tor Presents panel.

At the Hugo Awards, with Michelle Wendig, Chuck Wendig, Emma Newman, Sandra McGechan, me, Lee Harris.

At the Hugo Awards, with Michelle Wendig, Chuck Wendig, Emma Newman, Sandra McGechan, me, Lee Harris.

My wife, NASA senior astronaut Cady Coleman, and me at the Hugo Losers' Party.

My wife, NASA senior astronaut Cady Coleman, and me at the Hugo Losers’ Party.

The Campbell Award ballot results. Technically I came 12th. Result!

The Campbell Award ballot results. Technically I came 12th. Result!

See you in London, 2014!

WorldCon 2013 schedule (updated!)

Competition reminder: books and audiobooks up for grabs! Click here for details.

The official programme for LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, Texas, is now online. As always, it’s a convention jam-packed with content, and my own schedule has been updated to include a few more events. My final list is:


FRIDAY, AUGUST 30th

10:00 – 11:00am, 102A (Convention Center)
Graphic Novels You Should Be Reading
with Rick Klaw, Christopher Couch, Chris Powell
Need a new series to get hooked on? Maybe you just want to broaden your reading interests. Our panelists will help you find the perfect books. There are a lot of quality reads out there that you may have missed!

12:00 – 1:00pm, 007CD (Convention Center)
Tor Presents…
with David G. Hartwell, Liz Gorinsky, Beth Meacham, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tom Doherty
This is a presentation of forthcoming highlights from Tor Books. I’m in the audience for this one, but you might find out a bit more about my forthcoming Tor novel, The Burning Dark, which is due out in March 2014.

2:30 – 3.00pm, 002B (Convention Center)
Reading
I’ve got a 20 minutes, so I might do short readings from The Burning Dark, Hang Wire, and The Age Atomic.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 31st

11:00am – 12:00pm , Autographing (Convention Center)
Autographing
with Wesley Chu, Walter Hunt and John Hornor Jacobs
This should be fun – Wes is a fellow Angry Roboteer (and now fellow Tor author), and John is a fellow member of Team Decker (and the author of two of my favourite novels). So come by and say hello!

3:00 – 4:00pm, 006B (Convention Center)
Publisher Spotlight: Angry Robot
with Lee Harris
Like the Tor Presents panel on Friday, this is a showcase of forthcoming Angry Robot titles. I’m in the audience again, and you might learn something about my fourth Angry Robot novel, Hang Wire, which is due out in February 2014.

7:00 – late, Ernie’s Bar, 320 Bonham, San Antonio, TX78205
Drinks with Authors
Click here for the list of participants.
This is shaping up to be the event of the convention – join me and a rather large number of amazing authors for an evening of giveaways, raffles, drinks, door prizes, etc. No RSVP is required for this, but space is limited! I’m bringing a couple of rare items to giveaway too!


See you next week!

 

WorldCon 2013 schedule

Competition reminder: books and audiobooks up for grabs! Click here for details.

This time next week I’ll be on a plane to San Antonio for LoneStarCon 3, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention. Which is crazy, because last time I checked there were something like five months to go…

My schedule for this year is light on panels, but that’s probably a good thing after my panel overdose at Nine Worlds. My official items are:


FRIDAY, AUGUST 30th

2:30 – 3.00pm, location TBA
Reading

I’ve got a thirty minute slot, so I might do short readings from The Burning Dark, Hang Wire, and The Age Atomic.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 31st

11:00am – 12:00pm , location TBA
Signing
with Wesley Chu, Walter Hunt and John Hornor Jacobs

This should be fun – Wes is a fellow Angry Roboteer (and now fellow Tor author), and John is a fellow member of Team Decker (and the author of two of my favourite novels). So come by and say hello!


That’s it for my official programme items. My main San Antonio event is actually happening outside the con at Ernie’s Bar on Saturday, August 31st, 7:00pm til late. I’m one of many writers (OMG JUST LOOK AT THE LIST!) taking part in Drinks With Authors, which looks like it is going to be an absolute blast. I’ve got a very special item for the book giveaway too!

DRINKSWITHAUTHORS1More details are available over at Staffer’s Book Review. Full WorldCon programme details will be released shortly.

See you in San Antonio!

