Mike Carey in the Salon – Part I

Today on Salon Futura I posted the audio from my interview with Mike Carey on Ujima Women’s Outlook back in May. We were mainly discussing his latest novel, Fellside, but conversation also strayed onto The Girl with All the Gifts and the X-Men.

Mike’s comments are particularly interesting in view of the US Department of Justice’s recent decision to stop using private prisons. Whether the UK will follow suit is very much open to debate.

As I note in the interview, I was also scheduled to interview Mike at Waterstones that evening. I have edited the audio from that and hope to have it online for you later this week. In the meantime, here is Part I.

Paul Cornell in The Salon

Here’s another Ujima interview that I am posting because the Listen Again link has expired. In keeping with our theme of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, here is Paul Cornell.

Obviously the main topic of conversation was Paul’s Shadow Police novel, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes. We also discussed some of his other projects, including This Damned Band which is now available as a graphic novel. Along the way we discuss diversity in fiction, fandom, and why a vicar’s husband is so obsessed with devil worship. At one point I do actually say, “this interview has gone completely off the rails”, which I guess shows you how much fun Paul and I were having.

If you haven’t bought Who Killed Sherlock Holmes yet, you might like to listen to Paul read from it at his recent BristolCon Fringe appearance.

Next week, Mike Carey.

Cavan Scott in The Salon

I have been working on processing some of the interview material that I did for Ujima and has now vanished from the Listen Again service. This week will be mainly about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, with a bit of Star Wars and The Beano thrown in. I’m starting up with Cavan Scott who does all of those things. Later in the week I’ll bring you Paul Cornell as well.

Here’s Cav. I had the poor man in the studio for a whole hour. With the music, news and ads removed it boils down to about half of that. Among other things we talk about how he came to have the #1 selling book in the whole of the UK.

April Fringe (contains me)

The April BristolCon Fringe night is, by tradition, an open mic where they let all sorts of people read, even me. Lots of better writers turned up as well, and we ended up with 12 readers divided into three sessions.

Session 1 features three novel excerpts. Justin Newland and Amanda Huskisson both have fantasy novels set in the ancient past. Jack Anderson’s novel is from Roman times, and is a straight historical tale. The session ended with Jackie Rogers who read two pieces of fantasy flash.

Session 2 got us going on the explicit tags. Kevlin Henney opened up by killing off almost everyone on the planet. Pete Sutton’s magpie story, “I Butler”, was somewhat more restrained but does feature a serial killer. Jo Hall read us a piece from a new novel that she has just started working on, Gods of the Grey City. People die horribly. And finally we have “Zombie Walk” by Myfanwy Rodman. Only three people die in that, but the zombies are already dead and there are lots of them. We very much needed a break after that one. You have been warned.

Session 3 began with Steve Tanner who read from the first book in a fantasy trilogy. Then it was my turn. I read the start of a short story called “Snow White’s Wedding”, which I’d originally written for the Upside Down anthology (it didn’t get in). Next up was Will Macmillan with “Hatchet”, a cautionary tale about the dangers of living with a writer, and indeed being one. Finally Jonathan L. Howard read from an unpublished novel called Heart of Empire. That’s something he calls “tea punk”, which appears to mean very polite British people having very dangerous adventures and remaining calm throughout.

During this session we were visited by the Fringe Ghost. A mysterious voice began emanating from the pub’s speaker system during Steve’s reading and continued off and on for the rest of the evening. The speaker system was turned off. Various theories were proposed, and the one that seems most likely is that the speakers are picking up the radio transmissions of ferry boats in the harbour. Thankfully the Ghost doesn’t seem to have spoiled the recordings.

In the Q&A I asked Jo a bit about her forthcoming books. The Summer Goddess is now scheduled for September and reviews are starting to appear online. Pete Sutton launched A Tiding of Magpies while I was in Finland so it is now available from good bookstores everywhere. Will talked about reading stories from memory. Naturally we all wanted to know where Myfanwy got her gruesome ideas from.

In case you are wondering, there is no audio from March. I was in Canada and the folks back in Bristol had tech fail.

The July Fringe event will be in a week’s time on July 18th. It is a horror special, and will feature Tom Parker and Tim Lebbon.

February Fringe (and June tomorrow)

Tomorrow sees the June meeting of BristolCon Fringe, so it is about time I got more audio online. Here, therefore, is February. Well, some of it.

