Saturday, September 27, 2008

The convention

I’m back from my jaunt having spent time down in Nottingham at the BFS’s FantasyCon and a few days away recharging the batteries and working on the outline for a short comic.

This was the first FantasyCon I have ever been to and it was…interesting. It was not quite what I had in mind when I thought about going earlier in the year, certainly less instructive and slightly more amateurish than I was expecting, plus the venue needs a rethink (and if at all possible, pulling down). Dave McKean was guest of honour (and highlight) and along with Vincent Chong provided some interesting insights into art, comics and getting published. He also signed a copy of his book of sketches for me including a drawing of an elf/goblin/alien creature. Simon Guerrier, frequent blogger and Dr Who author was eloquent but I failed to introduce myself, whilst Simon R. Green seemed to be nuttier than a fruitcake.

I’ve spent the rest of the week in the small town of Kirkcudbright on the west coast of Scotland. The weather was wonderful, the company good and the wine plentiful. When I could I wrote in the silence of a cottage only interrupted by the rooks that would gather in the tall trees to caw at one another. I also did plenty of reading.

Pork Pie Hat is a small book I must have picked up in a second hand shop and had on my shelf for some time. It is very well written with Straub picking up the nuances of a Jazz musician at the end of his life reminiscing about what happened to him as a child that seriously effected who he was to become. It’s a haunting story very well rendered.

Carey’s second novel in the Felix Castor series adds to the ‘other’ London he has created. It still has echoes of Constantine but it feels as if Castor is becoming his own man. The city is real and grimy and the story line full of interesting plots twists. Old characters return keeping the series whole whilst the book finishes with enough change in Castor’s circumstances to make the next book eagerly anticipated.

I remember the Triffids TV show which was produced in 1981. I’m not sure if I saw a repeat or not as I would only have been six on its first airing and I’m sure I would not have been allowed to stay up that late, or else gone to bed with nightmares. Before I read the book all I could recall were several jumper wearing hippies living on a farm being surrounded by the Triffids. This I thought was foolish and not very scary as the plants could only shuffle on small legs and must have been as limited as the original Daleks as any grown individual could have easily out run them. Of course I had forgotten that many of the survivors had already been blinded by falling green meteorites and that society had broken down to such a degree that the world had been returned to pre-industrial society.
The book is timely and seems not to have dated too much considering it was published in 1951. It pick up on other well known sci-fi stories (notably H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds) but makes something particularly British in its depiction of the end of the world.

I’m working on a script at the moment as well as answering questions from my publishers. With the re-write of ‘The DarkFather’ starting as well I imagine I should be busy for the next couple of months.

Read this week:
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Vicious Circle by Mike Carey
Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub


0tralala said...

Hello! I'm glad it came across as eloquent rather than jittery. And next time come say hello.

Marlowe said...

I kept meaning to and then before I knew it the conference was over and I was on my way back to Edinburgh.
Next time I'll come say hello and bring beer.