Category Archives: Events

VCON35 poster by James Beveridge (click to enlarge / close)

Atomic Fez Proprietor Participates in VCon 35

IAM at WHC (photo by Christopher Teague)Fresh from the stunning world début of Atomic Fez in England this spring – at World HorrorCon 2010 and EasterCon’s “Odyssey 2010″ – Ian Alexander Martin will be attending VCon 35, in Richmond BC, from October 1st through 3rd inclusive!

Not only will Mr. Martin be in the Dealers’ Room making the entire catalogue of Atomic Fez books available – including the brand-​​new title Ponthe Oldenguine, by Andrew Hook – he will also be appearing on a panel or two, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Attend VCon and behold the Proprietor behind the mighty Atomic Fez Dealer’s Table of glory! Look to the image at left for an approximation of what this is like (with many thanks to Christopher Teague for supplying this extremely silly image).

VCON 35 — STEAMPUNK: FROM ALCHEMY TO ZEPPELINS

Tune up your gear and prepare to be amazed this fall, as the Lower Mainland’s annual
science-​​fiction and fantasy convention goes full steam into its 35th edition, October 1 – 32010.

Vancouver’s Convention of Science Fiction and Fantasy (AKA “VCon”), organised by the West Coast Science Fiction Association, offers every science-​​fiction and fantasy fan something to satisfy the imagination. Even if vampires, dragons, Cylons, or Mr. Spock are not your cup of tea, you may find Steampunk refreshing. A popular sub-​​genre of speculative literature, Steampunk invokes England’s Victorian era as it might have been with the addition of technology and invention. Vast and incredible in its ability to borrow from history and create a new reality, it’s yours to discover through the words and works of the Guests of Honor and program participants.

VCON35 poster by James Beveridge (click to enlarge / close)VCON, a non-​​profit event run by and for fans, is Canada’s oldest science-​​fiction and fantasy convention, having been promoting Science Fiction and Fantasy in Canada and the Pacific Northwest since 1971. This year, the Guests of Honour are Cherie Priest, a Seattle-​​based author of seven novels, including the steampunk adventure Boneshaker (nominated for a Nebula award, winner of the PNBA award); Jim Beveridge, an Aurora award-​​winning artist with a left-​​handed aesthetic; and Canadian musician Heather Dale, who performs her own Celtic music for the 21st Century. They will be joined by a lineup of writers, artists, editors, scientists, musicians and other guests.

VCON welcomes all those interested in science-​​fiction and fantasy. The 2010 program includes a multi-​​author book launch, panel discussions, author readings, art show and auction, games room, KidCon, costume contest, filk music [no, that’s not a typo], dance, writing and art workshops, an artists’ alley and dealers’ room.

VCON 35 will be held at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel (7571 Westminster Highway in Richmond), a five minute walk from the Richmond-​​Brighouse Skytrain Station on the “Canada Line”.

  • Three-​​day memberships (before Sept.2): $50; at the door: $60.
  • Discounts for students and children 12 & under.
  • Children 6 and under free.
  • Single-​​day memberships are available at the door.

Find more information and links on the website: www.vcon.ca.
Learn about VCON and related subjects via the Forums and Blogs.

WHOEVER YOU ARE, WHATEVER YOUR SCIENCE FICTION OR
FANTASY INTEREST, VCON HAS WHAT YOURE LOOKING FOR!

John Llewellyn Probert's Wicked Delights Wickedly Popular

While a trifle delayed in its official declaration, Atomic Fez is pleased to announce the winner of the “Wicked Champagne Breakfast with the Author” contest at World HorrorCon was Stephen Bacon!

Breakfast Winner (and author, right)
Breakfast Winner (and author, right)

During the Sunday-​​morning event, the proud recipient was regaled with witty banter and intelligent literary discussion over a fine selection of pastries, preserves, and one of the finest champagnes the publisher has ever had the joy of sampling.

Due to the incredible popularity of the fifth collection of John Llewellyn Probert’s short fiction, Wicked Delights has already been re-​​printed in the United Kingdom, and in North America the title is now being printed for its third time. Atomic Fez is over-​​joyed that the world thinks as highly of Mr. Probert’s writing as does the hard-​​working team of fiction scientists in the Atomic Fez laboratories.

PLEASE NOTE: United Kingdom, European, and other Foreign Regions have freshly-​​reprinted copies available now. Customers in these areas will have orders shipped immediately from Atomic Fez’s UK Centre of Operations using direct domestic mail.

While North American supplies of this title are temporarily unavailable, more copies will arrive at the Atomic Fez shipping complex in the Dominion of Canada at the beginning of July, for which orders are being taken now. These copies will be shipped using Canada Post immediately upon their arrival from the printers.

Breakfast (the eating part)
Breakfast (the eating part)
Stuff (click to enlarge/close)

Tidying-Up the Desk Before World HorrorCon / EasterCon

Stuff (click to enlarge/close)There are a few things to take care of and mention just before the brimless, nuclear-​​powered headgear is packed and the voyage of 4707 miles (7566 Kilometres) is embarked upon. Most of these wouldn’t have rated a full post themselves, or might have if one had time to think about things long enough to pad them out into their own little entries.

  • The books exist! All four of the titles simultaneously forming the inaugural publishing life of Atomic Fez are in completed and in boxes at the printers, and merely have to be shipped to the holding area prior to the opening of the Dealers’ Room doors in the Royal Albion Hôtel in Brighton. This day has been long coming, but has finally arrived. The book covers you see in the photo on the right are not actually books, but are some proofs created here in the laboratories for the purposes of confirming things before sending the files to the production centre. Actually having real books in the hand is something that will have to wait for about a week-​​or-​​so from right now. There are some copies in the hands of their authors right now, however, owing to specific Contributor’s Copies being needed for a few reasons prior to the event, in one case because “I really really really can’t wait and it’ll take a bit of effort to get used to it really existing”. We try to keep people as happy as possible around here.
  • Christopher Fowler and Maura McHugh have formed the excellent “Campaign for Real Fear” (with the delightful ‘cut line’ “Darkness is for Everyone”) in order to bring new voices of horror to the reading public’s awareness no matter the age or gender of the author. Prospective participants – experienced or not, previously published or not, all are welcome – are invited to submit 500 words to the people involved, following the guidelines on the web-​​site TTA Press has become involved, promising to publish some of the entrants in their excellent periodical Black Static.
  • Cover of Black Static 15Speaking of Black Static, that magazine’s 15th issue (the one for February/​March, with the scary bunny on the front) has the début of the novella-​​length tale “Eight Small Men” which will appear in James Cooper’s collection The Beautiful Red, officially hitting the streets on April 2nd, although copies might slip through security at World HorrorCon in Brighton. If you were wondering if this book was ‘your kind of thing’ or not, then grab a copy of Black Static Issue #15 and discover both the worth of James’s writing and the excellence which is the bi-​​monthly magazine Black Static.
  • If there’s a particular author who writes fantasy, horror, speculative fiction, a mixture of any of those, or simply ‘scary stuff’, you may very well find some information from them about their latest work over on the “Ask the Authors and Artists” threads on the British Fantasy Society’s message boards. Thanks to the efforts of the English author Allyson Bird, there are individual topics for more than 84 different writers and artists there for your perusal. While there, check out the Atomic Fez Publishing thread in the “Pr0mote Your Projects!” section.
  • Becoming a member of the British Fantasy Society isn’t something you’ll go wrong with either. For the cost of joining you’ll get a stonking great deal on attending the annual convention, plus more fiction and poetry than you can shake a stick at. Plus, if you’re a writer, then there are opportunities to submit your writing for competitions and inclusion in regular periodicals, as well as critical, supportive analysis by peers. Atomic Fez is a member… and you want to be just as cool as that, right…?
  • Finally: don’t forget that if you’re attending WHC, simply buying a copy of Wicked Delights at that event – but only if you buy a copy there – means you’re entered in a contest to share a champagne breakfast with the book’s author: John Llewellyn Probert and his retinue! Buy a book, read some great stories, enjoy the writing, plus possibly get to break your fast with that devilishly good-​​looking JLP with his infamous whip-​​like wit! No matter the result, everyone wins!

Win a Wickedly Delightful Champagne Breakfast!

METRO VANCOUVER, BC: Atomic Fez Publishing today announced their scheme to ‘bring a little joy to the morning’ of their loyal customers at the upcoming World Horror Convention 2010 by way of a Champagne Breakfast with the author of Wicked Delights: John Llewellyn Probert.

Attending any World Horror Convention is something special, but this year is the first time that the event will have been held off the North American continent. Additionally, World HorrorCon – held March 25th28th in Brighton, England – is the event at which Atomic Fez will be making their maiden publications available to the buying public for the first time.

CLICK HERE to get more details and order copiesWicked Delights is Mr. Probert’s fifth collection of short stories, and during WHC will be specially priced to make the volume of 18 delectable tales particularly desirable to the horror connoisseur.

One lucky purchaser of the collection will discover something extra amongst the book’s 352 pages of highly-​​talented writing: a “Golden Ticket” that will enable them to have the experience of a lifetime and something to make their trip to WHC fit for the history books: a Champagne Breakfast with the author!

The Wicked Author (Click to  enlarge / close)This “Golden Ticket” will allow the bearer to enjoy the delights of a thoroughly wicked Champagne Breakfast in the company of both Mr. Probert, his publisher (Ian Alexander Martin), along with their retinue on the Sunday morning of WHC. All the bearer need bring with them is the ticket, a sense of humour, and a healthy appetite… and probably some clothes.

While only copies of Wicked Delights purchased at WHC are valid for this contest, the hardback collection may be obtained from either AtomicFez.com or better book dealers.


Advance Praise for Wicked Delights:

A STAR! from “Publishers Weekly”!18 gruesome, unsettling, and often unnervingly funny tales in his wide-​​ranging fifth short story collection. … Vividly creepy images… are all the more compelling when rendered in Probert’s breezy style. An illuminating and frequently hilarious afterword ends the collection on a gentle note.