As you may recall, in February I was absurdly busy with LGBT History Month. As a result of this I was very tired at the Fringe meeting. This led to my messing up the recording of the first session. Huge apologies to Will Macmillan Jones for this. He is in the Q&A, and I’ll have more from him available soon.

However, we do have a reading from the fabulous Gareth L. Powell. No monkeys this time, and consequently a considerable reduction in the swearing quotient. Instead Gareth treated us to the opening two chapters of a new space opera novel. There’s no firm information on when or where it will be published yet, but I think that after listening to it you will be keen to get hold of the whole book just like I am.

Because I knew that I had messed up recording Will I asked him for a bit of poetry at the beginning of the Q&A. I knew he’d deliver on that. I asked Gareth about poetry because he has a character in the story who is a not very good but very successful poet. I do not accept any responsibility for the results.

We didn’t get any recordings of the March event, mainly because I was in Canada, so the next batch of material I will have for you will be from the open mic event in April. March was Pete Sutton and Myfanwy Rodman, both of whom also read at the open mic (and Myfanwy’s story was brilliant). Will also read at the open mic, so you’ll get to hear all of the people who we missed. Of course the open mic also includes me.

As for June, that will feature Justin Newland and Stephanie Burgis. Justin will be familiar to you as one of our regular question askers. Stephanie is the author of the Kat Stephenson trilogy for younger readers, and more recently of Smoke and Mirrors. Given that the new book has a eunuch as a main character, you can be sure I will have a question or two to ask. If you can be in Bristol tomorrow night, the event will be at the Shakespeare Tavern on Prince Street and will start around 7:30pm. I hope to see some of you there.

Terri Windling Lecture Online

Thanks to some really quick work by the folks at Pembroke, this year’s Tolkien Lecture, given by Terri Windling, is now available to enjoy online. They have a podcast version and a video version. You can find them both, along with some photos, here, and it would be nice to pop over there and say thank you. But I know people are put off by the need to click through to things so here, by the magic of embedding, is what you need.

The podcast

The video of the lecture

And the video of the Q&A

Guy Gavriel Kay in the Salon

Children of Earth and Sky - Guy Gavriel Kay
As promised last week, I have uploaded the full version of the Guy Gavriel Kay interview to the Salon Futura podcast. About half of the material got cut for the radio version, much of it stuff that would be of more interest to dedicated fantasy readers rather than a general audience. So even if you listened to the radio broadcast, this is well worth checking out. It is not all Guy and I talking about whisky, I promise.

In any case, Children of Earth and Sky is a fabulous book which I warmly recommend.

Pete Newman Interview

The Vagrant - Pete Newman

I am continuing to sort through my archives of author interviews and publish stuff that is still relevant. The following interview with Pete Newman took place on Ujima in May 2015. Pete and I talk mainly about The Vagrant, which has just been released in paperback. The sequel, The Malice, is also new out in hardcover. We spend a lot of time talking about demons, babies and goats.

As is fairly inevitable, there are a few things in the discussion that are dated — primarily where we talk about Tea and Jeopardy being a Hugo finalist. However, most of the discussion is still very relevant. Also Emma’s Planetfall is now out, and it is wonderful.

Next week the May 4th show will have fallen off the Listen Again system at Ujima so I will be able to bring you the full rambling glory of the Guy Gavriel Kay interview.

Ray Gunn & Starburst Crowdfunding

Ray Gunn & Starburst
Those of you who follow my radio show will remember that last week I was lucky enough to have Olly Rose in the studio. Olly is the scriptwriter for Ray Gunn and Starburst, a fabulous audio comedy series. However, not everyone wants to listen to me playing at being a DJ, so I thought I should remind you that Olly and the crew have a crowdfunding campaign going to help finance season two of the show.

Why should you give them money? Well for starters you could just listen to season one, and if you enjoy it as much as Kevin and I did I think my case is made. Otherwise, you’ll just have to trust me, OK?

I’m a cute feline, of course you can trust me.

Wait… what?

Stephanie Saulter Interview

Last September I did a Skype interview with Stephanie Saulter for Women’s Outlook to promote her new book, Regeneration. As is usual with such things, Stephanie and I talked for far longer than I could possibly broadcast. As the book is being published in the USA this month I thought this would be a good time to dig out the full interview and publish it.

Obviously the discussion is a little old, but as far as I can make out the only thing that is dated is our discussion of Marlon James’ chances in the Booker. I’m delighted that he won, even though that meant I had no chance of getting an interview.

