26 September 2010


Here's something I never knew existed: Glyph for Windows. (Such a cool name!) Apparently the Centre of Computer-aided Egyptological Research based in Utrecht University has a bunch of groovy Egyptology programs, including the aforementioned Glyph. (Glyph! For! Windows!)

Alas, they are now having to upgrade to new programs for faster systems so they're having a sale! Yes, you too can have Glyph for Windows, or the even funkier named Hieroglyphica, or even the Coffin Texts Word Index.

What's even cooler is that someone (specifically, Kate Phizackerley) is developing a hieroglyphic plug-in for Word Press! Good grief y'all. Hieroglyphs on blogs. Sweeeeet!

And just to finish off the morning's archaeo-geekery, did you know field archaeologists are using iPads on excavations? iPads! Awesome-cakes! Specifically, the University of Cincinnati on an excavation in Pompeii who are inputting excavation data directly onto iPads instead of handwriting on a million forms and wotnot then having to type it all up later, thus saving oodles of time.

There really is an app for everything! :-)

20 September 2010

BFS Best Newcomer - On Film!

Oh. My. God. Someone filmed it! On camera! And posted it to YouTube!

(I'm on YouTube! Eeeeeek!)

I had no idea I was twitching my head that much. :-)

So, here, for your viewing pleasure, is the fabulous James Barclay doing his MC thing, the even more fabulous Chaz Brenchley doing his accepting thing (on behalf of WINNER KARI SPERRING!!!), the ever excellent Louise Morgan being the sane one. And some weird twitching woman showing why she avoids cameras of every kind...

And if the embedded link doesn't work, it's here!

Fcon 2010 - aftermath

Phew! That was the Fcon that was! (Don't mention the M1 on the way up to it. It is the devil and an affront against nature.)

Firstly, let's have big cheers for Guy Adams, Helen Hopley, Martin Roberts (and his fabulous mohawk - keep it! It's ace!), Stephen Theaker and Ranjna Theaker for putting on a fab weekend. Woot!

Managed to miss every panel and launch going, so others will have to spread gossip on those, but Registration was fun. (Going to need a Registration Chick t-shirt for next year, I think) :-) (And thanks to Debbie Bennett, Di Lewis and Pat Barber for all the work they put in!) We geeked out over Ipads and Kindles and had some very interesting conversations about E-books and the like. (Want BFS E-books, and want 'em now!)

Con attendance was around 300 or so, with a good few on the day walk-ins, and, last I checked, only a dozen of the pre-booked didn't turn up.

And, oh, Saturday night and the awards... it's a bit of blur as far as who did what to whom (official listing here!) - mainly because I spent most of the afternoon in abject terror at the thought of having to co-present one. On stage. In front of people. Saying words. ::faints::

Luckily Best Newcomer was the second award to be presented, so it was over quickly. And even more luckily m'fabulous co-presenter Lou Morgan (Go Lou! Woot!) was the brains of the operation, so we said the words in the right order. And didn't drop the award statue. (It's a new design! Can't say I'm all that keen on it, myself, though.)

Annnnd the winner of Best Newcomer was... Kari Sperring!!! WOOOOOOOOT! Picked up by Chaz Brenchley as the fantastic lady herself was up a mountain in Wales doing Milford writerly things.

After that, the rest of awards kind of fuzzed into non-stop riotous applause and funky double act presenters. And James Barclay was fabulous - someone organise another event so we can get him doing on-stagey things again.
Ooh, and Robert Holdstock won the Karl Edward Wagner Special Award. Very cool.

What else? Our table won the Fcon quiz! Despite the horrendously difficult questions. (Match up the precise vehicle make and models to the transformers in Transformers 2? Behave!)

Missed the Heavy! Metal! Karaoke! (Crashed out. No stamina, me!)

Sam Stone had an amazing outfit for her launch of Demon Dance. (Please tell me there's a picture of it somewhere!)

Remembered to bring books for the Bookcrossing, forgot to write the code in them.

Was a complete zombie brain during the AGM which was annoying as I wanted to add bits to the assorted E-pubs discussions. (Must remember to go to the BFS forum and say stuff.)

Missed the Fcon 2011 launch, but found out later that joining MC Sarah Pinborough in Brighton will be GoH Gwyneth Jones. Niiiiice!

