Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Doctor Who and the very Hungry Snake

Out in shops today is Doctor Who Adventures #363, which features another daft comic strip by me - "The Very Hungry Snake".
"The Very Hungry Snake" - Doctor Who Adventures #363
Written by Simon Guerrier, art by John Ross,
colour by Alan Craddock
As ever, I'm delighted by the magnificent artwork by the magnificent John Ross - notching up his 1612th consecutive page of artwork for the comic strip since DWA began in April 2006. What an extraordinary achievement.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"That's a typical piece of fan nonsense..."


In shops now - The Essential Doctor Who: Master. Includes my interviews with Terrance Dicks, Richard Franklin and Katy Manning. I asked Terrance and Katy, on the basis of Missy, if the Master has always fancied the Doctor…

Full details at the official Doctor Who Magazine website.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Irregularity signing, Forbidden Planet this Saturday

JOIN JURASSIC LONDON AT FORBIDDEN PLANET FOR THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY – taking place the London Megastore on Saturday 7th March from 1- 2pm!

During the Age of Reason, the world’s greatest minds named, measured and catalogued the world around them.

They brought order and discipline to the universe. Except where they didn’t. Irregularity collects fourteen original stories from extraordinary literary voices, each featuring someone — or something — that refused to obey the dictates of reason: Darwin’s other voyage, the secret names of spiders, the assassination of Isaac Newton and an utterly impossible book.

• Tiffani Angus • Rose Biggin • Richard Dunn • Simon Guerrier • Nick Harkaway • Roger Luckhurst • Adam Roberts • Claire North • Gary Northfield • Henrietta Rose-Innes • James Smythe • M. Suddain • E.J. Swift • Sophie Waring

Come and meet the authors of this marvellous collection, have a chat, grab yourself a signed and enjoy the company – this won’t be formal event, just a chance to find some fabulous fiction!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Bananas

The new issue of Doctor Who Adventures features a four-page comic strip written by me. In "Five A Day", the 12th Doctor and Clara battle giant bananas on the alien world Luna Schlosser*. Even by my usual standards, it is silly.

As ever, the art is by John Ross with colour by Alan Craddock, and the editor was Moray Laing. Issue #362 of DWA is in shops now.

* Luna Schlosser is, of course, also the name of Diane Keaton's character in the magnificent Sleeper (1973). It's just possible I was, ahem, inspired by one particular scene.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Four non-fiction books

"The people interested in the history of comic books are not the same as the people interested in the history of the polygraph. (And very few people in either group are also interested in the history of feminism.)"

The Secret History of Wonder Woman is extraordinary: a compelling, strange secret history of alternative sexuality and modern times. William Moulton Marston - under the pseudonym Charles Moulton - based the superhero he created on his wife and their girlfriend - the latter the niece of Margaret Sanger, the campaigner who popularised the term "birth control". There are reasons why Wonder Woman proclaims "Suffering Sapho!" and that she's so often tied up in chains...

Marston, who invented a "lie detector" based on a test of systolic blood pressure, which later led to the polygraph, was shrouded in falsehoods - about his private life, about who in his household wrote what, about his qualifications as a psychologist. There's lots on how his threesome contrived to build a myth around him, and how for all he extolled the versions of men submitting to dominant women, he rather had it the other way round.

The epilogue is especially interesting, placing the feminist reclamation of Wonder Woman in the early 1970s amid what else what happening in the feminist movement at the time. The examples Lepore cites of "trashing" seem like a modern phenomena.

I also remain haunted weeks after finishing Do No Harm, a memoir by brain surgeon Henry Marsh. Marsh recounts a number of different cases where he has got it right or wrong - the latter always with horrific consequences. Really this is a catalogue of the terrible awfulness that life brings to us, and of human efforts to get through it. Marsh is painfully honest about his own fears and weakness, but what haunts me are his perfect turns of phrase: that all surgeons are carry with them cemeteries of the patients they have wronged; that, when facing the angry parents of a young patient, love is selfish; that doctors forget patients and patients forget doctors if everything goes well, and it's only the tragedies that linger...

Marsh's anger at the management and cut-backs, and the effect he can see them having on people's lives, echoed Nick Davies' Hack Attack, his account of the hacking scandal that he originally broke in the Guardian. At the end, he rants against a system that has removed accountability from our political systems, where even the most terrible personal tragedy has become a commodity. Like Marsh, Davies is forthcoming about his own failings - how he missed connections or said the wrong things or jeopardised his whole case. He's also good in making his account of Leveson so much about human character.

And now I am 35 pages into H is for Hawk, which is currently collecting literary prizes all over town. It turns out to echo much of these other books - how we handle tragedy and injustice and anger, how we're losing the old world in exchange for something as yet unknown. I'm not quite sure what it's about yet - so far a memoir of loss, some personal history and falconry, and the works of TH White (I am also rereading The Once and Future King) - but there's this striking moment on the process of grief, gleaned from too many books.
"I read that after denial comes grief. Or anger. Or guilt. I remember worrying about which stage I was at. I wanted to taxonomise the process, order it, make it sensible. But there was no sense, and I didn't recognise any of these emotions at all."
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk (2014), p. 17.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Modern Man at the BFI

Modern Man, the short film I wrote, will play at the BFI on 21 February as part of the 8th BFI Future Film Festival. It's included in the short fiction selection in NFT1 at 1 pm.

The Future Film Festival promises to "provide opportunities to connect with the film industry, kick-start your career and develop new and existing skills with inspirational screenings, masterclasses, Q&As and workshops." So it's a bit gutting that I can't go due to other commitments. Bah.

Modern Man is the third film I've written to get screened at the BFI: Wizard played as part of the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival last year, and The Plotters was shortlisted for the Virgin Media Shorts Award 2012.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sherlock Holmes and immortality

You can read my piece for the Lancet Psychiatry on the Museum of London's Sherlock Holmes exhibition (running until 12 April), which really explores the nature of Holmes fandom more generally.

I'm also thrilled to see that the BBC website has a clip from the newly discovered 1916 film of Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette. The clip includes the moment that Holmes meets his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, with them saying "Bonjour" to one another - this version of the film was discovered in France.

Especially thrillingly, while the intertitles narrating the film refer to "Sherlock Holmes" (see, for example, at 01:09 in the clip), Moriarty either speaks with an accent - or a typo: