On the 25th and 26th June I shall be at Alt Fiction doing frankly a load of stuff at Derby Quad – it looks like one of the best convention line-ups I’ve done, with all manner of sundry panels, workshops and casting of pods(1). Therefore I cordially invite you to:

–        11am-12pm Saturday 25th in Cinema 2 – I’m on the panel “Has Fantasy Moved Past Tolkien”, which sounds vaguely as though Professor T is meandering slowly down the freezer aisle at Tescos with a queue of fantasy authors backing up behind him trying to get to the ice cream. Barring serious scientific developments, the professor himself won’t be there, although I suspect that, were he able to make his opinions known, he would be mortified if we hadn’t covered some ground since Rings was published. I’m joined in this by Graham McNeill, Gav Thorpe, MD Lachlan and Juliet McKenna

–        9-10pm Saturday 25th – Reading, along with Gav Thorpe. Yes, I know, late night slot, so for those not staying overnight it’s asking a bit , but: I’ve not done a reading for a while, and I’m currently still up in the air about what to read. My favourite past bit is the Empire/Mantis fight from Salute the Dark but it’s more traditional to read something new. Obviously I’ve got Heirs of the Blade due October, so a piece from that would be appropriate, but then again, you’ll get that book fairly soon, so why tease(2)? As an alternative, and as I’m sufficiently ahead of myself, I may instead wheel out a sneak preview of The Air War, book 8, for the first time ever, so hopefully that’s an incentive. This is taking place in the Participation Space.

–        10-11am Sunday 26th I’m doing a panel on The Writer’s Life. I have taken this in the general. If I’m supposed to be talking about the life of any specific writer I may be a bit screwed. This is in the Cafe Bar, so if you happen to be hungry or thirsty at around this time you may end up attending whether you want to or not. I’m teaming up for this one with Conrad Williams, Sarah Pinborough, Keith Brooke and Gav Thorpe (who by this time will probably be sick of the sight of me).

–        11-12am Sunday, I will be doing a (somewhat out of breath, given the above) podcast on Genre Classics, and whilst this sounds something like the SFX panel from earlier in the year, I do not in any way guarantee that I won’t decide that my favourite classics are entirely different this time round. I’m on this one with Peter Crowther and Dan Abnett.

–        Finally, 2-3pm Sunday, another podcast on Using Mythology in Writing, along with KA Laity and Mark Chadbourn. I’m not sure how much of a spectator sport these podcasts are, but presumably they’ll all be recorded, available online, all that jazz.

Quite beside all that, frankly, the entire event schedule is a phenomenal range of people and topics – Dan Abnett and Alistair Reynolds as guest speakers, and a veritable horde of other Names from the industry – both writers (looking forward to catching up with Paul Cornell, Mark Charan-Newton (3) and Ian Whates, particularly) and indeed editors – quite a selection of workshops, panels and podcasts specifically to do with publishing and getting published.

I set out below the footnotes the entire weekend schedule – do come along. For myself, when I’m not actually doing something, I plan to be in the audience most of the time. It’s good stuff.

(1)  I think I’ve said this before, but as a Larper, “podcast” just sounds like the equivalent of a “pod shot”, just with a thrown weapon involved.

(2)  Also, I’ve just disposed of the final proofs on this book, and as any author will tell you, this is basically the time when you just never want to see the damn thing ever again, because every one of its 200,000+ words is etched on the inside of your skull by that point.

(3)  Whose City of Ruin I have just finished, and enjoyed immensely.

Alt.Fiction Schedule

Please note, the schedule is subject to change, and no refunds will be given in case of alterations to the programme or speakers being unable to attend for any reason. Attendees will be notified of any changes to the schedule at the event.



10am-11am: The Digital Revolution (Panel)

Lee Harris, Damien Walter, Helen Marshall, Cheryl Morgan

11am-12pm: The Infamous Horror Panel

Sarah Pinborough, Mark Morris, Conrad Williams, Adam Nevill

12pm-1pm: Guest of Honour Slot 1

Dan Abnett

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Scriptwriting Panel

Mark Chadbourn, Robert Shearman, Paul Finch, Jonathan L Howard, Stephen Volk

3pm-4pm: Guest of Honour Slot 2

Alastair Reynolds

4pm-5pm: The World of Publishing (Panel)

John Jarrold, Lee Harris, Julie Crisp, Jon Weir, David Thomas Moore

5pm-6pm: Writing (and Reading) BBC Books (Panel)

Sarah Pinborough, Mark Morris, Robert Shearman, Steve Tribe, Paul Finch, Una McCormack, Guy Adams, James Goss

6pm-7pm: Alt.Ficion Raffle

Run by Sarah Pinborough and Guy Adams


8pm-9:30pm: The Cat People (70 minutes)

A screening of Val Lewton’s classic 1942 horror

9:50pm-11pm: Curse of the Cat People (73 minutes)

A screening of the disturbing 1944 sequel to The Cat People

12pm-1:30am: Hobo with a Shotgun (86 minutes)


A screening of the grindhouse feature starring Rutger Hauer, one month before its UK release


2pm-3pm: Ghost Story Screening

Late Night Story – Tom Baker reads ‘The Photograph’ by Nigel Kneale

Dead of Night – The Exorcism, directed by Don Taylor

3pm-4pm: The Value of Literary Awards

Tom Hunter, Mark Yon, Cheryl Morgan

4pm-5pm: What Next for the Genre?

Conrad Williams, Mark Newton, Dan Abnett, Alastair Reynolds



10am-11am: Devil’s Advocate – Is There Anywhere New for Science Fiction to Go?

