THINGS WILL HAPPEN WHILE THEY CAN
Like an Alphaville that didn’t quite make it all the way across Asia, I am apparently big in Kazakhstan, where DEAD SPACE and SHADOW OF MORDOR are sacred texts and it takes half an hour to walk 200 meters through AlmaCon because everyone wants a selfie for their mandatory Instagram.
Needless to say, this not a level of public attention I’m used to.
I had no idea what to expect from AlmaCon, but it turns out comic-cons — and the sort of nerds like me you find at them — really are the same wherever you go. If not for the language, I could have been at any small-to-medium-sized con anywhere in the world, complete with artist alley, cosplay, a homemade TARDIS, and, um, a live beatboxing competition. OK, maybe not all entirely the same.
There was also some serious talent on display from the local artists, and if you’re a writer or editor reading this, you should take note; I tagged as many as possible in my ‘AlmaCon haul’ Instagram post, and it would be worth your while to check them out.
My thanks to Sabit (of Salben Comics, publisher of the Russian-language edition of THE COLDEST CITY), Alina, Anel, Ainur, Yelena, Roma, and everyone else at AlmaCon who made my too-brief stay one I’ll certainly never forget. Кездескенше!
AlmaCon official: https://www.instagram.com/almacon.kz/
My haul: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpR3-LShErD/
SAVE VS ARTICULATION
At The Nib, Cartoonist Phil McAndrew looks at how some educators and community leaders are using D&D as an educational and developmental aid for children. I love this piece, because so much of it rings absolutely true for me and the various friends I roleplayed with over the years as a teen, and articulates some of what RPGs allow us to do that I’d never quite been able to put into words myself.
(Also, my god, if I’d been allowed to write D&D backstories as part of my English studies, you’d never have got me out of there.)
On a less optimistic note, this piece by Simon Cohen imagines the ease with which consumer drones could be used by terrorists, domestic or otherwise. This is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of when I wrote THE EXPHORIA CODE, and since the book's publication one of the most frequent questions I’m asked about it is, “How close are we to that sort of technology?” The sad truth is that almost everything in the book is possible now, and the few elements which aren’t are much, much closer than the majority of people realise.
DAWN OF WORDS
Speaking of THE EXPHORIA CODE, here’s a strange thing; prosecraft.io purports to analyse books and other prose works, and assess several different factors. It’s a bizarre project, and their determination of “least/most vivid page” seems a bit off if you ask me… but I’m genuinely heartened by the ultra-low adverb rating 😉
NOV 16-17: BIG BANG COMICS & WRITERS GAME, DUBLIN
Looks like I’m going to be doing some kind of signing at Big Bang Comics in Dublin to go along with my appearance at the Writers Game conference. Still not quite nailed down yet, but when I know more I’ll plug it again.
HERE'S MY COMEBACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN: