Just a reminder in my kind-hearted way that there are only four - four - days to go before Angel Stations is published in the United Kingdom. The price is £10.99 for the trade paperback; the regular mass market paperback will be out in June next year. I don't know if any of the big bookshop chains like Waterstones will be selling it any of their three-for-two deals. You might be interested to know the book is £7.69 on Amazon UK, bar the postage. So if you've got some stuff racked up on a wishlist and you're looking for something to tip you over the £25/free postage limit, well ...

If you're living in the US, then as far as I know (if you know different, tell me) the trade paperback will set you back about twenty dollars, including postage, ordered over Amazon UK. I suspect the book will wind up in US specialist bookshops, and possibly also US-specific online specialist retailers as well, but I don't really know how that side of it works. If you do know where it might be readily available outside of the UK, let me know, and I could always post the information up here.


To my mild amazement, Al has now set up a blog. Colour me flabbergasted. You can find it at http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.com/, and I will of course be adding it to the list in the sidebar soon.

Just to clear up a point - apparently the reason he writes as 'Hal' rather than Al, is because there's already a well-known Scottish writer called Al Duncan (though I'll have to admit I've never heard of him, and I can't be arsed googling him).


I got a delivery the other day from Pan Macmillan of twenty copies of Angel Stations, so I've been writing up a list of all the people who'll get a copy. Out of those twenty (twenty-one, if you count the copy I'd already received), I'm keeping maybe three for myself. One reading copy, two to get stored.

In the meantime, I've also been given a nice (very nice) review at trashotron: "'Angel Stations' is dense and involving, puzzling and perplexing. It's unabashed science fiction, with an almost "Golden Age" feel to it, but a very modern density, the culture-shock that makes science fiction so enjoyable. It does require a soupcon of patience, but that patience is rewarded with surprise after surprise, amongst them, surprising sympathy for and understanding of a large cast of characters, not all of them human. Yes, Gibson does ignore advice from the original stone tablets handed down by the publishing deities. Readers will feel themselves fortunate to reap the rewards of Gibson's acts of literary heresy."

Curiously enough, I was browsing the web the other day, and googled Shipbuilding, the anthology I was involved in putting together that was distributed as a freebie at the '95 Worldcon in Glasgow. It's a proper book, meaning a web-printed paperback with full colour art cover and spine. I found it listed on Abebooks, the second-hand online bookshop, for twenty dollars. That's quite an appreciation.


Last week, I got a proper, finished copy of Angel Stations through in the post. It looks and feels even better than I'd expected. As of writing, there's just under two weeks to go before it's out on the shelves. I suspect I'll go and sign copies in at least some of the bookshops in town. To be honest, I'm not that big on signing books. Why spoil a perfectly good book by scribbling all over it? And if you're not a well-known author, what difference could it possibly make to your sales?

But, I might as well play follow-the-leader since everyone else seems to do it without compunction, whether famous or not-so-famous. If there's one advantage to it, it means you get those 'signed by the author' stickers on the front in the bigger shops, which means you might get an extra picosecond of attention paid to your book by casual browsers. This is a good thing, since book covers are generally designed to catch your eye, in the context of a bookshop where there are literally thousands of the things all trying just as hard to achieve the same effect. Half a second is all it takes to grab your attention just for that extra tiny instant it takes to make you walk over, pick the thing up, and at the very least contemplate buying it.
I spent Saturday in Edinburgh with MJ, wandering around in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival. We didn't do any shows though, since they're kind of expensive, and given MJ's lack of funds unaffordable, given the cot of just getting there from Glasgow and back again. But we did go and check out - again - Greyfriar's Kirk, which is in certain respects gloriously creepy. The church, plus the graveyard that surrounds it, are right off a busy main road, but it's surprisingly quiet once you're in there. Directly behind Bobby's gravestone, there's a large, partially damaged and very old mural on the front wall of the church, featuring an enormous, dancing skeleton. The Covenanters Prison, where 'thousands of Scot Presbyterians who signed a "National Covenant with God" in 1637, and were held at the Covenanter's Prison, a walled-off section of the cemetery' (from the BBC website) is directly behind. It's also permanently locked up for some reason.