Sure there was more, but am still running a little on the brain-dead side this morning... :-)

15 September 2010

Women of Fantasycon 2010!

In which we celebrate the awesomeness that is the Women of Fantasycon 2010!

(Bow down and worship them, for they are mighty!)

Here is where you can find just some of our fantabulastic Fcon females...*

Lisa Tuttle
Who she? Guest of Honour and author extraordinaire. Most recently published The Silver Bough (a romantic fantasy) and there are three volumes of her short stories due out from Ash Tree Press
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
22:30 - Panel - Get Real
Saturday 18th September
12:00 - GoH Interview
13:00 - Launch - Stranger in the House
23:00 - Panel - The Unbelievable Truth

Juliet E. McKenna
Who she? Author most fabulous and queen of the Write Fantastic.
Most recently published the Lescari Revolution trilogy with Solaris Books.
Upcoming: The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy, plus assorted short fiction.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
18:00 - Panel - In The Beginning
Saturday 18th September
15:00 - Panel - The Great Escape

Sarah Pinborough
Who she? Multi-talented author who has committed horror fiction, tie-in fiction, and is about to let her alternate personality loose on the YA fantasy world. Watch out for Sarah Silverwood and The Nowhere Chronicles Book 1 - The Double Edged Sword.
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
14:00 - Panel - The Grass is Greener

Sam Stone
Who she? Author, poet and editor of horror fiction and Dr Who related goodies.
Recently published: Demon Dance. Coming soon: an anthology of short fiction and poetry.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:00 - Panel - There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers)
Saturday 19th September
18:00 - Launch - Demon Dance

Raven Dane
Who she? Author of comedy and fantasy, steampunk and vampires, dark fantasy and probably a few more genres too!
Recently published: The Legacy of the Dark Kind series. Coming up: The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:00 - Panel - There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers)
20:00 - Launch - The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire

Jo Fletcher

Who she? Poet, associate publisher of Gollancz and BFS legend!
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
16:00 - Panel - How Not to Get Published

Marie O'Regan
Who she? Author, editor, past and future Fcon organiser.
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
17:00 - Launch - The Brighton Bash

Sunila aka Dragonladych
Who she? Artist extraordinaire
What will she be doing?
Artshow - all weekend!

Karen Reay - Davies
Who she? Mystery woman and artist extraordinare!
What will she be doing?
Artshow - all weekend!

Nina Allan
Who she? Awesome author of rather amazing short fiction. Her collection: A Thread of Truth was published by Eibonvale Press.
What will she be doing?
Friday 17th September
19:30 - Reading

Allyson Bird
Who she? Horror author, editor and publicity diva!
Recently published: Wine and Rank Poison from Dark Regions Press.
Launching at Fcon: Never Again
What will she be doing?
Saturday 18th September
11:30 - Reading

Marion Pitman
Who she? Author and purveyor of second hand books.
What will she be doing?
Sunday 19th September
12:30 - Reading

(and not listed on the main program, but still just as awesome)

Di Lewis - queen of Area 51
Helen Hopley - supreme goddess of sales and banquets and many other things too numerous to mention
Lou Morgan - empress of the Bookcrossing
Ranjna Theaker - the power behind the throne

And not forgetting all those (as yet) unknown last minute participants and volunteers who will bustle around to make sure you (yes, you!) have a fab weekend!

*not mentioned are signing appearances for anthology launches. Assume that if they're in an anthology being launched, and at the Con, then they'll be signing! And I've no idea who's turning up for the Heavy! Metal! Karaoke! either.

14 September 2010

Fcon Main Events!

Hurrah! We have more intel! Here's what to do if you want to wander away from the bar! (I know, it's a bizarre concept...)

Most of this will be in the main Con room, but those that aren't will be clearly marked. If in doubt, check your program guide or ask at Registration. (and say hi! Because I am that Registration Chick! Except for the odd moment when I bribe someone to cover so I can have fun watching one of the below...)

