New Book News

Here's some news from this week's Bologna Book Fair.

It's far too early to talk about this novel. It isn't yet finished, and won't be published until 2015, so I shan't be mentioning it again until nearer release date. But I'm very pleased it will be published by OUP, who have done such a superb job on the Reeve & McIntyre books, and I'm looking forward to working again with the wonderful Liz Cross, who was the first reader and editor of Mortal Engines.

And for those of you who would like me to be writing vast science fiction epics about sprawling future worlds as well as having fun with Goblins and Seawigs, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. (NB: It may be an oncoming train...)

From the Bookseller

Seawigs and the Story Loom

As usual, Sarah McIntyre's blog has gone half way around the world before mine has got its boots on, so here's a link to her account of our adventures in Oxford last Saturday. As you can see, we completely delighted these young Seawigs fans with our gorgeous singing...

Photo: Jo Cotterill
Also, for those who prefer weird contraptions to wigs, we got to have a go on Ted Dewan's amazing Story Loom at the Oxford Story Museum - here's author Philip Ardagh at the controls....

Photo: that Sarah McIntyre

And here's the full story of the Loom...

Deserts and Desserts

I've written another short piece about my adventures with Sarah McIntyre in Dubai, which you can find  on the Girls Heart Books blog.  And Sarah has just blogged about the Bologna Book fair and our new book, CAKES IN SPACE! Read all about it here.



Cor, you do get to go to some amazing places when you write books, and meet some amazing people there. Here I am on a panel with TV's Charlie Higson in Dubai. (He looks a bit bored actually - I hope I didn't bang on too much).

I never used to have the nerve to go abroad for festivals and events when I was a lonesome solo author (or get invited to many, to be honest) but now that I'm one half of Reeve & McIntyre Productions that's all changed, so I was very happy to be asked to attend the renowned Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature  last week.

McIntyre has already blogged about our adventures, and there's not really much that I can add to her account, except my own small thank you to Emirates Airlines for flying us out there in such style, and to the lovely and hard-working festival team for making it all such a pleasant experience. Here's Sarah's picture of them, taken at the closing ceremony.

I originally decided to go because I thought I ought to see the desert. And I did! Here it is, look; your actual desert! It's got a dead bush sticking out of it and everything...

And here I am, wandering about in it, thinking IMPORTANT AUTHOR-Y THOUGHTS (all right, looking for a place to wee)...

What I hadn't been prepared for was the sheer wondrousness of Dubai itself, a bizarre city of humming expressways and immense skyscrapers sprouting from land which was mostly desert itself until a few decades ago. One of the people Sarah met during the festival (and I sadly didn't get a chance to talk to) was local science fiction writer Noura Noman. 'How odd,' said someone in the green room, when Sarah mentioned her later. 'You don't expect to find science fiction writers here.' But if you live in a city like this, I don't see how you could possibly write anything else. The water comes from desalination plants, the population comes from all over the world, it's like a colony on another planet. And look at it!

Roof of world's biggest mall as seen from top of world's tallest building...

All of these photos were taken from the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building - and tallest man-made structure - IN THE WORLD. Here's its shadow, slicing across the facade of a tiddly little ordinary-sized skyscraper...  


That little gold spindle-shaped thing on the right is a metro station (Dubai has the coolest railway stations I've ever seen). 

Photo: Dubai metro.
All this sci-fi bling comes as a bit of a shock to European sensibilities. I heard some of my fellow authors sniggering (a little defensively) at what they saw as the tackiness of the city's malls and megastructures, and I was told several times that I really ought to see the 'real' Dubai, the older districts along the creek, where the gold souk and the spice souk are. Well, I did get a glimpse of that Dubai, and very evocative and interesting it was too. But the new city is something else entirely; crowded, diverse, oppressive, beautiful.  And it doesn't really matter whether we like it or not - fifty years from now, all cities will be like Dubai. I'm hugely grateful to the Festival organisers for letting me have this glimpse of the future!