BristolCon 2012: My first science fiction and fantasy convention

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Last year, I attended my very first science fiction convention! And they say you never forget your first time…

I decided to go firstly because I’m a reader and fan: to meet authors whose books I’ve enjoyed, such as Philip Reeve, Alastair Reynolds and Ben Jeapes, among others; to discover new authors and titles that I will enjoy. The second reason I went was as a writer. It’s a chance to be inspired, to meet other writers, to learn more about developing my craft and about genre publishing.

Not having been to a convention before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would everyone be in costume? Would people talk to me as a newcomer, or be huddled in their own impenetrable groups knit together through years of attendance? Would I be able to resist the temptation to come back laden with several years’ worth of reading material?

Spoiler alert… I had a great time! Listen to the episode for interviews with Joanne Hall, one of the convention organisers; author Philip Reeve (previously interviewed for the podcast), who is this year’s Guest of Honour, plus panel clips and chats with other fans at the event!


I recorded several panels – you can listen to the Apocalypses debate here, and there are more to come.

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BristolCon 2013 takes place 26th October – for full details visit

Attention, book lovers!

The agony of editing!If you enjoyed our interview with Kieran Mathers about his forthcoming fantasy novella, The Darkness Embraces, you might be wondering what happened to the new series of articles we promised you, charting his journey from first draft to publication.

Well the good news is, they’re already happening! But as we’ve decided to draw Impossible Podcasts to a close this year, you’ll find them at Bell, Book & Candle – the blog about reading, writing and the life in between, managed by our Stories In Print editor, P.G. Bell. The column, called ‘Mundane Adventures’, is updated every Saturday morning and is already proving popular as Kieran wrestles with the challenges of getting a book ready for market – from misunderstandings with his cover artist to rising above the sea of rubbish straight-to-Kindle titles. It’s fascinating and insightful stuff but don’t take our word for it – check out Part 1 and Part 2 for yourself. And we can promise some fascinating twists and turns in the next few weeks!

Friend of the podcast, Simon Kurt Unsworth

Meanwhile, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s occasional column ‘The Bellows’ also has a new home at Bell, Book & Candle. The World Fantasy Award-nominated author is preparing his own novel for publication, but it’s a very different journey to Kieran’s. P.G. will be re-posting the first four instalments over the next few weeks to bring new readers up to speed, before starting on the brand new material.

Lastly, P.G. recently announced that his blog is going to host a brand new podcast of its own. If you enjoyed our interview with Philip Reeve, you’ll want to hear Bell, Book & Podcast – a monthly interview with a notable writer, editor or publisher. The first instalment is due out in July, so keep those ears peeled!

If you’ve ever wondered how words get out of a person’s head, onto the page and then onto bookshelves, Bell, Book & Candle is worth a look.

The Next Big Thing – ‘The Darkness Embraces’

Skyrim DungeonWe’re all about the writing this week, as our reviewer and sometime podcaster Kieran Mathers takes us on a whirlwind tour of his forthcoming fantasy novella.

What’s the working title of your book?

‘The Darkness Embraces’

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Bizarrely enough, the idea came from playing Skyrim. In that, you often explore great underground tombs and temples, either on your own with a companion. While I was thinking about this general fantasy trope, I found it interesting to imagine what would happen if, instead of a small group fighting another small group, you had entire armies underground who were trying to prosecute a military campaign. So it was a narrative leap into the darkness of the cave, and the very first title was actually Legion in the Dark. Plus, I was raised in Yorkshire, and we’ve got massive caverns and a great tradition of caving there, so I tried to bring some of what I know about that to the book as well.
The book was actually my attempt at NaNoWriMo, the National Write a Novel in a month contest, but it turned out so well that I thought I’d continue it towards publication.

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‘The Trinket’ – a story of mystery, magic and murder

The MorriganWe’re pleased to announce that Psuedopod – ‘the world’s premier horror fiction podcast’ – have published The Trinket, a short, dark fantasy tale penned by our very own P.G. Bell. And it’s yours to download FREE, right here or listen in the player below.

When a young legionary finds himself caught between cowardice and friendship on the harsh frontier of Roman Britain, his only hope is a Celtic woman with a sinister agenda.  Can she really help him flee the bloodshed? And what powers lie within the golden pendant she so desperately seeks?

The story first appeared in the anthology The Phantom Queen Awakes from Morrigan Books. This updated version is read for audio by novelist John Trevellian and has already been selected by Amazing Stories magazine as one of their Picks of the Month.

So go ahead, have a listen and feel free to discuss the story here or on the Pseudopod forum.

“They burned Gederus in the yard outside the barracks. Dawn had brought the first break in rain for ten days and the men, still cold and filthy from the construction work, cast anxious glances at the black weight of cloud that threatened to stamp out and drown the struggling flames. Those closest to the pyre stole a guilty pleasure from its warmth.

All except Rufinius, who stood to attention at the head of the bonfire, his nostrils thick with the smell of pitch and roasting meat…”



The Bellows #4 – Life, and other Exciting Pursuits

A beard makes everything betterAuthor Simon Kurt Unsworth has had a very difficult few months. How will his change in circumstances affect his writing?

Read Simon’s previous articles here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

This is how it happens.

At the end of November, I finally finished all the amendments to the novel, was really happy with it and sent it off to John Berlyne. ‘Don’t expect anything fast’, he told me, so I didn’t, trying to forget about what might potentially happen next, about whether he’d like it or not, about whether he might be able to sell it to publishers. It’s not easy to clear something like that from your mind, though, and every day I opened my e-mail hoping to see something back from John. In the last month of last year, to be honest, I was making myself more than a little stressed about it, until I managed to find a way of stopping worrying about the novel. So, how did I do that?
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The Next Big Thing – ‘This Darkened World’

St Paul's CathedralFollowing on from P G Bell’s Next Big Thing feature, site editor Caleb Woodbridge takes his turn in the hotseat to say what he’s got in the writing pipeline!

What’s the working title of your book?

“This Darkened World”

Where did the idea for the book come from?

When I was in school, I was that awkward kid in the corner always with my nose in a book. If a magic portal had opened up to some other world, I’d have been through it like a flash, even if I had no idea what would happen to me or whether I’d ever come back. Continue reading