Category Archives: Conventions

Dislocations launched at Eastercon

Lovely to make an albeit brief appearance at the UK’s national science fiction convention on March 30th to mark the publication of Dislocations, the first in a four-part novella series written with long-time collaborator Eric Brown. Many copies were signed at the convention, and afterwards Eric and I spent a few hours in Bradford discussing life, publishing, and plans for the third and fourth novellas in the series (the second having been recently completed, and due to be published later this year).

Copies are available direct from the publisher, as well as the usual places:


The book:

Project Kon-tiki, the world’s first extra-solar colony expedition, is just weeks away from departure, and tension is mounting at Lakenheath Base.

Psychologist Kat Manning is one of the eighteen specialist whose clone will be sent to the stars, and her job is to work with the original specialists, the ‘left behind’, to monitor and support them through their dislocation… But when Kat is kidnapped by the Allianz, a faction opposed to the colonisation program, more than just her safety is at stake. The entire mission is in jeopardy.

In Dislocations, the first volume of the Kon-tiki Quartet, Brown and Brooke tell the story of humankind’s last-gasp efforts to reach the stars, set against the backdrop of an Earth torn apart by looming environmental disaster.

Loncon schedule

My Loncon schedule is rather limited, I’m afraid, but here it is…

Friday 15 August: attending

Friday 15 August: 4.30pm – Newcon book launches (in my case, for the Paradox anthology), Fan Village

…erm, that’s it

Hoping the day will involve a lot of catching up with people!

EDIT: Just added the Tor party at 6.30pm to mark the launch of the Futures 2 anthology, at The Fox, Warehouse K.

Alt.Fiction 2011

Just a quick note to say what a lovely time I had at Alt.Fiction over the weekend. Many thanks to Alex and the team for organising such a slick, content-packed event.

I took part in a panel on YA fiction, moderated a panel on the writer’s life, and did a reading with Guest of Honour Alastair Reynolds, which turned into a very relaxed chat. As ever with these things, what really makes them for me is the chance to catch up with people, and this was no exception: a wonderful mix of old friends, ‘net contacts I’ve never, or rarely, met, and new friends. The weekend was spent in the excellent company of the 1966 boys (Al Reynolds, Tony Ballantyne, Ian Sales), Roy Gray, Conrad Williams, Stephen Volk, Ian Whates, Kim and Del Lakin-Smith, and many more.

Another of the really good things about these events is the confidence boost. I went there having had a fairly shitty time in the day job, and I didn’t realise it but my confidence was shot to pieces. The thought of standing up and “performing” in front of an audience was pretty damned daunting; even the thought of all the meeting people was pretty challenging, when I could so easily just have stayed at home and concentrated on my novel; when I’m low it’s so much easier to retreat into my antisocial shell. But did I mention how nice everyone was and what a good crowd was there? I came away with a healthy boost of confidence and renewed enthusiasm for writing, raring to get back to work on the novel and all the other projects buzzing around in my head.

That panel on the writing life? I think the consensus was that the writer’s life is actually a lot tougher than most people credit, but when it comes down to it, a writer’s life is good, and none of us would want anything else. That was certainly my conclusion!

I’ll be at Alt.Fiction 2011 – will you?

…and not just because of the similarity with the title of my novel-in-progress, alt.human.

I’ll be on various panels, talking about the writing life, teen fiction and giving a reading (title to be confirmed) with the wonderful Al Reynolds. Here are the details of the event:

Alt.Fiction 2011
25th-26th June, at QUAD, Derby

Saturday 25th June 10.00am – Midnight
Sunday 26th June 10.00am – 5.00pm

Alt.Fiction marks its fifth year with a fantastic weekend for readers and writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Bringing together some of the UK’s leading talent in the genre, Alt.Fiction presents a full programme of readings, panels, workshops, podcasts and much more over two days, giving you the chance to hear from your favourite authors, find out more about the world of publishing and learn more about the writing process.

Alt.Fiction is a weekend not to be missed for book lovers and budding writers.

