Green Men at BristolCon


Yes folks, BristolCon is fast approaching, and I will be in the Dealers’ Room with lots of lovely books for you to buy.

The book that will probably be most in demand is The Green Man’s Challenge. I should have enough paperbacks, but if you want a hardcover it would be best to reserve one. Equally if you want a copy of something else that is low on stock.

Anyway, the bookstore now sells paper books to UK customers. Mostly that means postage, but if you expect the pick up the book at a con then just select that delivery option instead. Please check any books that you want, because the website does have stock levels so it is easy to see if anything is in short supply.

Did I mention that you get a free copy of the ebook if you buy a paper book direct from us?

See (some of) you at BristolCon.

Kim Stanley Robinson in (Virtual) Bristol

It being October, BristolCon is not far away. However, to whet your appetite, there is another science fiction event taking place on Tuesday the 19th. As part of the Festival of the Future City, Bristol Ideas is doing an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson about his latest novel, The Ministry for the Future.

Stan will probably in the the UK at the time, but that’s because he’s been invited to speak at COP26. He had no idea what his schedule would be in advance, so the Bristol Ideas folks decided to pre-record the interview. And they kindly asked me to set the scene by giving an overview of Stan’s career.

That of course means that I was present for the pre-record, so I can promise you that Stan and interviewer, Andrew Kelly, put on a great show. If you are interested in practical political and economic ways to solve the climate change issue, you will probably find it fascinating too.

The event is free to attend. Further details are available here. And you will be able to watch it on YouTube.

Octocon This Weekend

Ireland’s national SF&F convention will be taking place virtually again this year. It is free to attend, and there is a lot going on. Details are available here.

I am on two panels. They are as follows.

Saturday, 21:00 How Not to Code Your Non-Humans
Writers often use traits of neurodiverse, non-binary, queer or disabled people as blueprints for their aliens, robots and monsters, but don’t allow their humans to share these characteristics. How can we build both human and non-human characters to exhibit a wide range of identities without resorting to mere ambiguous coding or else to using racist, sexist or other bigoted stereotypes?
With: Faranae, Kat Dodd, Angeline B. Adams & S.L. Dove Cooper

Sunday, 15:00 Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of the Past
Science fiction as a genre looks to the future, but authors of the past can still have a lot to say to us even though their work may have fallen out of print and become a distant memory. Why have some writers and works been consigned to the vaults of history while others have remained on the shelves, and what would our panel most like to see restored from the archives?
With: Ian Moore, Michael Carroll, Cora Buhlert & Deirdre Thornton

I will also be available in the Wizard’s Tower Press channel of the convention’s Discord.

Juliet McKenna is doing a couple of panels on Saturday, and a reading on Sunday.

As far as the rest of the programme goes, I’m looking forward to the great Shelly Bond talking about editing comics, Gillian Polack’s talk on Food in Fantasy, and S.L. Dove Cooper on Asexuality in SF&F. The full schedule is available here.

Hopefully I will see some of you there.

Bristol on Saturday

It has been a long time. The last public event I did in Bristol was, I think, February 25 2020. I have done one in-person training course for the NHS there last summer, and of course a whole lot of virtual events, but this is very different.

What am I up to? Well, the Palace International Film Festival is taking place at St. Anne’s House in Brislington. It is a festival of queer cinema, and as part of the programme Tom Marshman and I will be Queer and Indecent. Well, that’s that it says on the website anyway. The longer version is, “As part of our Queer & Indecent Exhibition, join curator Kate Fahy as she talks to two local queer Bristol artists for a conversation about queer history, spaces and community.”

If you are able to attend, it is a 12:30 start. You may want to book a place as COVID security will mean a fairly limited attendance.

If you are in Bristol this weekend you may also want to check out the Queer Bristol Audio Tour put together by Anna Rutherford and collagues. If you go on the tour you might hear a familiar voice talking about Michael Dillon.

Clevedon Tomorrow

This is a reminder that Juliet McKenna and I will be in Clevedon tomorrow for their literary festival. Juliet is appearing on the Fantasy Fringe panel at 3:30pm, but the lovely people from Books on the Hill, who are organising that event, have a stall there all day, so I’ll be going over early to give them some books to sell.

Mind you, given that Clevedon is a seaside town, and the weather is forecast to be excellent, I might not be at the venue all day. A little bit of breathing in of sea air might be necessary.

Time and the Romans

My HistFest talk on transgender Romans is coming up next week. Many of you have already booked up for it, which is lovely, but inevitably a few of you have had issues with the timing. Well I have good news for you: it doesn’t matter. Sure, if you can’t be there on the night, you will miss the live Q&A. But you know where to find me, right? Other than that, if you buy a ticket, you will get a link that you can use any time in the next 7 days, because the HistFest people are lovely like that. So if you were planning to go to the pub, have a D&D night that you can’t cancel, or live in Australia and can’t be up in the middle of the night, it is OK. You can catch up on replay.

