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News and events

Symphony of War Declared
The second novel in the Kaddon Keys series is available in ebook.

WFC 2013
Impressions from the World Fantasy Convention held in Brighton in 2013.

Threat Of Massive Closures To Lincolnshire Libraries
Lincolnshire County Council plan to shut down two thirds of Lincolnshire libraries, and to slash mobile library services. They must be stopped.

The BFS Award Nominations, And A Hiatus
This is possibly the best kind of jury duty there is.

FantasyCon 2012
The annual convention of the BFS at Brighton was the first convention to feature a dance-off between Joe Abercrombie and Tom Pollock. It may not be the last.

The In-Between Musical
A new fantasy musical concept album launches, but will Laura Tisdall get to put it on the stage?

SFF Imprints Launching
Berkley UK will debut, and Elsewhen Press is to expand into print.

Novacon 41
The 41st Novacon convention, held in Nottingham, featured John Meaney as Guest of Honour.

Lincoln Book Festival 2011
YA authors in costume, steamy paranormal romance, and eye-popping visual appeal from the 2011 Lincoln Book Festival.

Eastercon 2011
Pictures from the 62nd Illustrious Eastercon at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

Genre for Japan
The science fiction, fantasy and horror community is rallying in support of the people of Japan hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami and its aftermath.

An Interview With John Beachem
John riffs on zombies, trilogies and his plans for The Lorradda Stone, and the Dumbledore and Gandalf deathmatch in this interview.

British Fantasy Awards 2010
Pictures and results from the award ceremony of the British Fantasy Society.

The Heady Heights of Book Reviewing

26th March 2010

Hachette towers in London is one of those buildings that seems to defy gravity, and one or two of the laws of physics. It's modern, shiny, and it gleams with an improbable amount of glass. Hachette UK owns a lot of famous imprints, such as Orbit, Gollancz, and Headline. It's the pinnacle of the publishing industry, and I was going to the very top floor.

The lift whisked me up via the outside of the building, making me catch my breath as the city dropped away dizzyingly below. As if the scent of success, and fame, and the spoor of literary giants wasn't already knocking me for six.

Neil Gaiman has been in this room.

Laurel K. Hamilton walked here once.

The mood was hushed, reverential even, as I entered. For fantasy acolytes this place is practically the holy of holies.

The reception room looks out over a spectacular view of London. For a book-cave dweller like myself it was as though I'd died and gone to heaven. And there was I, Ros Jackson, invited to one of those swanky literary receptions with canapés, drinks, and hot and cold running chocolate cake. There would be introductions. Conversation with some of tomorrow's greatest literary minds, and a chance to discuss plotting, influences, and the finer points of character motivation. It's exactly the kind of thing aspiring authors masturbate about.

This was Headline Meets Online, on the 24th March. Billed as a chance for book bloggers to meet authors, it still came as a shock to find so many like minds in one room. I'm bad with names, but a few of the fellow book bloggers there were: Carolyn, John Berlyne, Graeme Flory, Sophie, Jo, Becky, Jenny, Gav, Sammee, Dot, and Liz. Also Andy, whose blog title I forget (sorry), and quite a few more who I wanted to speak to but didn't get chance. There was Amanda/Magemanda, for whom Floor To Ceiling Books is more than just a blog title. People with more books than floorspace, but who can't bear to part with their collection.

"It's okay," John Berlyne of SFRevu said later, "There isn't anyone in this room who doesn't understand that."

Drool

Then Caitlin, one of Headline's publicists, thrust goodie bags into our hands and told everyone to fill them up with any books we wanted. Oooh! It was Christmas come early. After that we watched the Hachette video, which highlights the year's recent and upcoming books and authors, all set to funky music and graphics. By the time it was over the floor was slick with drool, and forty-odd bloggers had adjusted their schedules to make room for more reading.

Next we met the authors: Carole Matthews, Alex Bell, Sean Cregan, Dan Wells, Paul Magrs, and Jonathan L. Howard.

Spit

Only a handful of writers are so outrageously talented they make me want to spit with envy. Jonathan Howard is one of them*. Jonathan may not be a household name in early 2010, but once you've read his work you'll understand why I was so overawed to speak with him. If you haven't yet read Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, stop messing around reading my ramblings and buy a copy. Read it. Then tell all your friends about it.

...

All done? There, you can't say you don't feel better for that.

Where was I? Oh yes, at the Headline meet, only talking to freakin' Jonathan L. Howard! And now you've read his stuff, you'll understand completely why I was so stoked. As for what I actually said, there may have been an "I'm not worthy" in there once or twice. Or a dozen times. And I may have blathered on about some script of mine, something I promised myself I wouldn't mention. But if he was bored to tears he was polite enough not to let it show, and he even filled me in on some of the inner workings of the games industry which he's written for in the past. So there you have it: not only is Jonathan awesomely funny, he's also a really nice guy. Which begs the question, where does a character as twisted as Johannes Cabal spring from?

There was a quiz. My team came a respectable third, (no thanks to me, really) whilst Dan Wells' Hexagon team stormed to victory.

In which I make an ass of myself

Time passed and I found myself talking to Carole Matthews, who I think I managed to offend on every level. First of all I didn't check her name-tag, and mistook her for a blogger, although in my defence I was completely thrown because she looked just like an ordinary mortal. I was expecting a writer of her calibre to sport wings, or at the very least a halo, or something. Then I compounded the foot-in-mouth moment by telling her the exact worst thing you can say to an author, that I would never read her stuff. Yeowch. What I meant was I seldom read fiction outside of the SFF genre, and if she starts writing about magic, ghosts or vampires I'll be there like a shot, I really will. Sorry, Carole.

It was time to leave.

In the cave

As I sit in my book cave in the country, typing this out and taking stock of the experience. I met a lot of fascinating people and mooched a lot of stuff. However, I'm starting to regret eating the pixie-sized quiches offered to me by the delightful Sam Eades. It's not that they tasted bad, or upset my digestion, nothing like that. But I really should have known better, and now I'm trapped. Because as any self-respecting fantasy reader will tell you, if you eat the food in fairyland you can never return to the real world.



* The others are Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb and Joe Abercrombie. A few other writers leave me seething furiously, but those are the only cases where actual spitting is involved.


© Ros Jackson