Friday 17th September

16.00: Registration Opens
17.30: Opening Ceremony
18.00: In the Beginning - Every story begins with a single sentence. Featuring James Barclay, Rio Youers, Tom Fletcher Juliet E. Mckenna, Conrad Williams
19.00: There Are No Small Presses (Only Small Writers) - Battling for sales and recognition at the thin end of the wedge. Featuring Sam Stone, Christopher Teague, Andrew Hook, Raven Dane, Douglas Thompson, David Rix
20.00: The FantasyCon Quiz: Hosted by David Howe
20.00: Heavy Metal Karaoke (The Salutation Inn) There's a free zombie book from Abaddon's Tomes of the Dead range for the first 50 customers and a prize for the best singer: a full set of any Abaddon series they choose.
21.30: Guest of Honour Interview: Garry Kilworth talks with Guy Adams
22.30: Get Real: Looking at how weird fiction can often be the best tool to address issues in the world around us. Featuring: Joel Lane, Simon Bestwick, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Lisa Tuttle, Stephen Volk, Allen Ashley

Saturday 18th September

09.30: Registration Opens
10.00: ART SHOW OPENS: (Gallery Suite)
11.00: Ray Bradbury: Seventy Years of Stories Featuring Pete Crowther, Joel Lane, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Volk
12.00: Guest Of Honour Interview: Lisa Tuttle talks to Stephen Jones
13.00: Guest of Honour Interview: Bryan Talbot talks to Chaz Brenchley
14.00: The Grass is Greener: What are the complications on switching between genres? Featuring Mark Morris, Tim Lebbon, Sarah Pinborough, Conrad Williams, Mark Chadbourn
15.00: The Great Escape: Is escapism the key to fantasy? Is it the main draw for both writers and readers? Ultimately, do you write a world you would prefer to live in? Featuring Juliet E. McKenna, Liam Sharp, Chaz Brenchley, James Barclay, Garry Kilworth
16.00: How Not to Get Published: An Idiot’s Guide Featuring Jo Fletcher, Stephen Jones, Marc Gascoigne, Lee Harris, Jonathan Oliver
17.00: THE BRIGHTON BASH: A “thank you” from WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2010 and a “welcome” from FantasyCon 2011, come along and have a glass of wine with the organisers and guests, and sign up now for next year’s 30th Anniversary convention at the special reduced rate offered exclusively this weekend! WHC Books and T-shirts for sale! Giveaways! Special Announcements! And much more!
19.00: Banquet: A hot buffet featuring both meat and vegetarian options. Tickets include half a bottle of wine per person
21.00: BRITISH FANTASY AWARDS: Hosted by Master of Ceremonies James Barclay
23.00: The Unbelievable Truth: A comedy panel show built on truth and lies featuring: Bryan Talbot, Lisa Tuttle,
Garry Kilworth, James Barclay, Lee Harris and Chair Guy Adams
23.15: John L. Probert reads “His Beautiful Hands” by Oliver Cook leading into: Pan Book of Horror Launch at Midnight

Sunday 19th September

09.30: The BFS AGM
10.00: What’s New?: How important is originality in fiction? Is there ever such a thing as a fresh voice or are we all hybrids of our influences? Featuring: Mark Morris, Tom Fletcher, Rio Youers
11.00: Are you looking at Me or Chewing the Black Stone? An Appreciation of the work of Robert E. Howard with Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, Joel Lane, Mike Chinn
12.00: Special Guest Interview: Peter F. Hamilton speaks to Alasdair Stuart
13.00: Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition: Bryan Talbot discusses his graphic novels Grandville and Grandville Mon Amour and the venerable and ongoing tradition of anthropomorphic characters in illustration and comics from which they have grown
14.00: The FantasyCon Raffle

11am start on Saturday? Methinks there's a panel or something missing... ;-) And it looks like all of Sunday afternoon is for torturing people with the raffle... Have fun with that!

13 September 2010

Fcon Art Show!

Aaaaannnnd, the Art Show is now full!

Confirmed artists are:
Bryan Talbot
Les Edwards / Edward Miller
Daniele Serra
Sunila aka Dragonladych
Andrew Bigwood
Russell Morgan
Karen Reay-Davies.

Fcon Launches!

Hello sweeties!

Herewith, news on the Fcon launches.
1) More launches to be confirmed as and when.
2) More info here!


