Secret Histories on Pornokitsch

For the next week on Pornokitsch, we'll be talking about Secret Histories as we build up to The Kitschies' event on Monday, 28th October with Tim Powers, Lavie Tidhar and Kate Griffin.

You'll spot a lot of Tim Powers-related content, as we're delighted to be the last stop on Corvus' amazing blog tour - but we've also got posts a-plenty about Mr. Tidhar, Ms. Griffin and the whole secret genre... 

We've also set up a page on The Kitschies site devoted to "secret histories", with links to reviews, reading and free fiction all over the internet. If you have anything to suggest we add, just let us know in the comments.

Let the secrecy commence!

Convention Signing Strategies

World Fantasy is coming up, and, unsurprisingly, I'm a little over-excited about the collecting possibilities. As well as pretty packed schedule of launches and signings and a dealer room that doth overflow with treats, there's a "mass signing", meaning I'll have (theoretical) access to all the authors attending

Kind of overwhelming, isn't it?

Golden AxeGetting signed books at conventions.

For a convention or event of this size, I need some sort of strategy. There are a few factors to consider:

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Girls Aloud, Submissions and Selling Out

89-Chapters_logoOn Saturday, I achieved some sort of impossible life dream when I got to be a guest on Mahvesh Murad's "89 Chapters" program on CityFM89. We chatted about books, blogging, awards, mummies and all sorts of fun things (per usual, her questions were better than my answers). In an attempt to alienate her loyal listeners, Mahvesh let me choose the show's playlist. My taste being what it is, I may have just done irreversible damage to US/Pakistan relations. (Sorry.)

The program is up here. (Also, check out her amazing interviews with Joey Hi-Fi, Jenni Fagan, Naheed Hassan, Growly Benjamin Percy and many, many others!)

Submissions - we're still looking for contributions to three different books:

Pandemonium: The Rite of Spring (Deadline: 15 December) - short-short fiction set in 1913, part of the shared world of Pandemonium (but that shouldn't throw up too many problems - see the brief), etc. Please feel free to spread the word to your writerly friends.

Irregularity (Deadline: 7 November) - "Age of Reason"-punk, I suppose. 1660 - 1860, in partnership with the National Maritime Museum. The curator of next year's exhibition on Longitude has put up a helpful blog post about this, plus there's a hefty brief. It is a tricky topic but there's lots of wonderful inspiration out there - good luck!

Speculative Fiction 2013 (Deadline: January) - It is worth flagging up that submissions are open for the year's best online reviews and essays. I spoke to Ana, one of this year's editors, recently, and she said they've been getting tons of stuff, but they need more, especially with new people, new voices, new facets of genre fiction. Don't be shy about nominating your own best work, plus those of others!

Selling out (in a good way):

The Book of the Dead limited edition is down to the last few copies - if you want one, you'll need to grab yours through Spacewitch in a hurry.

Four answers to questions that have come up:

  • If you're coming to the launch, you can reserve your copy through Spacewitch and pick it up on the night (and save on shipping - there's a "Reserve" option at checkout).
  • Also we'll have "external" signing sheets, one for each book, so you can collect signatures (if you're so inclined) without breaking open the mummified book. (If you're not interested in signatures, think of it as a bonus limited edition print.)
  • And there will be books for sale on the evening - the paperbacks of both The Book of the Dead and Unearthed, plus whatever copies of the limited edition remain.
  • Costumes not necessary, but we certainly won't discourage them. My suggestion is "Egyptological flair", which you can interpret however you like (within the bounds of good taste, of course). It promises to be a great evening.

Get your copy here. Details of the launch party are here.

And, finally, the Secret Histories event with Tim Powers, Lavie Tidhar and Kate Griffin is down to a handful of tickets. This is going to be a full house - and I, for one, look forward to watching Anne wrangle three of SF/F's most phenomenally brilliant (and outspoken) authors.

Book here. (The £3 ticket includes a coupon that's good on the evening!)

The Kitschies present... Secret Histories

The KitschiesOur next event for The Kitschies is announced. Or shall we say, declared

Secret Histories is about the intersection of history and fiction, and the hidden worlds all around us. Our guests on the evening:

  • Tim Powers (Declare, Last Call, Hide Me Among the Graves)
  • Kate Griffin (The Midnight Mayor, A Madness of Angels, The Glass God)
  • Lavie Tidhar (Osama, The Violent Century)

Moderated by your very own Anne C. Perry.

