Made it!

Finally got home yesterday morning.

On my last day in BKK I made two more snails: Sir Pass, a fast and determined snail, and Flying Sir Cus, who is currently Sir Falling Over, though the foundry might be able to fix that by making the metal thicker on one side. I really wanted to give Cus a helmet like this, but it wouldn’t fit, though I’ll try again when I get back. Anyway, that’s all the snail knights for now (though I have ideas for more!) All these ones need finishing properly. The snail bodies are easy to make, but to get the shellmets looking good could be a bit fiddly.





Delayed by another day. Problem with the hyperdrive or something. Supposed to leave tonight.

Thought: Life as a process of lowering one’s expectations.




And still back

I should have been in Australia by now, but my flight last night got cancelled. Something went wrong with one of the computers in the plane, and we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours or so while they tried to fix it. They turned the plane off and turned it on again, but no joy. Eventually we had to disembark, go through immigration and collect our luggage. As the flight is rescheduled for this evening I went home rather than stay in the hotel provided.

Yesterday morning I took care of some gardening — repotting, and stringing a wire across the porch for the jade vine, which has grown beyond the top of its trellis on the porch post.

This snail was in our garden (and might still be; I just don’t know where). I could hear it eating the crunchy dead leaf.


Since I’ve had a free day I made another snail knight. Please welcome Sir Liloquy, the introspective:



And back

Had a great time at Loncon. Caught up with old friends and met delightful people, had fun on panels, and played with a giant balloon.

The art show was wonderful, and having gone there with no expectations, I did well with sales, and “Looking for Aldebaran”, below (the one at the show had a darker patina) even won the award for best 3D work, which blew me away!Looking for Aldebaran

The figurative workshop taught by Andrew Sinclair at the Sculpture School in Wendover was excellent, with lots of useful instruction on anatomy and design. Hopefully I’ll be making more human figures now! As we worked in clay, I wasn’t able to bring my figure home, but here’s a picture (it was a static pose so that we could concentrate on the basics):


I did some walking in the Chilterns between Loncon and the workshop, and enjoyed nibbling on blackberries growing along roads and tracks. (In Australia you can’t eat wild blackberries as they are noxious weeds and are sprayed.) Marginalia: A legend says that you shouldn’t pick blackberries after Old Michaelmas Day (October 10 or 11), since that was when Satan was kicked out of heaven and landed on a blackberry bush, and now commemorates his fall by spitting on blackberries — or peeing on them, if you’re in Cornwall — on that date.

Also, my phone was convinced that Hounslow was Gondor. I can only say that they have good noodles in Gondor.

Anyway, I’ve got plenty of ideas for new pieces, so it’s full steam ahead. I’ll be at the Conflux convention in Canberra (3-6 October), but only as a supporting member, which means I’ll be in the art show or dealers room, or the bar or cafe, or at book launches, or any other areas/events that are open to the public.

An Alphabet of Embers — submissions
This anthology by Rose Lemberg — “an anthology of unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose” — looks great. Wish I could come up with something, but I don’t seem to have any words in me right now. Submissions close September 30, so this is rather a belated link!

What I do have, I confess, is a crush on my new shoes:

silver shoes

I’ve given up giving up coffee. I like it too much. And jetlag seems to have cured my early-waking insomnia. I’ve now got a sleep schedule I like, which hopefully I can maintain after this trip to Australia.



Off to Loncon

Last-minute stuff done. I think. And I thought I’d left plenty of time…

This winsome little guy or gal jumped out of my water lily pot the other day:






Loncon schedule

Here’s what I’ll be doing at Loncon (other than catching up with friends!) :


Gala Art Show Opening and Book Launch
16:30 – 18:00, Art show (ExCeL)

The gala opening of the Art Show is sponsored by Titan Books and features the launch of Jim Burns’ Hyperluminal as well as a joint signing by all of Titan’s attending artists and a chance to meet many of the other artists whose work is on show.

Chris Achilleos, Jim Burns, Chris Foss, Fred Gambino, John Harris, Ian Miller



Meet the Artists
12:00 – 13:30, Art show (ExCeL)

Visit the Art Show and meet our attending artists – who will be available by their work to talk, explain and answer questions.

What is Art in the 21st Century?
15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

How do the Internet, social media, and proliferation and sharing of visual art online affect artists today?

Are the old distinctions in art – between ‘high’ and ‘low’ – still relevant in a multi-media/multi-discipline world, or are they only kept alive by moribund institutions? And where are the new artforms emerging in the 21st century? What inspires and frustrates the modern artist today?

Jane Frank (M), K. J. (Kirsten) Bishop, James Stanley Daugherty, Amy Worthen, Jeremy Zerfoss, Sarah McIntyre

Signing session for Richard Calder’s Dead Girls: The Graphic Novel
16:30 – 18:00, Exhibits Hall Signing Space (Level 1)
I’m not officially listed for this, but I’ll be there in my capacity as afterword writer. (Please note that pre-launch copies are available at the link.)



