alt.fiction 2007

Monday, July 24, 2006

As the dust begins to settle...

Hi All,

Apologies for the absence last week but due to my moving house things have been a tad hectic. But now I have the key in my hands and things have gone smoothly enough so far despite locking myself out of the house on Saturday (who invented Yale locks? Honestly. They completely stop you getting into the house...). One locksmith and one £20 note later and that drama was resolved anyway. Thus with my attention slightly elsewhere I don't have quite as much news as I may have liked.

However I did go for a very constructvie meeting with Solaris publishers, based at Games Workshop (or to be more specific Black Library) in Nottingham. To slightly go off topic what a great setup there! The shop and gaming area is absolutely massive and Bugman's Bar is mightily impressive. If it were in Derby town centre I' d be in there all the time...

Back to the point, I met George Mann, Mike Ball and Christian Dunn, all of whom came across as being great guys and reallty dedicated to what they do. The first set of books comes out in April next year, which ties it in beautifully to Alt.Fiction and as a local venture which seems to really be going places it'll be great to get some work going with them. All three seemed keen on some kind of collaboration in the future which I think will be really beneficial to both parties.

There's no writer news beyond that but in other news I will be starting an Alt.Fiction reading group in Derby in November. It'll be a chance to discuss books with genre fans and to find out about books you may never have heard of, or books that you've always wanted to read but just needed that extra push. I will be getting flyers and such-like out there nearer the time but consider this an advance warning. Now I've got to decide on the first books...

Also, if people are looking to come to Alt.Fiction next year we now have the discounted rates in for the European Inn. It's located right by the train station and is ideal for those of you travelling in that way- I'll also be getting some rates from the Midland (which is just across the road) in due course. The European have quoted me £28.00 per person per night bed & breakfast based on two people sharing a twin / double room. The rates for single rooms will be £43.00 per person per night. It's really good of the venue to offer us such a competitive rate and if you're travelling in, or even thinking of travelling in, hopefully that will make the whole journey a little lighter on the pocket. Or just give you more money for books. Or drinks. Or whatever else you may wish to spend the money on.

The European Inn website is at and you can contact them on 01332 292000.

In terms of what else I've been up to I'm looking at starting a new performance poetry night in September/October as well as working with our local independent cinema, Metro, to discuss having some readings or literature and film tie-ins there (which may include Alt.Fiction...). I'm also looking to have a series of events in October just after National Poetry Week which includes some Russian writers, a performance poetry group, a couple of workshops and a poetry and music performance. There are a few other smaller scale things going on also and I feel that Derby is a city moving in the right direction for literature at the moment. Which hopefully means I'm doing something right....hopefully.

Thanks a lot, and I'll pop another post on later this week...


Friday, July 14, 2006

Early morning update

Hi All,

Posting bright and early into work at 7:30 this morning despite having had a rather busy last few days (working on interviewing for 11 hours yesterday...). This does offer the advantage however of being able to leave early for a slightly longer weekend.

Alt.Fiction has been continuing to gather pace and I've been lucky enough to be able to invite numerous of last year's guests back for a second time. Return visitors so far include Chris Teague, Andrew Hook, John Jarrold, Alison Davies, Mark Morris, Sarah Pnborough, Peter Crowther, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. I have also extended an invite to the Write Fantastic and have so far had a definite yes from Chaz Brenchley, Stan Nicholls and Juliet McKenna.

At this point I'm trying not to accrue too many more guests as we only have limited time and space to fit them into...anyone else attending would have to be a pretty big name to force their way into the line up. I'm really happy with the way it has shaped up this time around and people seem really keen to take part, which is really encouraging for the future of the event.

In related news....

I will be over at FantasyCon in September if anyone wants to collar me for a chat about Alt.Fiction or any other subjects at large really....I'm hoping to have some kind of pre-publicity so people can take some details away with them should they wish to. I'm also hoping to get to NovaCon in November although that could be based on finances rather than my desire to go...

I've been in talks with Chaz Brenchley to bring his Phantoms at the Phil down to Derby for Halloween and have agreed a date of October 26th. I love the idea of the event (nothing beats a good ghost story...) and I'm really looking forward to finding a suitably atmospheric venue. Those of you who watch Living TV will be aware of Derby's ghostly reputation and I think we will be able to find an amazing venue for the night.

Jenny Barber's blog at Bradan Press reports that Derby is in the final two contenders for FantasyCon 2007. I'd be thrilled to have the event in Derby and it's something I'd really look forward to getting behind in my capacity here. We'll just have to see what pans out...but I'll be there either way!

I suppose that's all for now- next time I'm on I'll gather together a full guest list for everyone to peruse...



Friday, July 07, 2006

That Friday Feeling...

Hi All,

Ah, Friday afternoon. The quietest time of the week, which surely represents an ideal opportunity to catch up on some blogging.

Alt.Fiction continues to take shape very quickly and we look like having a bumper crop of writers on board. A rather exciting phone call from George Walkley at Orbit confirmed that Mike Carey would be making the trip up, which adds to an already very strong guest list for 2007. I've also begun asking some of last year's guests to come back for the event and agreements have been reached with many of our horror contingent including Ramsey Campbell, Alison Davies and Sarah Pinborough as well as Chris Teague (Pendragon Press), Andrew Hook (Elastic) and John Jarrold (sci-fi and fantasy factotum). John has been a massive help in getting the whole thing of the ground, contacting editors and writers on my behalf, and it'll be a pleasure to have him back. I'm sure I owe him plenty of drinks yet...

One of the hardest things I've found in deciding the line-up is that there are people who were great last year and that I really got on with that I can't have back! Obviously we have to make the day sufficiently different to maintain interest plus my budget has to be far more cost-effective this year. If it's any consolation it has been a really hard process...On the bright side, if I have anything to say about it, the event will remain annual and there will be plenty of opportunities in the future.

I suppose that's all for now...I'm now going to head home for a nice relaxing weekend. For some reason I woke up at 4:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so an early night may be in order...



Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Post-holiday update

Hi All,

Apologies for the short period of non-posting but I was away on holiday during all of last week. A really good break in Center Parcs, relaxing, unwinding and all that. Unfortunately much of that was undone when the roof of our bedroom decided to leak profusely on Sunday evening- I think it's actually being repaired as I type this. And of course you come back to a full in-box, in-tray and answering machine- it's taken me this long to get anywhere near caught up!

So, on to the Alt.Fiction latest and I have to say I'm becoming quite excited about this event. I'm in initial talks with Adam Nevill and Peter F Hamilton about appearing at next year's event and even more great news in that Harry Harrison will be appearing at the event. It's a real honour to have such a science-fiction legend appearing in Derby and I'd like to thank Paul Tomlinson, who has been a instrumental in securing this and has been very supportive of Alt.Fiction throughout its lifespan so far.

Of course we're not yet done for writers and hopefully there will be plenty more big names coming and supporting the event. I think this year presents a real opportunity to cement Alt.Fiction's place in the calendar and mark it as one of the significant events in the UK for genre readers.

Finally, I am in talks with a couple of Derby hotels to try and secure reduced booking rates for people attending the event. Both the European and the Midland have been very helpful so far and if you are thinking of travelling in I think this will be a real benefit for you.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates...