World Fantasy Award Finalists

The finalists for this year’s World Fantasy Awards have been announced. Locus has the full list.

I’m very pleased to see Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country on the Novel list.

The Long Fiction list looks very familiar. Huge kudos once again to Lee Harris and his colleagues at for some amazing output. I am, of course, rooting for Seanan.

The Short Fiction contains a name that was new to me: G.V. Anderson. However, the excitement on Twitter soon revealed that she is local, living in Dorset. Not only that, but she had been at BristolCon last year. In fact she had attended a writing workshop with Gareth Powell. Her story, “Das Steingeschöpf”, is her first professional sale.

Clearly we have an emerging talent here. I’m keen to get her to Fringe at some point, though we are booked up for this year. Maybe I’ll get to chat to her on the radio as well. I need a recommendation for the best spicy pizza in Bristol.

Finally it is great to see Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction by Michael Levy & Farah Mendlesohn getting some recognition. As many of you will know, Mike succumbed to cancer in April of this year. He was a lovely bloke, and I’m very pleased to see his work being honored in this way. Very best wishes to Farah too. When you write a book with someone you get to know them very well.

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Me v Trump

This afternoon Bristol 24/7 asked me if I would write something about the current fuss over trans people serving in the military. So I did.

Somehow I doubt that I’ll have any impact on US politics, but it is useful to point out that trans people are being used here. We make up only a very small percentage of the population. We cost the countries in which we live very little, and we try very hard to be law abiding because we know we’ll be punished far worse than non-trans people would be if we get caught breaking the law. And yet we keep having these media panics about how powerful, dangerous and expensive we are. The reason for this is that we are one of the current most popular media bogey groups. Some day it will be better, but doubtless only because some other luckless minority group finds itself in the spotlight. We need to become better human beings and stop falling for this nonsense.

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Bristol Together For Grenfell

By August 4th I am going to be in Finland, but the good people of Bristol have chosen that day to show their support for, and raise money for, the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. It should be a great night. Ujima is busy promoting the event and our Station Manager, DJ Style, is one of the acts giving their time for free to help the appeal. Tickets are available here.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can still support the main Grenfell appeal.

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Time To Destroy Science Fiction Again

As if the poor thing hadn’t been destroyed enough already…

Who is at it this time? Why, it is Disabled People. Yes, that is a Kickstarter link. The whole thing is being managed by Uncanny magazine, who have an excellent track record in this sort of thing. Because of that, they are already almost half way to their goal after one day. But don’t let that put you off, because of course there are stretch goals.

Fly, little Space Unicorns, FLY!

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BristolCon Fringe – July Readings

Our July event began with our good friend, Justin Newland. He gave us excerpts from two separate works.

The first excerpt was from his published novel, The Genes of Isis. This is from a section later in the book where the Apocalypse is well in progress and our heroes have fled Egypt for sanctuary in Babylon.

Excerpt two is from the start of a work in progress, the novel set in Ming Dynasty China from which Justin read the prologue at the Open Mic.

Headlining July was a new name to most of us: Virginia Bergin. She is a Bristol-based writer of YA science fiction. Her third novel, Who Runs The World?, has recently been published by Macmillan. It is set in a world in which a virus has rendered human males all but extinct and the world is run by women. Naturally it is a far better place. Or is it?

The Q&A went on rather a lot because that’s what happens when I get to talk with someone about feminism. I certainly found the discussion with Virginia interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading her book. Hopefully she’ll be on my radio show in the autumn and we can dig into the issues a bit more deeply.

There was discussion of apocalypses and their attraction for readers, particularly teenagers. Given that the announcement that The Doctor would be regenerating as a woman had been made the previous day, we also discussed whether science fiction had been ruined forever and the world of Virginia’s novel was now inevitable. For reasons that will be obvious once you have listened to the podcasts, there was also some discussion of pornography.

In the announcements we congratulated Jo Hall, Roz Clarke and Pete Sutton for their places on the British Fantasy Awards short lists, and wished Emma & Pete Newman best of luck in the Clarke and Hugos.