I have a bunch of other SFF-related interviews from Ujima shows that I really need to get online because the Listen Again links have vanished. All I need is a little time, right?

January Fringe Recordings – Nick Walters & Will Loram

The podcasts for the January edition of BristolCon Fringe have gone live. This was a comedy special featuring Nick Walters and Will Loram.

As Will had been eaten by aliens, or by the Welsh, or by Bristol’s traffic, Nick kindly agreed to take the mic first. Nick had arrived hotfoot from a training course on project management, which is perhaps ideal preparation for reading from a novel in which the Earth is menaced by alien bureaucrats. Fortunately a certain Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart will arrive to save the day, though not in the extract that Nick reads.

Fortunately Will did finally make it to the event. His reading is from a novel in which… well, maybe it is best to let him explain that. But there are pirates, OK? And dragons. And lots of bureaucracy, because there’s nothing that the British like more than making fun of bureaucrats.

Finally our readers for January were asked to explain themselves, which was almost certainly a bad idea because you should never try to explain comedy. I tried hard to make project management sound amusing and failed dismally. Nick explained ASBOs for the benefit of foreign readers. Will explained more about the world of his book. We narrowly avoid mention of fluffy cushions.

The next Fringe event will be on May 16th and will feature Paul Cornell and Martyn Waites. Full details here.

This Week’s Women’s Outlook Show

Sorry this is a bit late. I’ve been rather busy with doing trans awareness training and various LGBT-related meetings in Bristol. Here’s what we had on Wednesday’s show.

The first hour was mainly my interview with Guy Gavriel Kay about Children of Earth and Sky. Guy and I talked for almost an hour, and I managed to boil that down to three 7-8 minute segments. I’ll post the whole thing on Salon Futura later. The discussion will be of particular interest to Croatian readers. There are brief mentions of Mihaela and Iggy.

After the second ad break I talked a bit about Prince, and other black musicians who died recently. Any recommendations as to what Papa Wemba songs I should play would be gratefully received. I also chatted brief with Olly Rose about musical heroes, “dad music” and the like. (Or in my case more like grandma music.)

You can listen to the first half of the show here. Thankfully it is audio only, so you can’t see me playing air guitar along with Nils Lofgren.

The second half of the show begins with me talking to Olly Rose about their fabulous sf audio comedy, Ray Gunn and Starburst. Series 1 is well worth a listen, and if you want to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign for series 2 you can do so here.

My final guest this week was Paul Cornell. We talked mainly about his new Shadow Police novel, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? Because Paul and I know each other rather well the conversation went a bit off the rails in places and there was giggling. Paul will be reading from the book at BristolCon Fringe later this month, and at a book launches at Forbidden Planet London and Bristol a few days later.

You can listen to the second half of the show here.

The playlist for the show was as follows:

  • When Doves Cry – Prince
  • I Feel For You – Chaka Khan
  • Manic Monday – The Bangles
  • Purple Rain – Bruce Springsteen
  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • How Come You Don’t Call Me? – Alicia Keys
  • 1999 – Prince

All of the songs were written by Prince.

I’ll be back on air on May 18th, with Mike Carey. Mike and I are doing two interviews that day: once on the radio and once at Waterstones in the evening. I’m currently reading Fellside and am very impressed.

Fight Like A Girl – The Audio

I have the Fight Like A Girl audio online now. First up are the three readings, which are by Lou Morgan, Sophie E. Tallis and Danie Ware. They only got five minutes each. If you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to buy the book.

In addition there is the discussion panel, which I moderated. The panelists are Joanne Hall, K.T. Davies, Gaie Sebold and Dolly Garland.

You may have noticed that I was particularly brainless that day. The Indian queen whose name I was trying to remember was Rudhramadevi. Gaie Sebold and Gail Simone are two separate people (and both awesome). The frequent references to boxing were because Marc Aplin of Fantasy Faction, who is a boxer, was in the audience.

If you want to see the video of girls doing fighting demos you need to check out yesterday’s post.

My apologies for the occasional bits of background noise on both podcasts.

You can find a review of the book, and full contents list, here.

And finally, here is the awesome cover by Sarah Anne Langton which, we discovered at the launch, glows under black light.

Fight Like A Girl - Roz Clarke & Joanne Hall (eds)

December Fringe Podcasts

I have got another set of BristolCon Fringe podcasts online. These are from the December meeting.

