David Gemmell Ceremony Date Announced

The ceremony for the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy – the award which recognises the very best in fantasy fiction and artwork each year –  is now confirmed to take place at Nine Worlds Geekfest, and will be taking place at 8pm on Saturday 8th August.


The Legend Award

The ceremony will see the three 2015 awards presented, with the Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel, Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Debut and Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art. Attracting a wide host of writers and publishing professionals, the glitzy ceremony is always a highlight of the fantasy fiction calendar.

Stan Nicholls, Chair for the Gemmell Awards, said: ‘I couldn’t think of a better event for us to partner with than Nine Worlds, and we look forward to bringing another superb awards ceremony not only to our regular attendees but a whole new audience on 8th August.’

Nine Worlds Geekfest runs from the 7th-9th August at Heathrow.

Ada Lovelace Day October 14th

Tuesday 14th October is Ada Lovelace Day – an International Celebration of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and grew up to be the world’s first computer programmer, working with Charles Babbage’s plans for the Analytical Engine.

Ada Lovelace Day  aims to raise the profiles of STEM women, to inspire others and to create new role models for young and old alike.

In celebration of this day, The Royal Institution in Mayfair, London, is holding a special event – Ada Lovelace Day Live – on Tuesday 14th October  at 7pm (tickets still available as I write).

The following performers and artists will be appearing:

Roma Agrawal is a civil engineer from the team that built The Shard, bringing stories of bridges and a few jelly babies too. More about her work can be found on the Ri Blog.

Caro C is an electronic musician and sound engineer and one of the founders of Delia Derbyshire Day. Her performance is inspired by Delia’s fascinating archive and pioneering work including the realisation of the original Doctor Who theme in 1963.

Dr Hannah Fry is a UCL lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities, whose TEDx talk has been viewed over half a million times. She’ll show how maths can be used to predict the future.

Konnie Huq is a television presenter, writer, mathematics enthusiast, and at one time the longest-serving female presenter of Blue Peter after studying economics at Cambridge University.

Naomi Kashiwagi is an award winning artist and performer. The Royal Institution let her loose in their prep room and archives, where she’s developed her own unique take on Ada Lovelace. 

Dr Turi King is the geneticist who led the DNA analysis that located the remains of Richard III in Leicester, and explores how genetics combined with history, archeology, anthropology and forensics can shed light on our past and future.

Steph Troeth is a user experience researcher and designer, who will share her obsession with finding ways to improve technology by understanding what people do (and don’t do) in the real world.

Dr Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer at University College London. When she’s not in the lab or on a boat (or doing both at the same time) she presents science programmes for the BBC.

Event host Helen Arney is a self-professed geek songstress, who writes maths and science-inspired comedy songs and performs across the UK.

Tickets are £12/8, £6 for Ri Associates, and free to Ri members and fellows.

Find out more at www.findingada.com 



Arab Science Fiction: From Imagination to Innovation

Arab Science Fiction: From Imagination to Innovation
Science Museum IMAX theatre

Samira Ahmed

BBC broadcaster, Samira Ahmed, chairs a stellar panel of visionary thinkers who offer new perspectives on whether nurturing creativity through science fiction could be more crucial to our global progress than we might realise.

What is the link between technological innovation and artistic imagination? Science fiction is often thought to be the ultimate bridge between science and the arts. Could exploring this symbiotic relationship enable the next generation to envision an alternative future of the Middle East? Can inventive forms of art, film and literature help to inspire new waves of scientific development in the Arab world today and beyond?

Adults: £10 (£8 early booking rate offer until 25 October – call 0870 870 4868 and quote EB8)
Concs: £8 (£6 early booking rate offer until 25 October – call 0870 870 4868and quote EB6)

5-9 people: 10% off total amount (Call 0870 870 4868 and quote SINDBAD10)
10+ people: 20% off total amount (Call 0870 870 4868 and quote SINDBAD20)

Here’s how to get to the Science Theatre.

News roundup

Here at BSFA Towers we get various items of news about forthcoming events sent to us; but we aren’t always too good about disseminating them.

When I say “we”, I mean “I”, of course. My fellow committee members and Towers-dwellers are lovely and excellent and would never sit for weeks on something that came in via the contact form.

