I am delighted to announce that my second short story collection, You’ll Know When You Get There, is now available for pre-order from Swan River Press. This is a limited edition of only 400, so buy early and often before they are all gone!
I was fortunate enough to get a lovely introduction from Lisa Tuttle, a writer whose own stories have been very influential for me, and the cover art is by Savannah artist Tobia Makover–I love Tobia’s haunting photographs, go check them out for yourself!
This summer, over the weekend of August 19-21, I’ll be at the Dublin Ghost Story Festival in (where else?) Dublin, Ireland, the city of Bram Stoker and J. Sheridan Le Fanu (among others) along with many luminaries: Guest of Honor Adam Nevill, Toastmaster John Connolly, and assorted guests David Mitchell, Angela Slatter, Sarah Pinborough, A.K. Benedict, Paul Kane, Marie O’Regan, and John Reppion. Oh, and also me. Tickets are a mere €30 for what should prove to be a brilliant weekend of spooky fun including a performance of an M.R. James play by the legendary Nunkie Theatre Company.
There’s a limit of 150 attendees with no tickets sold at the door, and the festival is filling up fast! So book now to avoid disappointment. Dublin is a great city and who knows…maybe we’ll even manage to conjure up an apparition or two.
It’s a busy one. Also, be sure to stop by the fan table for the Worldcon bid for Dublin 2019, and come to our party on Saturday night! The full program for Loncon 3 is here.
Tove Jansson’s Moomins: Their Legacy and Influence
Thursday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)
It’s 100 years since the birth of Finnish author/artist Tove Jansson, the award-winning creator of the beloved Moomins. Moomins appeared in novels, illustrated books, comic book strips and today are celebrated with their own theme park called Muumimaailma (Moomin World).
Why did Jansson’s Moomins capture the attention and affection of the panellists, and how do Moomins continue to fire the imagination of new generations despite being nearly seventy years old?
What is the legacy of the Moomins, and how do they continue to influence European comic books today?
Kathryn (Kate) Laity (M), Lynda Rucker, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson, Mary Talbot, Karrie Fransman
Horror Without Monsters
Thursday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)
It’s often said that some of the most frightening horror fictions stir fear without ghouls or gore. Is this true? What are the psychological horror tales that stay with us past the final page? Does the greatest terror lie within ourselves?
Jonathan Oliver (M), F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand, Sarah Pinborough, Lynda Rucker
Fantasy and Medievalism
Friday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)
High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?
Comic Book Networking: It’s Not Just The Interwebs
Friday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)
Social media – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are all de rigeur for networking for creators and fans, but what about all the other ways to meet your audience, your favourite creators, or just to talk to people about comic books?
What are the benefits of comic book reading groups, conventions, comic book jams/drawing sessions, or networking meetings like Laydeez do Comics?
In a virtual world, there’s still a lot of meeting face-to-face going on.
Maura McHugh (M), Lynda Rucker, Kurt Erichsen, Yen Ooi, Meg Frank
Reading: Lynda Rucker
Saturday 21:00 – 21:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)
Master of Dark Arts – an insight into editing for writers
Sunday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL)
Editor Stephen Jones is interviewed by Lynda E. Rucker about being an editor of short dark fiction, providing insight for new and current writers and afterwards answering questions from the floor. Advice and pointers, pitfalls, how a professional editor should deal with writers and what a writer’s expectations of editors should be will be among the topics covered.
It’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts about this event, and while I’m not all the way there yet, this post risks passing into utter irrelevancy if I don’t get it up soon, so here it is.
It’s almost too overwhelming to try to write about the convention, and this won’t be a comprehensive report like some of my friends and colleagues have produced. There’s no way I could reconstruct all the things I did and saw and talked about and to who and if I even began to try and list all the people I chatted with I’d be editing this post till the day I died as I kept remembering folks I’d forgotten to mention. But people sometimes ask me what we do at these things and why I’m so worn out afterward; for a flavor of that, check out some of these posts:
The reason these events are so wonderful is because for a few days, you get to spend every minute with a huge group of amazingly talented, smart, witty, visionary, passionate, extraordinary people and have the best conversations of the year. I got to talk to people about Arthur Machen and M.R. James, about the intense experience of reading Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series as a child, about S.T. Joshi’s critical writings and the house (the real house, that you can visit) at Greene Knowe. I saw weird insect art by Arthur Machen’s great-granddaughter, Tessa Farmer, as part of a terrific art show. I discussed everything from film to football to real-life ghost stories and more with folks. Seeing Susan Cooper interviewed was a real highlight for me (I saw her give a talk about a dozen years ago in Portland as well; she’s the only one of my childhood writing idols I’ve had the chance to see not once but two times). I talked with people who profoundly influenced my writing early on like Ramsey Campbell, Melanie Tem, Lisa Tuttle, and Steve Rasnic Tem; I met people in person for the first time like Rosanne Rabinowitz and Gary Couzens who I’ve known online for well over a dozen years; I finally got to speak to people whose work I’ve admired for years like Nina Allan (who I saw far to little of!) and Conrad Williams and tell them that. I spent too little time with too many lovely folks like Simon Bestwick, Cate Gardner, Allison Littlewood, and loads more of you; I met lots more of you for the first time that I previously only knew from your work and/or social media–I won’t even begin to try to list you all.
In celebration of Arthur Machen’s birthday, there was a track of Machen programming which I loved, and would have loved even more if I hadn’t found myself scheduled against nearly every one of the Machen bits I most wanted to attend. Machen is a writer who is little known outside of genre aficionados, but he’s a strong influence on many of us, myself included–in fact, a panel on current writers influenced by Machen included Adam Nevill, Michael Kelly, Thana Niveau, Tim Lebbon, Paul Finch and Ramsey Campbell while Rosanne Rabinowitz’s novella “Helen’s Story” from PS Publishing tells the story of the woman in “The Great God Pan” from her point of view.
