Breaking Bubbles

My timing is amazing. This is Exciting News that was in a Big Finish news post over a week ago so, naturally, I had to take days and days to perfect this post and certainly haven’t dashed it off in the last twenty minutes, that would be silly.

But yes, news! Lovely news! Which is this: I wrote a Big Finish play! It’s called Breaking Bubbles and it’s on the July release in the Doctor Who range and you can pre-order here which you totally should because it’ll be brilliant. Probably. I assume. Or, if you don’t like it, it’s an anthology release so there’s three more goes at finding a story you love, hurrah!

Actually, the company on the release is quite intimidating. There’s Mark Ravenhill, kind of a big deal playwright; Una McCormack, a writer I admire enormously (and a smashing person), and Nev Fountain who wrote my actual favourite Big Finish. So I’m both terribly excited to be on the same thing as awesome writers, and vaguely hoping one of them messed up a wee bit so I don’t look too shabby in comparison.

It’s a Sixth Doctor and Peri release, and the title story’s my one, so it’s called Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories, and in no way did I choose that title cause I was mainlining Breaking Bad at the time *eyedart*. (Actual story has absolutely nothing to do with Breaking Bad.)

Mostly I’d quite like to tell my ten year old self about this. Her face would be hilarious. And she’d also call me a liar. Which I think is terribly mean, but whatever, past self, whatever.

But, yes, so thrilled to have been able to write it. My fannishness is about as ridiculous and flaily as you might imagine. And I really, really appreciate the news announcement cause it wasn’t until I read that that I was almost certain it wasn’t some elaborate wind-up/mistake. (I’m not entirely sure I’ll be free of this feeling even after I have the CD in my hands.)

Also, I want to say an enormous thank you to Jonny Morris, who script-edited the release. His skill and guidance and suggestions were invaluable. And now I get to take credit for everything he made better, mwahahahahaha!

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Awards Eligibility and Recs

It’s that exciting time of the year where many creators of stuff fantasy and science-fictional do a very sensible thing: make a post about what creations of theirs are eligible for what awards.

This is particularly useful for the absent-minded, who may have missed or forgotten something, and the lazy, who really really appreciate it when writers let them know whether that smashing bit of short fiction they read is a short story, novelette or novella. Obviously, being practically perfect, I am neither of those things. Ahem. Yes.

So, in that spirit, the vast list of stuff that I’ve created this year that is eligible for nomination:

Verity! Podcast – eligible for the Best Fancast category in the Hugos (and the Non-Fiction category at the BSFA Awards, as I learnt yesterday). I co-host this with Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Lynne M. Thomas.

It’s quite good! At least, the episodes I listen to (the ones I’m not in) are. But possibly not terribly exciting if you don’t enjoy Doctor Who a bit, since that’s what we talk about. At length. Sometimes with smashing jokes!

And here’s the part of the post where I recommend other people who’ve made stuff in the last year that I think quite wonderful and worthy of your consideration (organised in Hugo categories, since that’s the thing I’m most familiar with):

Novels

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – Cause it’s Proper Good Sci-fi. Y’know when you’re growing up and you get better and better at reading and you suddenly find that reading Any Of The Books is now possible and it’s exciting and wonderful and you keep finding out new things, then, as time goes on, those feelings fade and reading is still great but you recognise ideas and tropes and plot twists and you grow sad, but then, every so often, there comes along a book and you’re relieved to find there’s still magic in the world after all? That.

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler – Much of this is a good, solid fantasy book. There’s nice plot, great action scenes, and fantasy!Napoleon (hurrah!). But what makes it great is that despite being military fantasy – a genre I tend to give a weary pass to being rather rubbish about including many interesting female characters – half the characters are women. The main female POV, Winter, is the best character in it, and all of her most important relationships are with other women. They are soldiers, spies and priestesses. This is the sort of fantasy I want to swim in.

Novelettes

The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard – Is de Bodard my favourite sci-fi writer currently writing? Possibly. She’s certainly my favourite sci-fi short story writer. This is space opera. Beautiful, elegantly written space opera.

The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal – A gorgeous tale that was denied its nomination last year for technical reasons. It remains a gorgeous tale this year and has now been published in what is presumably an acceptable nominable fashion. Hurrah!

Short Stories

All That Fairy Tale Crap by Rachel Swirsky – Such anger! And passion! And brilliance. Swirsky is an extraordinary writer, and this is the second best thing I’ve read of hers.

Ramesses on the Frontier by Paul Cornell – This has a wonderfully textured, layered tone. Dignity and absurdity, strangeness and the familiar, respect and humour are intertwined in a tale that I could so very easily have rolled my eyes at as it turned towards sentimentality. But I didn’t. Instead I found it beautiful.

Best Semi-prozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and Lightspeed have delighted me this year, in that order.