The event takes place on Monday, 28 October at Blackwell's Charing Cross, starting at 6.30. This is a ticketed event, but your £3 ticket gets you a coupon for the evening and a secretive/tentacular goodie bag. All the details - and the link to buy your tickets - are here.

In the run-up to the event, we'll be hosting lots of guest posts, lists, reviews, rambles and exclusives, exploring the "secret histories" theme in even more detail. 

Nine Worlds

Ladeez of Grace AdieuWell, that was the best con I've been to in ages - sort of the sneaky lovechild of SFX and EasterCon, with the best traits of both. It had the multi-media focus and enthusiastic fans of the former, plus the in-depth programming of the latter. Plus smoothly organised, charming and... well, fun. Bonus points go to the Red Wedding cosplayers, everyone in the indie gaming room, a literary stream that ran like clockwork, whatever workshop it was that was churning out steampunk weaponry and the Bronies (next year's goal: learn more about what that was about, because they were having way too much fun).

My only quibbles are with myself: I didn't pay enough attention to the scheduling, so my time there was mostly spent going "wait, I how did I miss that? And that?!". 

Huge kudos to all the organisers for making this work, and I can't wait until next year, where we will be taking a hotel room for the weekend, bringing far more costume options and living life to its geeky fullest.

(In fairness, I was wearing Wampa shoes. I'm proud of that.)

Also, thanks to everyone that was in / on / around our panels. I think the Heroes vs. Villains debate was the best panel I've seen in years (if not ever), and apparently the various cheers and hoots interrupted the Doctor Who programming next door (take THAT, Whovians!). Other notes from the day's panel include: "Kate Griffin should be on everything", "Never argue against Adrian Tchaikovsky when death is on the line", "Zen Cho loves to champion the underdog" and, please god, next year have Stan Nicholls lined up for a SF vs Fantasy debate, because he was great on that topic.

Also, being a con? I bought the hell out of everything. Loot update!

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Nine Worlds and Porno/Kitschiness

Nine WorldsNext weekend is Nine Worlds, a sprawling new convention set out in London's Heathrow hinterlands. We'll be running around playing games, watching films, hassling English PEN and propping up the bar (not sure how all of this will take place simultaneously, but we'll try). 

Nine Worlds will also be crawling with Kitschies judges, including Will Hill, Kate Griffin and Barry Nugent, as well as previous judges Rebecca Levene and Lauren O'Farrell. Bribes will be accepted through all the standard channels. I JOKE. HA HA HA. 

Various members of prize's board will also be strutting around as well, including Jenni Hill, Glen Mehn, Anne and myself. Feel free to tackle any of us with questions, and we'll do our best to nod sagely and provide reasonable answers.

A few places you can find Kitschiness:

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Alas, poor Harrogate

First, links and whatnot:

Cover - speculative-fiction-2012Justin and I did our transatlantic double act on the Skiffy and Fanty Show to talk about Speculative Fiction 2012. Shaun has dubbed us a "criticabal", which is kind of fun. If you're up for an hour of hand-waving and unfounded assertions about blogging, criticism and the state of SF, you can listen to it here

I've wrapped up The Folding Knife over on 19 blog posts - approximately 35,000 words on a, what, 90,000 word novel? I feel that's value for weight, if nothing else. Thanks to everyone that joined in - it was the fellow rereaders and commenters that made the whole thing so worthwhile. I have no idea what, if anything, is next. But I enjoyed my first reread experience, so, we'll see?

Another fantastic review for The Lowest Heaven, this time in the stately pages of the Financial Times. "Every contribution to this excellent anthology is of stellar quality", the FT says. And flags up a handful of tales, including those by Simon Morden, Esther Saxey, Kaaron Warren, Alastair Reynolds and Adam Roberts (whose provocative "A voyage..." has, by far, been the book's most polarising story). One of the great pleasures of editing anthologies is watching how different reviewers flag up different stories - it is good to see so many of them singled out for praise.

Continue reading "Alas, poor Harrogate" »

We're gonna need a bigger boat...

LootI'm going to combine the 'post-script' (book purchasing) and 'everywhere but here' (stuff that's happening) updates from now on. They're both sort of... bloggy, self-indulgent entries. We'll see how it works out. Bear with me as I figure out how best to talk about myself.

