Fantasy news round-up, February 3, 2012
A touch of Spy-Fi at the SFX Weekender
This weekend sees the UK’s answer to Comic-con in California, the SFX Weekender, arrive in Wales’ Prestatyn Sands holiday camp. To help mark the event, one of the event’s guest stars, author Stephen Hunt, is making his novella ‘In the Company of Ghosts’ free for download world-wide on Amazon Kindle from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th February – the actual days of the event.
‘In the Company of Ghosts’ is a thriller with elements of fantasy and horror, and is the first in Stephen Hunt’s new ‘Spy-Fi’ series. Agatha Witchley used to be a spy in the Cold War, but now she’s locked up in the UK’s premier maximum-security mental institution. She believes that the ghosts of the celebrity dead visit her padded cell and whisper the world’s secrets in her ears. Which is a big problem for the British government, because she’s the only one who can help them when an American billionaire is murdered in London in one of the strangest killings yet. The Home Secretary needs the case locked down and solved before the entrepreneur’s death becomes public knowledge and economic chaos ensures. The woman he has in mind for the job might be paranoid, she might be lethal, she might half-insane and drawing a pension, but it’s amazing how you can forgive that in a genius when it’s a genius’s help you need. Yes, the security forces need Agatha Witchley again. It’s just the ghosts of Churchill, Elvis and Groucho Marx they could do without. Hunt’s Kindle e-book can be downloaded free from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th February 2012 at these URLs…
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005UDJ97M; Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005UDJ97M; Amazon Germany: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B005UDJ97M; Amazon France: http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B005UDJ97M; Amazon Italy: http://www.amazon.it/dp/B005UDJ97M; Amazon Spain: http://www.amazon.es/dp/B005UDJ97M
The SFX Weekender, the ultimate European sci-fi and fantasy get-together, takes place this year at Prestatyn Sands holiday camp in Wales from 2nd-5th February 2012, and is due to set a record for attendance at the con. The residential event is sold out, although there’s still space to get day tickets for entry for fans wanting to meet the stars. There will be thousands of people filling the halls of Prestatyn Sands holiday park, enjoying autograph sessions, actor Q&As, panel games, late night films, author discussions, music and more.
Guests include TV and film stars like Anthony Head, Brian Blessed, Eve Myles and Sylvester McCoy, as well as top genre authors such as Stephen Hunt, Alastair Reynolds, Peter F Hamilton, China Mieville, Stephen Baxter, Robert Rankin and Joe Abercrombie. Comic-book stars this year include the co-creators of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. The official 2000AD 35th birthday party will also be held at the Weekender.
The SFX Weekender is run by the leading news-stand sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, which can be found online at www.sfx.co.uk
More on the SFX Weekender at www.sfxweekender.com
Holiday letter by JRR Tolkien sells for £1,700
A letter written by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, found unexpectedly in a book, has been sold for £1,700 to an internet bidder, at an auctioneers in Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK. Adrian Rathbone, an associate at Richard Winterton’s, said the letter had been found unexpectedly but as the seller’s family had no apparent links to the Lord of the Rings author, mystery surrounds the origins of the revealing letter.
It read: "I meant to send this letter to welcome you home. But both of us have been feeling ill. I am feeling better now, but I am afraid Edith is not – a v nasty cold. Rather a disgusting and costly holiday, but for us it was at any rate made memorable by your company and kindness. We thought of you yesterday, and hoped your journey home would be less unpleasant than our icy winds and snow have foreboded."
Neil Gaiman comments on end of Spawn dispute
Neil Gaiman has commented briefly on the settlement agreement that ends his decade-long legal dispute with Todd McFarlane over Medieval Spawn, Angela and Cogliostro, and a handful of derivative characters: “The main thing is, I feel like an awful lot of good things have come out of it. … I think the various decisions, particularly the Posner decision, were huge in terms of what the nature of dual copyright in comics is. What is copyrightable in comics is now something that there is a definite legal precedent for. There were a lot of things that were … misty in copyright that are now much clearer. And it’s of benefit to the creator.”
Todd McFarlane created Spawn in 1992 for his startup comic book company, Image Comics. The series chronicles the adventures of a murdered CIA agent who becomes a demon. In January 2002, Gaiman sued McFarlane in federal court in Madison, arguing he was a co-owner of supporting characters Medieval Spawn, a demon similar to Spawn that Gaiman created in the ninth issue at McFarlane’s invitation; Angela, a red-haired, scantily clad angel who works as a bounty hunter that Gaiman also created in Spawn No. 9; and Cogliostro, a one-time Spawn ally. He and McFarlane have spent the last nine years trying to figure out how much money the three characters have generated and the amount of royalties that Gaiman deserves.
Third two-book deal for Puffin fantasy novelist Curtis Jobling
The John Jarrold Literary Agency recently announced Puffin’s acquisition of two further fantasy novels in the 11+ Wereworld series by British author and artist Curtis Jobling. Shannon Park, Editorial Director at Puffin secured world rights for the books from the John Jarrold Literary Agency, for an undisclosed five-figure sum. The novels are both due for publication in 2013. The first volume in the series was published in January 2011 and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. Its immediate success has led to Puffin moving the second volume from early 2012 to the summer of 2011, with two further volumes following in 2012. Curtis has just completed a UK publicity tour for book three, Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk, in which he spoke to 2,500 students.
New releases from Book View Cafe
Book View Cafe has released the ebook version of Irene Radford’s, Guardian of the Balance Merlin’s Descendants, Vol. 1. Caught between her beloved father, the Merlin of Britain, and Arthur Pendragon, the old ways and the new, Wren must find a way to balance the forces of Chaos with peace. She nurtures the land and the people, creating a haven for anyone displaced by the turbulence. And for the safety of all she must guard her heart against the deep love she shares with Arthur, a married king who holds the future of all the Britains in his hands and his sword.
Book View Cafe has also launched Laura Anne Gilman’s writing advice book: Practical Meerkat’s 52 Bits of Useful Info for Young (and Old) Writers Writing is a craft. Publishing is a business. Today’s world requires you to understand both. A year’s worth of first-hand advice from the popular "Practical Meerkat" series, including: Knowing When Not to Complain (and how to do it); Bar Schmoozing with the Big Dogs (even if you don’t drink); Dealing with a Difficult Editor/Agent and 49 more!