Right, that explains the Mystery of the Missing Book Quotes. They got lost in the system. And, apparently, it's not the first time it's happened - the standard case of too many cooks, I think, a situation you find in any large business where the amount of noise in the pipeworks can equal the amount of real information. The chain of communication that caused the reviews to go awol has apparently now been repaired - but too late for me, it seems.

So it goes, as Mr Vonnegut would likely say.

Still, I got a list of the reviews that should have been in there via email - including one I had absolutely no prior awareness of: from the popular science magazine Focus, published by the BBC:‘Eventful, full of intriguing detail and fast paced’. Well, that's one I never saw, so I guess I'll have to track it down ... and stick it up in the hall of fame in the right hand column of the blog while I'm at it, I guess.


Arse and double arse. The hinges on the screen of my laptop are well and truly on the way out, which is not the kind of thing you want to happen when you'd rather spend most of your time lying on your back and waiting to get better. Though I am getting better - very, very slowly. I have three choices: go back to this awkward half on my front position for writing (and no, desktop machines aren't an option, you have to be able to sit in a chair for that), find a way to fix the hinges on my Advent 7060 (cheaply) ... or buy a new laptop. And laptops are at least getting cheaper.

The current plan is once I'm back to normal (and I think I will be, even if it'll be the end of the summer by the time I get there), to go back to full time design and typesetting work, at least for a while. I don't feel too worried about being able to at least find something.

It's pretty much a dead cert I won't make it to my younger brother's wedding in early July because of the sciatica, and although I was hoping it might clear up by early August so I could make it to Mecon where I am, after all, one of several writer-guests, I'm beginning to have doubts about that as well. Even if I could make it, and even if I was well enough, it might be putting too much stress on my spine when I should be taking it easy. In the meantime, though, I'm going to play it by ear - and email the con organisers real soon (if they don't see this entry here) and warn them if that's still likely to be the case.

Missing out on a con you've actually been invited to as a writer, it has to be said, sucks quite enormously. No, worse than that. I love the idea of being a guest at a con - and now it's happened, I wind up spending most of my day crawling around on my hands and knees and not going anywhere fast ...

And yes, it is mostly sitting around in a bar or doing the occasional con item, but even the simplest things - like, say, sitting, walking, and so on - are a bit outside my remit at the moment. I realised this after winding up on a walking stick after attending a con about fifteen minutes walk from my front door. When you're having this much trouble, it's time to, er, lie down and take notice ...

Funny thing about something like this happening is how quickly you notice other people are having the same problem. Sarah Ash was talking about her walking difficulties recently in the new Deep Genre blog. Sciatica turned up in a Simpson's episode on tv the other day, and in a couple of other shows. Apparently, back problems are also the number one reason people for people to wind up on disability benefits in this country. So there you go.


Somewhere in the continuing reports of the missing simulacra of Philip K. Dick, still awol somewhere in the United States, and on the eve of the release of the movie version of A Scanner Darkly (which I look forward to with great and considerable anticipation, being something of a fan of much of director Richard Linklater's work, to the degree that I believe he can overcome the horror of Keanu Reeves in the lead role, concerning which I have a Theory) lies the germ of a terrific short story which, again, alas, I will probably never write. Picture it hitching a ride to Orange County and suffering visions.

I think I'm getting better! I can still hardly walk, but there are definite and clear signs of improvement. The osteopath might be responsible, or the very gentle exercises: maybe both, maybe neither. I even made it into Stravaigin's post-spinal manipulation late Friday afternoon to grab a late lunch, read some papers, and enjoy actually being out of the house for the first time in weeks. Mind you, most of the time I was on my back in a booth with my head propped up, but still, call it progress.


The back is feeling slightly, very slightly better. Overall it feels like there's an improvement, but by 'improvement' I mean I can walk twenty metres before the crippling pain kicks in, as opposed to ten. I've got my fourth visit to the osteopath tomorrow afternoon. After that, I'm giving up since I'm increasingly sure I'm not getting any benefit from it. I feel exactly the same after each session as I did before, except poorer.

What has helped, is very gently returning to most, if not all, the physiotherapy exercises, performed two or three times a day, for about five minutes at a time. Very gentle stretching of the muscles, and so forth. But yes, a mild improvement, which cheers me up no end.

