A series of quick-fire notes on the eve of my setting off for London for Official Release Debauchery ™:
 
I’ve put up a new short story. Actually I lie: this is the story that was published in Deathray a few months back, that they’re happy for me to put up here now that sufficient time has passed. It’s The Sun of the Morning and is planned to be the first in a sequence. Find it here.
 
Secondly, I exhort you with extreme prejudice to go out and buy a copy of this month’s (September’s. Apparently it’s September for magazine purposes) SFX, in which is not only a nice review of Blood of the Mantis, but also an interview with a full page picture, taken with a magical camera that actually, believe me, appears to remove, rather than add, 20lbs.
 
On to: signing details:
 
Forbidden Planet, London, Friday 7th August, 12-1pm. Apparently there’s been something of a confusion with this one, as to whether this wasa stock-signing behind closed doors, or whether this was a “I shall sign your book here live on stage” sort of business. However, I shall actually be at FP during the window specified and, if you come along, I shall sign your books if I have to do it in a seedy back-alley using a tramp’s back as a desk. However, hopefully something can be sorted out. Look for the man who looks like the photo in this month’s SFX and give him the codeword. Alternatively, come down to the basement(1) and snag a member of staff, who will hopefully point you my way.
 
Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading, Saturday 15th August, 3-5pm, confirmed.
Travelling Man, Central Street, Leeds, Saturday 22nd August 1-2pm, confirmed.
Garforth Bookshop, Saturday 29th August, details still to be confirmed, but morning most likely. There may be a reading. I’m promising nothing.
 
Which is enough of blowing my own trumpet. Instead, I’d like to blow someone else’s trumpet for a change (2).
 
I’m a martyr to good webcomics, and I cannot recommened too highly Evan Dahm’s Rice Boy. There are a lot of fantasy webcomics, many of which are World of Warcraft satires, many more being Dungeons and Dragons satires, and the majority of the balance have elves of some shape, manner or form (4). Rice Boy, and its currently ongoing companion story, Order of Tales, present a vastly original, unique and surreal fantasy world, sort of Lord of the Rings by way of Doctor Seuss (5), which is unlike anything else I’ve come across (6). Dahm also gives us the world’s most stylish robot. With a bicycle lamp for a head, no less.
 
I’ve mentioned before my admiration for the writer Peter S. Beagle, who has been one of my favourites for a long time, and whose elegant prose helped me refine my own writing style back when(7). Mr Beagle is also a talented songwriter and poet, and is currently partway through his 52/50 Project, sending out a poem or lyric a week to his subscribers. These include the funny, the tragic, and several that follow on from his fantasy stories. If this interests you, have a look here for details on signing up. As I understand it, the already completed works will be dispatched to you on joining, so you’ll not miss out. The prospect of starting the working week with a new poem or song from a writer of Mr B’s pedigree does take the edge of a Monday morning.
 
Finally, because good things come in threes, have you seriously not had a listen to (LINK) Jonathan Coulton yet? Seriously, check out “The Future Soon” (8), one line of which ended up as a title for a Cory Doctorow story. Honestly, you’re missing out.
 
(1) The book department is in the basement. It’s not a “bring out the gimp” situation.
(2) Not a euphemism (3)
(3) Well all right, probably a euphemism of a sort, but not that sort. You know what I mean.
(4) There is nothing innately wrong with elves, so long as they are used in an interesting way by consenting adults. For example it was this page with the elves that really sold me on the webcomic Erfworld.
(5) This really is damning with faint comparisons, though.
(6) The absolute closest is probably Jeff Smith’s also excellent Bone, but the comparison, again, is inexact.
(7) Not as long ago as way back when, you understand, but it was a while ago.
(8) Or, check out the machinima video of the song by Mike Spiff Booth here.
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