So: thank you to everyone who came to get books signed at Thought Bubble in Leeds, which put a pleasant debt in Travelling Man's stock if nothing else. Other results of my visit there:
Quest to meet Kate Beaton: failed! By the time my signing spot had ended she was on a panel, and some time later there was basically a queue around the block for her table. However I did stealthily slip her a copy of Empire via her personal Thought Bubble attendants (Bubblies?). If people don't know Hark! A Vagrant!, her webcomic, then I encourage you to go take a look, it's one of my absolute favourites.
Hidden quest to meet, and indeed sit next to, Robert Llewellyn: succeeded! He's a really nice guy and, in addition to being the man behind Kryten's mask(1), he's a novellist and has a new science fiction novel out called News From Gardenia.
The Friday before was, God help me, my shot at a literary soirée for Juliet E. McKenna, up north to talk to local geeking concerns about the Bradford 2013 Eastercon. Had some of the local illuminati over (3), Justina Robson, Janine Ashbless and David Tallerman — the latter of whom is having a trailer made of his book. This is becoming more and more common, although I have no idea where the practice originated. I can see that in an age of digital flashbang, a book in and of itself is hard to advertise — other than the cover art, the magic happens inside the head of the reader, after all. Is this going to be a thing, though? Is every book going to have to come with some sort of front-loaded multimedia firestorm in order to grab attention? I'm not sure there's enough fly-by-wire in the world to film the insect-kinden on a budget… Any enterprising film-makers out there, I wonder…?
(1) That's Kryten from Red Dwarf not the Admirable one (2) or the chap from Farscape.
(2) Although I always assumed (and have now missed my best chance to ask) that the character was probably named after the Admirable, from the context of his first appearance.
(3) Not the actual Illuminati — they don't have a Leeds chapter to my knowledge.