When it comes to pushing boundaries, it wasn’t really all that radical.
For the sake of a podcast, kindly done for Forbidden Planet and hosted on the site… for the sake of copies of ‘The City & The City’ a couple of weeks before pub date… for the sake of China Miéville being kind enough to do a short reading and a Q&A…
…our quintessential ‘author with Sharpie’ signing became something – omygod! – new.
Last week saw The Royal Observatory’s Marek Kukula give his keynote at the Clarke’s Awards, talking about how he owed his wonder at the expanding boundaries of science fact to his love of science fiction. His sincerity was very touching – as was witnessing the overwhelmed expression of Ian MacLeod, Clarke’s winner. It was an enjoyable – and very warm – evening and a wonderful opportunity to be at the centre of a huge, human Venn diagram. Events like these provide inspiration; they’re a great platform from which to springboard new ideas. I hope that Mister Clarke would be proud of his legacy.
Also last week, we had the opportunity to welcome both Charlie Stross and Tony Ballantyne into the London store. Charlie had us all in constant laughter with the zombification of E. E. Doc Smith and an unrepeatable joke about wetsuits; Tony’s event was quieter – but I can’t recommend Twisted Metal enough, the book is astonishing and (insert squeeee here) he’s almost finished the sequel.
As work weeks go, it was something out of the ordinary. Three authors, each of them ground-breaking in his own way, each of them bringing his own insight and humour to the industry… and not just by the text between the covers of his books. Equally revolutionary – and providing illustrations – was Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, signing at Titan Towers on Friday afternoon. Having already been teased for my Twitter-presence by China, Dave rubbed my nose in it by affectionately cussing the site… even as I was tweeting the link to the signed books…
One day, the industry will get it.
In the meantime, though, things do catch on. When something as easy as a podcast generates so much interest and energy around an event, it’s a lesson so obvious we’re kicking ourselves. It’s high time we did more of this, had more fun, thought outside the till and more about the people. This is ‘new PR creativity’ – and it really isn’t rocket science. When Marek Kukula can talk about the correlation of science fact with science fiction… can we not, in our own arena, employ a little of the same concept?