20.00: Raven Dane (Wollaton Suite)
The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire


10.00: Eibonvale Books (Dealer' s Room)
Blind Swimmer (introduction by Joel Lane), an anthology on the theme of creativity in the wilderness
Douglas Thompson’s second novel Sylvow

11.00: Nightjar Press (Dealer's Room)
RB Russell’s ‘The Beautiful Room’
Mark Valentine’s ‘A Revelation of Cormorants’

12.00: Angry Robot (Dealer's Room)
The Road to Bedlam - Mike Shevdon
Damage Time - Colin Harvey
Soul Stealers - Andy Remic

13.00: GOH Lisa Tuttle Ash-Tree launch (Dealer’s Room)
Stranger in the House.
"Lisa Tuttle and Stephen Jones (who wrote the introduction) will be on hand to sign copies specially priced at £21.00 for the event (a reduction of eight pounds). Stock is extremely limited."

13.00: Solaris Launch (Main Bar) End of the Line - Ed. Jonathan Oliver

14.00: Gray Friar 'Never Again' (Main Bar) 17 authors currently scheduled to sign...
...‘The proceeds for Never Again will go to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Amnesty International and PEN - an international organisation set up to promote literature and human rights, encouraging translation and campaigning against political censorship.’

15:00: Stephen Jones “A MAMMOTH SIGNING” (Main Bar) presented by Robinson Publishing:
Launch & signing of anthologies: Zombie Apocalypse, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #21 & The Best of Best New Horror.
*A Free Glass of Wine with every book purchased - come early, stocks are strictly limited.

16.00: PS Publishing (Main Bar)
Catastrophia- an anthology of new stories about the end of the world, edited by Allen Ashley (£20)
The Seven Days of Cain - Ramsey Campbell (£20)
The Company He Keeps - the latest Postscripts anthology, edited by Crowther & Gevers (£30)
The House of Canted Steps - Gary Fry (£15)
Tales from the Fragrant Harbour - a collection from FantasyCon GOH Garry Kilworth (£20)
Cinema Futura - an anthology of essays on favourite SF movies, edited by Mark Morris (£25)
End Times - Rio Youers (£20)

18:00: Sam Stone (bar near Dealer's Room)
Demon Dance - Book 3 of The Vampire Gene Series.

Midnight: Macmillan 1st Pan Book of Horror
FantasyCon will be launching the book several weeks ahead of its publication date as a convention exclusive.


15.00: Peter F. Hamilton Special Guest Signing
Hosted by Forbidden Planet (Dealer’s Room)

Fcon Readings

Hello again my darlings, further to my last missive, I now have the intel on the Fcon readings! Hurrah!

Friday 17th September

18.30: Simon Bestwick
19.00: Peter Mark May
19.30: Nina Allen
20.00: Douglas Thompson
20.30: Nicholas Royle
21.00: Simon Kurt Unsworth
21.30: John L. Probert
22.00: Pete Crowther
22.30: Ramsey Campbell

Saturday 18th September

10.00: Andrew Hook
10.30: Gary McMahon
11.30: Allyson Bird
12.00: Paul Meloy
12.30: Joel Lane
13.00: Paul Finch
13.30: Tom Fletcher
14.00: Rio Youers
14.30: Jasper Kent
15.00: Ian Whates
15.30: Mike Shevdon
16.00: Mark Howard Jones
16.30: Reggie Oliver

Sunday 19th September

10.30: Chaz Brenchley
11.00: David Rix
11.30: John Travis
12.00: Mark Morris
12.30: Marion Pitman

4 days to Fcon!

Woohoo! Yes, fantasy fans, there are only four days until the start of that orgy of alcoholic abuse known as Fantasycon!

So, apart from the competition to see how fast the bar can be drunk dry, what do we know about Fcon 2010?

Super Special Guests! Lisa Tuttle, Bryan Talbot, Garry Kilworth, with MC James Barclay and a special one day only appearance by Peter F Hamilton on Sunday.

Panels? Yes there will be some, no I have no idea what. Or with whom. Or when. Advance information on programming has been a wee bit sketchy this year. The one definite confirmed panel is on Friday at 10pm, starring Lisa Tuttle, Joel Lane, Stephen Volk, Simon Bestwick and Allyson Bird*
Said panel is entitled Get Real. The Use of Real-Life Issues in Fantasy and Horror. Annnnd, I quote
"looking at how weird fiction can often be the best tool to poke at the world around us. Whether seeking to inform, incite or simply offload, fantasists have often used the widest scope of their imagination to address society."

Most definitely. A great many. So lots of free drinking. More details on exactly who is doing what when I wrench it out of people!

Readings? Yep. By whom and when is as yet unknown but the reading program is apparently completely full.