Publishers Weekly, February 8th, 2010,
‘Fiction Book Reviews (SF/​Fantasy/​Horror)’

The delightfully wicked Mr. Probert wields his prose like a scalpel. His imagination is impressively warped and gruesome, and yet his tales have an unrepentantly English reticence. There’s dark humour here, and unexpected poignancy — indeed, the book is as full of surprises as the man himself. Horror is lucky to have him.

Ramsey Campbell (author of “Just Behind You”
and “Creatures of the Pool”)

Proprietor Participates in “Pitch Black” Rights Fair Frenzy

PITCH BLACK: THE GENRE RIGHTS FAIR AT WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2010

Logo of World Horror Convention 2010 (Brighton, England)It is common at the World Horror Convention to have ‘Pitch Sessions’, usually involving two or three editors or agents. In keeping with the avowed intent of the organizers of this year’s WHC to run a ground-​​breaking professional event, World Horror Convention 2010 in Brighton is doing things a bit differently.

Welcome to PITCH BLACK.

For the first time at such an event, authors and anthology editors will have the opportunity to come together with representatives from the international publishing industry and literary agents to sell and buy genre book rights in both the English language and translation. If you have a sure-​​fire project that you believe could be a commercial success, then you will be able to bring it to PITCH BLACK, Europe’s first-​​ever Genre Rights Fair, where you will be able to pitch new ideas or sell English and foreign-​​language rights, as well as audio and e-​​book rights for existing works. Imagine a mini–Frankfurt– or London International Book Fair dedicated to horror publishing; and not just horror – because the literature of the fantastic covers fantasy, science fiction and dark crime as well.

The Proprietor of Atomic Fez Publishing, Ian Alexander Martin, stated that he was very much looking forward to the event. “Though the budget for this one-​​man operation is exceedingly limited,” Mr. Martin said, “there’s always a way to make things work for something that really sounds like ‘your kind of thing’, you know.”

Among those publishers and agents participating* in the event are:

  • ASH-​​TREE PRESS (Barbara and Christopher Roden, Canada)
  • ATOMIC FEZ PUBLISHING (Ian Alexander Martin, Canada)
  • VASILIS BABOURIS (Greece)
  • CHIZINE PUBLICATIONS (Sandra Kasturi and Brett Alexander Savory, Canada)
  • CORSAIR (James Gurbutt, UK)
  • DORIAN LITERARY AGENCY (Dorothy Lumley, UK)
  • GOLLANCZ/​ORION (Jo Fletcher, UK)
  • JEMMA PRESS (Lefteris Stavrianos, Greece)
  • LITTLE, BROWN (Donna Condon, UK)
  • NIGHT SHADE BOOKS (Jeremy Lassen, USA)
  • PS PUBLISHING (Peter and Nicky Crowther, UK)
  • SHIEL LAND ASSOCIATES (Ian Drury, UK)
  • SNOWBOOKS (Emma Barnes, UK)
  • ZENO AGENCY LTD. (John Berlyne & John Parker, UK)

Only registered members of World Horror Convention 2010 will be allowed into PITCH BLACK, but instead of burdening publishers and agents with unpublished manuscripts (unless the publishers actually want them to!) authors must fill out and print the PITCH BLACK COVER SHEET on the convention website (www.whc2010.org/pitchblack02.html) for each project they wish to pitch. This sheet will have all the author’s contact details, together with a synopsis of the work being offered, and the author’s reasons why the person being ‘pitched to’ should publish, reprint or represent the writer and their work. No appointment is necessary, ‘pitchers’ just have to wait until there is an opening at the table they wish to pitch to. They will then be able to discuss their ideas in person, and those listening can take information away the information to decide if they want to follow it up at a later date.

Presenters should also consider bringing the first three chapters/​100 pages of a novel, a short story from a collection, or the contents table/​list of contributors for an anthology concept, in case they are asked to supply more supporting material.

THOSE PITCHING PROJECTS /​ WORKS /​ THEMSELVES ARE ASKED TO PLEASE REMEMBER THEY WILL NEED TO PRINT OFF MULTIPLE COPIES OF THE REGISTRATION FORM AND WORK SAMPLES IF THEY PLAN TO PITCH MORE THAN ONE PROJECT, OR TO APPROACH MORE THAN ONE REPRESENTATIVE.

With hundreds of new and established writers from all over the world attending the convention, this is a perfect opportunity for agents and publishers to find the next Big Genre Writer, or to exploit rights for the next Big Genre Best-​​Seller.

The Royal Albion Hotel’s “Bar Rogue”, location of PITCH BLACK (cick to enlarge/close)PITCH BLACK will run from NOON until 5:00 p.m. on THURSDAY, MARCH 25 in The Royal Albion Hotel’s Bar Rogue [image, right].

Throughout the event there will be a full bar, which will also sell tea, coffee and snacks, open in the immediate area. There is also a more informal area for meetings and follow-​​up discussions, along with an outdoor balcony area overlooking Brighton Pier and the historic beach-​​front.

PITCH BLACK is a unique opportunity for publishers, agents, writers and editors to get together in one place and help shape the future of the genre. If you work in the literature of the fantastic, then this is the one event you cannot afford to miss…

[* Please note: the convention is not responsible for the non-​​attendance of any of the participating publishers, editors or agents]


Celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary, The World Horror Convention will be held over March 25 – 28, 2010 in the historic Regency seaside city of Brighton, on the picturesque south coast of England. This is the first time that the event has been away from the North American continent.

The theme is BRIGHTON SHOCK! – A CELEBRATION OF THE EUROPEAN HORROR TRADITION FROM VICTORIAN TIMES TO THE PRESENT DAY, and the convention will host numerous panels, talks, presentations, readings, workshops and displays devoted to horror, macabre, mystery and thriller fiction and art in all its varied and fearsome forms.

The venue will be the historic Royal Albion Hotel [image, below left], which is more than 180 years old, situated directly opposite the iconic Brighton Pier and a stone’s throw from the beach. There are plenty of alternative hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in the immediate surroundings, catering for all budgets, and Brighton is filled with restaurants, wine bars and clubs. Antiquarian shopping precinct The Lanes, the Sea Life Centre and the world-​​famous Royal Pavilion are also within easy walking distance.

The Royal Albion Hotel, dawn (click to enlarge/close)Brighton has direct transport links from Gatwick International Airport and the centre of London, and is easily accessible for overseas visitors, especially those from mainland Europe. And if you want to extend your stay, then Britain’s annual National Science Fiction Convention, Odyssey 2010, is being organised near to Heathrow airport the following weekend. Come for World Horror and stay for EasterCon!

Author Guests of Honour are TANITH LEE and DAVID CASE, Artist Guests of Honour are LES EDWARDS and DAVE CARSON, and Editor Guest of Honour is HUGH LAMB. Best-​​selling author JAMES HERBERT is the Special Guest of Honour and INGRID PITT is Special Media Guest. Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner BRIAN LUMLEY will also be attending, along with HWA Special Guest DENNIS ETCHISON. JO FLETCHER is Mistress of Ceremonies for the weekend.

Other writers, artists, agents, editors and publishers already registered as attending World Horror Convention 2010 include: ABADDON BOOKS (UK), John Joseph Adams, ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS (UK), Kelley Armstrong, Mike Ashley, ASH-​​TREE PRESS (Canada), ATOMIC FEZ PUBLISHING (Canada), Anne Billson, Randy Broecker, Edward W. Bryant Jr., BURNING EFFIGY PRESS (Canada), Pat Cadigan, Ramsey Campbell, CENTIPEDE PRESS (USA), Mort Castle, CHIZINE PUBLICATIONS (Canada), Vincent Chong, Simon Clark, Lawrence C. Connolly, Storm Constantine, Basil Copper, Paul Cornell, Steve Crisp, Peter Crowther, DARK ARTS BOOKS (USA), Ellen Datlow, Scott Edelman, Bob Eggleton, Steven Erikson, Gemma Files, Paul Finch, Christopher Fowler, Jane Frank, W. Paul Ganley, GOLLANCZ/​ORION PUBLISHING GROUP (UK), Simon R. Green, Heather Graham, IMMANION PRESS (UK), Dominic Harman, John Jarrold, JEMMA PRESS (Greece), Stephen Jones, Graham Joyce, Paul Kane, Nancy Kilpatrick, Robert S. Knowlton (Bob Hadji), Allen Koszowski, Joel Lane, Roberta Lannes, Tim Lebbon, Samantha Lee, D.F. Lewis, John Ajvide Lindqvist, LITTLE, BROWN (UK), Brian Lumley, Dorothy Lumley, Kristina Lloyd, Simon Maginn, Patrick Marcel (France), Tony Masero, Graham Masterton, L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims, Paul MCAuley, Gary MCMahon, Farah Mendlesohn, MORRIGAN BOOKS (Sweden), MORTBURY PRESS (UK), Mark Morris, Lisa Morton, Yvonne Navarro, Adam L.G. Nevill, NEWCON PRESS (UK), Kim Newman, NIGHTJAR PRESS, NIGHT SHADE BOOKS (USA), Reggie Oliver, Weston Ochse, Michel Parry, Stephen W. Parsons, PENDRAGON PRESS (UK), Sarah Pinborough, David Pirie, John Llewellyn Probert, PS PUBLISHING (UK), QUERCUS BOOKS (UK), Tina Rath, REBELPUBLISHERS (South Africa), Tony Richards, David A. Riley, Barbara & Christopher Roden, Nicholas Royle, Lynda E. Rucker, Mark Samuels, SCI FI WIRE, SCREAMING DREAMS (UK), Steven Savile, Robert Shearman, Douglas Smith, Guy N. Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, SNOWBOOKS (UK), Alexandra Sokoloff, David A. Sutton, TARTARUS PRESS (UK), TELOS PUBLISHING (UK), Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem, TRANSWORLD (UK), Lisa Tuttle, Stephen Volk, Ian Watson, Conrad Williams, F. Paul Wilson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and ZENO AGENCY LTD. (UK), amongst many others.

