Archive for category Events
I’ll be in Bradford for Easter weekend for the 64th EasterCon and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the event. I have a number of sessions programmed throughout the weekend – see below for details:
Friday 29th March
- 6:00 PM – Avalon, Sherwood Forest and Alderley Edge: The Magical British Countryside
- How does the landscape of Britain affect stories set in it? Where does the magic lurk, and how does it inspire writers? Sue Mason moderates Tiffani Angus, Anne Sudworth, Mike Shevdon and Freda Warrington.
- 9:00 PM – Underground London
- Take one London. Add magical society hidden from most people. Mix in famous places from the city, and optionally garnish with police procedural. Why is this such a great recipe? With Paul Cornell, Roz Kaveney, Anne Lyle, Simon Morden and Mike Shevdon.
Saturday 30th March
- Genre Get-Together – Fantasy
- A chance to meet the authors, get books signed and chat about books, stories and other stuff.
Sunday March 31st
- Author Readings
- I will be reading from The Eight Court, along with the lovely Emma Newman who will (I hope) be reading from her new book – Between Two Thorns.
If you would like a book signed or just to say hello, I will be around the convention for most of the weekend. There are a host of events, panels, games and discussions with plenty to do throughout the weekend.
If you’re at the event, please come and say Hi – it’s always nice to meet new friends. See you there!
On 17th November we had a very successful visit to Sheffield Central Library – a big thank you to Dan and the team, to Harland Cafe and to The Space Centre for organising and supporting the event. Hi to everyone who came along – I hope we were able to entertain you and answer your questions. A special thank you to the person who asked the question about deadlines
Some pics below:
This Saturday 17th November there will be not one, but four Angry Robot Authors in Sheffield. As part of their Readers Events, Sheffield Central Library are hosting a Science Fiction and Fantasy Readers Day with four authors, each with a different style of fantasy:
- David Tallerman – “Best known for an eclectic variety of short stories, Tallerman debuts with a breezy novel of a man with his eye on the prize … Tallerman’s charming, devil-may-care hero has plenty of swashbuckling roguishness to carry him through the planned sequels.” – Publishers Weekly
- Gav Thorpe – “The Crown of the Blood should really have a warning sticker on the front (Angry Robots take note) it’s one of those books that are almost impossible to put down, so much so that you find yourself unconsciously continuing to (try to) read after geeting up to make a brew / go to work / go to bed (delete as applicable and don’t try this at home kids). The novel also stands out with a very strong opening scene and excellent end, with a genuinely unexpected twist.” – SFBook.com
- Anne Lyle – “Anne Lyle’s Alchemist of Souls teems with intrigue and magic worthy of the Bard himself, all set against the backdrop of Elizabethan London. The attention to historical detail brings the time and place alive and peoples it with characters I could instantly empathize with. An outstanding debut!” Lynn Flewelling
And you get me into the bargain, talking about The Courts of the Feyre and writing in general. I will also be around to sign copies of the books, including Strangeness and Charm – all supported with free cake from The Harland Cafe and with books on sale from The Space Centre.
NOTE – TICKETS ARE FREE, BUT YOU HAVE TO BOOK IN ADVANCE
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you,the Angry Robot editorial team will be there, talking about publishing, what it takes to be an Angry Robot Author and how to get that big break. The event starts at 1pm at Sheffield Central Library, but remember to get those tickets in advance.
Hope to see you there
This weekend Bedford will be hosting its bi-annual River Festival and entirely co-incidentally, I will be at Waterstones on Silver Street signing copies of Strangeness and Charm and the earlier books.
Do come along and get your books signed – the staff at Waterstones are very welcoming and helpful. The event starts at 10:30 and will continue until about 4pm if we still have books. Last time we had sold all the stock by 2pm, so my advice would be to come earlier rather than later to avoid disappointment.
Hope to see you there.
From Good Friday until Easter Monday I shall be at EasterCon, which this year is being held at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel Heathrow. On Friday afternoon at 3pm I will be on stage with weapons. For reasons of safety and self-preservation, I will not be loading those weapons, but we will have some interesting pieces of video to entertain and amaze you, and I guarantee that if you see archery in a fantasy film after that, you will not see it in the same light again. It’s a promise.
I will also be around for book signings on Saturday and Sunday evening, so bring your copy along and I will be happy to sign it for you.
Hope to see you there!
As some of you will have noticed it has been quiet here on the website for a while – all for very good reasons, I assure you. I have been working hard on Strangeness and Charm: Book 3 in The Courts of the Feyre series, and I am finally at a stage where I can take a short break from it and catch up with other things.
One of those things was facilitated by Sandy Auden, writer, reviewer, and photographer. Sandy was at BristolCon this year and had the foresight to bring her camera with her. One of my reasons for being there was to give a talk on Archery in Fantasy, a whirlwind tour of the use of the bow and arrow in genre fiction, and Sandy was on hand to take some shots.
