Novacon, held 10th-12th November in Nottingham, was its usual welcoming, convivial self and a good time was had by all, as they say. Here are a few photos.
Guest of honour Adrian Tchaikovsky tells Carol Goodwin about his Desert Island books.
Adrian reads from ‘Dogs of War’.
David A Hardy (L) Anne Nicholls (R) Black and white photos by Al Johnston
Novacon 48 will take place between 9th and 11th November 2018, and the guest of honour will be Chris Beckett. You can find out more about Novacon, the UK’s longest-running regional sf convention, here.
I can now reveal the voting schedule:
Requests for nominations from publishers go out on Monday 4th December
We will also accept public nominations from Monday 4th December
(Please note that public nominations should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ...
... and that we will not enter intoany correspondence about public nominations other than contacting nominees for more information, if necessary.)
Deadline for publishers’ nominations: Wednesday 31st January
Deadline for public nominations: Wednesday 31st January
The longlists go up on our website and voting begins on Friday 16th February
Voting on the longlists closes on Friday 30th March
The shortlists go up on our website and voting begins on Friday 20th April
Voting on the shortlists closes on Friday 1st June
Deadline for all copy and advertisements for the programme book: Monday 4th June
* * *
The Gemmell Award categories are Legend Award (best novel), Morningstar Award (best debut) and Ravenheart Award (best cover art).
... and doesn’t it seem to come round quickly?
You might be interested to know that these Christmas cards, painted in acrylic by Anne Nicholls, support the Lawrence Home Nursing Team, a charity providing nursing for the terminally ill. It’s a charity worth backing, and you can do that by buying these cards, and cards by other artists, from the website.
My wife Anne and myself were fortunate enough to realise an ambition in September/October when we got to spend a couple of weeks in Hong Kong and Macau. I could turn out several thousand words relating what was an incredible adventure, and have been asked by an online literary blog to do just that. If I find the time to fit it into my schedule I’ll post a link here.
For now, I’d like to say a few words about Hong Kong author Jin Yong.
Jin Yong is virtually unknown in the UK, though he’s one of the world’s best-selling fantasy novelists. Writing in the Wuxia genre (martial arts, chivalry and magic) the 15 books he wrote between 1955 and 1972 alone have sold over 100 million copies, and the mythology he created is arguably on a par with Tolkien’s.
At 93 years old, Jin Yong is the biggest-selling living Chinese author. His works have been adapted into films, TV series, newspaper strips, comicbooks, graphic novels and video games, and generated numerous merchandising items. He was awarded an OBE and even has an asteroid named after him (10930 Jinyong)!
Some of his books have been published in the US, and a couple in the UK (Oxford University Press) but he seems to have made little impression in the West beyond a coterie of admirers. British publishers tend to shy away from publishing translations, particularly from Chinese, but it might be worth one of them taking a look at this phenomenon.
There was a major exhibition devoted to Jin Yong at Hong Kong’s Cultural Heritage Museum, where these photos were taken.
We now know that Anne and I will be on a panel called Other Obsessions (ie interests outside of writing) at 11.15am on the Saturday (11th). Other participants are guest of honour Adrian Tchaikovsky and Juliet McKenna, with Yvonne Rowse moderating.
Novacon will be held at the Park Inn Hotel, 296 Mansfield Road, Nottingham. NG5 2BT. Hotel website here.
As I’m reminding you about forthcoming events, I’ll slip in another shout for 2018’s Gemmell Awards ceremony, which takes place on the evening of Saturday 14th July as part of Edge-Lit 7.
As next year marks the awards’ tenth anniversary we’re planning an extended presentation with a number of guest participants. The ceremony will also see the launch of ‘Legends III’, the anthology series that helps support the awards (edited by Ian Whates and published by NewCon Press).
Anne Nicholls has an exhibition of her art and poetry at the Artrix, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove B60 1GN between 4th April and 20th May 2018. Entitled ‘Invisible: A New Look At M.E.’ here’s a summary:
“A picture's worth a thousand words, they say. But how to show the invisible? How to explain our experience when so many people discount Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a psychological problem, if not downright imaginary?
