Orbital: Day Three

Yet more panels:

  • Politics in YA SF. With China Mieville, Cory Doctorow, Amanda Hemingway, Ruth O’Reilly, and Martin McGrath moderating. One of the best panels I’ve been to — lots of discussion and debate, and they touched on a lot of interested points, such as whether or not growing up is an inherently political state, if it is then in what way, and to what extent YA fiction tends to avoid structuralist political critique in favour of individualistic political critique (and to what extent that’s a problem). This is another one I hope to include in Vector at some point.
  • Neil Gaiman’s GoH spot. Not really my thing, I have to admit. Two readings, one of which (“Orange”, from The Starry Rift) worked pretty well, the other of which (part of the first chapter of The Graveyard Book) worked less well, a story about Neil Gaiman’s Eastercon Experiences which had the feel of being told many times before, and a question and answer section in which someone would ask about an upcoming project and Gaiman would answer without giving any indication as to what said project actually was (which meant I had no idea what he was talking about in response to half such questions).
  • Arthur C Clarke Retrospective. Graham Sleight moderating, Edward James, Martin McGrath, Ian McDonald and a man whose name I have temporarily forgotten but who was Clarke’s secretary for a couple of years in the eighties. Good discussion of Clarke’s work and influence. Made me want to go to the dealer’s room and buy all the Clarke I don’t have, although I resisted the urge.
  • BSFA Awards results discussion. Unfortunately (but understandably) focused on the novels, in the order in which they were eliminated in the STV ballot — Chabon, Reynolds, MacLeod, Talbot, Morgan, McDonald. I was surprised/impressed that Chabon and MacLeod were in the bottom half and Talbot/Morgan was in the bottom half; I think I also disagreed with everything the panel (Chris Hill, Mattia Valente, Liz Batty and, er, someone else whose name I’ve temporarily forgotten) said about most of the books, but there you go.
  • Everyone’s a Critic. The “online reviews” panel, with Coln Harvey moderating, and me, Paul Raven, Andrew Ducker and Tony Lee as panellists, although it very quickly evolved int a whole-room discussion. I’m not sure how much new ground we covered, but it was a fun discussion.


F&SF, March
Asimov’s, April/May
Illyria by Elizabeth Hand
Hereafter and After by Richard Parks
A bacon sandwich

As you may have guessed, I don’t have any fiction magazine subscriptions at the moment, although I hope to start renewing around July/August, so I’ve been picking up issues on the strength of what I’ve heard about individual stories. The bacon sandwich was served late night in the atrium — how did I miss these on Friday and Saturday?


  • Mitch Benn, as they say, rocked the hizzay. I think my favourite bit was probably Burt Chewbaccarach.
  • I didn’t go to the panel for obvious reasons, but my spies tell me the Not the Clarke panellists ended up split 3-2 in favour of The H-Bomb Girl over The Execution Channel (but The Execution Channel people could all live with The H-Bomb Girl and two of The H-Bomb Girl people couldn’t live with The Execution Channel winning. The were also unanimous in their disapproval of The Red Men. Elimination order was The Red Men < The Raw Shark Texts < Black Man < The Carhullan Army < the last two.

EDIT: Also, it’s SNOWING!

5 thoughts on “Orbital: Day Three

  1. Missing names (may have got spelling wrong): it was Duncan McGregor on the BSFA Awards panel, and Peter Haskett, I think, on the Clarke retrospective.

  2. The two Gaiman projects (and yes, I wish he’d explained what they were) were Miracleman and the Death movie.

    Miracleman’s legal status has been up in the air for a long time. It was originally owned by Mick Anglo, but then Dez Skinn claimed to have bought the rights from the company which had owned it and then went bankrupt. Alan Moore then wrote a bunch of issues of it and then Warrior went bankrupt. Then Eclipse comics bought it and published the rest of Moore’s run, and then Alan passed the baton to Neil. Who wrote 6 issues, before the Eclipse went bankrupt. Then Todd McFarlane bought their assets, mostly to get Miracleman, except that at least three other people then claimed to own them (Dez Skinn, Neil Gaiman and Mick Anglo). Then Todd McFarlane went bankrupt. I’d still like to read the rest of it, if they ever sort out the details. Because frankly. it’s a work of genius, both from Neil and from Alan.

    The Death movie is the one that Neil should get to direct, based on The High Cost Of Living. And has been in pre-development for a few years now. Glad to hear it’s got interest, but I haven’t felt that Neil’s film work has been more than ‘fun’ so far, so I’m not that enthused.

  3. Thanks for the info — it’s probably not unreasonable for Gaiman to assume most of the audience would know it, but unfortunately I’m only an occasional reader of his blog.

  4. Disagreed with almost everything said about most of the books…interesting way to phrase it, I suppose. Clearly this means we should argue discuss the books when you feel so inclined/allowed to do so. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess Brasyl wasn’t the one you disagreed with us on.

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