The Horror Writers Association’s BRAM STOKER AWARDS are to be held on the Brighton Pier (click to enlarge/close)The Horror Writers Association’s prestigious annual BRAM STOKER AWARDS for excellence in horror and fantasy fiction will be presented at a gala Fish & Chips Banquet on the evening of Saturday, March 27. This event will be one of the highlights of the convention, and will include past Stoker Award winners and our Guests of Honour as award presenters. Seating is limited and tickets are selling fast, so if you have not booked yet and still want to attend, please go to: www.whc2010.org/banquet-tickets01.html and register now via the PayPal buttons.

There are still a few places left in the Writing Workshops held over the Saturday and Sunday of the convention by PAUL McAULEY (“Creative Writing”) and NANCY KILPATRICK (“Vampire Fiction”), who will also be holding a manuscript critique. More details can be found on the website.

As of Monday, January 25, 2010 there were just 25 memberships still available. All information about the convention, hotel and location is available on our website: www.whch2010.org, including an easy to use PayPal Registration Form (which will automatically convert your payment at the current exchange rate). Or you can print off the form and send it with a cheque (sterling only) to: World Horror Convention, PO Box 64317, London, NW6 9LL, England.

With numerous writers, artists, editors, publishers and booksellers expected to attend from all over the world, this is the one event that the dedicated horror fan, professional, collector or dealer cannot afford to miss!

Wish you were here? Well, now you can be…

WORLD HORROR CONVENTION
MARCH 25 – 28, 2010
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND
www.whc2010.org

Some Bits & Bobs by Way of a Catch-Up: Up-Coming Books & Tablets

UPDATED JANUARY 272010

Let’s start with the definite points, shall we?

The files for all four of the books are at the printers and I am now waiting for proofs of the covers and text blocks to arrive so they can be approved. At this point, it’s pretty-​​much a formality, as things have been checked six ways to Sunday by now, so it would take something fairly major to require any file to be replaced.

All Four Books Will be Available at Both UK Events: World HorrorCon & Odyssey 2010
CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies CLICK HERE to get more details and order copies

I’m quite looking forward to visiting the UK again, even if it does mean I check into hotels a total of five times in a period of two-​​and-​​a-​​half weeks. While this schedule could be described as “living the rock star life”, but it’s unlikely I’ll be seeing anything of the rest of the events which go with that.

There are a few days around the two events I’ll be using to do something “fun” around London, but mostly I’ll be stood behind a table verbally accosting passing civilians and urging them to part with their ready cash in return for which they will receive a copy of one of those fine books above this paragraph. My, they look lovely, don’t they? Wouldn’t one of those look great in your driveway? Take one for a spin today! Just click the cover of a book to be taken to the details page and purchase one now!

Sorry… I was just practicing.

Kobo logoIn the middle of last week, Kobo announced that, with applications already in development for Windows 7, Android and [cough] additional operating systems, the service will be available for [cough] various tablet and [cough–cough] slate computers in February 2010.

For those of you just catching-​​up with this, Kobo (www.kobobooks.com) is a global eReading service that offers mobile applications on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm Pre, as well as support for netbooks and dedicated eReaders, like the Sony eReader. Kobo’s selection of popular books includes more than two million titles with content from major publishers including Atomic Fez.

Now, let’s return to that announcement about these [cough] additional operating systems. You see, once you’ve named Windows 7 and Android, there’s not too many left. At least, not when it comes to these “various tablet and slate computers” which are suddenly going to be supported next month by the e-​​book software platform. Other than the smart-​​phone hardware platforms, there aren’t many hand-​​held devices that Kobo doesn’t already support, for one thing. Plus, there’s not too many hand-​​held devices that don’t use either Windows of some flavour or Android already.

Except for one: Apple.

The OS for Apple computers is “OSX”, and the one for the iPhone and iPod Touch is the iPhone OS. There’s a big announcement in the middle of next week hosted by Apple’s Steve Jobs, with what’s described as a major product announcement. This, everyone agrees, has to be the long-​​awaited Apple tablet-​​based device, likely to hit shelves somewhere between March and June.

This doesn’t exist. Not at all. Nope.All of this fits perfectly with what many guessed – including myself at one point – to be the schedule for the little device that Steve has wanted to see in production probably since his little hand-​​held personal organizer Eliza was soundly pilloried by almost everyone who tried to use it. That was an experience that he probably wants to put behind him finally by creating something which does the same sort of thing: provide truly portable full computing ability for the masses. He’s frequently mocked net-​​books as being under-​​powered and lame when it comes to anything beyond the basics of typical users’ tasks.

Granted, he also regularly mocked computers with colour screens and mobile music devices, only to introduce the Apple IIGS and the original iPod, so just about anything he publicly says against some idea has to be taken with less than a grain of salt.

At one point, though, it seemed like the little hardware he yearned to release was about to début last autumn, coinciding with Mr. Jobs’s return to the office after his kidney operation. Scuttlebutt suggests that, while this was the plan, it was delayed from that event’s launch due to a few bugs still being present in the system. Apple’s marketing catchphrase at one point was “it just works”, and that approach to their products being as simple as ‘open the box, plug it in, turn it on, start doing stuff you want to’ drives the company inwardly and very much aids their sales figures. Indeed, that’s why so many people seemingly are eschewing the world of Windows-​​based computing and opting for the Apple products which may be initially expensive, but prove to be more cost-​​effective with their little down-​​time and ease of usage training. Logically, were the dingus to be released and not work too well, Steve would have another Eliza on his hands, and possibly destroy his liver drowning his sorrows.

Kobo is being very smart – they always have been, and that’s why they’re handling the mass-​​market distribution of Atomic Fez’s books – and is hedging their bets by saying they’ll be supporting both “tablet” and “slate” personal computing devices come next month. Both terms are being used to describe this mysterious Apple device, and it’s possible Kobo’s marketing boffins don’t even know themselves what the thing’s called yet. No matter what the name, they’re declaring themselves to be “ready to go”, once they know where it is they’re going, certainly.

ADDED 2010-​​01-​​27: Kobo has confirmed they’ll have all books published through their platform as readable on the iPad, as well as having an app ready for the tablet when it hits the shelves in late-​​March of this year. Head here for the official declaration of “all will be well” from the Kobo people.

So, what’s the big deal about the tablet? No one’s ever made one catch-​​on with the public’s desire; we already have notebooks for those who want portable full-​​computer power, and netbooks for those who want lighter devices that handle the simpler tasks only; for those who want something in their pocket as communication there’s the iPhone, Blackberry, or any other ‘smartphone’; what part of the technology market isn’t being served in some way already?

Imagine all of those devices in the previous paragraph in one, and still be small enough to put in the smallest briefcase or reasonable-​​sized shoulderbag. Now add a TV and an e-​​book reader. That’s what this thing is likely to be.

This may be the thing that blows open technology to a level where we’re looking at the world of Blade Runner, Max Headroom, Star Trek, and 2001: a Space Odyssey (minus HAL, one hopes) as not just being possible, but actually being here. The thing I’ve always grumbled about with ‘e-​​reader hardware’ is that the only damned thing they do is show you a book, with the possible addition of playing music. This, to me, isn’t worth the $300 – 500 price tag. You can get a decent netbook all tricked out with extras for that, and even a basic laptop can be had for that price in the USA.

This also doesn’t exist. I’m serious! Really!!The Apple tablet promises to be all of the above and more, plus really thin and very sexy. Netbooks and laptops can be used to read books, but the horizontal rectangle of their screens aren’t the tall shape we’re used to for “book reading”. You can turn your laptop or netbook 90 degrees, sure, but you’re now making the hard-​​drive work at an angle it wasn’t designed to work at, the most frequent cause of damage requiring repair, according to one serviceman I read a letter from. The new tablet is designed to work in both position, apparently, and even has connections on two sides specifically to make this as easy as possible on your desk or wherever you need to set it.

Rumour has it that the thing will also stream television and movie content for a monthly fee, and some suggest it will also offer cellular signal support. I don’t buy that last one, frankly; it may be slim and small, but no one would want to use a cell phone the size of a pocket book anymore.

If you listen to all the rumours, the Apple tablet is also responsible for Steve Jobs’s new kidney, will shortly be solving the Middle East Crisis, make you twelve pounds slimmer, and provide Haïti with new buildings and infrastructure inside of a fortnight.

There’s a huge difference between something being “way cool” and something being truly “life altering”. On the whole, this little baby is very much the first one, and for a few people might be the second but only because they’ve convinced themselves of the matter.

No reason to not get excited about it. Perspective is a good thing on the whole, though.

Proprietor Participates as Part of Pan Panel at World HorrorCon 2010

As part of World HorrorCon in late March 2010, held in Brighton, UK, Ian Alexander Martin–the Proprietor of Atomic Fez Publishing – will be participating in one of the discussion forums.

CLICK HERE to log-on to their site (new tab or window)Those interested in either hearing him babble, are intrigued by the on-​​going publishing of various publisher’s homages to the “Pan Books of Horror”, or both, can ‘scratch that itch’ by attending the following event:

  • Sunday, March 28th, NOON – 1:00 PM
    IN ALL BUT NAME: THE NEW PAN BOOKS OF HORROR (Lounge)
    “Ever since the original series of The Pan Book of Horror Stories ended in 1989, there have been various attempts to revive or emulate the series, including a re-​​branding by Pan itself!”
    [PLEASE NOTE: all programming is subject to change on the day]

Note that the programming of this event is limited to the fact that Ian has confirmed his availability for the discussion, and the programming committee has acknowledged his acceptance of their invitation to take part. More than this has not been revealed, so its possible that all of this could change closer to the actual time of the convention. Those attending are recommended to check schedules as they are posted on the day.