I got two copies of the mass market paperback of Against Gravity through from Tor today, and I'm not happy. I'm not happy because when I saw the cover on its own for the mass market, at Eastercon earlier this year, I was assured the reason there weren't any quotes from the reviews I'd read was because they'd decided to put them on the inside of the book instead. So I cracked open the book and ... no reviews, no pull quotes telling you what a terrific book it is, nothing. All there is is the same, out of date bio about being a designer and writing since the age of fourteen. Like, who cares? I've got a web address for that - www.garygibson.net. That, plus a couple of good review quotes, would be far better.

It isn't even like the first time something like this has happened either. I feel kind of churlish for complaining - but the fact is, when you spend a year or more working really, really hard on something that's sprung completely out of your own imagination, when hours a day are spend wondering and worrying over every minute detail, trying to get it right, you want your stuff to get treated with at least reasonable respect. All I'm saying is, when I pick up a book by an author I haven't read, I often check out the pull quotes. They can sometimes motivate me to buy a book. That's why they're there, to sell you the book.

Back when Angel Stations came out, I vaguely recall, they didn't leave enough room for the acknowledgements. So I had to write a much shorter version of it, missing out people, to fit in a much smaller space on another page with other information on it. I'm reaching back here memory-wise, but I do seem to recall being told the full thing would be in the mass market. It wasn't.

I should be happy to have the mass market paperbacks in my hand, but all this has kind of taken the edge off it for me.


I glance at the report from my hit counter and note with sardonic interest that the last keyword search to lead someone to this blog is 'chiropractor jokes hell'.

Let's look at the things have befallen me over the past several months:

I get a slipped disc.
I get sciatica.
I have to chuck in the day job.
One of my crowns falls out.
And now, one of the hinges on my laptop's screen begins to give out (although the screen still functions fine, even if it looks like it's about to fall off altogether.

All since I got the deal for Stealing Light.

People, someone up there doesn't want me to write the book.

I remain defiant.


So the current situation is I'm taking time out from the day job, at least for several weeks and possibly longer, depending on how things work out with the back problem. In a way this is a huge relief, since the day job was getting worse and worse - and that's partly my own fault, since it was only ever meant to be a temporary gig that got stretched out ad infinitum because I got a book deal and wanted some kind of moderate income whose hours didn't interfere with the creative process. Meaning, more time to stare out the window or type furiously.

All in all, though, I had a pretty good weekend; quite a few friends were around at different points, and I even received a couple of incredibly nice - and unexpected - gifts from friends which rather makes up for the whole can't-move-without-pain-oh-crap- how-do-I-pay-the-mortgage-now thing (but don't worry, I'm hard at work getting that one sorted out).

From H/al (who is now obsessed with the magnetic darts board in my kitchen): a DVD of Nathan Barley, a Channel Four tv series itself inspired by a website. Vicious, vitriolic satire of the nastiest and funniest kind. Dan Ashcroft, a writer on a 'popular culture' magazine, hates his job and the 'cool people' he finds himself surrounded by on the not unreasonable predication that a lot of them are rich kids running pointless media companies entirely financed by their parents with a nonexistent screenplay permanently in development.

Let me tell you, I feel empathy with Dan Aschroft, from my time working on a music magazine nobody, but nobody has ever heard of. Don't ask it's name, because you won't have heard of it. Really, you won't. Let's. Just. Not. Go. There.

From Phil and Jane; Yes, Virginia, a cd by the Dresden Dolls, which is quite wonderful, especially for the lyrics. If you want to know why ninety percent of musicians should never be allowed to voice a political statement, let alone any meaningful statement of any kind, read their lyrics. They're shite, all of them. They're just meant in most cases to sound marginally more interesting than going 'la la la' for three and a half minutes, during which intrinsically vacuous statements gain a sense of false emotional import by means of having a backing track.

The Dresden Dolls, however, do not appear to suffer from this nearly as much as most. I'm not saying they necessarily always make sense, but at least they make me laugh out loud.

These weren't the only things I received by far, but they were all equally cool. One thing it was nice to receive was a large (and I mean large) print by a good photographer friend of mine, Leanne Hopper, which means I now have something to go on my wall which could actually be described as original art. How cool is that?

Now it's back to the week and, frankly, I have a shitload of forms and financial stuff to get sorted out, so if you'll excuse me ...


Oh silly me. I forgot to mention it's also National Slayer Day today, in the USA at least. According to the Official Statement on Participation over on the website nationaldayofslayer.org, on this day of celebration one should endeavour to:

Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.
Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.

Well! Sounds like time to break out the cake and ice cream right there, I think.
Ideas, eh? Ten a penny, but every now and then some of them just write themselves in your head same time you think of them - it's like they demand a certain approach, a certain plot structure. Frankly I'm shite at sitting down and finishing short stories, but like most people I've got a virtual library of the things sitting in various dusty textfiles on my laptop. It's a bit reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges's idea of a collection not only of all the books ever written, but all the books nobody ever actually got around to writing, placed on the shelves of an infinite library.

And even though I know I'm highly unlikely to finish a lot of story ideas, even if I did start them, I still hoard them away with the best of them. Which is silly, in a sense, because if you're a writer then by definition you like to share your ideas, otherwise, why bother being published?

So I was reading the Observer the other day and came across this story, where a British economist has suggested the only way the city of Venice can save itself from rising tides ... is by turning itself into a themepark.

"Venice can no longer be run like a normal European city, he (John Kay) argues. Turning it into a theme park offers its only hope of salvation. Thus the gondolas of the Grand Canal could one day rival Space Mountain in providing free rides - and hour-long queues - to visitors from across the world.

'If the Disney Corporation was in charge of Venice it would not be in peril as it is today,' said Kay. 'I am not saying Disney should be given the job, however. My point is that an enterprise that is used to providing entertainment for the masses is best placed to save the city. At present, no one is running Venice. That is why it is dying.'

Under Kay's scheme, tourists would be charged an entrance fee of between €20 and €30 - roughly the fee to Disneyland Paris. Once inside, they would be able to visit Venice's glorious churches, restaurants and hotels, which would be run as franchises dispensed by the corporation in charge of the city."

Now just picture that scene; Venice owned and run by Disney. What an idea. Or ... Los Angeles bought lock stock and barrel by Warner Brothers. Or London, by Microsoft. And tell me, just how far fetched is this, really? Edinburgh's frankly halfway there, giant tourist trap that it is.

Where the hell is John Kessel (Good News from Outer Space, Towing Jehovah) when you need him, eh?


It's my birthday, birthday. Normally I wouldn't mention this - like, anyone who needs to know, knows, right? -

But it's 6/6/06.

The last three people I've spoken to have expressed an interest in inspecting my scalp.

Because me and Satan seem to have the same birhday. Which, to some who have encountered me in this life will be able to attest, comes as no surprise at all.

How cool is that?

And now, a short performance, in which some of my batwinged underlings express their joy on this happy occasion.


Well, that's been an adventure. I went to an osteopath on Friday and finally felt like I was dealing with someone who actually appears to know what they're talking about. Even better, there were no false promises: I was told I had a herniated disc. Well whoopie-do, that's the first time anyone's been prepared to tell me one way or another. The solution? Four or five visits maximum to the osteopath (recommended by a friend in London) - but no guarantee it'll work: which actually makes me feel better. If it works, they can find a way to get the disc to slide back into place. If things have gone too far, then it's MRI, and then possibly an operation. Let's recap:

Chiropractor: the sun is shining and everything's dandy, oh hey, the treatment's not having any effect. Well, just come back any time you feel like it. Bye!

Physiotherapist: Here's some exercises. They hurt like hell but, really, they're good for you. Oh, we don't do x-rays any more, they don't tell you anything. Is it getting any better? No? Here's some more exercises.

Osteopath: You have a herniated disc. This stuff about not needing an x-ray is bullshit. The exercises are doing you far more damage than good, in the same way you don't go jogging on a sprained ankle. These treatments could hopefully help, but let's see how it goes.

She sounded more like a doctor than my doctor. So let's see.

The other main effect of this is I'm giving up the day job for a while. I've been told to rest up, lie on my back a lot, and give my spine a chance to recover, so I figure I'm several weeks away from returning to the day job at the very least. Which, obviously, gives me the chance to focus on other things in the meantime. Besides, the day job was getting way, way too stressful. The place barely limps along week to week and I could be doing basic logo design with far, far less stress for about a hundred and fifty quid a time. New employment opportunities will be investigated - but in the meantime, the thing I'm going to do the most of ... is chill.