We had a new voice recorder for this event. It has a better directional microphone and therefore should do a better job of eliminating background noise. Of course we do need to get used to it, which is why the sound on the first of Justin’s readings is a bit off. Hopefully we’ll be better in future.

The next Fringe meeting will be on August 21st. It will feature Lucy Hounsom and Dolly Garland.

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Free African Science Fiction

The fabulous Geoff Ryman has persuaded the Manchester Review to do a major feature on African science fiction. It came out over the weekend, but I have saved it to blog about until today so that more of you will notice.

The feature is in two parts. The first is an anthology of 21 stories published in the Manchester Review itself. The other is a collection of links to 21 other stories already available for free elsewhere online.

This is a splendid collection, and well worth your time.

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World Champions

Picture from Cricinfo

There is a hashtag that is familiar to all fans of the San Francisco Giants. That hashtag is #torture, and it refers to the way in which the Giants, three times recent World Series Champions though they might be, have tended to strew their path to victory with agonizingly tight games. England’s journey to triumph in this year’s cricket World Cup has had strong elements of that too. There was the hard-fought defense against Australia, and the last-gasp run chase against South Africa. Would the final against India produce a similarly dramatic game? Neutral fans of cricket all over the world were hoping so. The rest of us were just hoping that we’d still be breathing by the end.

Lords, I’m pleased to say, was packed. Or at least it was save for the Members’ Pavilion. Tickets available to the public were sold out, but a large space of prime viewing area is reserved for members of the MCC. There is a massive waiting list for membership, and as a consequence the majority of members are old men. They didn’t seem interested in women’s cricket. More fool them.

It was clear from the start, when the first ball from Jhulan Goswami barely managed to limp its way into the waiting gloves of Sushma Verma, that the final was not going to be a run fest. It was overcast at Lords, and while the general agreement was that Heather Knight was correct to bat first on winning the toss, Ian Bishop’s pitch inspection held out hope of conditions that would favor bowlers.

England got off to a slightly rocky start, losing three wickets for just 63, but they bat deep. Sarah Taylor and Nat Sciver, both of whom have registered big scores in previous matches, began to build a partnership. There was a brief period of rain that had the Lords ground staff looking nervous, but the umpires commendably kept the players out having been told the shower would soon pass. Then, 83 runs into the partnership, disaster struck.

Or rather, Goswami did. Taylor aimed to flick a ball off her pads, but got only the lightest of touches and the ball dropped neatly into the waiting gloves of Verma, now standing much closer to the stumps. Fran Wilson had been the batting hero of England’s loss to India in the group stages of the tournament, but Goswami was determined that wasn’t going to happen again. First ball she send a swinging yorker in that rapped Wilson on the shins plum in front. Catherine Brunt produced a dramatically solid forward defensive to prevent a hat trick, but the damage was done. Brunt, Gunn and Marsh provided some useful runs, but England could only limp to the end of their innings rather than charge.

The team talks over lunch must have been fairly straightforward. England’s total of 228 was short of what was achievable on this pitch, and rain was forecast for later in the afternoon. They needed to take wickets. India had to make sure that they stayed ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis target just in case the game was cut short. For a long time both teams failed to do what was required. England got two early breakthroughs when Anya Shrubsole bowled the out of form Smriti Mandhana for 0, and Mithali Raj was needlessly run out, but Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur steadied the ship. The trouble was that they did it slowly, and the required run rate was beginning to climb. Jenny Gunn, who conceded just 4 off her first four overs, was a major factor in that.

Fortunately for India, Kaur is the most destructive batter in women’s cricket, as her 171 against Australia had shown. Eventually she felt confident enough to start to cut loose. But, as so often happens, a milestone undid her. Shortly after reaching 50 she smashed a ball from Alex Hartley straight into the waiting hands of Tammy Beaumont. It was a glimmer of hope for England. From then on the match was down to who had the most belief.