 

Nine Worlds: Post-match report

Two days after Nine Worlds and I’m still recovering. It was good. Real good. I loved it.

I loved it because Nine Worlds was run by a fine bunch of fans who knew what they were doing, and knew what people wanted to see, hear and do. It felt like the most amazingly inclusive convention ever, covering a bewilderingly broad range of interests, but not skimping on any of the content.

It was, for example, so refreshing to go to a panel on writing and publishing, followed by a panel on the Big Finish audio dramas. I was on a few panels myself, and got to talk about the science of science fiction AND my favourite Doctor Who villain. And thanks to the crossover of topics I was reunited with people I hadn’t seen in 19 years (holy mackerel) and met a lot of new and interesting folk who don’t normally go to things like EasterCon or FantasyCon.

IMG_8173

Just A Minute, with (L-R) Gary Russell, me, Michaela Gray, Paul Cornell, Helen Keen, Adrian Tchaikovsky. Photo by Curious Magpie Photography, used with permission.

And I had so much fun. Just a Minute was hilarious and terrifying and incredibly hard work, but was the best con event I’ve ever taken part in. The New Voices Slam reading sessions were ace – although I felt a little like an interloper reading from what will be my fifth published novel – because they were a single event, with an MC and nine five-minute readings, which encouraged people to come along and support a whole bunch of new authors and stay for the whole thing (I tell you, there’s nothing worse than having the reading room clear out just before your slot because a popular author was in there before you!).

I met Chris Barrie. I accidentally had dinner with Matthew Waterhouse. I caught up with old friends, made new ones, and made a case (in public) for why Count Grendel from The Androids of Tara needs his own spin-off series (hello, Big Finish!).

Nine Worlds fills a huge gap in the UK con scene, between the more traditional bookish events like EasterCon and FantasyCon – the quality of which can vary hugely year-to-year – and the less focussed multimedia things like the SF Weekender. Nine Worlds has all the potential to be the UK’s equivalent of Dragon*Con, which we totally don’t have a the moment.

Considering how well this first event went, and how well received it was, I really hope that Nine Worlds will just grow and grow. It deserves to. So a big thank you and congratulations to the organisers and the volunteers who made it such a great weekend (photographic evidence can be found here).

Roll on Nine Worlds 2014! Early bird tickets are already available!

 

Updated Nine Worlds schedule

Nine Worlds starts today! Which means I need to catch a train shortly… so this is just a quick post with an updated schedule.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9th

5:00 – 6.15pm, Rad Royal A & B
Non-Genre Genre Shows
with Nickey Barnard, Lesley McIntee, David A. McIntee and John Medany

Some shows that aren’t strictly SFF in genre seem to have transcended their boundaries and become big hits with fans of more traditionally styled SFF shows. Veronica Mars has recently been kickstarted into a movie and Person of Interest‘s second season finale was described by some critics as one of the best pieces of true Science Fiction on television. Discuss these shows and more here.


6:45 – 8:00pm, Rad Royal A & B
Comic Book Heroes On The Small Screen
with Paul Cornell, Roz Kaveney and John Medany

From Adam West’s Batman to the 21st Century Arrow, how do our heroes fare on the small screen? It’s a different medium to both comic and film and in a lot of ways less forgiving. Where has it been done right, and where does it go wrong? Come and discuss the Original Batman, the 70s’ Spiderman and Hulk, the 80s’ The Flash, and more recently, Smallville, Heroes and Arrow


8:30 – 9:45pm, Rad Royal A & B (new item)
Just a Minute
with Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gary Russell, and Helen Keen, hosted by Paul Cornell

The fast-talking panel game. Oh dear lord.


10:15 – 11.305pm, Lobby Room
New Voices Slam Session
with Liz de Jager, Stephanie Saulter, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Emma Newman, Barry Nugent, Danie Ware, Jennifer Williams, Lou Morgan, Hannah Chutzpah (emcee)

Come listen to short readings from nine of science fiction and fantasy’s most promising new authors. Bring your drinks, bring your friends: you might find your next literary addiction. Get to know these guys before they sell out!


