The only thing I really, really hate about being online (apart from spam) is that Google has ripped away any delusions over the idea that, somehow, I might be the only person in the world landed with the name Gary Gibson. If I've never been entirely fond of it at certain times of my life, it's partly because I've always been marginally suspicious of a name that sounds too much like a character from early Sixties Marvel comics (Peter Parker, Reed Richards, or even Clark Kent from DC). Now Google has revealed to me: Gary Gibson, the lonely hearts-seeking sailor who owns a houseboat in 'Frisco; the Gary Gibson Jazz Quartet; and most especially, Gary Gibson, author of Making Things Float and Sink (Fun with Science). Sounds like fun.

And no, we're not the same person.

However, you can now find me at this Amazon page, which will shortly be receiving a permanent link somewhere on the right (and very close to the top). I note with interest that even though the cover price is £10.99, Amazon will be doing it for only £7.69. Cheap!


Talk about relief: I came home from the writers circle this evening to find a message on the answerphone from my agent telling me she's about halfway through Against Gravity and 'loving it'. Believe me when I say I'm the king of imagining worst-case scenarios - it's in my nature. So this is a Good Sign.

For a while now I've been promising myself a present for all the work I've done: I've worked very, very hard, and now I want a toy. An Xbox. What else are credit cards for? Except, of course, the Fates sit on high and say Lo, there shall be a note through all your neighbour's letterboxes and yours, telling you you all have to pay a couple of hundred quid each towards repairing the roof, which appears to be falling in.

Remind me again, about the joys of owning your own home.


I found a couple new writer blogs of interest, you might want to check out. Nalo Hopkinson and John Shirley. I loved Shirley's stories in the early issues of Interzone in the early '80's - sort of the genre equivalent to Joe Strummer, I guess. Though I really hope John works out the art of separating paragraphs with whatever blog engine he's using.

I'm a little ways into the fourth draft now. This has been a hard book to write, harder, certainly, than the first - and for all the usual reasons that afflict writers working on their second book when they're actually under contract to deliver the goods. When you're writing a book and you've got no idea if you're ever going to get a book deal, you don't feel under pressure. Your only boss is yourself. If it's not right, they won't buy it. Simple.

But then you do sell that book, and they want another to go with it. Fine. You write another. Not so hard, if the second uses the same characters and situation (mine doesn't). But then you hear the voice in your head. Sure, they liked the first one, but what will they think of the second? You imagine the worst, you imagine the best. You're the worst person to judge, because you're the one who wrote the thing. It's like being the actor who throws up every time he or she's about to go on stage. You have to go out there and impress. Scary. But that's all part of the business, and it's still a lot better than a lot of other things I could be doing with my life - which is why I became a writer.

One thing I saw on tv that particularly impressed me was a documentary on the author Lemony Snicket on BBC2. The presenter pretty much nailed the guy down when he described him as a 'cross between a children's entertainer and a malevolent, overgrown schoolboy'. He's the author of a series of children's books called 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'. During his readings, he likes to play an enormous accordion and sing songs with titles like 'Run Away Screaming or Die'. When he's signing books, he likes to lean forward and ask children 'are you a spy?' or to blink twice for no, once for yes, if their stepmother is evil or not.

What's important about this isn't the obvious fact that he's a highly eccentric individual as much in love with the idea of being a writer and the attendant mystery, particularly from a child's point of view. What's important is the man's genius for self-promotion. I've met some people with a genius for self-promotion. One is an amateur astronomer from Glasgow, who's also a science fiction writer. His ability to get himself in the newspapers or press can at times be astonishing. Similarly, I once did design work for a quite, quite mad woman who was literally obsessed with vampires. She, also, has a genius for self-promotion.

People with good promotion skills get noticed. When I was watching Lemony (obviously not his real name, but I can't remember what his real name is), I sat there thinking, how could I possibly make it that interesting, to be at the launch of my book? My mind was blank, and in the end my book launch will be of the traditional variety. Perhaps this is best, as these things can take practice. I look forward to my first reading with a mixture of anticipation and absolute despair. I've been to a few launches, and they all generally went pretty well. I'm sure mine will be the same. Still, I can't avoid the associated nerves.

Hmm. Just had a thought. My self-promotion clock appears to be ticking finally, somewhere in my brain.


I struggled into the New Year in a somewhat beleaguered state, lost in finishing the fourth draft of Against Gravity, currently sitting on my couch in a brown envelope, waiting for me to recover from staring slackjawed at nothing in particular. It still needs a few more drafts - but getting there, getting there.

MJ received her redundancy notice on Christmas Eve, leaving her stranded for a few weeks until she locked down another job at a business just around the corner. The redundancy was unexpected, but it was only a part time job for not very good money. The new job is full time, which means in terms of weekly income she'll be making more than me, outside of the money from writing.

My mind is still numb from finishing the current draft of the book, and as I sit here in the local library (the new, admittedly cheap ISP I signed up with is so unremittingly crap half the time I can't even get online), creative thought is deserting me. That, plus the fact I'm hammered with a cold doesn't help much. It'll be interesting to see what my agent makes of the new book - I've said many times I'm not very good at judging the quality of my own writing because I'm too close to it: I look at it, and all I see is words. I've read an interview with Terry Pratchett where he says pretty much the same thing.

Mind you, that isn't a problem if you leave the manuscript sitting in the drawer for a couple of years then take it out again. I detailed some ideas for a third novel earlier in this blog, with the title Real World Kills. I still like the idea, but the quantity and type of research it would involve would wipe me out right now: it's the kind of project I'd only really want to get into if I thought I could escape even part-time work for a while, and that's still a very long way off. So I've returned for the moment to my original plan, to completely revamp my first, unsold novel.

It was called 'Touched by an Angel', but that's the name of some dodgy US tv series, so as far as I'm concerned that's out. I read a book once by TW Moses which gave me an idea for part of the book, a city called Leviathan's Fall - so that's almost certainly going to be the new title when and if I do this.

Last year was interesting, because I got a book deal - but 2004 is the year it actually comes out. That means a possible trip to London; and attending the Eastercon seems like a good idea, though with the recent move money is, again, stretched to the limit.