A strong partnership between Raut and Veda Krishnamurthy took India to within sight of victory. Heather Knight rotated her bowlers, hoping that one of them would have that spark of magic that could create another breakthrough. Eventually she found one in Shrubsole. The first two balls of her comeback over were dispatched effortlessly to the boundary by Krishnamurthy. Then there was a single. And then a ball that rapped Raut on the pads. The Indian batters took too long to decide to ask for a review, but it wouldn’t have mattered as the umpire’s decision to give Raut lbw was sound. India needed just 37 runs. They had plenty of time, and six wickets left, but England, or rather Shrubsole, sensed victory.

Krishnamurthy tried to go deep against Shrubsole, but only found Nat Sciver on the mid wicket boundary. Verma lasted just two balls before being bowled by Hartley. Shrubsole took revenge for her Western Storm teammate, Wilson, by bowling Goswami first ball. Shikha Pandey’s run out showed that panic was setting in among the Indian batters. Their one ray of hope was 19-year-old Deepti Sharma. She looked calm and collected amidst the chaos. When she refused an easy single to keep the strike next over it looked like the act of a mature batter taking responsibility. Shrubsole, however, has way more experience and knew what to expect. A slower ball fooled Sharma who was early on the shot. Nat Sciver gratefully pouched the catch.

Even then the drama wasn’t over. India needed just 11 runs to win. They still had 11 balls in which to do it. Poonam Yadav blocked the next ball. The one after she chipped to mid off and Gunn, unbelievably, spilled a simple catch.

Shrubsole remained calm. Rajeshwari Gayakwad doesn’t bat 11 for nothing. All it needed was one good ball, and by now Anya was in the groove. The ball was delivered, Gayakwad’s stumps went flying, and the stadium erupted.

Figures of 6 for 46 easily earned Shrubsole the Player of the Match award. I may have noted that she was born in Bath and plays for Somerset and Western Storm. Tammy Beaumont, having the biggest run haul, was voted Player of the Tournament. Heather Knight, in her first major tournament as captain, got to lift the trophy.

For India it was a case of so near and yet so far. They have twice got to the World Cup final, and lost both times. For them the key moment was their heroic demolition of Australia. That got the attention of the media back home, and was a major reason why the TV audience for the final was 50 million. Here’s hoping that the BCCI now invests in the younger members of the squad (Raj and Goswami will both be retiring soon) to ensure that they are even better prepared next time.

If you would like a far better report than mine of the day, I warmly recommend Melinda Farrell’s piece for Cricinfo.

So there we have it. Women’s cricket has proved conclusively that it can deliver top class entertainment and superb skill. The Kia T20 league will be starting soon, though sadly I will be in Finland for much of it. Here’s hoping that the media continues to take interest.

Of course in all such things we have to remain vigilant. England’s women rugby players are also world champions. Doubtless they too expected life to be onwards an upwards from then on. But today the news broke that the RFU has cancelled all of their contracts. Apparently they think they don’t need to pay their players between now and the next world cup. For all the glory that women on the pitch might garner, it can mean nothing if that doesn’t result in more women in management.

Update: I am reliably informed by someone who was at the match that the Members Pavilion at Lords is inhabited primarily by the older (mostly over 60) MCC members. There is also a Members area in the New Warner Stand, and this is inhabited by the younger (mostly in their 50s) MCC members; the sort who might take their families to a game. This area was very well populated, so clearly there is hope for MCC in the future.

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Creative Histories Revisited

I was so busy on Thursday, and so tired on Friday, that I didn’t cover the Creative Histories conference very well. Therefore I’m going to look back over days 2 and 3 so I can highlight some of the great presentations we had. (I looked at Wednesday in more detail here.)

Thursday opened with Ronald Hutton who is the UK’s leading authority on the history modern paganism. I was particularly struck by what he had to say about how even being suspected of having pagan sympathies was sufficient to damage his academic career, and make it difficult for him to taken seriously as an expert witness on the subject. This is very reminiscent of how trans academics are treated when we try to say anything about trans-related issues. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in a post I’m writing for Will Pooley’s blog.