“This exhibition of art and verse aims to enlighten cynics and give a voice to those who feel they've been shouting into a well.
“The World Health Organisation knows it's real. They know it's physical. So does the Centre for Disease Control, and the smart folks at the Stanford Genome Project. It's a pity so many NHS doctors haven't caught on yet.
“These images are visceral and eye-opening. Walk a mile in our shoes.”
The Artrix website is here.
I’m pleased to announce that next year’s David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy presentation ceremony will take place on Saturday 14th July.
As 2018 marks the awards’ tenth anniversary we’re hoping for a stellar line-up of guest speakers and presenters, with the ceremony extended to accommodate the celebration. I’ll post more details about the attendees as known.
The ceremony will again be part of Edge-Lit in Derby, as it was this year, and the Edge-Lit programme should also include several items relevant to David Gemmell and heroic fantasy.
The venue for Edge-Lit 7 and the Gemmell Awards is the QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS, and the website is here.
My wife Anne now has a website displaying a selection of her artwork. The subjects are varied, including fantasy art, of which this canvas, entitled ‘Sacred Geometry’, is an example.
2018 marks the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy’s tenth birthday.
The exact date and venue of next year’s ceremony are still being finalised (I’ll post details when known) but the intention is to make the occasion extra special, hopefully with past winners and other prominent fantasy authors/artists in attendance and participating.
We welcome suggestions re the anniversary. Who or what would you like to see as part of the celebrations? You can post a message on the awards’ official Facebook page, here, contact us via our website, here, or send me a message via the Contact tab on this page. We’ll carefully consider all ideas.
2009 (Magic Circle, London) Only the Legend Award (best novel) was presented at this inaugural ceremony.
Winner: Andrzej Sapkowski for ‘Blood of Elves’
2010 (Magic Circle, London) Our second year saw the introduction of the Morningstar Award (best debut) and Ravenheart Award (best cover art).
Legend: Graham McNeill for ‘Empire’
Morningstar: Pierre Pevel for ‘The Cardinal’s Blades’
Ravenheart: Didier Graffet, Dave Senior and Laura Brett for the cover of ‘Best Served Cold’ by Joe Abercrombie
2011 (Magic Circle, London)
Legend: Brandon Sanderson for ‘The Way of Kings’
Morningstar: Darius Hinks for ‘Warrior Priest’.
Ravenheart: Olof Erla Einarsdottir for the cover of ‘Power and Majesty’ by Tansy Rayner Roberts
2012 (Magic Circle, London)
Legend: Patrick Rothfuss for ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’
Morningstar: Helen Lowe for ‘The Heir of Night’
Ravenheart: Raymond Swanland for the cover of ‘Blood of Aenarion’ by William King
2013 (At World Fantasy Convention, Brighton)
Legend: Brent Weeks for ‘The Blinding Knife’
Morningstar: John Gwynne for ‘Malice’
Ravenheart: Didier Graffet and Dave Senior for the cover of ‘Red Country’ by Joe Abercrombie
2014 (Magic Circle, London)
Legend: Mark Lawrence for ‘Emperor of Thorns’
Morningstar: Brian McClellan for ‘Promise of Blood’
Ravenheart: Jason Chan for the cover of Mark Lawrence’s ‘Emperor of Thorns’
2015 (At Nine Worlds Geekfest, London)
Legend: Brandon Sanderson for ‘Words of Radiance’
Morningstar: Brian Staveley for ‘The Emperor’s Blades’
Ravenheart: Sam Green for the cover of Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Words of Radiance’
2016 (At Fantasycon, Scarborough)
Legend: Mark Lawrence for ‘The Liar’s Key’
Morningstar: Peter Newman for ‘The Vagrant’
Ravenheart: Jason Chan for the cover of Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Liar’s Key’
2017 (At Edge-Lit 3, Derby)
Legend: Gav Thorpe for ‘Warbeast’
Morningstar: Megan E O’Keefe for ‘Steal the Sky’
Ravenheart: Alessandro Baldasseroni for the cover of ‘Black Rift’ by Josh Reynolds
Brian Aldiss, one of his generation’s leading science fiction authors, died on 19th August, hours after celebrating his 92nd birthday.
Brian seemed like one of those people who would always be with us. He was a guest of honour at the first convention I attended, Loncon 2, and a regular attendee at the sf community’s monthly gatherings at The Globe in Hatton Garden where, as a teenager, I nervously chatted with him. He was unfailingly patient and generous with his time, even when collared by callow youths.
Older fans will remember his great comedy double act with Harry Harrison at various Eastercons - the Morecombe & Wise of sf fandom. When Brian was 90 I attended a Birmingham Science Fiction Group special event at which he was the star guest (he was the group’s honorary President). Although age and uncertain health were taking their toll, the old spark, and the slightly mischievous humour, were still evident. I’m sorry to think that’s the last time I’ll see him.
When Brian’s death was announced, my friend David McDonnell, editor of the legendary and much lamented Starlog, reminded me of an interview I conducted with Brian that was published in issue 172 of the magazine in 1991. That interview can be read here.
A somewhat different version of the interview appeared in my book ‘Wordsmiths of Wonder’ (Orbit, 1993).
It’s sobering, and sad, to note the number of interviewees that are no longer with us.
L to r: Rachel Harrison with the Ravenheart trophy, Mattt Dovey with the Morningstar trophy and Gav Thorpe with the Legend trophy.
Our three excellent guest presenters - Tom Hunter, Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon.
Phil and Edge-Lit director Alex Davis conduct the Gemmell Awards fund-raising auction.
All photos by this year’s Official Photographer Sandy Auden.
The first two ‘Legends’ anthologies, edited by Ian Whates and published by Newcon Press, are one of the ways the Gemmell Awards are financially supported. This has been possible due to many leading fantasy writers generously donating original stories. So at this year’s awards ceremony we were delighted to announce that there’s going to be a ‘Legends III’.
The book will be published by Newcon Press in 2018, the Awards’ tenth anniversary year, the exact date tba. As with the previous volumes, ‘Legends III’ will have a stellar list of contributors. We can’t reveal the full roll call yet as details have still to be finalised, but we can say that stories have been confirmed by Scott Lynch, Gail Z Martin, Den Patrick, Justina Robson, Anna Smith Spark, Danie Ware and Jen Williams.
I’m pleased to report that a story by me entitled ‘Anchor Point’ is set to appear in this anthology, edited by Alistair Sims and published by Kristell Ink, an imprint of Grimbold Books. My wife, Anne Nicholls, is another contributor. The full table of contents and a publication date aren’t known yet but I’ll post the details as I get them.
This year’s David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy presentation ceremony takes place as part of Edge-Lit 6 on Saturday 15th July. If you scroll down to the May update you’ll find the shortlists for each category - the Legend Award (best novel), Morningstar Award (best debut) and Ravenheart Award (best cover art).
We’re following tradition again this year in having a special guest presenter for each of the three categories. 2017 also sees the return of the Gemmell Awards auction, which helps finance the event and guarantee its continuation.
This year’s lots - generously donated by authors, the publishing industry and events organisers include editorial reads/feedback of a manuscript by two of the leading editors in the sf/fantasy field; the chance to feature as a character in forthcoming books by John Gwynne, Brent Weeks and Jay Kristoff & Annie Kaufman; a copy of every Gollancz book published in 2018; two weekend passes to the Starburst Film Festival, and two tickets to Sledge-Lit 3, along with hotel accommodation.
7.30 Phil Lunt reads from David Gemmell’s Ironhand’s Daughter
7.35 Introduction/welcome from Stan Nicholls & Anne Nicholls
7.40 The Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy
Nominees and presentation by Samantha Shannon
7.50 The Gemmell Awards auction
8.20 The Ravenheart Award for Best Cover Art
Nominees and presentation by Tom Hunter
8.30 Ian Whates of Newcon Press talks about the Legends anthologies
8.35 The Legend Award for Best Fantasy novel
Nominees and presentation by Joanne Harris
Venue: QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby DE1 3AS
Date: Saturday 15th July from 10am.