Tickets available here.

By the way, I’m not hassling you on my behalf. I get a fixed fee regardless of the audience size. But if we can get a really big attendance for this then HistFest will see value in doing other trans-related talks. And that will be a good thing.

On the Big Stage


Today it was announced that I will be doing a talk for HistFest (June 17th, 7:30pm UK time, booking details here). This is huge.

No, seriously. The sort of people who get on that platform are TV historians, eminent professors, or people with books coming out. Often they are all three. Recent events have featured Michael Wood, Alice Roberts, Olivette Otele, Sir Michael Palin, David Olusoga and Janina Ramirez. And they want me to talk about trans people. It feels kind of like being a finalist for the Best Novel Hugo without having actually written a book. I am so grateful to Rebecca Rideal for asking me to do this, and of course to all of the professional Classicists and Assyriologists who have helped me get the skills to make this possible.

Now all I have to do is perform, and thanks to years of experience with LGBT+ History Month I know I can do that. What I’m hoping some of you will do is buy a ticket. I want this to sell out, not for me, but to show people that LGBT+ history has a market.

By the way, if you saw my talk at the University of Durham in February, this will be mostly the same material, but made a bit more accessible for a more general audience. However, there will be some new stuff about trans men in this talk.

WiFi SciFi Returns


In theory today is Hug Day in the UK, the day when we are finally allowed to hug other people. In practice, of course, COVID restrictions have been getting gradually looser for some time, and both the infection rate and death rate are now on an upward curve. Everyone is hoping that that the vaccination programme will mean that things don’t get out of hand again.

In the meantime, virtual events continue to be staged, and that includes a return for our very own WiFi SciFi. What’s more, we are full-on international now, with a whole bunch of guests from across the Atlantic. It should be fun. It will be on May 29th at 5:00pm, UK time. And it is free. Welcome, one and all. Full details of all the fabulous guests (and me) are available here.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies


I’m in another book. It is a massive, two-volume encyclopedia, and my contribution is very small, but I am in it. I have a small section on trans people in the ancient world.

I won’t be getting a copy of the book, because this is academic publishing and even with my author discount it would be a ridiculous amount of money. But books like this are not intended to be purchased by humans. They are aimed primarily at academic libraries. If you happen to work in such a place, then do please consider buying this book because every university should have one. Purchase details are here, and I can probably get you a discount.

LGBT History Month – Part 2


Once again I have been working with the wonderful Karen Garvey and her colleagues at Bristol’s M Shed museum. Our progrmme of events this year is designed to link in with the LGBT+ History Month theme: Body, Mind, Spirit. Due to the pandemic they are online Zoom events, but that means y’all can watch them. They are free, though you do need to click though to M Shed to book. Here’s what we have for you:

  • 4th February: Osman from LGBT+ Muslim charity Hidayah talks about Muslim views on queer relationships, historically and now. This will be great. Osman has promised me a bunch of Arabian Nights stories.
  • 10th February: I will be talking about Michael Dillon – trans pioneer, one of the key figures in 20th century trans history. I have quite a bit of new Dillon research to share.
  • 16th February: all the way from Seattle, the amazing Nicola Griffith will be in conversation with me about her novel Hild, and gender and sexuality in early medieval times. If you read and loved Hild, you need to watch this.
  • 24 February: a panel discussion on the history of gender in sport. Can we do hot political topics? Yes we can. This one is early morning so we can welcome my pal, Prof. Noah Riesman all the way from Melbourne.

LGBT History Month – Part I


February is fast approaching, and all this week I will be highlighting talks that I am going to be doing as part of that.

One that I’m really looking forward is one I have been invited to do by Strawberry Hill House. That’s the former home of Horace Walpole, who was probably gay and definitely a Gothic novelist. You may have heard of The Castle of Otranto. He was also an MP, an art historian, a prodigious writer of letters, and most importantly for my purposes a wealthly man-about-town in Georgian London.

That, naturally, brought him into contact with other famous people of the time, including Charlotte de Beaumont, Chevalière d’Eon. Before arriving in London she had been a diplomat, spy and cavalry officer in the service of Louis XV of France. Her time in London will involve more spying, a gender transition, significant quantities of wine, the Hellfire Club, the American Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the French Revolution, Prince George and William Blake, to name but a few.

It is going to be a lot of fun. Book here.

London Met Archives gets Unorthodox

Loki - Karl Johnsson
On December 5th the London Met Archives will be holding their 18th Annual LGBTQ+ Conference. There will be a lot of great content, including a panel discussion on queering museums led by the inimitable Dan Vo. And there will be me.