The other morning session on Thursday was all about creative writing. Nick Barratt, who is one of the historians who works on the hugely successful TV ancestry series, Who Do You Think You Are?, talked about the tension between entertaining the public and doing good history. We also had presentations on story structure and performative story telling. This is a very long way from the traditional structure of academic writing, but of course an essential skill if you do want to tell a story rather than present an argument.

After lunch I headed out to the Other Lecture Theatre, which involved a trek through the zoo. We had a couple of papers on maritime history, and got to see an amazing quilt made from very small squares so as to reproduce a pixelated image of a portrait of Nelson.

The final session was mine, but I was preceded by two excellent papers. Sonja Boon talked about the difficulties of writing about the history of slavery when some of your ancestors were slaves. Obviously that connects with my comments above about doing pagan and trans history. Joe Krawec is researching 20th Century British industrial history, but as a comics fan she is keen to use sequential art in presenting her research. Her paper was about telling history through comics, and the process of learning to produce them. The title of her paper, “Punching Hitler: comic books and their uses for the historian”, will take a lot of beating.

Friday opened with a session on criminal history, though it might not have sounded like it from my tweets. The first paper was about the Digital Panopticon, a project to make a huge number of 18th and 19th century criminal records available online. The second paper was all about how the techniques of journalism can be used to tell stories from history. And paper three told a fascinating story about how a man convicted of murder in Shanghai later became a minor celebrity in London.

After lunch we had a guest presentation from biographer, Julia Blackburn. She talked about how she writes her books, but also in some detail about her latest subject, artist John Craske. He certainly makes for a fascinating story. Here’s Blackburn talking about her subject in The Guardian.

After lunch we had a session on digital projects, which included the OutStories Bristol LGBT History map. The other papers were about the Many Headed Monster blog, which looks great but is not my period, and about Experiencing Arcadia. The latter is a lovely project about an 18th Century garden that has been let down by some poor IT choices. Historians, of course, are generally not well informed about IT issues, and can easily go down the wrong path.

I need to spend more time writing apps, but I have no time.

There were, of course, many other sessions. The conference had either 2 or 3 streams most of the time. Some of the other sessions looked very interesting. I’m still working on bi-location.

The final session of the conference was a round table looking back on the themes of the conference. There seemed to be general agreement that it was a good thing that historians should be more creative when presenting their work, though admittedly the group was very much self-selected. I’m rather surprised that the idea of a PhD By Published Work doesn’t exist in history. Nicola Griffith has just done a really interesting blog series about her journey towards getting one of those.

The big problem from the historians’ point of view is that being creative is all very well when you have an established reputation, but for anyone starting their career it is a major risk because you will get called out for not being “objective”. For us non-professional academics, being creative is a lot easier, but we run the risk of not being taken seriously by historians who are in academia. Ultimately it is all about hierarchies and gatekeeping. People make rules about who is allowed to do what history, and how they are allowed to do it, to try to limit the types of stories that get told. Conferences like this kick back against such strictures, and I’m delighted to see Bristol University taking the lead in doing that.

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Dinomania at Bristol

Here are some more photos I took of the dinosaurs on view at Bristol Zoo.

As usual with animals, getting them to stay still to be photographed is not always easy. Some of them, such as the Pachyrhinosaurus, were gently snoozing. Others were very busy. The most active of them was the dilophosaurus, which seemed to fancy itself as a dragon and delighted in spraying small children with water. Here it is in action. (The background noise is the rain.)

Better photos and more information about the various creatures can be found here.

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One Game Left #WWC17

I was so busy at Creative Histories that I didn’t have time to look in much on the Australia-India game. A quick check at lunch showed that the start had been delayed by rain. When I checked again I could not believe my eyes.

The match had been reduced to 42 overs a side. India had won the toss and elected to bat. After 25 overs they were reduced to 101/3, Mithali Raj having just misjudged a ball from Kristen Beams and seen her stumps flattened. 17 overs later they concluded their innings with a total of 281/4. That’s 180 runs added for just 102 balls bowled, and only one wicket lost. What happened?