Details of Edge-Lit here and its schedule, featuring many leading sf/f authors, here
The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy website is here and the official Facebook page is here
I’ll be participating in a panel at Edge-Lit at 3pm. Entitled ‘Epic! Why is High Fantasy Still Riding A Wave of Popularity?’ my fellow panellists are RJ Barker, Lucy Hounsom and Anna Stephens, with Gav Thorpe moderating.
I’m pleased that Anne Nicholls and myself will be part of the upcoming fantasy anthology ‘Art of War’. Edited by Petros Triantafylloy for BookNest.eu, all proceeds from the book will aid the charity MSF (Doctors Without Borders).
Publication is due early in 2018, in paperback and ebook formats. There will also be a limited, numbered edition.
38 authors are taking part:
Mark Lawrence, Ed Greenwood, Brian Scott Staveley, Christian G. (Miles) Cameron,
John Gwynne, Sebastien De Castell, Mitchell Hogan, Stan Nicholls, Rob Hayes,
Charles Phipps, Mazarkis Williams, Ben Galley, Graham Austin-King,
Michael R. Fletcher, Nicholas Eames, Anna Smith Spark, Anna Stephens,
Ed McDonald, RJ Barker, Sue Tingey, Benedict Patrick, Michael Miller, Dyrk Ashton, Laura M Hughes, Steven Poore, Timandra Whitecastle, Steven Kelliher,
J.P. Ashman, Brandon Draga, David T. Palmer, Anne Nicholls, Dominick Murray,
RB Watkinson, Charles F Bond, Ulff Lehmann, Tom Gaskin, Zachary Barnes, Nathan Boyce.
I’m hoping to have stories coming up in a couple of other anthologies, and I’ll post the details here as known.
Voting on The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy’s 2017 shortlists closes at midnight (GMT) on Saturday 2nd June. The shortlists can be viewed, and votes cast, here. (Hit the VOTING tab.)
The categories are: The Legend Award (best novel), the Morningstar Award (best debut) and the Ravenheart Award (best cover art).
This year’s presentation ceremony takes place on Saturday 15th July as part of Edge-Lit 6, which has an impressive roster of guests:
GUESTS OF HONOUR
Joanne Harris, Andrew Michael Hurley, Stephen Baxter, Ken Macleod,
Peter Newman, Jeff Noon.
SPEAKERS AND PANELLISTS
Zen Cho, Charlie Fletcher, Heide Goody, Iain Grant, Ash Hartwell, Andrew Hook,
Lucy Hounsom, Paul Kane, Alison Moore, Emma Newman, Mark Newton,
Stan Nicholls, Marie O'Regan, Natasha Pulley, Anna Stephens, Adrian Tchaikovsky,
Gav Thorpe, Catriona Ward, Adele Wearing.
The shortlists for 2017’s David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy, of which I’m proud to be Chair, were revealed and opened for voting on 21st April. Here they are:
RAVENHEART AWARD (Best cover art)
Alessandro Baldaserroni for Black Rift by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)
Jason Chan for Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence (Harper Voyager)
Sam Green for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz)
Kerby Rosannes for Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)
Paul Young for Wrath by John Gwynne (Tor)
MORNINGSTAR AWARD (Best debut)
Mark de Jager, Infernal (Del Rey UK)
Christopher Husberg, Duskfall (Titan)
Megan E O'Keefe, Steal The Sky (Angry Robot)
Adrian Selby, Snakewood (Orbit)
Jon Skovron, Hope and Red (Orbit)
LEGEND AWARD (Best novel)
John Gwynne, Wrath (Tor)
Jay Kristoff, Nevernight (Harper Voyager)
Mark Lawrence, The Wheel of Osheim (Harper Voyager)
Brandon Sanderson,The Bands of Mourning (Gollancz)
Gav Thorpe, Warbeast (Black Library)
Voting closes at midnight (GMT) on Friday 2nd June.
