Mixed blessings

Friday felt like the first real day here in London. I’d woken early and headed out for breakfast at a cafe on Marchmont Street. The area the hotel is in is quite close to the British Museum, so the plan was to have breakfast, see a few things, wait for the traveling companions to arise, and then experience London.

Because jet lag is a cruel mistress, G didn’t emerge till 11am and E till nearly 1pm. We ended up having lunch at a nearby pub (fairly appalling fish and chips), then strolled over to the BM for a long look at their Greek, Egyptian, and European collections, which were fairly breathtaking. We spent hours there, tried and failed to find stuff we needed to buy in the Museum Shop, and then headed off in search of a pub. We found one and the next hours disappeared in a series of pints, some terrific conversation, and then back to the hotel.

Today: Trafalgar Square, DN, and maybe Forbidden Planet.

Episode 165: Questions from the audience

While our intrepid podcasters brave the wilds of London, a new episode for you (hopefully)! With no specific topic in mind, and having sent a greeting to Sleepless in Wagga, Gary and Jonathan answer questions:

  • from Guy in Toronto about single malt whisky;
  • from Fred in New Jersey on:
    • Clifford Simak. Cordwainer Smith. Fritz Leiber. Are they forgotten?;
    • Agents of SHIELD; and
    • making a pitch for a Greg Egan retrospective short story collection; and
  • from Michael about how crowd-funding has changed the anthology market.
All in all, thanks to the friends of the podcast, it made for an interesting and entertaining episode. We hope you enjoy it. We’ll be back soon!

Download the episode here.

From the end of the world…to your town

Without ever being sure when or how, and with a year or so’s careful non-planning, my trip to London and Brighton started at around 5pm on a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon. Marianne and I had shared a pleasant late breakfast at Mrs S in Maylands, picked up the mail, seen my mum, and then headed home for me to finish packing. Then a circuit to pick up the girls, so they could seems off at the airport.

Based on Alisa’s recommendation, I decided to give Singapore Airlines a try, with mixed results. The check-in was smooth and the staff terrific, but aspects of the old 777 layout made the flight extremely uncomfortable. The SA people were lovely, though, and the long haul flight much better on SA’s new and very comfortable layout. I even slept a little, in between blearily watching TV and reading Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century. By the time I got to Heathrow, 22hrs after Perth and 35hrs after my last night’s sleep, I was more than ready to get off the plane. I am, however, optimistic about the flights home.

It took about an hour to clear Customs, and I then wandered around a little before deciding to take the express train into London, and a cab over to the hotel. It was about 9:45am when I got there, where I was told I couldn’t get a room till 3pm. With that, I decided to go with our original plans, so I headed over to Camden Town to visit John and Judith Clute. They have a wonderful, filled but not cluttered, intriguing, arty home at 221B and were delightful and welcoming hosts for a weary traveler. We talked till Gary Wolfe arrived just after 1pm, then had some lunch in their rooftop garden. Ellen Klages arrived at about 3:30pm, and our London group was complete.

We talked till around 5pm, when we headed back to the hotel, the over to Picadilly to me up with Garth and Sean for first whiskey and then dinner at a nearby Mexican/Polish restaurant where we had a terrific South Australian red and I had some wild boar. Jet lagged, we all decided to head back to our hotels early. A quick tube ride, though, and Ellen & Gary & I found ourselves drinking in a Camden pub till nearly midnight.

This morning has started slowly. Frankly, I didn’t sleep well, but have enjoyed puttering around and exploring the local area. Next: the British Museum (I think).

A Kaleidoscope of fantasy…

I am good friends with World Fantasy Award winning editor and independent press publisher Alisa Krasnostein. I’ve followed her work since she started publishing and have been deeply impressed by her energy, her commitment and her good taste in fiction.  That’s why I was excited to hear that she was joining up with Julia Rios to co-edit and publish Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Fantasy.

Alisa and Julia’s goal is to publish an anthology of great YA fantasy fiction created by a truly diverse range of writers that presents a range of viewpoints and experiences that more closely match the rainbow coloured world we live: one that encompasses as many viewpoints and character types as possible.

To help with publishing this important book Alisa and Julia are running a Pozzible campaign to help raise the money to pay writers full professional rates and to create the kind of physical book that this project deserves.

If you love fantasy, if you love YA Fiction, if you think we need a broader range of voices heard in science fiction and fantasy, please consider supporting the campaign. Every little bit helps.