The Art of Sculpture
11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

Sculpture is one of the oldest classical art forms, and today’s sculptors bring those same techniques to bear, whether working in clay or bronze. Hear about the attraction of modelling by hand, and about what happens when science fiction – the most modern of arts – meets one of the oldest.

Jane Frank (M), Chris Baker, K. J. (Kirsten) Bishop, Keith Scaife, Vincent Villafranca

Meet the Artists
12:00 – 13:30, Art show (ExCeL)

Visit the Art Show and meet our attending artists – who will be available by their work to talk, explain and answer questions.

Who misplaced the Monster Compendium?
13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

When was the last time a fantasy novel had a golem or a cockatrice? How long is it since someone fought a giant, flesh-eating beast instead of another dude with a sword? Where did all the monsters go? With quest plots out of fashion, deus ex machina ditched, treasure-hunting too economically simplistic, and stories more likely to lavish pages on their heroes’ motivations for fighting than on blow-by-blow battles with deadly creatures, is the monster still relevant in today’s fantasy?

Julie Crisp (M), Tom Pollock, Adrian Tchaikovsky, K. J. (Kirsten) Bishop, Rjurik Davidson

Clay Sculpture Open Demonstration
15:00 – 17:00, Flexible Exhibits Space (ExCeL)

Work alongside our professional artists – or just come to watch, learn and enjoy – in this open clay modelling session.

Vincent Villafranca (M), Keith Scaife, K. J. (Kirsten) Bishop

Dead Girls Graphic Novel Launch/Signing
16:30-17:30, Book Launch section of Library (located in Fan Village)
I’ll hopefully be at this after 17:00.



11:00 – 12:00, Exhibits Hall Signing Space (Level 1)



Loncon and after

I’ll be at Loncon from 14 -18 August, and attending a workshop at the Sculpture School in the Buckinghamshire town of Wendover at the end of the month. In between I’ll be loitering in the Chilterns, rambling through woods and hopefully doing some walks on the Ridgeway, and generally revelling in England’s green and pleasant land.

I note that in Wendover there’s Rumsey’s Chocolaterie, tantalisingly reviewed here. Don’t have to wonder what I’ll be eating, do I?



sunshine and snouts

First things first: congratulations to all the World Fantasy Award winners and nominees! I’ll write more about the con, but need to wait until I have a proper keyboard again. Until then, I’ll just say that I owe too many people drinks!

I had to leave in the middle of the awards ceremony to catch a train, and through stations untold and buses unnumbered, in the rain, and overencumbered, I made it from Brighton to Southampton in just under four hours. After a final trial of station stairs, mine host at the b&b collected me, and soon there was a hot bath, a soft warm bed with a gorgeous floral headboard, and a salmon pink divan on which I could recline and pretend to be Anatole France’s Satan by the Ganges if only I could be bothered removing the litter of belongings I’ve dumped on it – though I suppose I could pretend to be Satan lying on a pile of emery boards and borrowed Banlon singlets.

Day emerged clear and sunny, looking bloody determined to stay that way, and it did. I wandered a bit in the village, then headed out into the woods and fields, encountering the ponies for which the New Forest is famous and, as a bonus, pigs, who are allowed to wander free in acorn season to “pannage” – eating acorns so that the horses don’t. I’ve seen pigs splashing through a stream, making the acquaintance of bicycles, on acorn-eating duty, and two with patterned coats crossing the road like two fat ladies in smart frocks. I’ve also seen deer, at dusk and a distance, and have the photos of little brown smudges indistinguishable from trees to prove it.


In Munich and at the Lair

Greetings from Munich, where I’ve been tripping out on Rococo palaces and resisting — on a daily basis! — cream donuts, though I’ve succumbed to chocolate. Weather has been lovely — today the only grey day so far, and it should be clearing again tomorrow, when we’re off to Fussen to make the acquaintance of King Ludwig’s castles. I didn’t know until recently how new they are; basically he was a 19th century constitutional monarch who wanted to be Louis XIV — a romantic dreamer who, being king, had the means to live his dreams on a grand scale, though his extravagance nearly bankrupted the Bavarian state — which, however, is now doing rather nicely out of his legacy.

In other news, it’s my turn to be featured at the Lair of the Evil Drs. Brain, aka Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett. Check out the interview with a squee-inducing illustration by Kathleen Jennings.



World Fantasy etc.

Heading off o/s tonight for World Fantasy Convention in Brighton at the end of October, to be followed the next week by a conference on The Weird: Fugitive Fictions/Hybrid Genres at Senate House, University of London, on the 8th November. On the night of the 7th there’s a reading at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, with M. John Harrison, Hal Duncan, Lisa L. Hannett, Helen Marshall and me, and Robert Kingham will be giving a talk on Weird Bloomsbury. The conference and the reading night look like they’ll both be great. Tickets are available here. Before WFC Stu and I will have a few days in Bavaria, seeing Munich and King Ludwig’s castles, and between my two events I’ll be dossing down in the New Forest. I’m hugely looking forward to all of it. Now I have to go and do a million things that I should have done yesterday!

N.B. I won’t be taking my computer, so emails will mostly be by phone.