Alastair Reynolds, Tony Ballantyne, Ian Whates, John Jarrold

11am-12pm: Devil’s Advocate – Has Fantasy Moved Past Tolkien?

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Graham McNeill, Gav Thorpe, MD Lachlan, Juliet McKenna

12pm-1pm: Ghost Story Screening

A Ghost Story for Christmas – ‘The Signalman’ by Charles Dickens

Introduced by Stephen Volk

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Devil’s Advocate – Is the Ghost Story Dead?

Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Conrad Williams, Paul Kane



10am-7pm: Booksales

Murky Depths, Interzone/TTA Press, British Fantasy Society, Alt.Fiction


8pm-9pm: Audio Books (Panel)

James Goss, Christian Dunn, Dan Abnett

9pm-10pm: Writing for Young Adults (Panel)

Stephen Deas, William Hussey, Keith Brooke, Chris Wooding

10pm-11pm: Memory Lane – Your Favourite Genre Books (Panel)

Paul Cornell, Peter Crowther, Mark Morris, Juliet McKenna


2pm-3pm: Comics Panel (Panel)

Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, Pat Kelleher, Paul Cornell

3pm-4pm: Reading

Robert Shearman and Paul Cornell

4pm-5pm: Publicising Yourself and Your Writing (Panel)

Jon Weir, Marc Gascoigne, Tom Hunter, Adam Christopher, Jenni Hill



10am-11am: Workshop

Rod Rees – The All-Important First Page

11am-12pm: Workshop

Tony Ballantyne – How to Make Your Writing Boring

12pm-1pm: Workshop

Kim Lakin-Smith – Fleshing the Bones – Dark Fantasy and Characterisation

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Workshop

MD Lachlan – Start Your Fantasy Novel – Six Principles for Success

3pm-4pm: Workshop

Colin Harvey – Creating a Science Fictional Setting

4pm-5pm: Workshop

Graham Joyce – Writing Sharp Dialogue

5pm-6pm: Workshop

Graham McNeill?


10am-11am: Workshop

Paul Finch – Prose to Screenplay

11am-12pm: Workshop

Juliet McKenna – Every Word Must Count

12pm-1pm: Workshop

Dan Abnett – Shooty Death Kill in Space 101

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Workshop

Jonathan L Howard

3pm-4pm: Workshop

Paul Kane/Marie O’Regan – Setting and Location in Genre Fiction



10am-11am: Military Science Fiction (Podcast)

Gavin Smith, Graham McNeill, Gav Thorpe

11am-12pm: The Editors (Podcast)

Marc Gascoigne, Helen Marshall, Steve Tribe, Julie Crisp

12pm-1pm: Breaking into Writing (Podcast)

Rod Rees, Guy Haley, Colin Harvey, Pat Kelleher

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Steampunk (Podcast)

Kim Lakin-Smith, Adam Christopher, Jennifer Williams

3pm-4pm: Editing an Anthology (Podcast)

Christian Dunn, Marie O’Regan, Ian Whates

4pm-5pm: Tie-in Fiction and Shared Worlds (Podcast)

Pat Kelleher, Dan Abnett, Guy Adams, Guy Haley

5pm-6pm: Young Adult Writing (Podcast)

Chris Wooding, Stephen Deas, William Hussey

6pm-7pm: Writers in the East Midlands (Podcast)

William Hussey, Gavin Smith, Freda Warrington


10am-11am: Is the Genre Just for Boys? (Podcast)

Mark Newton, Graham McNeill, Jenni Hill, Jennifer Williams

11am-12pm: Genre Classics (Podcast)

Peter Crowther, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Dan Abnett

12pm-1pm: Has Genre Conquered Mainstream? (Podcast)

Ian Whates, Damien Walter, Paul Kane, Jon Weir, Paul Cornell

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Using Mythology in Writing (Podcast)

KA Laity, Mark Chadbourn, Adrian Tchaikovsky

3pm-4pm: How Not to Get Published (Podcast)

Helen Marshall, Marc Gascoigne, Jenni Hill

4pm-5pm: Genre Non-Fiction (Podcast)

KA Laity, Paul Kane, Damien Walter



10am-11am: Reading

Kim Lakin-Smith and KA Laity

11am-12pm: Reading

Jonathan L Howard and Adam Christopher

12pm-1pm: Reading

Peter Crowther and Graham Joyce

1pm-2pm: LUNCH BREAK

2pm-3pm: Reading

Una McCormack and James Goss

3pm-4pm: Reading

Tony Ballantyne and Rod Rees

4pm-5pm: Reading

Mark Chadbourn and Juliet McKenna

5pm-6pm: Reading

Ian Whates and Colin Harvey

6pm-7pm: Reading

Mark Morris and Paul Kane


8pm-9pm: Reading

Chris Wooding and Stephen Deas

9pm-10pm: Reading

Gav Thorpe and Adrian Tchaikovsky

10pm-11pm: Reading

Conrad Williams and Sarah Pinborough


2pm-3pm: Reading

Keith Brooke and Alastair Reynolds

3pm-4pm: Reading

Pat Kelleher and Graham McNeill? (4)

4pm-5pm: Reading

Marie O’Regan and Adam Nevill



10am-11am: The Writers’ Life (Panel)

Conrad Williams, Sarah Pinborough, Keith Brooke, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gav Thorpe

11am-12pm: Who Reads the Genre and Why? (Panel)

Damien Walter, Jon Weir, David Thomas Moore, Paul Cornell

(4)    I’m not sure whether this indicates Graham McNeill isn’t quite confirmed for the reading, or whether the author of the schedule is particularly surprised and/or enthusiastic about it.

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