Wednesday, 31 March 2010

FORBIDDEN PLANET is delighted to be hosting one of our famous multi-author events. To celebrate two brand new NewCon Press anthologies, THE BITTEN WORD and CONFLICTS, at 5pm on April 22nd, Forbidden Planet 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London will be playing host to: -

Keith Brooke, Eric Brown, David L Clements, Andy Remic, Sarah Singleton, Kari Sperring, Sam Stone, Ian Watson and Ian Whates

This is a new-format signing, no tables, no queues – we open out the store floor and give readers a chance to meet the authors and talk to them about their work. An array of fantastic books will be on hand to be signed – including Ian Whates’ CITY OF DREAMS AND NIGHTMARE and Ian Watson’s ORGASMACHINE.

Also available will be special pre-publication copies of Andy Remic’s SOUL STEALERS, second book of his successful Clockwork Vampire series from Angry Robot Books.

And yes, there will be beer, though possibly not with these two...

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Sunday, 28 March 2010

WHC: World Horror Con

So – how do you write about a Con that you saw so little of??

In fact, though Alex and I were nailgunned behind the FP trading table as usual, we did manage to prise our way free and explore the labyrinthine wonders of the antique Brighton hotel… certainly enough to know that World Horror Con was doing it old school.

Here, we found, the fans were serious – an older generation of dedicated horror collectors disdaining the common paperback in favour of first edition hardcovers, many of them calculating their luggage weight as they went along. World Horror Con was not a Con about costumes, it was gathering of experts – world-wide, word-wise and hard-core.

Though the Dealers’ Room was tucked out of the way of the main programe, props to Stephen Jones and the ever-eloquent James Bacon for bringing events in to us… peaking with the two-hour signing with the Master Himself, James Herbert – a man for whom Brian Lumley will stand and queue and Ingrid Pitt will publicly declaim her affection. I mean, horror-fan or no, who hasn’t read a James Herbert book?

The appearance of Neil Gaiman as secret special guest caused the inevitable flurry – perhaps the only point that paperbacks were suddenly in vogue. Had we known he was coming, of course…

Anyway, away from the (mostly) revered silence of the Dealers’ Rooms, the Con took ‘old school’ in a fantastically retro direction – out onto Brighton Pier with a free bar and an open Ghost Train ride, a winner of a combination.

And just to add to the nostalgia, the MonQee reappeared, gathering more fans and more signatures – he crashed over with me on the Saturday after the Stoker Awards.

Throw in a plethora of book-launch parties and you have a WorldCon worthy of its title. There may only have been 500 members, but I’ve never seen a community so focused upon the genre they love and have grown up with, upon the multiple anthologies they collaborate and write, and upon friendships that stretch back through years without number.

There have been many of our friends there too – but, at World Horror Con, we could watch a different age of fandom.

‘Horror’ said Solaris’ Jon Oliver in an interview with Andy Remic, ‘has no boundaries’. Ironic really, when you consider how close the community that surrounds it really is.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

SF/F and Social Media and – Join Us Live at EasterCon

At EasterCon this year, on Saturday 3rd April at 3:00pm (BST), UStreaming live from Odyssey 2010, we will be merging industry and Social Media to debate – and real-time demonstrate – this question: -

Just how far has the SF/F industry really embraced Social Media?

We know that writers are all over Twitter; they’re everywhere. Promoted by publishers, orbited by bloggers and followed by fans, they meet one another through the #amwriting hashtag or join David Rozansky’s #scifichat. Competitions and give-aways abound freely (please RT), circling like little bluebirds over the head of a dazed man.

But, in the grand scheme of things, how much impact does this have? In a world where only the top 15% of books published sell more than 5,000 copies… can we do more with Social Media to ensure that the industry accepts change and allows itself to grow?

The Twitter support community is great – on one level, we’ve embraced the ideal of completely. People help each other – no, I mean it. But socially, the industry is insular – despite the ‘New Age of Geek Chic’ and all of that gubbins, are people reluctant to reach beyond their safety zone?

Are we going round in circles, preaching our love of SF to the already converted?

And it goes beyond Twitter. Twitter is the foyer; there are many other rooms to peek into. The David Gemmell Legend Awards can be found on Ning; video promotions for book titles are becoming quite the thing, dahling – and more and more authors follow the free-download example set by Accelerando.

Is good Social Media an effective long-term investment – or is its short-focus immediacy just a smart way to give out a quick dozen books? Will it, as Jim C Hines mused, eventually prove to be the end of the book signing?

And, of course, the very nature of those books is changing under our hands – not only their format, but how they’re sold – that was one trip up the Amazon we all remember. How far can Social Media promote the awareness and acceptance of those changes – professional, legal and personal – and help ensure that they’re beneficial in the right places?

To find out - and to chip in - come to #LiveCon.

Track the #EasterCon and #LiveCon hashtags at UStream TV, or on the BSFA website – or join us on Twitter – use the #LiveCon hashtag to ask my panel a real-time question.

Join author Paul Cornell and Angry Robot Books' editor Lee Harris as they match their industry wits with Social Media experts Nik Butler and Del Lakin-Smith – and follow all of us live on Twitter for commentary, not only from #LiveCon, but from the whole weekend.

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Thursday, 11 March 2010


MARK MILLAR and JOHN ROMITA Jr. will be signing the graphic novel KICK-ASS and the movie companion book KICK-ASS: CREATING THE COMIC, MAKING THE MOVIE at Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2h 8JR on Sunday March 21st 2 – 3pm.

The KICK-ASS phenomenon unites acclaimed writer Mark Millar and award-winning artist John Romita Jr. for one of the 21st century’s most outrageous and acclaimed series. What would happen if you tried to be a superhero – if an ordinary kid in spandex came face-to-face with the criminal underworld?

In the graphic novel, Dave Lizewski is just a regular American teenager with a MySpace page, a comic book collection, and no girlfriend. As self-styled vigilante Kick-Ass, however, he’s about to find out exactly how a superhero would fare in the real world... and it’s going to get really, really violent!

To accompany the film release, Mark Millar has also written the full and official page-to-screen story of KICK-ASS, collecting the input of the cast and crew as well as artist John Romita Jr. With eye-popping art from the original comics, script extracts and hundreds of movie photos, this is the indispensable guide to every aspect of ass-kicking.

Please note we can't offer signed pre-orders for these titles - though we do have a crapton of cool merchandise. If you want to get your ass kicked, so to speak, you'll need to be at the event!