First up, latest purchases/new cause for groaning floorboards & concern from the downstairs neighbours:

Lee Hoffman's The Legend of Blackjack Sam. Dunno. Ace Western. It is a thing. I read a lot of Westerns ahead of A Town Called Pandemonium - with the expectation that after that book was done, I'd never return to the genre. Who knew I'd actually enjoy it so much? (Any Amount of Books)

Alice Thompson's Burnt Island. A reminder of the house rules - I don't list review copies. But if I buy a proof for a few quid, then woohoo! Anyway, the back cover sounded intriguing. The reviews I've read since then make it sound a bit... not my thing, but it is a teeny little book. Worth a shot. (Any Amount of Books)

Arthur C. Clarke's The Sands of Mars. First edition, first novel (second book), with dust jacket... and weirdly cheap on abebooks. Anyone know the story with this? I would've thought this was a proper 'jump for joy' rarity, but the average internet price is unspectacular. (Any Amount of Books)

Continue reading "We're gonna need a bigger boat..." »

The Lowest Heaven - Launch Day!

Cover - the lowest heavenThe Lowest Heaven is out today!

Our latest anthology is published to coincide with the Visions of the Universe exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, and the book is officially released this evening at the Museum's late night event.

Tonight's shindig features readings from several of the contributors, telescope workshops, comics from The Phoenix, music, comedy, poetry, alcoholic wizardry from Bompas and Parr and, of course, one of the most amazing exhibitions of astrophotography ever assembled. (Tickets are free, but booking is necessary.)

Many of The Lowest Heaven's contributors will be attending, including Sophia McDougall, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Morden, E.J. Swift, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Mark Charan Newton, Lavie Tidhar, Esther Saxey, David Bryher, James Smythe, Matt Jones, Marek Kukula and the (elated) editors.

Each story in The Lowest Heaven is themed around a body in the Solar System, from the Sun to Halley's Comet. The stories are illustrated with photographs and artwork selected from the archives of the Royal Observatory, while the book's cover and overall design are the work of award-winning South African illustrator Joey Hi-Fi.

Tonight we'll be selling the limited edition - 100 hardcover copies, exclusive to the Royal Observatory. These are individually numbered and will be signed by all of the attending contributors (see above for the star-studded list). The hardcover has full-colour, full-page art, with dust jacket and boards designed by Joey Hi-Fi. Joey also designed a special treat: a fold-out chart of the Solar System that is bound in to every copy of the limited edition. 

The paperback and ebook editions will both be released in July.

Early reviews of The Lowest Heaven:

"Visually beautiful with an incredibly high quality of fiction. Highly recommended." - The List

"The whimsical, the hard-core science stories and the outright strange; overall it is a well-crafted ensemble and the solar system theme never seems like a constraint... Starburst has no hesitation in recommending it to any serious reader of science fiction." - Starburst Magazine

"This back and forth between the actual and the fantastic underpins The Lowest Heaven's exploration of space, both as we know it and as we can only imagine it.... There can be no questioning the value of this artful anthology: it's as inspiring as it is inspired." -

The Lowest Heaven - One week to go...

The Lowest HeavenOnly one week until The Lowest Heaven comes out!

After a night of seriously weird dreams (the printer had interpreted "matt varnish" as "fuzzy"), the limited edition has shown up and is... well... lovely. Also? Huge. I'm not sure why our books keep growing. But at 350 pages and 100,000 words, The Lowest Heaven is the biggest yet.

The limited edition is launched next Thursday night, 13 June. (An appropriate verb, given that the book celebrates the amazing astrophotography of the Royal Observatory Greenwich.) The launch party is one part of the "Visions of the Universe" late night. The evening runs 6 pm - 9 pm, our readings and signings will kick off from 7.30, so there's plenty of time to get drinks, play with a telescope, listen to poetry, taunt the jellymakers and see the exhibition.

Quite a few of the contributors will be there, including Sophia McDougall, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Simon Morden, Mark Charan Newton, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Matt Jones, David Bryher, Esther Saxey, Lavie Tidhar and E.J. Swift. Plus the editors (hi!) and Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer for the Royal Observatory and author of the book's introduction. They'll all be signing, too.

Tickets (they're free), here. (Click the blue "Book Now" sticker.)

Facebook page for launch details.

The paperback and ebook versions are coming on 3 July - so the limited edition isn't just really damn attractive, it is also a three week head start. Given the size of the thing, you may need it.