Anyway, to make up for my tarditude (a new word I’ve just invented), here are four items of interest that have come in recently. My apologies to the various organisations for them all being in a collected post.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Hanna Goldschmidt writes:

I am contacting you on behalf of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, which takes place 3 – 12 October in the centre of town, as you may know. We have just announced our programme for 2014, and there are a number of events that would be of interest to your members, readers and visitors.

I would like to especially highlight our series of Science Fiction and Fantasy events. Celebrating Sci Fi and Fantasy, River of London author Ben Aaronovitch, Mitch Benn and Joe Abercrombie discuss their latest works. Another special event featuring Jem Roberts, Ed Victor and Terry Jones will pay tribute to Douglas Adams, best known for his iconic work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid?genres=232

Please also visit our general programme for more information on the overall Festival schedule, including topics such as Fiction, Lifestyle, Current Affairs or Studio, Stage & Screen: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid

English PEN

Rebekah from English PEN — who recently hosted Audrey Niffenegger’s excellent talk at Loncon 3 — says:

I’m writing to let you know about a science fiction/literary event taking place on Monday 6 October at Southbank Centre in London.

English PEN is the founding branch of an international writers’ organisation/free speech charity, of which HG Wells was an early president.

Science Fiction: Home of the Literary Activist‘ will take HG Wells as a starting point for a discussion on what it is about activism that engages the SF community. Often, especially on matters regarding freedom of expression, readers and writers of the science fiction genre are particularly active in English PEN’s campaigns.

The event will take the form of a panel discussion chaired by Sophie Mayer, featuring writers Nick Harkaway, James Smythe and Gwyneth Jones and editor Anne C. Perry.

De Montfort University call for papers

Peter Conde says;

Please find enclosed a call for papers for the De Montfort University Narratives of Cyber event taking place on 26th November

CALL FOR PAPERS: Prometheus, COLOSSUS, HAL … and Beyond:  The Narratives of ‘Cyber’

De Montfort University, The Curve Theatre, Leicester:  26th November 2014

When a nation is powerful it tells the world confident stories about the future. The stories can be enchanting or frightening. But they make sense of the world. But when that power begins to ebb, the stories fall apart. And all that is left are fragments, which haunt you like half-forgotten dreams.
(Adam Curtis)

This one-day conference seeks to draw together academics and practitioners from as many different fields as possible, to encourage debate and discussion around the complex, contentious and contested theme of ‘cyber’, information technology, and the relationship between Human and Machine.

Humanity structures its vision of the world through constructed narratives (cultural, religious, political…) which seek to explain and justify our reading of reality; what are the narratives which have shaped and are shaping our existence as individuals and groups in a realm mediated and ordered through technology? As Grant Morrison puts it. “We live in the stories we tell ourselves”; what are the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship with the computer?

We seek proposals (300 words maximum) for papers of 20 minutes duration approaching these issues from as wide a range of perspectives as possible. A non-exhaustive list of subject areas might include:

  • Literary and cinematic visions of the information age
  • Robotics, cyborgs and transhumanism
  • Cyber-dissidence and resistance
  • Technophila and technophobia
  • Definitions of ‘cyberculture’

and many more…

All proposals must be received by 30th September 2014. (Speakers will be informed of acceptance within 1 week of deadline.)

Please send your paper proposal, and any requests for further information, to:

Email: cybertalk@softbox.co.uk (email heading “Cybernarratives proposal”)

Tel: 01347 812100

Web: www.softbox.co.uk/cybertalk

Arvon residential Science Fiction writing course

From Emma Feasey we hear:

I am writing to let you know about a residential Science Fiction writing course we are running later this year. Our courses take place in beautiful countryside locations, with a mixture of workshops, individual tutorials and time and space to write.

SCIENCE FICTION: Dreams and visions 20th – 25th October 2014, Totleigh Barton, Devon

In a world hemmed in by clocks, schedules and ‘business as usual’, science fiction reminds us of the value of dreams, capturing our epic capacity for good and evil. Build imaginary worlds, join in philosophical games, crack wild and bitter jokes and conjure visions both alarming and alluring. For all prose writers keen to experiment, the week will introduce a genre spectacularly in tune with our times.


  • Simon Ings edits Arc, a literary quarterly from New Scientist. His books include The Eye, A History of Vision, and novels The Weight of Numbers and Dead Water. He is writing a history of Soviet science.
  • Liz Jensen is the author of eight novels spanning several genres, including science fiction, among them Ark Baby, The Rapture and The Uninvited. Her work has been nominated for several awards, developed for film, and translated into more than 20 languages.