What happened was Harmanpreet Kaur. She had already shared in a partnership of 66 with Raj, but on becoming the senior partner she took over the match. She finished on 171* off 115 balls, including 7 sixes. I got to watch the highlights this morning and it is rare that you see batting so destructive anywhere. It was an innings that Viv Richards or Sachin Tendulkar would have been proud to play. Those Indian fans lucky enough to have paid £10 to watch the match in Derby more than got their money’s worth. They will be able to say, “I was there”, when one of the legendary innings of Indian cricket was played.

Give them their due, the Australians did not give up. Their innings was dealt what was probably a fatal blow when Meg Lanning was bowled by veteran Indian pace bowler, Jhulan Goswami, for an 8-ball duck. Elyse Villani (75) and Alex Blackwell (90) stepped up to the plate to try to keep their side in the match. Blackwell even managed to score faster than Kaur. But neither player could match the dominance of Kaur. Villani was out in the 23rd over, and she was quickly followed by Perry in the 26th, Healey in the 28th, Gardner in the 29th and Jonassen in the 30th. Blackwell tried her best to win the match on her own, but it was too big a hill to climb and Australia were all out with 11 balls remaining and 37 still needed.

So tomorrow’s final will be England v India. The Indian side will be on a massive high after that victory, and will remember beating England in the first match of the tournament. England, however, are on a 7-game winning streak including incredibly close games against Australia and South Africa. They will also have a much bigger crowd behind them than the Australians did. Lords is sold out, so the atmosphere should be incredible.

Whoever wins tomorrow, and a very close match seems likely, the winner will be women’s cricket. Lots of eyebrows were raised when this tournament was given prestige venues and full TV coverage, but it has delivered far more drama and quality cricket than most people expected. Lords has a capacity of 30,000, but the TV audience for tomorrow’s match could easily hit 300 million (more than 3 times that many watched the Champion’s Trophy final between India and Pakistan men earlier in the year). That’s serious eyeballs. The sponsors will be delighted. Getting money and TV coverage for future women’s cricket tournaments will doubtless be a whole lot easier. Here’s hoping that also translates into more money for the players.

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Conference Wrap and Dinosaur Hunting

Day 3 of Creative Histories continued smoothly with a lot of interesting presentations. These included one by my colleague, Andy Foyle, about the LGBT History Mapping Project that we undertook. Andy co-presented with Josie McLellan of the University of Bristol History Department with whom we worked on the project. (The University’s IT department wrote the software.)

I have a lot more I want to say about the conference. Some of that will be here over the next couple of days, and I have also promised a post to Will Pooley, the genius behind the event, for his blog. Many of the other presenters will also be doing guest posts for him. For now suffice it to say that I had a fabulous three days and have come away with some new friends, and a lot to think about.

We had an hour and a half between the end of the conference and closing time at the zoo, so I took myself off on a dinosaur hunt. You can see the entrance to their enclosure above, and in the distance a few kids playing with a friendly pachyrhinosaurus. I’ll have some more pictures, and possibly some video, for you over the weekend. In the meantime here’s a selfie that I took with my new friend, Rex.

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TV Stars

Emma Newman and I, with special guest Hugo, did our TV slot yesterday. We were on the same show as Sue Mountstevens, the local Police Commissioner, and Martin Booth, the editor of Bristol 24/7. I had come hot foot from the Creative Histories conference. My cab had been half an hour late arriving so I was a bit frazzled. Hopefully I managed to get myself smartened up a bit before I went on air. At least I did better than poor Martin. There had been a desk last time he was on the show, so he figured he was safe turning up in shorts. Now there is a sofa.

Emma was great. Very assured for her first time on TV, and had an answer for every question. Pete Newman was watching the show in the Green Room and he seemed very pleased with how it went. We were only on air for 7 minutes, so my apologies if we didn’t get in a mention of everything.

As I said last night, the TV people are normally good about giving us MP4 files of our slots. If I get one I will stick it online for you.

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Mad Day

This morning my social media alerts went crazy because I have a new history blog up the the University of Sheffield’s History Matters site.

Hopefully that didn’t interfere too much with my tweeting of Ronald Hutton’s brilliant lecture.