One of the themes of the conference is, “In what way faith, religion, and belief intersect with sexuality, transition(ing), identity and dissent?” In view of this I have offered a talk titled, “What Gender is God?” This will look at a range of religions, mainly around the ancient world, and how they have queered gender. Will there be Loki? Of course there will. And lots more besides. It should be fun.

To see the whole programme, and reserve a ticket for the entire event (£10), click here.

The image, by the way, is from volume #2 of Vei, the wonderful graphic novel in which Sara B Elfgren and Karl Johnsson give a new take on their traditional mythology.

LGBHTM 2021

Yes, I know it isn’t February yet, but there is a tradition of doing a launch event for LGBT History Month in November, and that month is almost upon us.

The being the Year of the Plague, there will be no flashy in-person show at some posh venue, but we will be (virtually) at the British Library. The online show is being produced by the inimitable Dan Vo, and I am delighted to report that I have a small speaking part. For more information, and to book a place at the event, click here.

World Fantasy Schedule

My appeal for people to complain to the World Fantasy Board about failings in this year’s convention seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I’m not entirely surprised. Fandom generally prefers to blame other fans when things go wrong, rather than the people whose fault it is, and who might be able to change things.

That left this year’s WFC badly short of knowledgeable panelists. So I had a choice: either join the boycott and let this year’s ConCom take the rap, or accept panel slots and use the platform to talk about why this year’s original programme descriptions were so bad in the hope that someone might actually take note.

There were a whole bunch of things that informed my decision. High on the list was the fact that the convention told me that they had a lot more international members this year. WFC is very expensive and almost always in North America. If going virtual this year meant lots of new members from around the world, I wanted to be able to talk to those people.

I confess also to wanting to rub certain people’s noses in it. The usual rule for WFC is that no one gets more than one panel slot. This year I have three. Take that, Steve Jones! Doubtless this will be an excuse for him to declare this year’s convention the new “Worst WFC Ever!”

Another important factor was that I got offered a panel on small press publishing, and I have a duty to my authors to promote them were possible.

Anyway, here’s what I am doing. All times are US Mountain Time.

Queering Fantasy
Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 4:00 p.m.
Panelists: S. Qiouyi Lu, Jerome Stueart (M), Cheryl M. Morgan
This is the one that originally had a trans-exclusionary description. Kudos to Jerome for writing something much more interesting.

Tropes and Archetypes
Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 3:00 p.m.
Panelists: Kryssa Stevenson, Sarah Beth Durst, Cheryl M. Morgan, Sharon Shinn
This one was originally a “women in fantasy” panel. I’m pleased to see that the new description actually addresses one of the issues that causes the problem. Mythology and folklore are full of misogynistic tropes and archetypes.

Small Press Impact: Great Books Not Published by the Big Five
Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 2:00 p.m.
Panelists: Yanni Kuzia (M) Cherise Papa, Kathryn Sullivan, J.R.H. Lawless, Cheryl M. Morgan
Yanni is with Subterranean, so from my point of view I am totally playing with the big boys here.

The full panel descriptions are available here.

Of course WFC is expensive, so most of you won’t get to see me in action. I’m hoping that you might hear about it, though.

Octocon Happened

Another convention done. I didn’t see a lot of it due to the OutStories Bristol AGM and there being a Grand Prix on the weekend, but the Octocon folks have done a superb job of getting their content available for viewing by those people who missed it. All of the links are here. My panel was Better With Age, which was on Sunday at 10:00am.

Large parts of the convention were on Zoom run through Twitch. The use of Twitch was partly because such services make it easier to control the streaming, and I suspect it also helped with getting the content available.

One of the elements that wasn’t on Twitch was the parties. I attended the Glasgow in 2024 and Dead Dog parties, as did Kevin because it was a virtual convention and being in Nevada is no more of a barrier than being in the UK. There may have been whiskey.

Many thanks to my Irish pals for a fun weekend. Hopefully I will be able to visit Dublin again soon.

Octocon Schedule

October is pretty full-on when it comes to conventions. Last weekend it was Eurocon, this weekend Octocon, the FIYAHcon, a weekend off (I think) and World Fantasy. FIYAHcon is the only one I’m not on programme for.

You can find the full Octocon schedule here. The programme item I am doing is:

Sunday Oct. 11th – 10:00am
Better With Age – Older Characters in SFF
There’s a lot to be said for – and by – characters with life experience, so why are fantasy and science fiction so often focused on those who have none? What is lost by pigeon-holing or even ignoring the wisdom of age, and what can be gained when we include the full spectrum of age and experience in our fiction?
Ian McDonald, Cheryl Morgan (m), Gillian Polack, Marguerite Smith

I’ll have to miss some of Saturday due to the OutStories Bristol AGM, but hopefully I will be back in (virtual) Dublin in time for Juliet’s reading.