Guest: M. John Harrison’s novel Climbers won the Boardman Tasker Prize in 1989. His most recent novel is Empty Space.

Tom Pollock – Launch of Our Lady of the Streets 7th August at Forbidden Planet

Jo Fletcher Books have sent us word that Tom Pollock (The Glass Republic; The City’s Son) is launching his new novel Our Lady of the Streets this Thursday 7th August at London’s Forbidden Planet. Tom will be doing a reading, and has promised to bring brownies as well – bonus! the reading will be followed by a reception at the Hercules Pillars on Great Queen Street.


Tom Pollock http://tompollock.com/

Tom Pollock

To RSVP, please click on the Facebook link here.


‘Vivid, inventive  and truly weird.’ Daily Mail

Ever since Beth Bradley found her way into a hidden London, the presence of its ruthless goddess, Mater Viae, has lurked in the background. Now Mater Viae has returned with deadly consequences.

The streets are wracked by convulsions as muscles of wire and pipe go into spasm, bunching the city into a crippled new geography; pavements flare to thousand-degree fevers, incinerating pedestrians; and towers fall, their foundations decayed. As the city sickens, so does Beth – her essence now part of this secret London. But when it is revealed that Mater Viae’s plans for dominion stretch far beyond the borders of the city, Beth must make a choice: flee, or sacrifice her city in order to save it.

Ritual Crime Unit – E.E. Richardson

ritual crime unitRitual Crime Unit: Under the Skin is the first in a new series of urban fantasy police procedurals marking not only the beginning of a new series for Abaddon Books but also a different way of publishing. Mainly available in e-book format, Under The Skin is available in limited numbers as a physical edition.

A tough, hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing, DCI Claire Pierce of North Yorkshire Police heads Northern England’s underfunded and understaffed Ritual Crime Unit. Ignored by the traditional police, struggling with an out-sized caseload, Pierce is about to tackle her most shocking case so far.

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs – Mike Resnick


Described as a ‘Weird West Tale’ that mixes an alternate Wild West with magic and steampunk, Mike Resnick has blended history and fantasy into a thoroughly entertaining novel.

The time is April, 1885. Doc Holliday lies in bed in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, expecting never to leave his room again. But the medicine man and great chief Geronimo needs him for one last adventure. Renegade Comanche medicine men object to the newly-signed treaty with Theodore Roosevelt. They are venting their displeasure on two white men who are desecrating tribal territory in Wyoming. Geronimo must protect the men or renege on his agreement with Roosevelt. He offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for taking on this mission.

Welcome to the birth of American paleontology, spearheaded by two brilliant men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two men whose genius is only exceeded by their hatred for each other’s guts. 

Now, with the aid of Theodore Roosevelt, Cole Younger, and Buffalo Bill Cody, Doc Holliday must save Cope and Marsh not only from the Comanches, not only from living, breathing dinosaurs, but from each other. And that won’t be easy.

Limit – Frank Schatzing

limitHugely popular in his native Germany, Frank Schatzing’s Limit is a serious, heavyweight tome of a sci-fi novel. Praised for his brilliant characters and expansive, epic storytelling, Schatzing’s work asks questions about the nature of humankind’s future.

In 2025, entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon. But Orley Enterprises deals in more than space tourism—it also operates the world’s only space elevator, which in addition to allowing the very wealthy to play tennis on the lunar surface connects Earth with the moon and enables the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future, back to the planet. Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his brand-new lunar accommodation, hoping to secure the finances for a second elevator.
On Earth, meanwhile, cybercop Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker known as Yoyo, who’s been on the run since acquiring access to information that someone seems quite determined to keep quiet. As Jericho closes in on the girl and the conspiracy swirling around her, he finds mounting evidence that connects her to Julian Orley as well as to the entrepreneur’s many competitors and enemies. Soon, the detective realizes that the lunar junket to Orley’s hotel is in real and immediate danger.

On The Steel Breeze – Alastair Reynolds


A British Sci-Fi master, Alastair Reynolds has produced another awe-inspiring epic tale. Loosely connected to the author’s earlier Poseidon’s Children, his latest work reads as a stand-alone novel. On The Steel Breeze intertwines two stories, set light years apart and is crafted with consummate skill, resulting in a brilliant hard sci-fi novel.