The awards are decided by open vote, and you can vote here
The presentation ceremony takes place on the evening of Saturday 15th July as part of the Edge-Lit 6 event. Details here
‘Rhyming Rings’, David Gemmell’s previously unknown crime thriller, discovered among his effects last year, is published in the UK by Gollancz on 18th of this month. The novel has an introduction by Conn Iggulden and an afterword by me. Its Amazon listing is here.
There will also be an audiobook, read by Max Dowler.
Reviews are starting to appear as this update’s being written, including a solid 4 star write-up in SFX magazine (no 287, cover date July), along with a brief feature about the book with quotes from me.
David Gemmell’s crime novel ‘White Knight, Black Swan’, published under the pseudonym Ross Harding in 1993 and out of print ever since, is also going to be published by Gollancz. Originally intended for a September 2017 slot, it’s now been announced that the UK publication has been brought forward to 24th August. As copies of the original paperback can fetch over £1000, that’ll be welcome news for many Gemmell fans. No cover image has been released yet. The Amazon listing is here.
The German mmp of the omnibus edition of the first Orcs trilogy was reprinted by Piper (an imprint of Heyne) in April. A nice 800 page doorstop for just under twelve euros.
In last month’s update I published a link to The Wertzone’s list of the all-time bestselling science fiction and fantasy books. That list was compiled in March 2015, and now I’ve found out that the list was updated in December 2016. Glad to see I’m still hanging in there! The updated list is here.
... that Anne Nicholls and myself will be at this year’s Novacon, where the guest of honour is novelist Adrian Tchaikovsky. The convention takes place 10th-12th November at the Park Inn Hotel, Nottingham. Details here.
I’ve mentioned in previous updates that, along with Anne Nicholls, I’ll be at Innominate, this year’s Eastercon. I now know that I’ll be participating in two programme items.
The first is a panel: SF Infrastructure and Engineering“Sun orbital flights, mag-lev high speed trains, undersea communities, floating cities ... Pournelle, Heinlein, Harrison and Anderson are just some of the authors who have included big infrastructure in the backdrop to their stories. Where is this infrastructure in reality? In what ways may the lack of such developments have impacted upon authors today?”
The panel consists of Andrew Bannister, John Bray, Janet Edwards and myself, with Simon Morden moderating.
It takes place 19:00 - 20:00 on Friday 14th April, in the Gladstone room at the Hilton NEC Metropole.
I’ll also be doing a signing on Sunday 16th April. That’s at 16:00 - 16:45 in the Dealers Room (Palace room, Hilton NEC Metropole).
Innominate is the 68th British National Science Fiction Convention (Eastercon) which is being held over the Easter weekend 14 to 17 April 2017, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. The guests of honour are author Pat Cadigan, artist Judith Clute and fan and convention runner Colin Harris. Innominate’s website is here
Voting on this year’s longlists closed on Friday 31st March. The shortlists - for the Legend Award (best novel), Morningstar Award (best debut) and Ravenheart Award (best cover art) - will open for voting at midday (GMT) on Friday 21st April and close at midnight (GMT) on Friday 2nd June.
The awards’ website is here.
The presentation will take place on Saturday 15th July at Edge-Lit 6.
Rhyming Rings, the recently discovered crime novel by David Gemmell, and for which I wrote an afterword, is going to be published in the UK on 18th May. Here’s the finished cover:
Well, updated in March 2015 actually, but it’s just been brought to my attention. It’s nice to be on it, if only at number 152!
The list of the all-time science fiction and fantasy bestsellers is here
This is the cover of the ARC (advance reading copy) of the previously unknown crime novel by the late David Gemmell that was discovered among his effects last year.
Conn Iggulden has written an introduction and I’ve supplied an afterword.
Here’s the back cover:
And here’s a release from the publisher, Gollancz:
“David Gemmell was the UK's number one fantasy and historical novelist until his death in 2006. A regular Sunday Times bestseller, and international sensation, his legacy lives on through his novels, his influence on the genre, and through the David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy.
Rhyming Rings is a never-before-seen Gemmell novel, discovered in his papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. Merging autobiographical details of Gemmell's life as a journalist in South London with a serial killer and a tinge of the supernatural, this is perfect for fans of David's work, as well as readers of gritty crime novels. Set against the backdrop of a London simmering with poverty, change and racial tension, this taut thriller is a fitting legacy for the great writer.