There was lots of other good stuff at Creative Histories today, though I was a little distracted by the need to have a conference call with Stonewall about a new campaign which I’ll be telling you about in August.

I got to present my steampunk paper. It seemed to go down well. Sonja and Joe, who presented in the same session as me, were both brilliant. It was an honor to follow them.

And then I rushed off to Filton to be on Made in Bristol TV with Emma Newman to talk about the Clarke and the Hugos. Em was brilliant as always. I took one of my Hugos, which outshone me effortlessly. Hopefully I will have the video for you next week.

Now I need sleep. I have to be off to Bristol first thing tomorrow for more history and a spot of dinosaur hunting.

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Creative Histories – Day 1

As promised, I am in Bristol. I have not yet got to explore the zoo, but I have listened to four interesting papers and made a bunch of new friends. I have also discovered that you get very well fed at the zoo. Or at least you do if you are a human (or masquerading as one). I can’t vouch for anyone else.

Creative Histories is all about engaging with history in creative ways, not all of which involve fiction. The first session today was all about more visual arts. We learned about a project to make textile arts based on stories found in the historical archives of Hertfordshire (which featured alchemists, pirates and witches). We also heard about preserving the artistic heritage of Wiltshire, including making pottery in the style of the Bronze Age “Beaker People” (because Wiltshire looks down its historical nose at most of the rest of the UK in the same way that Egypt does at Greece and Rome).

Session two was all about children’s fiction. We saw a great interactive ebook project based on a YA novel about the Spanish Civil War (which sadly sank without trace because Apple’s big plans for interactive ebooks never amounted to much). There was also a really powerful paper about the evolution of children’s historical fiction in Australia which had some of us in tears. Also bonus Shaun Tan mention.

Tomorrow I get to do my paper. I am in a great session. I have Sonja who is currently based in Newfoundland but is a newcomer to Canada. She’s talking about writing about Colonialism when you are a person whose culture was colonized. And I have Joanne who is talking about teaching history though comics. Her paper is titled, “Punching Hitler” and she has an awesome batgirl-logo necklace.

Basically all is well, apart from the flamingos who have been barracking loudly from their enclosure just outside the windows.

Posted in Art, Comics, Conventions, Ebooks, History | Leave a comment

Em & Cheryl Do TV

Today, and Thursday and Friday, I am at the Creative Histories conference in Bristol. I’m there primarily to talk about steampunk, though I do hope to come back with some photos of animatronic dinosaurs that they have on display. Selfie with my head in a T-Rex’s mouth? I’ll see what I can do.

However, I will be taking a short break on Thursday evening because the amazingly talented Emma Newman and myself will be on Made in Bristol TV that evening. We’ll be on The Crunch some time between 7:00pm and 9:00pm. We will be talking about the Clarke Award, After Atlas, the Hugos, Tea & Jeopardy, and doubtless Doctor Who as well.

Don’t worry if you miss it, or are outside of the catchment area. The Made in Bristol folks are normally very good about letting guests have an MP4 of their segment, and I’ll stick it online once I have it.

Posted in TV, Where's Cheryl? | 1 Comment

Semi Final Drama at Bristol #WWC17

Wow, that a game!

It all started quietly enough. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat on a Bristol wicket that has been favoring setting a target. England bowled and fielded well, restricting SA to 218/6. The amazing Laura Wolvaardt (66) and ex-captain Mignon du Preez (76) were top scorers. Wolvaardt is still only 18, and clearly has a glittering career ahead of her, unless she decides to go to medical school instead which I understand is a possibility.

England started the chase solidly enough. At 139/2 with Taylor and Knight settled it looked like they would wrap the match up comfortably. Then there was a run out, a brilliant throw by SA captain Dane van Niekerk, to get rid of Taylor. This precipitated a collapse which left England at 166/5 with 10 overs to play. Thankfully Fran Wilson, Catherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn all chipped in with useful runs, but wickets continued to fall.

With one over left, England needed 3 to win. Shabnim Ismail, the pick of the SA bowlers, against Jenny Gunn.