An epic vision of our journey into deep space.

Hundreds of years from now mankind will finally inherit the stars. A fleet of holoships is heading towards the nearest habitable planet at 15% the speed of light. In massive asteroids turned into ships, tens of millions of people are heading towards a new home. A home that bears signs of an ancient alien civilisation.

No-one knows what they will find when they get there in 90 years. But the main problem is that the ships will have to break the laws of physics to be able to stop. And the research into ways to stop risk the ships themselves. Has mankind squandered the utopia of years past?

David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy to Take Place at World Fantasycon, Brighton

DGLA large image

This year sees the fifth ever David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, and appropriately the winner will be announced  on Thursday 31st October at World Fantasycon at the Brighton Metropole hotel.

The David Gemmell Awards honour the life of one of fantasy fiction’s most acclaimed authors and seek to recognize the very best of modern literature in the field.

Three awards will be presented during the ceremony: the Legend Award for best novel, the Morningstar Award for best debut and the Ravenheart Award for best cover art. As well as these presentations, the ceremony features the Gemmell Awards auction, with some incredible lots to be bid for, including a full year’s worth of Tor UK books, a manuscript assessment from renowned editor Jo Fletcher, and art prints from leading artists Anne Sudworth and Dominic Harman.

The ceremony will also include the official launch of  ‘Legends’, a collection of new short stories written in honour of David Gemmell. Published by NewCon Press, the anthology features a fantastic line-up of contributors including Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Tanith Lee, Juliet E McKenna, Stan Nicholls, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ian Whates and many others.


Proceedings begins at 8pm, and close around 9:30pm. Entry to the event is free, and no ticket is required – anyone interested in attending can simply turn up on the night itself. Please note that while the event is affiliated with the World Fantasy Convention, also running at the Brighton Metropole Hotel, attending the ceremony does not also allow entry to the convention.

Shortlist for the Legend Awards:

ABERCROMBIE, Joe – Red Country – Gollancz

KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK

LAWRENCE, Mark – King of Thorns – Harper Collins UK

LOWE, Helen – The Gathering of the Lost – Orbit

WEEKS, Brent – The Blinding Knife – Orbit

Shortlist for Morningstar Award:

AHMED, Saladin – Throne of the Crescent Moon – Gollancz & DAW

CAMERON, Miles – The Red Knight – Gollancz

GWYNNE, John – Malice – Pan Macmillan UK

HARTE, Aidan – Irenicon – Jo Fletcher Books

KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK

Shortlist for Ravenheart Award:

GRAFFET, Didier & SENIOR, David – Red Country – Joe Abercrombie – Gollancz

HARMAN, Dominic – The Legion of Shadow – Michael J. Ward – Gollancz

LANG, Neil – Stormdancer – Jay Kristoff – Pan Macmillan UK

LANGLEY, Clint – Besieged – Rowena Cory Daniells – Solaris

MANHOOD, Silas – The Blinding Knife – Brent Weeks – Orbit

YOULL, Stephen – The Black Mausoleum – Stephen Deas – Gollancz

For more information, contact dgla@live.co.uk

NewCon Press to release ‘Legends’, celebrating the work of David Gemmell

Legends cover imageThis year sees the fifth running of the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, and to mark this special occasion a new anthology, ‘Legends’, will be released from NewCon Press. Newcon is one of the UK’s most acclaimed independent presses, and will be releasing ‘Legends’ at the end of October.

‘Legends’ gathers together a collection of tales from modern fantasy authors paying homage to the work of one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, David Gemmell. Gemmell passed away in 2006, and was the author of 30 novels, including his highly successful debut Legend and classics such as Waylander and Morningstar. The ‘Legends’ anthology features new stories from a host of the field’s leading talent, including Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Juliet E McKenna, Anne Nicholls, Stan Nicholls, Jan Siegel, Adrian Tchaikovsky and many more.

‘Legends’ will be launched as part of the World Fantasy Convention at Brighton’s Metropole hotel on the 31st. Many of the authors included within the anthology will be on hand to sign the book at the event, as well as cover artist Dominic Harman.