This book includes a brand new introduction from massive Gemmell fan Conn Iggulden, and an afterword by Gemmell's friend Stan Nicholls.
An ambidextrous killer is murdering women, leaving virtually no evidence behind, and struggling journalist Jeremy Miller wishes he was covering the case. Instead, he's stuck with heart-warming local stories about paraplegic teenagers and elderly psychic ladies.
So when his stories and the murder case start to converge no one is more surprised than Jeremy.
Or, it turns out, more at risk.”
On 21st September Gollancz will also publish Gemmell’s White Knight, Black Swan, another crime novel that was printed just once, 25 years ago (under the pseudonym Ross Harding), and is much sought-after. No cover image is available yet. The Amazon (UK) entry is here
Stella Gemmell at the 2014 Gemmell Awards presentation ceremony in London.
Photo by Peter Coleborn
Voting on the longlists for 2017’s David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy opened on 17th February and close at midnight (GMT) on Friday 31st March.
The awards - for epic/heroic fantasy fiction - are decided by a public vote, and the longlists can be viewed and voted on here
There are three categories of award: the Legend (best novel), the Morningstar (best debut) and the Ravenheart (best cover art).
There are three tabs at the top of the website’s opening page, one for each award, that detail all of the nominated titles. Hit the VOTING tab to cast votes.
The shortlists will open for voting at midday (GMT) on Friday 21st April, and close at midnight (GMT) on Friday 2nd June.
The presentation takes place on the evening of Saturday 15th July as part of the Edge-Lit 6 event at the Quad, in Derby, UK.
Details of Edge-Lit and the venue here
The window for publisher and public nominations for the three categories of the Gemmell Awards - the Legend (best novel), the Morningstar (best debut) and the Ravenheart (best cover art) - closed at midnight on 31st January and there was an excellent response. The nominations and the longlists will be revealed, and voting opened, later this month.
The shortlists will go up towards the end of April.
This year’s presentation is going to be part of Edge-Lit 6 at the Quad in Derby on the evening of Saturday 15th July.
Guests of honour confirmed for Edge-Lit so far are Joanne Harris, Stephen Baxter, Peter Newman and Jeff Noon.
Apart from Edge-Lit 6 and the Gemmell Awards ceremony, my wife Anne Nicholls and myself will also be at ...
Innominate is the 68th British National Science Fiction Convention (Eastercon) which is being held over the Easter weekend 14 to 17 April 2017, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. The guests of honour are author Pat Cadigan, artist Judith Clute and fan and convention runner Colin Harris.
Innominate’s website is here
10-12 November 2017 / Park Inn Hotel, Nottingham
“Novacon is the UK's longest-established regional science fiction convention, held every autumn since 1971. It's built around a single-stream programme mixing both literary items and more informal events, with deliberate emphasis on social contact between sf fans and genre professionals.”
This year’s guest of honour is author Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Novacon 47’s website is here
Here’s the schedule for 2017’s Gemmell Awards.
The publishers’ nominations are coming in now, and will close on 31st January.
From 13th January public suggestions for nominations will be accepted, which also have a 31st January deadline. We’ll be letting everyone know how to nominate before 13th.
The longlists - for the Legend (best novel), Morningstar (best debut) and Ravenheart (best cover art) Awards - will be revealed and opened for voting on Friday 17th February.
Voting on the longlists closes on Friday 31st March.
The shortlists will be published and opened for voting on Friday 21st April.
Voting on the shortlists closes on Friday 2nd June.
The presentation ceremony takes place at Edge-Lit, Derby, on the evening of Saturday 15th July.
Edge-Lit has a website here
The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy website is here
And the official Facebook page is here
It’s a pleasure, and a privilege, when people with artistic talent illustrate characters from my books, and I’m always interested to see their take. These pictures, inspired by the Orcs series, are Brittany Turner’s interpretation of some of the main cast.
© Stan Nicholls
Web Site by