SATURDAY, AUGUST 10th

12:00 – 1:00pm – Forbidden Planet table, dealer’s room (Vendors/Wessex)
Book signing!
with Adrian Tchaikovsky and Emma Newman


SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th

10:00 – 11:15am, George I
Can’t Take The Sky From Me: Science Fiction & Space Travel
with Jaine Fenn, Stephanie Saulter, Gavin Smith, Charles Stross and Ian Whates

It’s over fifty years since we sent the first humans into space. Are we still as excited about going to the stars? How have real-world concerns about the reality and practicality of space travel affected the genre?


11:45 – 1:00pm, George II & III
Doctor Who: The Ones You Love To Hate
with Ben Aaronovitch, Jonathan L Howard and David A. McIntee

Nothing’s more fun than a really hissable villain, and Doctor Who’s had more than its fair share of dastardly dudes and dames over the years. What makes a perfect villain? Is it the megalomaniac schemes? A catchphrase? Or just a natty line in sinister clothes? We talk all about the nastiest people in history.


1:30 – 2:45pm, George II & III
Is Doctor Who “Thunderingly Racist”?
with Abigail Brady, Una McCormack  and Iona Sharma

A recent academic study of DW makes a bold claim that the show is “thunderingly racist”. Is this true? No non-white actors have ever played the Doctor, and the absence of non-white people from the line-up of companions throughout the whole of the Classic Series is notable.


The full, jam-packed Nine Worlds schedule can be found here. See you later!

My slightly epic Nine Worlds 2013 schedule

This time next week is Nine Worlds, the brand spanking new UK convention covering science fiction, fantasy, and all things genre across books, TV, films, games, comics – you name it. The convention is being run across multiple concurrent streams, and the programme is PACKED, so I advise you pop over to their website and download the full schedule PDF

I’m excited to be taking part in what’s looking like a heck of a cool weekend. And they’re keeping me busy too:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9th

5:00-6.15pm, Rad Royal A & B
Non-Genre Genre Shows
with Nickey Barnard, Lesley McIntee, David A. McIntee and John Medany

Some shows that aren’t strictly SFF in genre seem to have transcended their boundaries and become big hits with fans of more traditionally styled SFF shows. Veronica Mars has recently been kickstarted into a movie and Person of Interest‘s second season finale was described by some critics as one of the best pieces of true Science Fiction on television. Discuss these shows and more here.


6:45-8:00pm, Rad Royal A & B
Comic Book Heroes On The Small Screen
with Paul Cornell, Roz Kaveney and John Medany

From Adam West’s Batman to the 21st Century Arrow, how do our heroes fare on the small screen? It’s a different medium to both comic and film and in a lot of ways less forgiving. Where has it been done right, and where does it go wrong? Come and discuss the Original Batman, the 70s’ Spiderman and Hulk, the 80s’ The Flash, and more recently, Smallville, Heroes and Arrow


10:15 – 11.305pm, Lobby Room
New Voices Slam Session
with Liz de Jager, Stephanie Saulter, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Emma Newman, Barry Nugent, Danie Ware, Jennifer Williams, Lou Morgan, Hannah Chutzpah (emcee)

Come listen to short readings from nine of science fiction and fantasy’s most promising new authors. Bring your drinks, bring your friends: you might find your next literary addiction. Get to know these guys before they sell out!


SATURDAY, AUGUST 10th

12:00 – 1:00pm – Forbidden Planet table, dealer’s room (Vendors/Wessex)
Book signing!
with Adrian Tchaikovsky and Emma Newman


SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th

10:00-11:15am, George I
Can’t Take The Sky From Me: Science Fiction & Space Travel
with Jaine Fenn, Stephanie Saulter, Gavin Smith, Charles Stross and Ian Whates

It’s over fifty years since we sent the first humans into space. Are we still as excited about going to the stars? How have real-world concerns about the reality and practicality of space travel affected the genre?


11:45-1:00pm, George II & III
Doctor Who: The Ones You Love To Hate
with Ben Aaronovitch, Jonathan L Howard and David A. McIntee

Nothing’s more fun than a really hissable villain, and Doctor Who’s had more than its fair share of dastardly dudes and dames over the years. What makes a perfect villain? Is it the megalomaniac schemes? A catchphrase? Or just a natty line in sinister clothes? We talk all about the nastiest people in history.