Ian Whates, Publisher and Editor at NewCon Press said: ‘As a long-standing fan of David
Gemmell’s work, I was thrilled when asked to compile and edit an anthology in his honour. The book was a pleasure to work on and the response from authors very gratifying; there are some great stories in here, as there would have to be to justify putting David Gemmell’s name on the cover.’

Stan Nicholls, Chair for the Gemmell Awards said: ‘The really gratifying thing about Legends is that some of the most accomplished writers in the fantasy field have so freely given their time and talent to the project. We’re immensely grateful to them, and genuinely excited by the prospect of publishing what we believe will be an outstanding anthology.’

For more information on ‘Legends’, visit www.newconpress.co.uk or for more on the Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, visit www.gemmellaward.com

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements

Walidah Imarisha & Detroit-based organizer and writer Adrienne Maree Brown have teamed up to edit and create Octavia’s Brood, an anthology of science fiction and fantasy premised on the idea that those working to change the world are already speculative thinkers.

Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in an exercise of speculative fiction. Organizers and activists struggle tirelessly to create and envision another world, or many other worlds, just as science fiction does… so what better venue for organizers to explore their work than through writing original science fiction stories? Octavia’s Brood is a way to uncover the truths buried in the fantastical – and to inject a healthy dose of the fantastical into our search for truth.

Many radical minds believe this field was evolved by late science fiction writer Octavia Butler, for whom this collection will be named. Butler explored the intersections of identity and imagination – exploring the gray areas of race, class, gender, sexuality, militarism, inequality, oppression, resistance and most importantly, hope.

After a successful Indiegogo campaign the anthology will be released in June 2014 (in honour of Octavia Bulter’s birthday). Containing 25 short stories from the a number of authors, including the editors and the likes of Tananarive Due, and award-winning journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal (who writes about Star Wars and imperialism), this collection aims to add to the canon of fiction all about making change.

For more info check out: www.facebook.com/octaviasbrood

David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy – latest shortlist and new appointments

DGLA large imageCurrently in its fifth year, the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, one of fantasy fiction’s most prestigious prizes, has announced its shortlist for 2013. Featuring some of the best-known and most talented names within the field, The Legend Award for Best Novel includes titles by author of the First Law Trilogy Joe Abercrombie, Australian debut novelist Jay Kristoff, up-and-coming fantasy star Mark Lawrence, the winner of last year’s Morningstar debut award Helen Lowe and leading US fantasy author Brent Weeks.

The Morningstar Award is given for Best Debut, and sees Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer nominated a second time, plus nominations for acclaimed first novels by Saladin Ahmed, Mile Cameron, John Gwynne and Aidan Harte.

The Ravenheart Award for Best Cover Art is a unique award acknowledging and celebrating the superb work done by fantasy artists, and this year features a stellar set of nominees including Didier Graffet and David Senior, Dominic Harman, Clint Langley, Silas Manhood, Colin Thomas and Stephen Youll.

Stan Nicholls, Chair for the Gemmell Awards, said, ‘Once again the award shortlists take in a stunning range of fiction and artwork, which is truly international in nature and features not only household names in fantasy but also some of the most exciting new talent around. Whoever takes home each of the three prizes, they will undoubtedly be worthy winners – in fact, given the wealth of superb releases in 2012, achieving a nomination is quite an accolade in itself.’


Legend Award (Best novel)

Joe Abercrombie: The Red Country  (Gollancz)

Jay Kristoff: Stormdancer  (Pan Macmillan UK)

Mark Lawrence: King of Thorns  (HarperCollins/Voyager)

Helen Lowe: The Gathering of the Lost  (Orbit)

Brent Weeks: The Blinding Knife  (Orbit)

Morningstar Award (Best debut novel)

Saladin Ahmed: Throne of the Crescent Moon  (Gollancz and DAW)

Miles Cameron: The Red Knight  (Gollancz)

John Gwynne: Malice  (Pan Macmillan UK)

Aidan Harte: Irenicon  (Jo Fletcher Books)

Jay Kristoff: Stormdancer  (Pan Macmillan UK)

Ravenheart Award  (Best cover art)

Didier Graffet and Dave Senior, for The Red Country by Joe Abercrombie  (Gollancz)

Dominic Harman, for Legion of Shadow by Michael J. Ward  (Gollancz)

Clint Langley, for Besieged by Rowenna Cory Daniells  (Solaris)

Silas Manhood, for The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks  (Orbit)

Colin Thomas, for Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff  (Pan Macmillan UK)

Stephen Youll, for The Black Mausoleum by Stephen Deas  (Gollancz)

The David Gemmell Awards ceremony will take place at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton on the 31st October, the location of this year’s World Fantasy Convention. For more information on the awards, simply visit http://gemmellaward.com/

With just three months to go until the awards, event, the Gemmells have welcomed in a new PR and communications officer, Alex Davis. Alex has been working actively in genre fiction for the last ten years, including in running events such as Alt.Fiction, EdgeLit and Futura, and in that time has worked with a host of leading names in the field.