First up we had Simon Kewin who read a short story about strange goings on in Westminster and the opening chapter of a fantasy novel set in Manchester.

Next we had Sarah Ash, who read us an extract from her 2003 novel, Lord of Snow and Shadows. The book was full of snow and danger, whereas Bristol was being unseasonably warm.

Finally we had the traditional Q&A. We were keen to know which member of the Cabinet is so demonic as to have inspired Simon’s story. Sarah confessed her love for Russian and Finnish classic music. There were suggestions that Christmas might be just around the corner.

Now that the LGBT History Festival is over I might be able to find the time to get up to date on this stuff.

November Fringe – Tom Parker & Lucy Hounsom

The podcasts from the November meeting of BristolCon Fringe are now available online. Here they are.

First up is Tom Parker, ably deputizing for poor Stephanie Burgis who had been kidnapped by publishers bearing cake. Tom read us a couple of stories from a horror collection that he is working on. The first one is definitely not recommended if spiders upset you. The other one is just about how horrible Christmas can be.

Our second reader was Lucy Hounsom. I was expecting an extract from her novel, Starborn, but instead Lucy read a couple of chapters from the as yet unfinished sequel. That makes this a very rare opportunity to learn a bit about the new book. There are no spiders in this one, though a few people do get knocked about a bit.

In the Q&A we talked about the very different natures of horror short fiction and epic fantasy. Tom talked about the fact that the power of story in the world appears to be growing rapidly, though he blames Amazon rather than Anansi. Lucy talked about a blog post she had written but had been advised not to publish in case it offended some men. Naturally we bullied her into publishing it, and you can find it here.

In the announcements we mentioned that Jo Hall had won an award for the grimdarkness of her writing. Tom mentioned an event he would be hosting in the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. The podcast from that, which features Jo Hall and Pete Sutton, can be found here (warning, autoplay).

The January Fringe went off well last night. The readings included a guest appearance by Robin Day and some general warnings on the evils of bureaucracy. But before I edit those I have to get the December event done.

There were several interesting things in the announcements last night, including the launch party for Fight Like a Girl, which promises to be a fabulous book.

2015 Stats

Somewhat depressingly, it continues to be the case that I get most views here when I have a rant about something. That generally means Puppies or a trans rights posts. Here are the top five most viewed posts from 2015.

  1. The Wages of Sin
  2. Puppygate — Winners & Losers
  3. Cis People Know Best, They Tell Us
  4. Leelah – The Establishment Closes Ranks
  5. On Mary Sues

The top five countries from which you folks come are as follows (in order): USA, UK, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, India.

By far the majority of my traffic comes from search engines and Twitter, with Facebook lagging in third. Special thanks are due to Mike Glyer whose File 770 provides the most traffic outside of search engines and social media.

As I’ve been doing a Bristol Fringe podcast post today I also had a look at the stats for that site. I am delighted to report that by far the most popular post, with just shy of 50% more listens than anything else, was Emma Newman reading from Planetfall. If you haven’t heard it yet, here it is again.

August BristolCon Fringe Podcasts

Oh my, I have got so far behind with these. Sorry folks. Editing audio is a very time-consuming business. Thankfully with the year winding down to a close I have been able to make a start on catching up. The August Fringe readings are now available to listen to, and with any luck the October ones will be available early in the New Year. I can’t go much faster than that because of capacity limits on the Podbean account.

The first reader for August was David Gullen who entertained us with a tale of monkeys, keyboards and works of literature, complete with sound effects (and rather a lot of swearing on behalf of one of the monkeys). I really like this story.

Following David we had Gaie Sebold who gave us three pieces of flash fiction. The first was a re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood; the second involved an encounter with fairies; and the third a great deal of scrubbing and polishing. Also she had great shoes, and aquamarine hair.

Finally we had the Q&A session. There was talk of intelligent monkeys, fairy tales, growing old, and living in a two-writer household. We said Happy Birthday to Kevin.

There was also a lot of talk about this year’s BristolCon and Bristol Festival of Literature. Sadly those are now long in the past, but you can always look forward to next year. Pete Sutton mentioned the Fantastically Horny anthology. I’m not quite sure where they are on that one — the website says they are still open to submissions — but as far as I know my story, “Camelot Girls Go Wild”, has been accepted.

The next Fringe will be on Monday. The readers will be Simon Kewin and Sarah Ash. Details here. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there.