Later, we wandered around the Book Festival for a bit. They do charge a hell of a lot of money for their author's appearances/talks. There wasn't anyone or anything on this year that struck me as something I really wanted to check out, or if there was, I couldn't find a way to justify the cost of travelling to Edinburgh as well as buying the ticket. Cheap dinner in a basement bar, then home.
Since he now has a message board on Nightshade Books forum, I think it's safe to name the newest pro writer from Glasgow. He's Al Duncan, and writes as Hal Duncan. Maybe. Or that might change. He's been offered a two-book deal with Tor UK, my own publishing company. The two books are Vellum and Ink, both linked, both clockin in at about 200k each. They're fantasy, but not of the traditional type. Sort of a 'war of the angels' kind of thing, set in the very near future. I wasn't going to go down to the Eastercon next year - it is the same year as the Worldcon here in Glasgow, after all - but with Al's sale, it sort of makes sense for both of us to go. Plus, Richard Morgan - not Glaswegian, but based in Glasgow - is the guest of honour, and Mike will almost certainly be there - so there'll be a fairly good Glasgwegian contingent. And if you add in Ken McLeod and Charlie Stross from Edinburgh, and Miller Lau from a little ways farther north, you have quite a strong Scottish contingent altogether.

Nice, as they say in Jazz Club.


This is just too good to be true, but apparently it's from Reuters, so ... (link).

"Addressing what the Sept. 11 commission said was one of the main failures of government -- imagination -- a senior CIA official said Wednesday the spy agency was willing to "push beyond the traditional boundaries of intelligence."

The article goes on to say that "It was an attempt to see beyond the intelligence report, and into a world of plot development," she (Jami Miscik, CIA's deputy director for intelligence) told a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations about analysis and the need for imagination and creativity. The CIA also ran a round-table discussion with 10 science-fiction authors so intelligence analysts could see how the writers spun possible scenarios. (italics mine).

I suspect this article is going to be all over the genre message boards over the next few days, but if not, what I want to know is: how much do they pay, and do they have my phone number?

On a side note, I tripped over the above while browsing the Fortean Times site doing a little research. I've gone off the thing I was working on - The Fracture - and started thinking of other ideas. One is another space opera, maybe a bit lighter than some of the other stuff I've done. Besides, Tor UK took me on to fill out the sf part of their list, which is otherwise stacked with fantasy and 'new weird' authors, o I feel a little obliged in that area. But for a long time I've been playing around with the idea of a cold war thriller, involving remote viewing. If anyone happens to know of any, I'd be very happy to hear about them. I'm reading Declare by Tim Powers at the moment, but what I'm thinking of is (hopefully) a lot different to that.


I've got that fishwife feeling - you know something, you want to tell people, but you can't, because the person who's about to sign the contract (not me!) has asked you not to mention it. At all. Nosirree. Gah. So all I can tell you is, that person (not me, already) is about to sign a contract for ... ack!

More details later.

I got talking to the events manager at Ottakar's Books here in Glasgow today. He said, 'you look familiar'.

I said, 'yeah, I was here for that thing a couple of weeks ago - Grant Morrison, Mike Cobley, Miller Lau and Richard Morgan.'

He shakes his head. 'No ... weren't you at Caledonian University?'

I said, 'yeah ...?'

So it turns out, right, that back when I was just about ready to admit defeat and give up my postgrad computing course, that I did a couple of reviews for the university newspaper (and if there's a clearer sign my interests lay in something other than programming, what?). I did a review of Jewel, an American singer/songwriter who played at the Mitchell. Turns out the events guy had been the music editor. I have no memory for faces or names, but clearly he doesn't have that problem.

Apparently I have a review in Vector, one of the BSFA publications. Craig is going to bring it to the next writer's group for me. Apparently it's pretty decent.