Alex said ‘It’s a pleasure to be involved in one of the leading genre awards worldwide, and a role that excites me greatly. I’m looking forward to further raising the profile of the Gemmells – and in turn fantasy fiction on the whole – over the next few months.’


Not the Booker – Your Chance to Vote on the Shortlist

The longlist for The Guardian‘s annual ‘Not the Booker’ prize is out – and organiser Sam Jordisan is looking for genuine readers and lovers of fiction from the list to help draw up the shortlist.

With several works of speculative fiction on the list, who knows, maybe some of these will make the coveted shortlist…

Example works that may be of interest to BSFA members include:

Kate Atkinson – Life After Life
Brian Catling – The Vorrh
Andrew Crumey – The Secret Knowledge
Jonathan Grimwood – The Last Banquet
Christopher Priest – The Adjacent
Jess Richards – Cooking with Bones
James Smythe – The Machine
Marcel Theroux – Strange Bodies
Plus many more great books – see the website.
In order to vote, you must submit or have already submitted a review of the books to which you can link. You must vote for two books, and they must be from different publishers. Apart from that, it’s up to you!
Votes must be submitted by midnight 11th August.

Andromeda One Convention – Here’s the Rhubarb!

A one-day genre convention can be a great way to see your favourite writers discussing their work, find out what’s hot in independent publishing, meet like-minded people – or old friends – who love reading genre as much as you do, or even pick up some writing and publishing tips from the pros.


Hot on the heels of one-day events from earlier this year, FUTURA and Edge-lit, comes Andromeda One on Saturday 21st September, featuring Guests of Honour Paul Cornell (author of London Falling; TV writer for Doctor Who and Merlin; Comic Writer for Wolverine and Saucer Country) and Jaine Fenn (author of Hidden Empire series), as well as many more writers and speakers.

Andromeda One is going to be taking place at the immensely hip Custard Factory in Birmingham, the former site of an actual custard factory – Birds Custard Factory, no less! The site was rescued from dereliction in 1988 and is now home to many creative enterprises and studios. As well as craft and vintage shops and cool cafes, you will find theatres, TV studios art galleries and the famous green man sculpture! The industrial past and digital future sit side by side here, making it the ideal place to hang out and talk about science fiction.


So what else can you expect from a one day convention? There will be panel talks, signings, book launches as well as the chance to take part in writing workshops and intimate kaffeeklatsch discussions with your favourite writers. There will also be a stream dedicated to workshops on gender parity and multiculturalism  and disabilities in the SFF/Horror community.


But for a taster of what you can expect, I have gathered (with permission) some of the blog posts related to the Edge-Lit one-day convention from around the web…

First up, Adele from Fox Spirit Books. Fox Spirit is a fantastic independent publisher, which has created a special range of pocket anthologies for lovers of a good, quick read. Adele writes about the convention being the perfect place to launch their latest anthology, Noir Carnival:

Yesterday was Edge-Lit two and although I missed it last year I have enough experience of Alex Davis’s events that Fox Spirit booked a launch in full confidence that this was the right kind of event for us to bring the Carnival to.

The Fox Spirit Skulk

There were some twenty five or more of the skulk* in attendance on the day and in addition to being a fantastic event as can be expected from Alex, it was also incredible for me on a personal level to see so many of the writers and people involved in Fox Spirit (including our tireless copy editor Daz) in one place and to meet some of them face to face for the first time as well as catching up with old friends. I could not wish to work with a more fun, passionate and inspiring bunch of people. […] I spent the day talking, enjoying the sunshine and eating in fantastic company. All in all I’m not sure it could have been much more perfect.”

