It’s that time of month again. Starburst Magazine issue 410 is out, and I’ve been busy. It’s a Game of Thrones special, so I got to catch up Ser Mormont himself, James Cosmo. I also had a blast talking to the show’s story board artist, Will Simpson. Both are lovely chaps, and it makes for great copy.1 I also wrote a cheeky look at one of my favourite Game of Thrones related board games.
Also in that issue is a look at Robert E Howard’s Conan series, which was epic amounts of fun to do. I also talk to Daniel Polansky about his new novel, Those Above and natter away with Mark Stay about that movie he wrote, Robot Overlords.
There’s also the usual batch of reviews from me, and the two columns; boardgames are covered in Roll for Damage and the world of publishing is looked into with Brave New Words.
Oh, and there’s a load of fantastic content by the rest of the team, of course.
1: Interestingly, both answered beauty to my last question: Truth or Beauty. Most people answer Truth. But every person involved in AGOT I’ve interviewed have said Beauty.
It’s been a busy month for me, Starburst wise. Issue 410 is at the printers and I’ve recovered from an excellent weekend at the SFBall (more on that later.)
Here’s a list of some of the stuff I’ve produced for the lovely people at the Starburst MoonBase that is available online. If you want more, you’ll have to buy the magazine, of course; there’s some great interviews, columns and features in issue 410 that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Look for it on the shelves of your local newsagent soon.
I’ve omitted the news parts and podcasty stuff; you should really subscribe to get those.
It’s a new year, and this means it’s Awards Solicitations Seasons, where various writer types encourage you to read their work in the hope that you’ll vote for them in the Hugo Awards.
I don’t have a book out, but I have spent the last year working with Fab Radio International and Starburst Magazine to produce Starburst’s “The BookWorm Podcast”. The station and magazine generously provide hosting and some equipment; we provide our spare time, enthusiasm and general love of books. It works quite well.
Our Podcast is eligible to be nominated for “Best Fancast”. We have a lot of fun making the show, and I gather people have a lot of fun listening to it. It’s a genre book show; we review two books a week, discuss book news and interview authors; we’ve had the likes of Robin Hobb, Sarah Pinborough and George RR Martin on in the past.
If you’ve never heard The BookWorm before, I recommend giving the Harry Potter Special a listen. You can get it via iTunes, Mixcloud or as a Direct Download . It features the full cast; Producer Al, Ninfa Hayes, Si Lloyd, Russ Smith and Rebecca ‘Del’ Derrick. They’re a great team and I am a very lucky person to get to work with them.
You can find a list of shows on our Tumblr page radiobookworm.tumblr.com .
To find out more about the Hugos, take a look at their official website thehugoawards.org
Give our show a listen and if you like us, vote for us. You can find the HUGOs Portal here.
As you may have gathered, I do a lot of writing for Starburst Magazine. Here are some reviews I contributed to the magazine this year, that you may have missed.
Ninjas Vs Monsters
Robot Overlords Robots Never Lie features giants robots. Nuff Said.
Haterz by James Goss – I totally loved this one, but goodness me is it going to put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Very derivative, wasn’t a fan.
566 Frames – indie comic genius.
Godzilla Cataclysm – The epic Godzilla story you never knew you were waiting all your life for.
Star Slammers – a fascinating relic of comics history
Six Million Dollar Man Season Six – Sheer nostalgia joy
Samurai Jack Quest for The Broken Blade – Jack, back from the past…
And that’s it for now. More soon.
The report I did for Starburst Magazine on Loncon3 can be found at Starburst Magazine.
If you do go via iTunes, don’t forget to comment/like/subscribe. If you want to, that is.
I’ve already written a report on NineWorlds GeekFest for my wise masters at the venerable and ancient Starburst Magazine but of course a formal report for the press is a different sort of beast to a blog post.
This is the bimbling, slightly personal account of events that no one asked for, but I’m going to give you anyway.
Nine Worlds is an event that Anne (my lovely wife) and I had planned to go last year. It was actually going to be our mini-honeymoon of sorts. Sadly it was on the weekend directly after the wedding and it become pretty obvious after that special occasion that we weren’t going to make it, simply due to exhaustion and excitement.
So it was with some anticipation and keen that we planned to do NineWorlds this year. The plan was pretty simple; I’d turn up with my various recording devices and shorthand notepad to do the words and interviews, and Anne would take photos. 1
We arrived late Thursday at the hotel just up the road from the venue. The Radisson doesn’t have a pool but our hotel did and we took full advantage. This mean we missed registration, which was a little bit annoying; we expected it to be running till quite late, surmising that people from across the country probably planned to come in after work. This meant we spent the Thursday evening without our event badges, which felt oddly distancing. We caught up with a handful of friends and had a nose round the venue itself.
We weren’t the only ones to do so and interrupted a rather drunken couple who we’re pretty sure weren’t event attendees themselves.2 We humoured the idiots until they went away, let an organiser know and then continued to explore.
At conventions, we both make a point of trying to stand apart from the crowd in terms of dress. Anne was in a natty waistcoat and I myself in business casual. I like dressing that way because in theory, I am at work and a shirt and tie are my work clothes.3 Sadly, without a convention badge we really do just look like everyone else; which meant we did keep getting challenged by other attendees. Luckily, friendliness and mutual geekiness is worth much more than any badge, and we were able to work out where we needed to be for the various panels we’d been invited too and the other events we want to be at.
On the Friday, things went very smoothly indeed. Registration was quite quick and I got a very nice goodie bag with the usual sort of tat including a programmed and some free books4.
Highlights for me included:
– The BookWorm Podcast. We did a live show at the event. We had a nerve wracking moment in which we thought no one was going to turn up and thankfully, fellow podcasters arrived to provide some moral support. Lots of thanks to James Simms, Marguerite Kenner and Alasdair Stuart; they rocked and indeed, continue to rock. You can hear it online via iTunes or direct download here.
– The Podcasting Track in general was deeply awesome. We learned a lot and met some thoroughly lovely people. Hugo nominated podcaster Emma Newman was especially kind and very informative, but the entire experience was great and we met some brilliant people.
– Moderating a panel for All The Books. I think I did a good job; certainly very few people left5, everyone had questions and the panellists had fun. The subject was likeable villains, and there was someone dressed as Deadpool in the front row. I think that says it all.
– Meeting people. Writing and reporting is a distancing exercise and it was very, very pleasant to actually put names to faces. Far too many people to name check without missing someone, but it was bloody lovely.
– Call Of Cthullhu as a spectator game. A very good team, and Scott Lynch was particularly entertaining.
– The Small Gods and Theology talk. Only at Nine Worlds. Very well done.
– At a cutting edge tech lecture, suddenly unveiling (to a crowd of people) my super villain style thinking, and being appropiately applauded for a very carefully phrased question.
– Si Spurrier and Kieron Gillen’s talk. Si’s lectures are always entertaining and I have always come away having learned something, or at least with substantial food for thought. Kieron’s talk on The Watchmen was hastily arranged and inspirational; more akin to a good solid pub rant than anything else. I’m afraid I caught up with Kieron later and talked some guff at him and B-Theory and Eternalism. Sorry about that.
I do have some niggles. The entire event does feel as if they’ve drawn a lot of their guests from London only, leading to what felt like some small cliques. As the event gains a reputation I’m sure this will change and it didn’t effect most of the panels. It did damage a couple of the streams a bit though; everyone seemed to know each other and everyone also appeared to be roughly of the same age and mindset. Though that makes for a cracking coffee morning, it makes for dull panels and I was itching for some truly diverse and different perspectives, especially the ones that crossed over into comics.
I am so going again next year, in fact I’m already booked.
1: I gather we achieved those things quite well, which is nice.
2: Seriously; not only did they both had the facial expressions of naughty school children but they talked utter cobblers about why they were there. Also no convention badges, but we didn’t have any either. We didn’t say anything, they just talked at us and left. It was funny in a slightly alarming way and I feel a little guilty that we probably interrupted some planned drunken snogging, but that’s what hotel rooms are for.
3: Of course, a black jacket, white shirt and red tie are right out; that would be cosplay.
4: Yay! Books!
5: People come in and out of talks at these things all the time. It’s how they’re meant to work.
I am still recovering from what many in the UK are calling ‘The Long Con’, a period from the 7th of August to the 18th of August that contained two huge genre conventions and some smaller events in the middle. Still slightly shell-shocked (well, geek-shocked at least) so I’ll ramble on about those when my brain has actually caught up.
In the mean time, Starburst 404 is in the shops now. It’s a Sin City special and it’s got some nice features on independent movie makers, new genre telly on the way and a look at Twin Peaks.
It’s also got the usual columns by me; Brave New Words has the usual book news and this month’s edition of Roll for Damage is all about the roleplaying game Paranoia. It also has my report on Manchester’s MCM comic convention and an interview with Stuart Ashen.
It’s a great issue and of course well worth your time. MCM Manchester was especially good this year.