I’ve just returned from NewCon5 in Northampton – a convention for lovers of science fiction. I had a nice long chat at what in many conventions are called Kaffeeklatsche (German – sort of – for a coffee chat about almost anything with Paul Cornell: author of many SF books and graphic comics including Dr Who novels, Captain Britain, and the recent Young Avengers series. I had a good chat with Jaine Fenn, successful author of Principles of Angels. We discussed the possibility of Adventure Books of Seattle (I am the British branch) being a distributor of Sam Stone’s books. Also with Juliet McKenna, who has graciously accepted to read my Xaghra’s Revenge novel with a view to endorsing it. I have an endorsement for it already from Jon Courtenay Grimwood, who was born in the Maltese Islands where the novel is set.
While there it was a pleasure to meet up with old friends such as Ian Whates. who organised the successful NewCon, and with others such as Sam Stone, her publisher, Terry Martin, and with my old friend, Terry Jackman of the BSFA Orbiters. It was my pleasure to read and review a pre-published version of Sam Stone’s Demon Dance. Also from BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) Orbiters but whom I’d not met in person before, was Robert Harkess and his wife. Robert is a skillful writer and has helped me with critiques of many of my short stories. At the con was Northampton’s jester, Kevin Burke, on his modern bendy stilts. Always a friendly chap – remember he was with me at NewCon4 helping me sell Exit, Pursued by a Bee. Which reminds me that it was a pleasure to hear Robert Harkess say he’d just finished reading Exit on his Kindle. Excellent!
On my train homeward journey I’ve been planning the science fiction workshop session I am doing with the Llandudno Writers’ group. I did a session with them earlier in the year on how to win short story competitions. A creative and appreciative bunch they are too. Brian Lux, writer of excellent children’s stories, is my contact with them.
My nephew, Ben Bamber, is in the papers again. His dystopic novella, The Vast and Gruesome Clutch of Our Law is now out as an ebook at the innovative site, Smashwords, and an article about it has appeared in the Gloucestershire Echo. The text of the piece is on the Echo’s site here.
Another link for you is my review of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at Compulsive Reader. Is it Science Fiction? I don’t think so: just because a story is set in the future it doesn’t make it SF automatically unless the change in the future features intrinsically. Nevertheless. I enjoyed reading the book. My review.