Pictured left is is a Magyar Horse Bow, or rather a replica example of one, made by the Hungarian Bowyer Csaba Grózer. This is the design used by the nomadic tribes of the open grassland of the Eastern Plains of Europe.
You can see that the bow is quite short, but it will draw easily out to thirty inches (which is about my limit) and is fast and sweet to shoot. It doesn’t jar against the hand but has a very ‘live’ feel.
The ends of the limbs, as you can probably see in the picture, are solid wood, and are called Siyahs. They act as levers on the end of the limbs so that the geometry of the bow evens out the draw weight over the length of the draw, making it smooth and fast.
Magyar bows of this nature were typical of a period about 4,000 years ago, so this is more ancient that an English Longbow, which would have been more common about 500 – 600 years ago.
In contrast, the bow on the right is a very modern example. This is a compound bow, typified by the eccentric cams on the ends of the limbs which act to change the apparent weight as draw it. This bow is set at 55 lbs peak weight, but at full draw I am holding only around 20 lbs, allowing me more time to aim and settle before releasing. Obviously I didn’t actually release, as there’s no arrow on the bow, and dry shooting a bow is very bad for it since all the energy stored in the bow has nowhere to go but back into the bow.
Compound bows were invented in the 1960s and have been developing ever since. This is an American design, manufactured by Bowtech Archery or Oregon, and is my competition bow. It’s a Bowtech Guardian – very fast and very quiet. A superb feat of engineering and design.
So I had a great time explaining how even the masters of Fantasy can get archery very wrong – and how some get it so right. I explained paradoxes, demonstrated stringing, showed off bows ancient and modern, with a really friendly audience who asked lots of interesting questions.
The only problem was we ran out of time. If I do it again, I’ll try and get a longer slot. Many thanks to Sandy for some excellent photos in tricky lighting conditions.
There has been considerable discussion over the past week about the British Fantasy Awards, who won them and why.
I was at FantasyCon in Brighton this year, and had a great time. The organisation was excellent, the venue worked well and it was great to see everyone there – the weather gave the whole weekend a summer holiday feel. I didn’t stay for the Sunday afternoon as I had a five-hour journey including a replacement bus service and London rail closures to negotiate and so I missed the awards ceremony, but it would be a shame if controversy over the awards overshadowed an excellent event.
Many thanks and congratulations to Marie, Paul and the whole team for all their effort in making FantasyCon 2011 a success.
The awards, though, were not a success and have culminated in the unfortunate situation that Sam Stone has handed back the August Derleth Award for Best Novel after there was criticism of the selection procedure and the method by which the books were shortlisted. It speaks volumes for Sam’s integrity that she gave back the award.
According to the rules of the society, the British fantasy Awards are presented on the basis of the votes from the membership of both the society and the members of FantasyCon, but while readers of genre fiction number in their hundreds of thousands, members of the BFS and FantasyCon number only in their hundreds.
It has been remarked upon before that the BFS has a strong bias towards Horror, a part of genre fiction which has been in decline in recent years. The fact that FantasyCon and the BFS Awards therefore have a strong bias towards Horror, and that the awards tend to go to authors known by the membership of FantasyCon who have worked hard to build a following in that group, should come as no surprise. It is a natural consequence of the process as it stands.
The 2011 shortlist for Best Novel, known as the August Derleth Award, is shown below:
- Apartment 16 ‘ Adam Nevill ‘ Pan McMillan
- Demon Dance ‘ Sam Stone ‘ The House Of Murky Depths
- Leaping, The ‘ Tom Fletcher ‘ Quercus
- Pretty Little Dead Things ‘ Gary McMahon ‘ Angry Robot
- Silent Land, The ‘ Graham Joyce ‘ Gollancz
There are no works of Fantasy on this list. Some of them might be described as Dark Fantasy, but the emphasis is on the dark element, rather than the fantastic.
August Derleth was the person who first published H P Lovecraft. He was a writer himself and coined the term “Cthulu Mythos”. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the August Derleth Award for Best Novel is rarely won by a work of Fantasy and is usually awarded to a Horror writer. Some years there are no works of Fantasy on the shortlist at all – as was the case this year. This is not because no works of Fantasy were published, or that none of them were worthy of recognition.
After the events of this year’s awards, the BFS is at a crossroads. For its awards to mean something, it needs to reestablish the credibility of those awards and the process that selects the winners. A first step to that, perhaps, would be to openly promote the August Derleth Award as an award for Horror writers, making the de facto situation a reality.
Then people might stop wondering why so few Fantasy works end up on the shortlist, and the winners of the award would get recognition from the people who appreciate the best in Horror fiction.