Wednesday 10 February 2010

From Your Blogosphere Correspondent (10/02/10)

Another week means another host of happenings to fill all you lovely readers in on, and thankfully, the news The Speculative Scotsman has to impart to you this week is markedly better than it was last time out.

No beating around the bush this time! On with the show...

First on the agenda has to be the SFX Weekender, which took place, funnily enough, over the weekend there. Sayeth the organisers: "The first fan event of its kind in the UK, the SFX Weekender promises the ultimate sci-fi experience." Of course, they would say that, wouldn't they? Rather than take them at their word, I'd point you toward the blogs of The Adamantine Palace author Stephen Deas, Best Served Cold's Joe Abercrombie and Mark Charon Newton of Nights of Villjamur fame. Their respective accounts are personal, amusing and illuminating in ways the inevitable self-congratulating PR puff pieces can't hope to match.

If I'd known about it sooner, this could very well have been the con I popped my cherry for. Certainly if I'd known there was the potential for the sort of fun Mark describes: "When first thing in the morning you see China MiĆ©ville cooking eggs for Peter Hamilton, you know it’s not going to be normal weekend..."

Sounds like a great time, although the big debate on Twitter between the various authors attending the SFX Weekender seems to have been over the varying accommodation publishers had arranged for their talent in Pontins. You could have housed me in a cardboard box and I'd still have been happy to be there!

There was also some question as to the suitability of a bar as the primary location for readings and Q&A sessions. As Stephen observes, "having to compete with the pub televisions showing the six nations at the same time as someone's trying to read aloud – that was a bit harsh, even for Science Fiction authors – but the basic idea, I thought, was sound." Short of unwelcome interruption from rugby fans and some shall we say "questionable" accommodation, it sounds like a great time was had by all, and I'm glad to hear it; I may not be an die-hard convention-goer, but the distinctly down to earth quality of the SFX Weekender sounds right up my street.

Of course, probably the biggest news to come out of the SFX Weekender has to be the announcement that Neil Gaiman will be penning an episode of Doctor Who for the 2011 season. Does this mean I'll have to relent and watch the show most of the wider world thinks is Britain's single most important sci-fi export? Very probably. Damn and blast all over that Gaiman fellow. Why couldn't he write some Caprica?

Speaking of which, I'm afraid Your Blogosphere Correspondent's weekly moan over the criminally declining fortunes of the thoughtful Battlestar Galactica spin-off continues unabated. This week, the third of Caprica's run, saw ratings drop still further from the apocalyptic low of last time, as TV by the Numbers reports that the latest original episode was watched by only 1.1m viewers. It gives me no pleasure at all to say that you don't have to be listening very closely to hear the death knell ringing out for Caprica. At this point, even stellar DVD sales aren't likely to save my new favourite sci-fi show. For goodness sake, America: how could more of you be watching Swamp Loggers on the Discovery channel than this striking piece of speculative adult drama?

One way or another, the LA Times has an engrossing interview with Caprica showrunner and co-creator Ron Moore that reads, in light of the inexcusably dreadful ratings, almost like a 'what could have been'. Truly, would that it had only had the chance to be.

The Guardian has the story on Random House's acquisition of the fourth book of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast sequence, as discussed here on TSS a few weeks ago. Quite frankly, given that Titus Awakes was written in large part by Peake's wife, I'm baffled that this whole story is being taken so seriously; certainly the amount of money the publishing house parted with in order to secure the forthcoming book's rights is serious business. Did we learn nothing from Christopher Tolkien's Children of Hurin?

For my money, the best development to have come from all this nonsense is that Random House will be publishing nice new editions of the Gormenghast trilogy Peake himself lived to complete "with previously unseen illustrations by the author", which should give me a fine reason to get my re-read on. Here's to that!

And finally, a little news in boxers --- no, hold on, I mean news... in brief!

Now, I'm not in the least chuffed that it exists in the first place, but there's some good news regarding the upcoming prequel to The Thing: its script was apparently written by Ron Moore, making his second appearance on this week's correspondence from the blogosphere.
Leonardo DiCaprio is as confused as the rest of us about Inception, my most anticipated film of 2010. Dream... detectives? What?
Still, you know it's going to be awesome. When has director Christopher Nolan ever let you down before? Precisely my point.

More good news! The buzz is that Sam VII, this year's installment in the annual torture porn franchise, is to be the last one. Jigsaw had better be back to wrap things up. So here's to a new Paranormal Activity every year instead!
And what better note to end on than with a little harmless fun? Ambergris mastermind and editor extraordinaire Jeff Vandermeer recounts an hillarious anecdote regarding a Clive Barker short story. Do click through, it's a good 'un.

And that about wraps up this edition of From Your Blogosphere Correspondent. Hope you've had a fine, informative time - and please, readers, do keep your RSS readers tuned to The Speculative Scotsman for more news and snark next week. It's free and fun for all the family!

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