Those of you not yet registered are either going to be very disappointed, or are about to go and register on their site right away. PLEASE NOTE: The membership rate will rise to £100 at midnight (UK time) on January 31, 2010, and there will not be any at-​​the-​​door or day memberships available. So, register for one of the few remaining spots now, or be out of luck later, really.

Bits and Bobs: at Home and Abroad

Things around the Atomic Fez Laboratories continue to be exciting and forward moving.

At the moment, the laboratories of Atomic Fez are full of people juggling a large number of balls in the air, thereby maintaining them in a bit of a holding pattern. There have been some solid developments here and there, so its time to publicly declare where things are at, in case you think either I’ve died or gone to ground altogether.

Atomic Fez has secured proper Dealers’ Tables for both World HorrorCon in Brighton come March as well as EasterCon/​Odyssey 2010 in Heathrow just inside April the next week-​​end, I’m registered for both events and for hotel rooms there, but there’s no flight booked as yet (I’m hoping some airline will have an amazing sale for late-​​spring ’round trips).

The UK shipping charges for Atomic Fez pre-​​orders have dropped to a fraction of what they were earlier, and this greatly helps the sales of books to English people and possibly also across the Severn Bridge… Rumour has it that, amidst the constant rain, they also speak a variety of The Queen’s English there.

CLICK HERE to get more details on this title (new tab or window)Rhys Hughes’s novel, Twisthorn Bellow, has gone through its final editing & typesetting stages, the cover art by Steve Upham is done, and the e-​​book is nearly complete. The title will shortly be available for sale on the Atomic Fez site in multi-​​format e-​​book form – thanks to the wonderful efforts of b10MediaWorx people – as well as directly from Shortcovers. The paper version still waits for March, as do the other three books; plus both Rhys and I still have to go through a proper ARC of his novel to make sure this final version of the text is typo-​​free.

CLICK THROUGH to order a copy (new tab or window)The Terror and the Tortoiseshell by John Travis is also fully edited and about to be checked for every single typographical error, then the “book block” will be complete. The cover art is still being completed by Mr. Upham, and as soon as that’s finalized then this book will also be made available in multiple e-​​book formats on the Atomic Fez site and through Shortcovers’ software platforms. The only thing stopping that being offered is the cover art, plus then receiving the same “e-​​pub” formatted file from Shortcovers, as b10MediaWorx is practically finished that task as well. Reviews about this début ought to be strongly in favour of more in the “Benji Spriteman” series. They will not be disappointed in that regard.

CLICK THROUGH to order a copy (new tab or window)John Llewellyn Probert’s collection, Wicked Delights, had its cover art complete before I’d even read a word of the stories, so that’s never appeared on the list of ‘things to do’. Meanwhile, those pesky little things called “words” continue to be edited/​proofed by me. The collection’s material is the usual wonderful Probert roller-​​coaster mixture of light and dark tales, with a tiny little bit of naughtiness thrown in here and there, but hardly enough to have eye-​​brows shooting skyward in this time of the Internet providing 247 Donkey Porn. Expect to read raves in reviews and probable awards. Again, just as soon as the two of us agree on some mild re-​​writes, the use of punctuation, and where paragraph breaks occur, then the text will be shoved out through Shortcovers and the Atomic Fez site in e-​​book formats, while the two of us go through the ARC carefully.

CLICK THROUGH to order a copy (new tab or window)The Beautiful Red by James Cooper (plus a praise-​​filled introduction by Christopher Fowler) is being completed by the gifted author now, and editing of that ought to be fairly swift and trouble-​​free, especially as at least one of the stories I’ve already had my grubby mitts on when it was initially published. The front and back art for this book is already completed by able art dabbler David Gentry. Again, edits will first be be finalized and then the beast is zapped into e-​​book formats and simultaneously got into ARCs for proofing by Mr. Cooper and myself. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a solid second group of tales from this excellent author.

So, in essence, things continue to develop and one continues to hope that the rest of the world falls into the plans they way they ought to.

It is my sincere hope that you are all well.

Other things worth noting around the world are as follows:

Other books being looked forward to arriving in the Atomic Fez Labs are:

  • Gary McMahon’s pair of novellas, the single volume titled Different Skins, and the author’s written some filth in the front, so that’ll have to be hidden from the wife (Screaming Dreams, 2009)
  • John Llewellyn Probert’s collection of supernatural adventures featuring the detective pairing of Samantha Jephcott and Mr Massene Henderson, called Against the Darkness (Screaming Dreams, 2009). Apparently there’s something scribbled in the front of this volume as well, but one suspects it uses words with more syllables than the ones Mr. McMahon used.
  • Allyson Bird’s Bull Running for Girls (Screaming Dreams, 2008)
  • Christopher Fowler’s seventh in the Bryant & May series: Bryant and May: On the Loose

Highly recommended are:

  • The Equivoque Principle by Darren Craske (The Friday Project, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2008) that I’ve just completed reading. Cracking Victorian-​​era magician and adventurer Cornelius Quaint leads his family of circus performers around London solving a spree of murders. There may be a review here in a day or two. There’s a second Cornelius Quaint novel due in the spring which I hope to purchase and get him to sign.
  • Tris Hussey’s book about blogging, Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro, is available for pre-​​order through a variety of retailers, and you can enquire about it at Biz Books in Vancouver.