Heavy Metal Karaoke! Yep, you read that right. Sponsored by Abaddon Books, to be be held in The Salutation Inn, Maid Marian Way(across the road from the Fcon hotel) at 8pm on Friday. Awesome!

Bookcrossing! If you've got spare books you don't want, scribble the Fcon Bookcrossing code on them (or use a post-it if you don't want to find yourself guilty of booky defacement), then release them into the wilds of Fcon and track how far they travel!

Art Show? Well, it was a bit touch and go this year, but thanks to a last minute intervention by the very brave Steve Upham of Screaming dreams, yes, there will be art! If you're interested in displaying your work or want to volunteer for a shift of manning the room, contact him now! steve@screamingdreams.com

Film Show? Alas no, not this year.

Awards and Banquet? Of course. Saturday night. Kickoff time unconfirmed but likely to be Banquet at 7pm-ish. Will check and confirm.

BFS AGM? First thing Sunday morning, because we are just that cruel!

The infamous and terrifying Fantasycon Raffle? Oh god yes. (What were they thinking?!) To be held Sunday at 2pm.

More news as and when I get it! :-)

*Although standard convention disclaimers apply - ie. due to assorted reasons, peeps may change on the day.

03 September 2010

September Books

Books I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this month:

An Artificial Night - Seanan McGuire
More Toby Daye (this is book three out of, I think, five), what's not to love! I'm a new convert to this series and having burned through the first two have been looking forward to this immensely.

So what's the big deal?
October 'Toby' Daye is a half-fae who spent 14 years trapped as a fish after a P.I. job went a bit wrong. She's getting her life back and dealing with, ooh, many complications while trying to accomplish little things like not getting killed by the latest crazy fae who wants to have a go. And she is kick-ass. Very very kick-ass. And snarky. And there's all kinds of intriguing larger stories going on that won't see fruition until later books - which, of course, are going to be must-reads!

According to the blurb: Artificial Night "...brings Toby into unavoidable, disastrous contact with the darker realities of the fae as Blind Michael, Firstborn son of Oberon and Maeve, begins claiming the children of the Mists as his own...including several that Toby considers to be essentially family. Time is short and the rules are stranger than any she's ever played by, dictated by a mad Firstborn and his private army, but failure isn't an option. If she can't get there and back by the light of a candle, she may not get back at all..."

Ooooooohhhhh.... :-)

The Double-Edged Sword - Sarah Silverwood

First foray into the world of YA fiction from awesome writer Sarah Pinborough - that alone should be enough to make you spend your money...

According to the blurb: "Finmere Tingewick Smith was abandoned on the steps of the Old Bailey. Under the guardianship of the austere Judge Harlequin Brown and the elderly gentlemen of Orrery House, Fin has grown up under a very strange set of rules. He spends alternate years at two very different schools and now he's tired of the constant lies to even his best friends, to hide the insanity of his double life. Neither would believe the truth! But on his sixteenth birthday, everything changes. The Judge is killed, stabbed in the chest with a double-edged sword that's disturbingly familiar, and from that moment on, Fin is catapulted into an extraordinary adventure. Through the Doorway in Fin's London, a hole in the boundaries of Existence, lies another London -- and now both are in grave danger. For the Knights of Nowhere have kidnapped the Storyholder, the keeper of the Five Eternal Stories which weave the worlds together. Because of the Knights' actions, a black storm is coming, bringing madness with it. Fin may be just 16, but he has a long, dark journey ahead of him if he is to rescue the Storyholder and save Existence!"


The Road to Bedlam - Mike Shevdon

Will be buying both this and the earlier Sixty-One Nails just as soon as possible because a) sounds cool, and b) when Juliet McKenna and C.E. Murphy recommend something, you damn well listen y'all!

“Sixty-One Nails is Neverwhere for the next generation. The pacing is spot-on, the characters engaging, and the world fits together beautifully to create a London that ought to be. I stayed up too late finishing it.”
- C.E. Murphy

“Mike Shevdon strikes sparks from the flinty core of English folklore, as a hero every reader can relate to finds he’s part of an incredible and scarily believable parallel realm. If you’ve been thinking urban fantasy has nothing fresh to offer, think again.”
- Juliet E. McKenna

According to the blurb: "Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call. As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility. Those choices will lead him to discover dark secrets at the core of the realm, where the people in power have their own designs."

Ooh er...