This year’s Guests of Honour are bestselling science fiction author Alastair Reynolds and acclaimed comic book writer and novelist Dan Abnett. They will joined by speakers Tony Ballantyne, Cathy Brett, Keith Brooke, Mark Chadbourn, Stephen Deas, Paul Finch, John Jarrold, Juliet McKenna, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Mark Charan Newton, Sarah Pinborough, Robert Shearman, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Conrad Williams, Chris Wooding and many more.

Don’t miss!

Alt Fiction has joined forces with QUAD’s regular Fright Club horror programme and the Mayhem Horror Film Festival to present a specially curated film programme on Saturday 25th June.

Firstly a cult classic double bill of furry, feline fear with a Cat People Double Bill at 8.00pm, followed by a special bonus preview of Hobo With A Shotgun at midnight.

Alt Fiction pass holders gain free entry to these screenings.

Click here for the full Alt Fiction schedule.

What was that?

It’s a drag suffering from hearing loss, and not simply because you often miss what’s going on.

I used to have excellent hearing, right up until I was about fifteen. Then I started playing lead guitar in loud rock bands and my hearing was rapidly wrecked. Tests show my hearing ability to be equivalent to someone who either works in an excessively noisy environment, or someone thirty or forty years older than I am. Given that many of the latter group are dead, that’s not saying a lot… I’ve lost hearing at most higher frequencies, and suffer constant tinnitus. The latter consists of whistles at several different pitches, simultaneously, and at varying volume. It really does my head in at times.

The impact of this is that I often have trouble hearing what people say to me, particularly if there’s any background noise. If you chat to me at a con and I nod blankly, chances are that I’m struggling to keep up but hate to keep asking people to repeat what they’ve said.

To me that’s one of the crucial things: yes, it’s a pain to miss some of what’s going on, but the worst part is having to ask people to repeat themselves. And then, often, asking them to do so again. When I can make out what they’ve said, more often than not it’s been a trivial passing comment it would have done no harm to miss, but by then I’ve asked, the conversation has been interrupted, the flow broken… It doesn’t make for easy conversation sometimes, and that gets incredibly frustrating for me – and for the person I’m talking to.

Whenever I watch a film, I put the subtitles on. How cool would it be if we could do that in real life? But no…

So in advance: sorry. When we chat I’m going to ask you to repeat yourself, and sometimes I won’t when I should, simply because I’d rather the conversation flowed than was repeatedly hauled back. Sometimes I’ll get that wrong, but hey, don’t take it personally.

And yes, I probably should get hearing aids, shouldn’t I?

Eastercon, 2011

Another flying visit to Eastercon, same as last year. Drove over to Birmingham on the Saturday morning, music loud and breaking the journey every so often to make notes on my novel-in-progress, alt.human.

Spent much of Saturday with the ever-funny Ian Sales, Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle member Tracy Berg, contributor to my sub-genres of SF book Gary Gibson, and BSFA short story award nominee Neil Williamson, promoting his infinity plus ebook The Ephemera.

Met a lovely young fan of my The Unlikely World of Faraway Frankie, signed a few books, etc. No panel duty, as I only joined the con on the door. Emailed by The Guardian (that phrase sounds way too science-fictional in this context!) asking for another review, so grabbed a Matthew Hughes novel from the Angry Robot stand and had a good chat with AR publisher Marc Gascoigne.

More great chat with: BSFA novel award-winner Ian McDonald, lovely guy and one of my long-time favourite authors; wonderful evangelists for the genre Tom Hunter and Roy Gray; a bunch of fabulous authors and publishing people I’m lucky enough to count among my friends, including Mike Cobley, Philip Palmer, Martin Sketchley, Darren Nash, Ian Macleod, and Peter Hamilton; always good to meet and chat with people I know less well – Del and Kim Lakin-Smith, BSFA short story award-winner Aliette de Bodard, Lavie Tidhar and many others; good catch-up with the phenomenal Ian Whates, whose Newcon Press will be putting out an ebook edition of Faraway Frankie soon. I even made my first corridor sale of an ebook!

All in all great con. Maybe next year I’ll manage more than just one day!

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