All material and new posts are henceforth happening over at: So get your ass to Mars!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sharp Edge.

I've climbed 3 rocks this month, Blencathra, up via Sharp Edge on 3rd August, Old Man of Coniston, and yesterday, Skiddaw. All 3 were thoroughly enjoyable, but man did I suffer on Sharp Edge - due to what I believed to be defective (and defecating) boots. It was truly, honestly, as slippery as the slopes of Hell, and it felt like climbing on ice, so much so, sometimes I used my knees in order to get better traction than my crappy boots. Anyway, imagine my horror when I read the report below. Just shows - this ain't a game, and I certainly won't be taking my children up any of these trecherous routes in the near future!!
Woman Dies in Lake District Plunge
3:00pm UK, Saturday August 30, 2008
A woman has died after she fell 200 feet from a mountainside in the Lake District along with her husband and six-year-old daughter. All three were airlifted to a Carlisle hospital in two Sea King helicopters following the plunge, but medics were unable to save the life of the 38-year-old woman.
Her husband, 48, and daughter survived the fall and are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, a Cumbria Police spokeswoman said.
She added: "Officers can confirm that the three people involved were a family from Peterborough.
"Tragically the 38-year-old wife and mother has been pronounced dead.
"Police will not be releasing the identity of any of the family members at this stage."
The Ministry of Defence, which sent rescue helicopters from RAF Bulmer and RAF Valley, said the family had fallen while walking on Sharp Edge, Blencathra.
The dramatic ridge walk is popular with hikers, but can be a precarious route.
Keswick Mountain Rescue lists 53 reported incidents on Sharp Edge in the last 60 years, with nine that resulted in death.
Most accidents involved hikers losing their footing on slippery rock.
An MoD spokesman said: "We believe they tumbled or fell about 200 feet.
"The second helicopter recovered the lady who had fallen and took her to hospital.
"The first helicopter was scrambled at about 2.45pm.
"It was wet and slippy. They were just below the cloud line around 2,000 feet up the mountain. It is quite steep there.
"Two other adults were taken down the mountain by Keswick Mountain Rescue team."
A note from
A very sad reminder, if one was needed, that mountains can be dangerous places. Clearly no-one knows the circumstances but Sharp edge is comprised of slate which when wet is extremely slippy and there are a couple of exposed moves along it. No-one should underestimate this ridge scramble which, on a warm dry day is an absolute delight but when wet turns into something very different !

Saturday, 30 August 2008

XFactor Ariel. Oh dear oh dear.

This isn't an angry young female. This isn't a radical feminist. This isn't even entertainment. This is simply an idiot. Put her in the stocks and pelt with rotten fruit immediately, please.

The panel (and I know I'm scraping the barrel here watching XFac, but hey, I was coerced) didn't even NEED to speak. "Ariel" (you're looking different here, Mr Turpin) made a complete fool of herself simply by opening her mouth.

Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

Saturday, 23 August 2008


Just bought my ticket for Newcon4, 11th and 12th October 2008. Looks like it's going to be a really good gig, with Iain Banks, Storm Constantine, Ian Watson and Ken MaCleod amongst others. And of course, much beer :-) And Mark Newton's humorous shirts!!
Below is a write-up of Newcon3, last years event, just to whet your appetite:
On October 1st and 2nd, in Northampton’s gorgeous NeoGothic Guildhall, the members of Northampton SF Writers Group presented NewCon3, a convention on the theme of progress through time. Consequently H.G. Wells was present, and the compère throughout was the jolly and effervescent official Town Jester of Northampton (sometimes on stilts of bendy metal) who brought along his ladder of swords and his bed of nails, which made a considerable impression on those who volunteered to try it out, such as Simon Bradshaw and Ian Watson, about 200 impressions each in fact. Strolling players strolled and played, with Andy West like a Pied Piper on his flute and giant Irish whistles. A merry Ceilidh occurred, where Gwyneth Jones tried to strangle Ian Watson for whistling Vivaldi, the background music to her lengthy telephone dispute concerning her computer. Gwyneth was one of the finalists for the Booktrust Teenage Prize, with Siberia by her alter ego Ann Halam; and also present was another finalist, Sarah Singleton, for her Gothic Century; but they declined to engage in armed combat despite a vigorous sword-fighting demonstration conducted by Neil Bond, leading to Jon Courtenay Grimwood revealing a hidden yearning to be Errol Flynn. (A while later, Sarah won the award.) Cambridge historian, and soon to be DAW novelist, Kari Maund gave a talk on Viking towns and also won the NewCon3 short story competition with “Saltus Lunae,” the prize being publication in Matrix (Jan-Feb 2006). Phil Nanson from Cambridge discoursed on damascening. Virgin Spaceways sent a promotional video to anchor a panel on holidays in space, the world première of this video. Lots of stimulating panels took place, starring amongst others globe-trotting Paul Billinger and ace cook & gourmet Ian Whates, mainstay of the NSFWG. (NWSFG Treasurer Ian Pursey is another mainstay. Many members are called Ian, though this isn’t a requirement of membership. Sword-wielding Susan Sinclair is the Secretary). Luminary Peter Weston participated with stars in his eyes, discoursing in a panel upon “The Birth of Science Fiction”. Other panels discussed “What if Time Stops but You Can Still Move Around?” and “How Has 20th Century SF Predicted the Future?” and “Space Opera and the Re-emergence of British SF”.Steve Cockayne demonstrated his giant puppets, one of which bears a startling resemblance to himself, which inspired characters in his Legends of the Land novels. Cardinal Cox interviewed Liz Williams. Claire Weaver interviewed Jon Courtenay Grimwood. Fangorn presented a slide show featuring concept sketches for Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, although H.G. Wells felt obliged to tick Fangorn off for this collaboration, once more relocating a version of his masterpiece to America. Feasting occurred in Chinese and Indian restaurants. The real ale didn’t run out. H.G. Wells became custodian of the NewCon award for best time travel book, a surreal inside-out clock created by Neil Bond. An art show delighted the eyes.
NEWCON4 tickets can be reserved online at: and I am reliably informed the program of events is soon to be complete. There are still hotel rooms available as I write!! I know. I booked one.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Gail Martin Podcast Interview

NEW!! Podcast interview by Gail Z. Martin, author of The Summoner and The Blood King, with Andy Remic, author of War Machine etc etc etc.

All new Ghost in the Machine podcasts for 2008 with an all-star roster of authors from science fiction, fantasy and paranormal!!!!

NEW--Gail talks with military science fiction author Andy Remic about censorship and how society decides who is "safe" to write "disturbing fiction." Although, admittedly, Andy strays way off task and starts gibbering about zombies and bad hair.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Radio Interview Now Live.

And yes, my 4.30AM interview with Howard Margolin of Destines - The Voice of Science Fiction is now live!! It can be downloaded from and then you too can smirk at the pointless ramblings of a hungover 4.30AMer :-) called REM.
Enjoy. I did. Howard's a real nice guy, and I enjoyed the interview thoroughly.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Radio Interview.

Just a quickie, doing a radio reading and interview tonight - 11.30PM US time, 4.30AM UK time, for WUSB Destinies Voice - The Voice of Science Fiction.

You can stream the station online. Check out and