This will be the first virtual convention I’ve seen that is being streamed through Twitch. I will be interested to see how it stacks up against StreamYard, which we used for CoNZealand Fringe.

Eurocon Schedule

The full schedule for this year’s Eurocon, known as Futuricon, has been published. I’m sad to be missing a trip to Croatia, but I’m absolutely delighted to be doing two panels. Here they are:

Saturday, October 3rd – 15:40
Worldbuilding with sex and gender
Otherwise known as my weird animals talk

Sunday, October 4th – 12:15
The Wizard’s Tower panel
The title in the schedule is in Croatian, but the panel will be in English. I’ll be talking with Aleksandar Žiljak about his new book, As the Distant Bells Toll, which will be published on Friday. Also on the panel is Mihaela Marija Perković. I’ll be talking to her about an anthology of feminist SF titled Empress of the Housework which will be forthcoming from Wizard’s Tower next year.

The website says that times will be displayed in your local timezones, so I’m assuming that the above times are BST, not CEST.

Membership is not free, but it is only €10 and you can buy one here.

Virtual NASFiC Lives!

The NASFiC, or North American Science Fiction Convention, is a WSFS-affiliated event that happens only in years when WorldCon is outside of North America. This year Worldcon was in New Zealand. Of course only the New Zealanders got to go, but a NASFiC had already been selected. No one can go to that physically either, but the lovely folks in Columbus, Ohio are running a virtual con anyway.

It is free to attend, though they are accepting donations. You can sign up here.

The con started this afternoon my time. I’ve already watched one panel (on historical fiction) which was great. And of course I am spending a lot of time hanging out on Discord, where we have a table for Westercon 74 in (very) sunny Tonopah, Nevada.

Everything has been thrown together in a bit of a rush, so I am well impressed that things appear to be going very well. I have two confirmed panels as follows (times are US East Coast, so 5 hours behind the UK and 3 hours ahead of California):

Roots in Two Places: Writing from a Dual Culture Experience

Saturday 2:00 PM Olentangy Room

Alma Alexander, Cheryl Morgan, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Vikram Paralkar

Our panelists, all with roots in two or more separate cultures — look at the ways having dual culture and language has guided their worldbuilding and storytelling.

Running SF/F Organizations

Sunday 12:00 PM Scioto Room

Cheryl Morgan, Eileen Gunn, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Sumana Harihareswara

Creators, directors, publishers, and nonprofit leaders discuss the trials and victories of running magazines, publishing companies, and other SF/F businesses and organizations. They discuss logistics, strategy, budgets, and the effects of gender and race on their experiences as leaders. And they share what they wish they’d known ten years ago.

There may be a second panel on Sunday. I’m still waiting to hear back on that one.

Welcome to CoNZealand Fringe

As promised, here’s details of the other thing I am doing for Worldcon. This year it has a Fringe. This is not organised by CoNZealand itself. Rather there is a bunch of European fans who offered to put on something in our daytime.

I got involved with this because I am very keen on developing online conventions so that we can make Worldcon truly international. I totally understand why CoNZealand isn’t doing 24-hour programming, but if people can help them do that then why not? Also Claire Rousseau, who is one of the organisers, has a lot of experience of streaming and has introduced us to some software I wish I had known about before I did the One25 fundraiser.

I gather than there has been some fulminating on File 770 about how WSFS and CoNZealand are going to sue us into oblivion for violating their trademarks. Kevin and I have had a good laugh about this. And given that the Fringe team have been in regular contact with CoNZealand’s programming team, I don’t expect Norm & Kelly to be upset either.

Anyway, the panel I am definitely doing is on sensitivity reading. That’s on Sunday at 3-4am NZST (next day); 4-5pm BST; 11am-12pm EDT; 8-9am PDT, with Mike Carey, iori Kusano, Yvonne Lin, Corinne Duyvis. I think that will be great.

I am also currently down for a panel on awards, but I will probably be making way for a PoC panelist because we are trying hard to have really diverse programming.

The full list of panels is here. Please note that panel line-ups may change.

Coming on Thursday, Museum From Home

My good friend Dan Vo has been entertaining people during Lockdown by hosting a daily Twitter video called Museum From Home. Each day he has a different guest to talk about something museum-related, and probably queer. Today he put out this tweet.

So that’s the cat out of the bag, so to speak. On Thursday I will be Dan’s guest. Despite the emoji he used for me, I will not be talking about Amazons (though I might another day if he’ll have me back). I will be talking about trans Romans. I should note that the show will come with a whole host of content warnings because the Romans were horrible, horrible people by our standards. But if you managed to sit through I, Clavdivs then you should be OK on Thursday as well.