*Fox Spirit Books gang


Next up, writer Geraldine Clark Hellery (@gclarkhellery) who writes:

“I really enjoyed Edge-Lit but it was over all too soon (especially as we needed to do the long drive home). The panels were interesting and didn’t address some of the ‘staid’ issues which seem to be on repeat at other conferences. It was a small, intimate feeling con and all the staff were really approachable and friendly.”

So, all good… except Geraldine does have one little criticism…

 “Would I go again? I really enjoyed Edge-Lit but think there’s a little too much to do in one day (great panels, interesting people to talk to and meet) so organizers please take note, we want a two day event! Also, next time I’d need to stay for a second night to fully appreciate and enjoy this great con!”

James Everington is a writer from Nottingham who writes dark, strange fiction. His latest collection, Falling Over, is out now from Infinity Plus. He drinks Guinness, if anyone is offering. He writes:

“Here’s some things I learnt from the day – as with going to university some of the real ‘lessons’ took place in the bar…


5. Holding a newly purchased book in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, and trying to eat a cupcake is not a skill I possess.

6. Any raffle that Sarah Pinborough hosts (ably assisted by Conrad Williams) is a thing of strange beauty and crude, crude jokes – so much so that not actually winning anything doesn’t seem to matter that much.

10. That despite reaching my mid-thirties, I still get inordinately excited by a bag of free books.”

Shhh…I’m older, James, and I do, too! I also had the same problem with cake.

And finally, Victoria Hooper, a writer, blogger and freelance editor from Nottingham, had the following to say:

“Edge Lit is easily my favourite of the conventions I’ve been to so far. It’s small and intimate, and though all cons have been very friendly to me, this is even more so. And, despite the lack of air con, which may have just unluckily not been working on that day, it really is a great venue. It’s open, has a lovely cafe and patio area, two big cinema rooms that are good for panels and talks, and plenty of restaurants around. And I have a soft spot for Derby anyway, as I used to live there.

As always, it was lovely to see so many people again, and for the first time ever, I actually introduced some people to each other! Woohoo, I’m not the newbie anymore! I also met wonderful new people, and have added even more authors and books to my never-ending To Read shelf! On such a hot day, it was so nice to be able to relax with a drink with such a great group of people.

The panels I went to were all good, and I particularly enjoyed the discussion about Urban Fantasy and what makes it so popular. I also loved the raffle, which really has to be experienced! Well done to the raffle hosts, Sarah Pinborough and Conrad Williams, for making it so fun.

If you enjoyed Edge-Lit – or if you missed it and regret doing so (you should) – then Andromeda One may be thing that satisfies the yearning you have to indulge in your love of genre to the fullest – just for one day.

Single Tickets are £25 each; Group Tickets (for up to five people) are £100. Prices held until 9th August 2013.

Prices go up 10th August 2013 to £27.00 or Group ticket £110.00

Book your tickets now at http://terror-tree.co.uk/andromeda-one/


Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes


A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer?

Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.

So far so London.

But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on an housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.

Is there a connection?

And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?

Released today, Ben Aaronovitch’s latest offering, Broken Homes, continues in the same rich vein of his brilliant supernatural crime series. Writing about his native London, Aaronovitch has crafted a novel that renders the city in a very different light.


Ragazine’s Speculative Fiction Competition

Ragazine, an on-line magazine of art, information and entertainment, are holding a speculative fiction competition with a first prize of $1000.00.

Edited by Sheree Renee Thomas, entries must be 6,000 words or less, in the genre of science fiction, fantasy or horror.

Check the link for more details and competition info – http://ragazine.cc/2013/06/contest/


The Savage Planet at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Savage Planet

Science fiction meets theatre at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe in a brand new production, The Savage Planet.

On the world of Ygam an experiment seemingly gone awry is causing problems for a species of hyper intelligent beings, the Draags. Their primitive pets, known as the Oms, rescued from an insignificant dying planet called Earth have begun to show worrying signs of organisation. and rebellion.

Inspired by the writing of French author Stefan Wul, The Savage Planet invites audiences to enter an amusing, strange and undoubtedly complex new world, exploring the themes of barbarism, knowledge and power.

The Savage Planet

Performed by the Watersports Aficionados as part of PBH’s Free Fringe.

VENUE: The Fiddlers Elbow, Venue number 71, 4 Picardy Place, EH1 3HT.

DATES: Saturday 3rd – Sunday 11th August 2013 (limited run)

TIME: 15:15

DUARTION: 1 hour

More info – http://watersports-aficionados.tumblr.com/

Rule32 – The Ultimate Geek Café Needs You!

In the world of SF fandom, we’ve already seen crowd funding start-ups for books, films and conventions. Now, Rule 32, a team of self-confessed “geeks”, are turning to the indiegogo resource to launch their own crowd-funding mission: the “ulimate geek events venue”.


Their goal is to crowd-fund the purchase and development of a beautiful, but currently rather shabby, 1920s theatre building in Worcester in order for it to become a cool venue for all sorts of SF-related events… a “Hard Rock Café for Geeks”, as it were.


It’s an ambitious project that needs some somewhat substantial sums to back it, and so I was curious as to what had inspired the venture. I caught up with Rule 32 team member, Su Haddrell, to find out more.

Donna: Who or what is Rule 32?

Su: Fundamentally Rule32 is the concept of bringing everyone together to enjoy their individual interests. The name initially came from the film Zombieland. “Rule#32:Enjoy The Little Things.” It just fitted. Rule32Cafe will be a café bar and events venue, aiming to provide a space to chill out, play games, drink tea and read books, or visit for a writers panel or comic signing.


Donna: Who are the team behind this and how did they come to take on this project?

Su: The Rule32 team are a group of friends who have been friends and geeks for years. We often had that “We should open a geek café” discussion. One day last year, a combination of career frustration and general restlessness lead us to start researching the concept. And it just got more serious the more we looked into it.

The Rule 32 Team!

The Rule 32 Team!


Donna: Are you intent on world domination?

Su: I think the Rule32 concept definitely has cloning potential. I’m not sure if that’s where we’re looking to take it, but if Rule32cafe is successful, then it opens up huge opportunities for similar venues for likeminded people across the UK. And then the world. Start small I reckon…


Donna: Why Worcester?

Su: It’s our home town. We’ve known each other for years, we love the city, and none of us have plans of moving anywhere. And it’s a good city to use – easily accessible by train for visitors as well as having a local student population. The café has the opportunity to frequently refresh its audience and keep up with any new geek interests.


Donna: What’s the first thing you hope to achieve?

Su: That’s a big question! At the moment, we aim to achieve funding! Then we achieve property! Then we achieve renovation and decoration. Then we achieve opening! There’s always a bigger fish…..


Donna: Ultimate aims?

Su: Personally, I think this is our career plan. None of us are opposed to hard work – it’d just be nice to be working hard for something worthwhile instead of the job that pays the bills. Businesswise, we want to be known throughout the UK as the Geek Venue to visit. We’d love to hear that question “Have you been to Rule32Cafe? It’s amaaazing!”


Donna: Will you be looking to make the space about the projects you have already envisioned, or would you be hoping for more people to get involved past the funding stage, and how?

Su: We love getting people together, talking, networking and involving everyone. Whilst we’re very precious about our concept and what we’re aiming to do, we want to be able to appeal to and involve all interests. Several people have approached us suggesting cosplay workshops. Others have suggested Steampunk tea parties and table top Game Tournaments. The idea of a Lord of The Rings weekender – all films showing all night, with themed food, quizzes, costumes etc. has been very popular. Whilst we won’t have the space for LFCC scale conventions, we can definitely cater to a whole host of event types. We want to work with other people as much as we can. If there’s an audience for it – we’ll have a crack at it.


Thanks, Su! If you would like to find out more, or perhaps even make a donation, Rule 32’s indiegogo link is: http://igg.me/at/Rule32cafe/x/2069990… And the team promise that if you can refer 5 other people to the project, you can win prizes donated by SFX, Neil Gaiman and Robert Rankin, who have all lent their weighty support to this campaign.


Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human

Billed as a mash-up between Neil Gaiman and Quinton Tarantino, this debut novel by Charlie Human draws on his South African background and pours on a crazy, twisted narrative that is brilliantly entertaining.

Apocalypse Now Now


Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. As the 16-year-old kingpin of the Spider, his smut-peddling schoolyard syndicate, he’s making a name for himself as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Profits are on the rise, the other gangs are staying out of his business, and he’s going out with Esme, the girl of his dreams.

But when Esme gets kidnapped, and all the clues point towards strange forces at work, things start to get seriously weird. The only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.

Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.