Thursday, 29 April 2010

Three Of The Best!

are delighted to bring you


Three huge talents; one signing event - we're delighted to be hosting a triple signing with Clarke Award winner China Miéville, Adam Nevill and Mark Charan Newton on Thursday 20th May 6 - 7pm at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR.

In China Miéville’s KRAKEN, a prize specimen has come to the Natural History Museum – a giant squid, whole and perfectly preserved. When it disappears, curator Billy Harrow finds himself in a city of warring cults and surreal magic – and the forthcoming end of the world.

APARTMENT 16 by Adam Nevill is wonderfully written, deftly plotted tale of utter horror that will have you turning the lights on in the middle of the night. Follow and unravel the tale of Barringon House – and discover that the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something terrifying.

Three weeks in advance of publication date, CITY OF RUIN by Mark Charan Newton is the follow-on to the massively successful Nights of Villjamur, taking us back to the lands of the Red Sun. This time, we go to Villiren, where Brynd and investigator Jeryd must fight to save a city that’s already in ruins.

This will be an open-plan event, and is very likely to be followed by an evening of celebration.

You have been warned!

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Monday, 12 April 2010

Tweetox and the #amwriting Hashtag

So, there you are – you’ve got 20 minutes between finishing the dishes and settling down for Doctor Who. No point writing anything, let’s fire up Twitter and see what the world is up to…

…whaddaya mean it’s still fired up from the last 20 minutes 40 minutes ago?

You, yes you, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’ve tried to be good – when I #amwriting, I shut twitter down. On those glorious, rare and blissful occasions I actually get the house to myself for four WHOLE HOURS I can still crank out the wordcount – and Twitter goes OFF.

But it’s the snippets, the corners of time between one thing and the next, the not-quite-getting-round-to-it and the I’ll-do-it-in-a-minute…

…who am I fucking kidding?

After coming back from EasterCon, I entertained a little cold turkey – quit the booze (to give my long-suffering liver a rest), for a start, but also took a moment to wrap twitter’s beak in gaffer tape and shut it the hell up.

What I found out should be no revelation.

Those twenty minutes matter. Those corners of time, those fragments of finger-twiddle between this thing and the next… even if they don’t count towards your final wordage total, they keep the ideas moving, the characters talking, the plotline unrolling (okay, occasionally writhing) in your head. If you default to tweet, soon you find your characters wandering off into the middle distance – and when you DO have time to actually write, you spend a precious hour going to look for them – and bringing them back.

And that’s wordcount wasted.

I can’t pretend I didn’t miss it (my Facebook updates became rather more frequent and I really missed both twitpic and, but the tweetox was well worth the insight.

With absolute respect to those who use the #amwriting hashtag to network, community build and connect with other writers to help each other and all move forwards, I still can’t get my head round it.

When I #amwriting, Twitter gets shut down. And that should now go for those errant 20 minutes, as well - yes, all of them.

No mercy! :)

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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Odyssey 2010 - Breaking Into The Future

And so, to the Heathrow Radisson, two years on from my own return to fandom – and with a wash of déjà-vu borne by the wings – and the scent – of the aircraft overhead.

This year, we finally witnessed the fusion of fandom with social media – the Saturday afternoon saw a plethora of panels discussing blogs, soc med platforms and the glory of the #EasterCon hashtag. Saturday membership soared from speculative walk-ins – not fans, just people who’d seen the chat on twitter and wanted to see what was happening.

My own Social Media panel was live-streamed – huge thank you to Nik Butler for the tech spec and to Lee Harris, Del Lakin-Smith and Paul Cornell for their expertise – but the hotel was full of many digital champions. Mark Charan Newton, John Coxon and the ever-blogging Cheryl Morgan only touched the screen-surface – for one glorious moment on the Sunday, the #EasterCon hashtag hit as a world trend.

As ever, I spent much of my time behind the Dealers’ Table – but, with MacBook open, was able to track the Twitter backchannel and attend events by proxy – something that was happening with fans at home, I’m sure. Cheryl’s panel on Virtual Attendees opened this concept wider – a huge potential for people to attend Conventions all over the world, for knowledge and family to be shared. Not only that, but the huge out-spilling ripples caused by the Award announcements each made more noise than the Heathrow runways outside.

My work-mate Mat commented ‘you know everybody’ and it did feel like that – an odd two-year jump from ‘08 where I sat scared on the Thursday evening knowing one name from the 1,000 plus in attendance. This year, I could stroll the semi-marble oddities of the Radisson, from the Corner of the Damned (Smoker’s Terrace) to the Atrium Bar, and there would always be someone to chat to – and always something to chat about. Reading, writing, gaming, fighting, costume-making, publishing, tech spec and social media – whatever your part in it, the SF/F industry is a strong community; it embraces its own and no amount of hashtagging can equal a Con’s strong feeling of extended family.

‘I like Cons’ I overheard one fan said to another ‘It’s okay to be weird’.

In the Venn diagram of real and virtual, this was an EasterCon that occupied the centre – where we watched as the two things met and overlapped and enhanced each other, working on dual level to share information within the Con itself and to broadcast that information to the outside world.

I know ‘everybody’ because of Forbidden Planet – but also because of Twitter – and because of the way I’ve woven them together. Watching this happen on a bigger scale, on a Worldwide Trending Topic scale, was astounding.

Fandom's gone digital. And high time!
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