On the Clarkes and Sci Fi London

Richard Morgan is the worthy winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award for 2008, for his blistering and complex thriller Black Man. I found it gripping and evocative, with a dangerously bad hero who at the start of the story makes a living hunting down mutants known as variant 13s…even though he himself is a variant 13.

But what happened to variants 1 through 12 I wonder? Is there a sequel about them?

Richard gave a very honest and sweet and funny acceptance speech, and walks away with a cheque for £2008, and much kudos.

The award ceremonies were held as part of the Sci Fi London season, and we were greeted by a host of Star Wars characters including a scary Darth Vader and a scantily attired Princess Leia.  I got a chance to meet all the people I only just left behind at the Alt Fiction Festival (oh Lord, it’s not Palmer again), and I also had time for a longer chat with the very likeable fantasy writer Stephen Hunt.  As many of you know, he’s a real multi-tasker – he writes epic fantasy novels, founded and still presides over the sf crowsnest website and has a demanding day job in the private equity sector.

I also had a chance to tell Ken Macleod how much I admire and love his Execution Channel.  For me, it’s a ‘stayer’, one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read it, as you think back on the ideas and the themes. 

After several hours of mingling and sipping (ha! sipping! who am I trying to fool?!) wine, I then rashly went on to watch one of the films in the Sci Fi Festival, Marc Caro’s intriguing and allegorical Dante 01.  I found it beautifully shot, with amazing French actors, and full of great moments. But I have to confess that, after watching Battlestar Galactica with all its fabulous action scenes and varied alien planets, I do now find it hard to watch an SF yarn set on a spaceship which hardly ever gets out of the standing set. 

Still, there’ s a great finale, and Caro has a magical way with the camera.

Before the big film, we had a sneak preview of the new Batman movie, with a trailer which has been scratched and defaced and mucked about with by the Joker.  This was just so cool….

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