1:30-2:45pm, George II & III
Is Doctor Who “Thunderingly Racist”?
with Abigail Brady, Una McCormack  and Iona Sharma

A recent academic study of DW makes a bold claim that the show is “thunderingly racist”. Is this true? No non-white actors have ever played the Doctor, and the absence of non-white people from the line-up of companions throughout the whole of the Classic Series is notable.


Phew! If I don’t see you on a panel, without a doubt I’ll be in the bar somewhere. See you there!

Edge Lit 2 schedule

A little site admin: added a new book page for The Burning Dark, and re-organised the main book index with some little teasers…

Tomorrow is Edge Lit 2 at the Quad, Derby. With guests of honour Mike Carey, Tricia Sullivan and Stan Nicholls, it promises to be a fun day of bookish chitchat! Here’s my own schedule of panels:

11am – Cinema Two
New Worlds: Building SF and Fantasy Settings
with Emma Newman, Gaie Sebold, Gavin Smith and Adrian Tchaikovsky
(I’m moderating this one)

2pm – Cinema One
Digital Age: How Has the Internet Changed Writing?
with Andrew Hook, Emma Newman, and Jennifer Williams

9pm – Cinema Two
Looking Back: First Genre Reads
with Gary McMahon, Lou Morgan, and Gavin Smith

See you Saturday!

(Edit: The First Genre Reads panel has been shifted from 8pm to 9pm – for any other updates, check the schedule when you arrive tomorrow!)

Linky links, a competition, appearances and a website update

So! Stuff I have been meaning to post for a while:

If you’ve enjoyed Seven Wonders, you’ll get a wry smile from these; if you’ve not yet tried the book, you get a flavour of Christopher’s approach.

Readers who want “that little bit more” from their storytelling should check this out. Recommended.

And the other stuff:

  • I’ve shifted some stuff around on my website – Books now has a new landing page, and each title’s individual page has had a makeover. If I’ve left anything out, or you see anything odd, please holler!
  • I’ve updated my appearances for 2013 – next up is Edge Lit 2, being held at the QUAD in Derby next month. The schedule for the one-day event is online – I’ll post more details about that next week.

THE AGE ATOMIC cover, VS Comics launch, and interview round-up

As it happens I’m the last person on the internet to post it, but here’s the gloriously green cover for my next novel, The Age Atomic, due out from Angry Robot in April 2013. Behold, and be-click for a bigger version!

Pre-order links, etc, will go up shortly. I’ve taken so long to post the cover because I’m still editing the book, which is due in next week. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, which also means I’ve missed this lot of interviews and podcasts (thanks to Angry Robot for collating):

This weekend sees the wonderful Thought Bubble comic con take place in Leeds – unfortunately I’m going to miss all of it except the launch of VS Comics on Sunday 18th November, 2.10 – 3.00 pm, Alea Cinema Room. According to the blurb:

James Moran & Mike Garley introduce their new monthly, creator-owned, all-genre initiative VS comics! They’ll be previewing some of the stories, along with contributors Ned Hartley, Patrick Walsh, Martin Simmonds, Nich Angell, & Adam Christopher.

The panel also features previews from stories by other VS creators, Q&As & details on how new & established creators can join the VS team, for us to feed off like sexy vampires*.

*Caution: Panel may** include sexy vampires!

** But probably won’t.

There are some bits and bobs of my comic debut, The Sentinel, which we’ll be showing, and I might be tempted to throw out a spoiler or two about the story. Ticket information is available here. Do come and say hello!

And finally, speaking of VS Comics, the website is now live. You can also find them on Facebook.

 

 

Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention

Okay, been back nearly a week and I haven’t posted a WorldCon wrap-up yet, but hey, that week was pretty busy. My return flight was delayed at Philadelphia thanks to a thunderstorm of epic fantasy proportions that made the airport look like it served Mordor rather than the City of Brotherly Love. And then the day after I got back I headed to London for the launch of Seven Wonders at Forbidden Planet – more on that tomorrow, but thanks to everyone who came! It was a cool night. There are still a handful of the limited edition hardbacks left – click here to grab your signed copy.

So. WorldCon. My first one too, and boy howdy, was it neat. Two things struck me about the convention in equal measure – that WorldCon was about The Work, and that it was about friends (and yes, that sounds as cheesy as hell [in fact they both do], but bear with me a minute…).

As John Scalzi alluded to in his presentation of the Hugo Awards on the Sunday night, The Work is what matters – it is what WorldCon is all about, after all. It’s what filled a Chicago hotel with 5,000 fans and professionals, it’s what filled the dealer’s room with thousands upon thousands of wonderful shiny things. It’s why people queued to meet authors at the autograph tables, and it’s why the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency was packed to standing room only for the Hugo Awards, which exist to celebrate The Work.

This struck me as I enjoyed a little downtime sitting behind the Angry Robot sales table in the dealer’s room. The dealer’s room was truly gigantic, packed to the gills with books, art, jewellery, clothing; an abundance of creativity and really cool things. As a creator, you can spend so much time worrying about reviews, and sales, and Twitter and Facebook and everything that goes on around you in the industry that isn’t The Work. But as a writer, I have to write, and I will continue to write, and there is no better inspiration that seeing The Work celebrated somewhere like WorldCon. Later, I sat at the autograph tables myself next to Walter Jon Williams, whose signing queue wrapped around a pillar and doubled-back. Some people were just carrying his Star Wars novel, others had piles of books tucked under their chin. All were fans who had been enthralled and entertained by the man sitting patiently to my right. It was a marvellous sight, one repeated frequently at the autograph tables and around the convention.

I did a lot of this. Yay!

As jobs go, this writing thing isn’t half bad.

And the other thing: friends. Matt Forbeck said it best when he said that this was the convention that took the “online” prefix away from “online friends”. Although there was a large contingent of UK people at WorldCon – which in itself was super-cool – the highlight of WorldCon for me was meeting people whom I had only known via the net. Most of the con was spent somewhere in the vicinity of Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore – we also formed the New Pulp panel – both delightful, smart and hilarious people. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed as much than when in their company.

The New Pulp panel - with Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore

Chuck, our agent Stacia, and me!

We had a big old book launch at The Book Cellar, where myself, Chuck, Gwenda Bond and Kim Curran did readings and had a little Q&A. It was brilliant, thanks to the huge crowd that came, the Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry cupcakes, and the fact that the bookstore served beer (seriously, this is a great idea). Gwenda and her husband, author Christopher Rowe were a great pair to hang out with.

Post-reading Q&A at The Book Cellar - with Kim Curran, Chuck Wendig, Gwenda Bond and me

After the launch, we had a grand Team Decker dinner at the German Beirhaus next door with me, literary super-agent Stacia Decker, Chuck, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Joelle Charbonneau and Dan O’Shea, at which we were entertained by two aged men from Austria belting out discofied classic hits with quite some enthusiasm. It’s possibly a night that will go down in Team Decker history; Chuck and Cassandra have blogged about it too. And… I got a photo with the singer. Oh yes.

This actually happened.

Sunday night was the Hugo Awards, and it’s testament to John Scalzi’s hosting skills that me, Stacia, Chuck and Stephen managed to stand for the whole 2.5-hour duration without much complaint. I personally found the awards fascinating – I’d been a supporting member of WorldCon in the past and have voted in I think the last two or three years, but this was the first ceremony I’d a] seen in person and b] had friends nominated, including some that won. Yay!

Ready for the Hugos - with Stephen Blackmoore and Laura Lam

And I also met two people that made my head spin: Neil Gaiman, because he’s Neil Gaiman and possibly the most famous/instantly recognisable person I’ve ever met…

This also actually happened - with Neil Gaiman (he's in the middle) and Laura Lam

… and Mur Lafferty, who got me writing seriously years ago and who, it turns out (but as I suspected) is a total hoot at parties.

Me and the mighty Mighty Mur

I’ve made a gallery of WorldCon photos over at Facebook. There are too many to post here and if I start to list people I owe thanks to this post will be ten pages long and I still would have missed someone out. But I do have to mention the WorldCon posse of Emma Newman, Lee Harris, Paul Cornell, Laura Lam, Kim Curran and Wesley Chu, and say thank you to Mary Robinette Kowal for not only herding our Alt History panel into the hotel foyer after we discovered the room was locked, but also for making a very nice corpse reviver cocktail – just what I needed on the Monday afternoon!

Roll on San Antonio 2013!