Category Archives: Science fiction

Episode 209: The Beginning of the End of 2014


We went to Washington DC to celebrate the 40th World Fantasy Convention and came back to the first books and stories of 2014. As long-time listeners know, this is the time when the season turns, when work beings on summing up the year we’ve had, and when the old year ends and the new one begins. This episode, with brief and incoherent gift guide, is the beginning of the end of 2014.

As always, we hope you forgive the rambling and enjoy the episode. See you next week!

Live and in person!

Next week I climb aboard a Qatar Airways jet for the first time and head to Washington DC (via sunny Doha) where I will be attending the 2014 World Fantasy Convention.

I fully expect there to be talking, drinking, more talking, and lots of time spent with friends both old and new across the four days of the event (along with a little business).

I hadn’t thought I’d be doing anything official or in-person this trip. Instead, it was supposed to be a quiet, informal time. That hasn’t quite worked out. While I won’t be doing any signings or panels, I will be recording several episodes of The Coode Street Podcast (with Gary K. Wolfe).

At the moment we have plans to record episodes with convention Guest of Honor Guy Gavriel Kay,  long-time friends and collaborators Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, writers Helen Marshall and Robert Shearman, and possibly others (depending on time).

Exciting, for me at least, is that Gary and I will also record only the second ever episode of the Podcast to be presented in front of a live audience (having recorded #200 in London in August). We’ll be joined by good friends Peter Straub and Caitlin R. Kiernan for this:

The Literary Uses of Fantasy
Time: 4pm-5pm, Nov. 8, Conference Theater

Panelists: Jonathan Strahan, Gary K. Wolfe, Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan

Description: The Coode Street Podcast discusses the literary uses of fantasy with Peter Straub and other special guests.  Why do writers clearly capable of realistic, character-driven stories choose to introduce fantastic elements, some of them extreme, into their stories?  What does the fantasy enable them to do that the more realistic narrative doesn’t?

Please consider joining us for what should be a lot of fun.   I also hope to announce some ‘official’ times Gary and I will be in the convention bar if you just want to stop by and say hi.

 

Fearsome Magics in store

Tomorrow is the publication date for my second fantasy anthology for Solaris, Fearsome Magics.  It’s available from all good bookstores, online and offline, and features the following terrific stories:

  • Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
  • The Dun Letter, Christopher Rowe
  • Home is the Haunter (A Sir Hereward and Mr Fitz story), Garth Nix
  • Grigori’s Solution, Isobelle Carmody
  • Dream London Hospital, Tony Ballantyne
  • Safe House, K J Parker
  • Hey Presto!, Ellen Klages
  • The Changeling, James Bradley
  • Migration, Karin Tidbeck
  • On Skybolt Mountain, Justina Robson
  • Where Our Edges Lie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  • Devil’s Bridge, Frances Hardinge
  • The Nursery Corner, Kaaron Warren
  • Aberration, Genevieve Valentine
  • Ice in the Bedroom, Robert Shearman

As I’ve come to appreciate , the most important time in a book’s life is the first month or so. If you like books like Fearsome Magics consider buying them soon after they’ve been published.

It’s available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, and all sorts of other great places.

Away!

We’ve been away for more than a day already.  Miss 12 and I were dropped at Perth International Airport at around 2pm, checked in quickly and easily, and then stopped for coffee and hot chocolate at the Alisa Krasnostein Memorial Dome (i.e. the coffee place we stopped at when going to Toronto).  We were excited and a bit restless.

We boarded the flight to Singapore at 5pm and were in the air quickly. The plane was an older Singapore plane but was comfy. We had a spare seat between us and, after some chatting, settled down to watching movies on the terrible quality in-flight screens. I watched Spiderman 2 and Miss 12 watched the Veronica Mars movie (a rematch to her).

The plane touched down at Changi Airport a little early, giving us time to wander around shops before heading to the gate for our 11.55pm departure. This time we got a big, new-ish A380 and another (!) empty seat between us. All seemed charmed. Miss 12 settled down to watch something or other, while I settled in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

All was going well. We ate. I fell asleep and then, about 6hrs into the flight, Miss 12 woke me to tell me she’d been sick. The poor girl had vomited all over herself.   It was either something she ate, or the remnants of a virus she’d had, but even after replacing the seat cushion and doing everything that could be done (the Singapore staff were lovely and helpful) she still had another seven hours of flight to get through. It wasn’t pretty.  We dozed and tried to pretend   we didn’t smell.

We arrived at Charles de Gualle at 7am,  cleared customs and had picked up our bags by 8am, before hopping on a shuttle to Terminal 2 to get the train to Rennes. The train station was ok, but nothing special. We were both pretty tired so conversation amounted to an occasional when do we leave or “We’re in France!”.

The train finally left at 9.50am (on time in fairness) and we were on our way to Rennes. Miss 12 dozed and read Divergent, while I watched my way through Suits. We did stop to admire the increasingly lovely countryside and small towns, as we approached our destination, but mostly we were tired.

We got to the Rennes train station at 12.50pm, wandered around a bit, then caught a cab to our hotel. It was only a 5 min walk away, but neither of us speak French, and we were tired.

There were showers etc, and then a wander around town looking for a patisserie (which failed), before  stopping for coffee and crepes (Miss 12s Chocolate Viennoise had TONS of cream on it). And then back to the hotel.  The idea was we’d rest till dinner, have an early meal then bed. Miss 12, though, slept 13hrs, and our day ended there.

We’re about to head off for breakfast, and then off to here! Between here and there, though, driving on the wrong side of the road in a manual vehicle in a place where we don’t speak or read the language. Wish us luck!