Music we're loving right now:

  • Muse’s latest album: The Resistance
  • The Kinks albums, especially the 1960s ones
  • Ray Davies and The Crouch End Festival Chorus, The Kinks Choral Collection

Digital British Invasion Commences

CLICK HERE to learn more about this titleYes, news continues to be made by the only nuclear-​​powered, hat-​​wearing publisher in the Dominion of Canada: Atomic Fez! Today we announce next year’s publication of the crime and mystery début novel The Terror and the Tortoiseshell written by Mr. John Travis (aka: “The Shy One”)! It’s “geer”, as they say in Liverpool!

The digital form of The Terror and the Tortoiseshell will be released later this autumn on the Atomic Fez site, in a variety of DRM-​​free e-​​book formats! The traditional, analogue, paper-​​based edition will be officially released to the cheering masses March 25th, 2010, with an official launch at World HorrorCon, held that week-​​end in Brighton, England.

In keeping with the approach of ‘making good books available at fair value’, the price of this novel in the newly re-​​mastered digital e-​​book format will be just $9.99 CAD/​USD or £4.99 UKP. Additionally, copies will be available via the ‘ShortCovers’ software platform! Later, the handy‑sized, jacket-​​less hardcover will be only $34.99 CAD/​USD or £19.99 UKP [plus shipping and handling]!!

The Terror and the Tortoiseshell is a noir–styled murder mystery with deft touches of both the Comedy and Science Fiction genres, but primarily it honours the classic hard-​​boiled detective novels of the 1940s.

John’s book joins the spring release of Twisthorn Bellow¸ the latest novel by Mr. Rhys Hughes (aka: “The Funny One”). As mentioned last week, the publishing date for Rhys’s book has been changed to March 25th, 2010, with an official launch at Odyssey 2010 in Heathrow, England the following week-​​end.

Plus, watch this space for announcements concerning two more brand-​​new titles which have yet to be heard of anywhere in the known world:

  • a collection of terror-​​filled tales!
  • a collection of smut-​​filled horror!

Both are timed to lovingly part you and your money at HorrorCon 2010, right along with Rhys and John’s novels!

All this and a nuclear-​​powered hat! Huzzah!

Post-Shebeen Event Post About Shebeen Event

A few weeks ago there was held the Atomic Fez Publishing Launch /​ Educate the Masses /​ Knees-​​Up Event which you learned about all over the interwebs (but most notably right here). “How did it go?” you cry! Why, thank you for asking!

Günther Knows People

The event was quiet and somewhat lightly-​​attended with maybe a dozen or twenty people, all of whom were wonderfully happy to be there and asked delightful questions and were terribly supportive. Hooray! The smallness of the crowd wasn’t too surprising, as it was a Monday evening, in the middle of a beautiful spell of weather, and there was a lack of local media making so much as a peep about it in advance (despite material blanketing in-​​boxes all over the place).

Much of the evening was spent explaining the latest developments in the World of Publishing and the ramifications of those changes, especially adding the increase of demands for the getting out of words to people to read them. Here’s how I summed things up at the start of my fez-​​wearing chat:

Since the time of Gutenberg’s initial experiments with carving individual letters on the tops of wooden blocks, there has been littler alteration in the methods of creating books and their delivery to people who wish to read them. The provision of the book in large quantities has, in fact, been the single most contributing factor in raising the literacy rates to their present state. Health, technology, and nearly all other aspects of life have been affected in one way or another by this simple improvement in information distribution.

The publishing world is currently experiencing the greatest period of anarchy since monks laboriously copying books out by hand were replaced with the mechanized transfer of ink to paper. The notion of detailing this situation, and its societal influence, into 20 minutes is insane,which is why I’m just the guy to do that. The notion of beginning a publishing firm in the midst of this, especially after adding the current economic state to the mix, is equally insane, which is why I’m just the guy to do that.

…Okay; good night, drive safe everybody!

Following that laughter-​​filled moment, I went on to explain that paper-​​form books are never going to disappear, just as vinyl records won’t ever disappear forever. That said, electronic books, especially those which are formatted for ease of reading on a smart-​​phone, and thereby avoid the extra expense of a dedicated e-​​book reader, have easily understood uses and have met with with great acceptance in many instances.

For a great deal of background material, there’s a file of articles on much of the topics covered that can be downloaded right here:  This is a ‘ZIP file’, which contains a number of news articles in PDF format.

If you need something to open the file with and don’t already have WinZIP installed, head to the site of my favourite free programme 7-​​Zip right here: www.7-zip.org If you need something to read the articles themselves (although it’s unlikely you don’t already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed), then head here: www.adobe.com

If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment form, as a two-​​way conversation is welcomed!