Fancasts

The Writer and the Critic – it’s still my favourite podcast, it’s still hilarious and thought-provoking, and it was one vote away from the Hugo short list last year. ONE VOTE. Come on, people.

Best Fanwriter

Foz Meadows – For she had written many great things this year. And, in times of great stress, exclaiming “old men yelling at clouds” has done wonders for my blood pressure.

Best Fan Artist

G. D. Falksen – creator of one of the most gorgeous pieces of fan art I’ve seen, The History of Doctor Who in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Campell Not-A-Hugo

Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice, dammit!

And I’m now two blog posts for two weeks in 2014! Most excellent.

Unfurl the New Year!

I’m sure I made some sort of decision, probably around Christmas after a little drinkie when everything seemed shiny and possible, that I would do more blogging this year. And that doesn’t seem very likely to happen if I can’t even manage one post in the first week of the year. Honestly, self, FOR SHAME.

Anyway, here we are, the first blog post of an exciting new year. I say exciting as we’ve finally lost that blasted thirteen at the end and have a nice, sensible even number of year instead. Not that I generally mind odd numbers, but I’m not overly fond of three. It’s very scratchy. I’m looking forward enormously to the thirties, clearly. Hopefully by then I’ll be too old and grown-up and have much more important things to care about.

This post is supposed to be reflective about the past and then attempt some vague optimism for the year ahead. I’m sure it’ll go brilliantly.

So stuff in the past – this would be so much easier if I felt it wasn’t cheating to look stuff up – well, 2013 is going to stick in my memory as the year I got nominated for a Hugo, which was, frankly, amazing. That was on my List of Stuff To Do that I wrote when I was about twelve (didn’t know what a Hugo was then, but Dune had one, so it was clearly A Good Thing). The list is no longer with me, but I’m pretty confident I’m not going to be able to achieve the Going Into Space one. Not cause I’ve got any moral objection to stowing away on one of Branson’s Space Tourist Flights, so much as a profound fear of heights, excessive G-force and suffocating to death.

What else?

2013 was also the First Year of Verity!, a delightful podcast that I make with five other wonderful people that has been going for a little over a year now and proved surprisingly popular. I say “I make”…what *I* actually do is jot down when Deb says we’re recording and try and remember to be at my computer at that time. And then say words that mostly come out in intelligible sentences (as listeners can tell from my various sounds of yarg, I don’t always succeed. Don’t blame me; blame the false opinions on Doctor Who I have to listen to).

It’s been so lovely doing it though. None of the others live in the UK, so, if I’m very lucky, I’ll see them once or twice a year. Getting to have a splendid chat about Doctor Who every week or so has been marvellous. And having other people enjoy it, and go to the trouble of telling us how much they enjoy it, is just absurd, and wonderful.

Elsewhere, it turns out that Christmas in the company of a small child is more or less as magical as Christmas as a small child. I spent Christmas with my family, and my two year old niece was an utter delight, managing to guilt me into going outside in stormy wind and rain because, by gum, we had magic reindeer food, and if we didn’t sprinkle it on the grass, how would the reindeer know where to land?

I also managed to accidently probably not really but kind of traumatise her with Tom Baker’s face rushing out of the time vortex tunnel thing. I’m sure she’s fine. But given her reaction, I’m no longer suspicious of people who claimed that the opening credits of Doctor Who frightened them as a child.

On the less good side, 2013 was quite rubbish for my health, alas. There’s a problem with a lot of mental health narratives related to depression. They go a bit like this: you’re feeling rubbish, things are getting worse and worse, you have these symptoms, you don’t know what to do, life is falling down, you seek medical help, things begin to get better. Hurrah!

And then what happens? What happens when five or ten years later any reasonable hope of ridding yourself of your illness is gone and you’re probably going to have to manage the symptoms for the rest of your life? You get tired, and fed-up of the cycle. You know you’re going to feel better at some point (even if you don’t really *believe* it) but when you feel fine you know that it won’t last. Your coping methods are becoming less effective, you are weary, and frightened of feeling both terribly weary and terribly awful at the same time. Somewhat should really make a nice animation about that. Or cartoon. I’m sure it’d be v cheering.

So that was fun, learning to deal with that. But it’s getting easier. I’d totally give myself seven out of ten stars there.

And that’s what I remember, more or less.

Oh, and I played way, way too much Star Wars The Old Republic.

And the cat went blind.

And I visited the Alamo.

And I wrote a thing whilst dying of flu that I can’t talk about right now but rest assured when I can I will mostly be V Impressed At My Ability to Write Half-Decently Whilst Suffering Horrendous Chills/Feverishness.

Onwards! To 2014! Where fishes fear to tread!

The plan goes something like this:

-more writing.

-better time management re day job/nice job/time off.

-less guilt on days off.

It’s a brilliant plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s a lovely dinosaur picture from Fascinating Pics:

fascinatingpics

Farewell, till next week! (I say, with a dash of heady optimism.)