There was also pirate programming that included talks on LARPs and costuming as well as guerilla readings!
I know there are writers and others in the industry who eschew such events, but for me, they are absolutely one of the biggest perks of being a writer. I love meeting readers and other writers and the agents and editors and publishers who are so passionate about the work that we all do; I’m always so sad when they come to an end, but fired up with creativity.
This was a terrific convention, run by the same group of people who did the amazing 2010 World Horror Con in Brighton as well as a couple of British Fantasycons, all in Brighton. Each of these conventions has meant a great deal to me for personal and professional reasons, and I’m sorry there won’t be any more there the foreseeable future. But next year, there is the British Fantasy Convention in York, which I’ll be attending.
World Fantasy is a bit of a madhouse, and this one was bigger than usual: I heard somewhere in the neighborhood of 1400 or 1500 attendees. This meant loads of people there I wanted to talk to, but it also meant it was easy to miss people. It meant that even though I sat on a panel with R.C. Matheson, son of the late Richard Matheson, I somehow neglected to tell him how much I loved his father’s work; it meant too many people I saw or spoke to only in passing and several I didn’t run into at all.
Oh, and I also had a book launch. Steve Rasnic Tem, who wrote the introduction to my collection The Moon Will Look Strange, kicked it off with some words about my writing that were so lovely–and I can barely recall much about the launch now, to be honest except being overwhelmed at how many people turned up and how delightful you all were, old friends and new friends and people I’d never even met who were excited to read the book.
I also did a reading of the first half of the story “Ash-Mouth” from The Moon Will Look Strange and despite the fact that I was opposite James Blaylock reading and other interesting items, a few people even turned up to hear me! (There was also a lady at the start who said “Oh! Are you the one reading? I thought this was James Blaylock! I’m in the wrong room!” and ran out. When I told this story to a few people they were kind of horrified on my behalf, but I was actually telling it because I thought it was really funny. I mean, I’d been joking about turning up and asking people why on earth they were turning up to listen to me read when they could be in James Blaylock’s reading.)
Stephen Jones, below, has been hugely encouraging to me ever since he selected my third published story, “No More A-Roving,” for a Mammoth Best New Horror, and that encouragement has been one of the things that has carried me through the darker times.
The British Fantasy Awards and World Fantasy Awards were also handed out at the end of the weekend, and again, I’m delighted with the winners (okay, save for Cabin in the Woods for screenplay, which I thought was a terrible, terrible film), many friends among them–again, I won’t try to list them all.
And before I’ve even had time to do an Octocon report, I’m off to World Fantasy in a few days time. Here are places you can reliably find me:
Thursday, October 31, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., “Signing Alley” between Hall 8 & Art Show, 2nd floor- Halloween book launch for The Moon Will Look Strange! Stop in, say hello, have a pre-dinner glass of wine, even buy a copy of the book and get it signed!
Friday, November 1, 11:30 a.m. – noon, Hall 8B – Reading!
Saturday, November 2, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., “Signing Alley” between Hall 8 & Art Show, 2nd floor – Constable & Robinson signing and launch. I’ll be here to sign The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #24, which reprints my F&SF story “Where the Summer Dwells,”along with loads of people who are much more famous than me. Which is to say, famous at all.
Sunday, November 3, 11:00 a.m. – noon, Cambridge – Panel, Coming Up Short: Is it possible for anyone to still make a living writing only short fiction?
Ellen Klages, Richard Christian Matheson, John Llewellyn Probert (mod.), Lynda E. Rucker. Robert Shearman, Steve Rasnic Tem.
So there you have it. Also, I believe that every single time slot when I have something scheduled, there is something else going on I desperately want to attend. This is very much the nature of the World Fantasy Convention, which tends to be bursting with just too much great stuff to even begin doing it all. The rest of the time, I will be trying to get to as many Machen-themed panels as possible, stalking Susan Cooper (kidding! I kid!), and, of course, hanging out in the bar or at parties. Come and say hi! I also generally try to get OUT of the hotel at cons when I can, so in addition to visiting this Jan Švankmajer exhibit, I’m also hoping to pop out to enjoy at least one wander through The Lanes and a drink or a bit of food (despite being on a shockingly shoestringy budget). A Brighton con also means solo head-clearing walks on the rocky beach as well. I love Brighton, and I love World Fantasy! I can’t wait!
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since last year’s Octocon, the national science fiction convention of Ireland, where I knew almost no one. Despite that, they were very nice to me and put me on panels and showed me a lovely time. This year, I know lots of people and I am doing quite a few panels–in brief below and you can check out more details like location and my fellow panelists at the link:
Copyright and Creative Endeavours, 11 am
Dublin in 2019: A Worldcon Bid, 5 pm
Issues in Genre, 6 pm
Showing Your Ass on the Internet, 12:00 pm
What Makes a Hero? 1:00 pm
Note that the Dublin in 2019 is a meeting that is open to everyone–you do NOT have to be a member of Octocon to attend. Please turn up if you have any interest at all in the field–we want a Worldcon of gamers and costumers, steampunks and anime fans, comics readers, followers of film and TV shows, and of course, last but by no means least, books, books, and more books. On Monday, there will be also be opportunities to make site visits to the convention center.
Second thing: Maura McHugh and I were interviewed about Laydeez Do Comics by Liam Geraghty of The Comics Podcast. There are lots of other interesting topics discussed there as well includingthe documentary Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which I saw last month here in Dublin and highly recommend even if you are not a Wonder Woman or superhero(ine) fan (I am neither).