Gunn smashed the first ball straight back at the bowler. Ismail tried to take the catch, but the ball was traveling too fast and it didn’t stick.

Ball 2: Gunn gets a single. 2 runs needed, 1 to tie.

Ball 3 is to Laura Marsh who has just come in and has faced only 2 balls. She is clean bowled.

Ball 4: the new batter is Anya Shrubsole. She’s not known for her batting, but somehow she managed to carve the first ball she receives through the covers for 4. England win by 2 wickets with 2 balls left to play.

And breathe.

So England go on to the final at Lords on Sunday. South Africa go home, reflecting on what might have been. The second semi-final will be Australia v India on Thursday.

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My Worldcon Schedule

As I noted yesterday, the Worldcon draft program is now available. I have four panels as follows:

Thursday 17:00 Publishing Translation
With Liz Gorinsky, Gili Bar-Hillel & Didi Chanoch. I’m moderating.

Friday 11:00 Juried versis Voted Awards
With John-Henri Holmberg, Neil Williamson & Haijun Yao

Saturday 11:00 Gender and “Realistic” History
With Thomas Årnfelt, Gillan Polack, Jo Walton & Scott Lynch. I’m moderating.

Sunday 16:00 The Power of the Reviewer: Promoting and Hiding Diverse Voices
With Greg Hullender, Emma Humphries, Elizabeth Hand & Erin Roberts

Hopefully I will see some of you at one or more of those panels.

Now I need to look through the schedule in detail to see what else I want to attend.

Posted in Conventions, Finland, Where's Cheryl? | Leave a comment

British Fantasy Awards Shortlists

The short lists for this year’s British Fantasy Awards were announced at the weekend. Bristol people have done rather well.

To start with, Pete Sutton’s A Tiding of Magpies is on the list for Best Collection. It is Pete’s first book, so that’s a pretty impressive achievement.

In the Best Anthology category we have Fight Like a Girl, edited by Joanne Hall and Roz Clarke. Lots of my friends are in this one, and of course there was that spectacular launch event.

That book is published by Kristell Ink. Jo does a lot of work for them, in particular for their fantasy imprint, Grimbold. And Grimbold is on the list of finalists for Best Independent Press.

Which is all very impressive but it doesn’t stop there, because Jo’s The Summer Goddess is on the list for Best Novel.

The results will be announced at Fantasycon in Peterborough over the weekend Sept. 29th – Oct. 1st.

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Got (Worldcon) Program?

The draft programming schedule for this year’s Worldcon in Helsinki is now available here.

I will talk more about my program items tomorrow (I have to rush off to Bristol shortly), but there is one item that I want to draw your attention to:

Wednesday, 16:00-17:30 Live Tea & Jeopardy, featuring Emma Newman, Latimer the Butler, and special guest George R.R. Martin

What on Earth constitutes mild peril where George is concerned? Will anyone in the audience survive? Will I end up going to Mary Robinette’s fashion panel, which sounds fascinating, instead? All will be revealed in due course.

Posted in Conventions, Finland | 1 Comment

Fringe Tonight

It is tine for another BristolCon Fringe event tonight, so I shall be off into Bristol shortly. We have an excellent show lined up for you.

First up will be Justin Newland (also known as “the man who asks questions”). Justin was born in the tenth ember of 1953, making him a Capricorn. Hey, someone has to be one. Today, he lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills, in Somerset, England and writes historical, fantasy and speculative fiction with a supernatural bent.

Our headline guest tonight is Virginia Bergin. She studied psychology and (briefly) fine art/film and video at university. She has had lots of different jobs — so many she’s lost count — and she even got paid to write for documentary, corporate and e-learning projects. She lives on a council estate in Bristol, UK. She likes science, archaeology, nature, art and walking.

Virignia will be reading to us from her recently released novel, Who Runs the World, in which men have gone extinct. Was this all caused by a woman being cast as Doctor Who? I can see I will have to ask her that question. Come along and see what she says.

As usual we will be in the Function room of the Naval Volunteer. The readings start at 7:30pm.

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