I filed my first story for a national newspaper this month. The Guardian are producing two ‘Guides to the Night’ at the end of October and the Guide editor, Phil Daoust, contacted me about writing a piece about telling ghost stories to live audiences.
It was massive fun to do, covering environment, story, audience and performance and it really helped me focus in on the mechanics of storytelling. The piece is scheduled for print on October 24th and I even get a photograph, hopefully looking moody standing in an archway. I suit archways.
I’ve also had two pieces published by SFX recently; the first covering the apparent discovery that the melanin in human hair could be used as a conductor in solar cells instead of silicone. It’s a dizzying claim that promises that solar cells could be produced for a quarter of their current cost and, in turn, offers up the possibility of cheap, affordable electricity for some of the world’s most inaccessible places. It’s a dizzying, beautiful concept which sounds too good to be true.
Which, unfortunately, it was. Not long after I filed the piece the student who’d made the discovery admitted it was a fraud. It’s a real shame too as it’s one of those ideas that should work.
My second pieces was much more successful, thanks largely to FantasyCon actually taking place instead of people just claiming it did. My Con report went live this week and includes details of books by Mike Shevdon and John Lenahan, my role in the BFS Awards ceremony and the news that Being Human novels are due next year. Parts of this piece are also scheduled to turn up in the magazine itself as part of their convention round-up.
More Twitter fiction, just a single one this time, sold to Jetse Devries’ excellent Outshine and published on September 10th. It’s a tiny little piece but I like it, and would I think, rather like to live in the city it describes.
With the game just a couple of months away, I can now announce that I’m one of the senior scenario writers on the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. Or, to put it another way, two decades upstream? 12-year old Al is a very, very happy kid knowing he still has this gig to look forward to.
I’ve not just got to play in the official Doctor Who universe I’ve also got to shape it a little bit, expanding a couple of the lesser alien races and building an interesting little playground that should make a fun location for players to bounce off from time to time. I’ve had immense fun and the two scenarios I’ve got in the game are a nice combination of classic Who (Something nasty in the green and pleasant land, let’s solve things with science! Run! Run some more!) and my own unique style (Government conspiracies! Brave new world! Radio 4!). I’m both very excited and a little nervous about how they, and the adventure seeds I contributed, are going to be received. Not long to go now…
A few years ago, I contributed a story to Andrew Hook’s ‘The Alsiso Project’ anthology. It was a gloriously odd idea, taking a spelling mistake and using it as the starting point for twenty three completely unique stories. Mine was a lecture, delivered by someone who has discovered that Alsiso is the name for something we haven’t quite reached yet, a linguistic tenth planet of sorts.
It was also pretty much hated on release, which is fine, each to their own after all. However, CERN Zoo just put up a spectacularly good review of both the book and my story which I’ve linked to here. I always rather liked my Alsiso story and it’s a real pleasure to see someone else does too.
So there we go, a busy couple of months. Thanks for sticking with me and check back soon for more pop culture goodness.