Eastercon Panels

This year’s Eastercon is almost upon us. Hoorah!

My panels this year are:

Saturday 5pm “Tales From the White Hart”

In homage to Arthur C Clarke’s short stories, panellists will be telling their own scientific tall tales. Although it’s in the programme as two hours long, I suspect it’s only going to last an hour, given that Doctor Who starts at 6:20pm.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do mine in the first half. If not, then you can look forward to an impromptu reading in the bar later.

Obviously when I say “look forward to” I mean “fear”.

Monday 12noon “How to Send Your Script to the LMC”

I’ll be speaking about what a certain British Large Media Corporation are looking for when they receive unsolicited scripts, and how you can improve your chances as a writer.

If I said who they were on this blog, I’d have to put a disclaimer at the top saying my opinions weren’t theirs.

I know, it’s a bit complicated, but we don’t want anyone thinking my witterings are official LMC policy now.

Whoever they might be.

Monday 2pm “Icons, Symbolism and Archetypes – Moving Between Faith & Fiction”

Religious imagery in SF. There’s a lot of interesting things here ranging from James Blish through to Battlestar Galactica. Should be a good’un.

There are still tickets available, and if you take the opportunity to book online today or tomorrow rather than buying them at the door, you’ll save yourself a tenner.

It’s going to be great fun – hope to see you there!

It’s not a given…

So, there’s this TV show, right? About a character called Doctor Who.

You can tell it’s about a character called “Doctor Who” because the show is called “Doctor Who” and in the credits for the first eighteen years or so, the character is called “Doctor Who”. (Or sometimes Dr. Who. But I think we can safely put that in the same conceptual space.)

Some people think he’s called The Doctor, and calling him Doctor Who is incorrect.

These people are wrong.


There’s this character called Robin Hood.

He’s had many stories told about him, over hundreds of years.

And yet, somehow, relatively few people manage to get their knickers in a twist that his given name is Robin of Loxley. (Or, occasionally, Robert, Earl of Huntingdon.)

And no-one feels obliged to point out that his last name is not “Hood” and that therefore calling him that is somehow wrong, or silly, or incorrect.

So. Doctor Who it is then.

Because it’s his name.

Letters From America: Typical

originally posted 6th May 2004

First, the good news:

I’ve got a read.

An agent has agreed to read my spec scripts.

From a cold call.

To say this is extremely lucky is to understate things by at least an order of magnitude. You don’t get reads from cold calls. You get reads from friends-of-friends, from calling in favours, from knowing people, from living in this town for several years. And now a WGA-registered agent has agreed to read my scripts.

This is quite extraordinary. People with much better industry contacts than I are unable to get agents to read their work.

So I sent the scripts off. They stand on their own now. It’s all down to whether the writing is good enough. I think it is, but I don’t know. I can’t be sure. Until this agent gets back to me and says whether she likes it or not.


I’ve emailed her the scripts – I’d already put them in the post, but that wasn’t soon enough, she wanted to read them Right Now, and who am I to disappoint her? – and after hitting send I happened to glance across my local copy.

Page One.

And somehow – somehow, despite checking this a hundred times – I’ve managed in my final revision to put the wrong location in THE VERY FIRST SLUGLINE.

So the crew of the Enterprise start their adventure in COMPLETELY THE WRONG FUCKING PLACE.

So the question is, which makes me look more like a total idiot – calling up and saying “Don’t read my script, PAGE ONE IS FUCKED UP,” or hoping that she’s so caught up in the story that she doesn’t notice?

I’m keeping quiet.

Wish me luck.