Discover more from Paul Cornell's Friday Newsletter
Paul Cornell's Friday Newsletter
For 17th November. I'm on the radio on Sunday!
Doctor Who: The Wilderness Years
I’m on BBC Radio 4 this Sunday, 19th November, at 4.30pm, as part of Matthew Sweet’s Doctor Who: The Wilderness Years documentary, talking about the gap between the old show and the new. I got quite radical about the contribution made by the New Adventures novels. It’ll be on BBC Sounds worldwide afterwards at this link.
Con and On #5 is Out Next Week, with Preview Pages!
The final issue of my decades-spanning satire about the comics industry, with artist Marika Cresta, is out from Ahoy on November 22nd. You can find it in Previews here and you can see the first part of the issue here at The Comic Book Yeti.
My eBay Page Will Be Full of New Stuff Next Week!
So, I decided that rather than run individual auctions I’d put up all my duplicate comics (and a few Doctor Who items and other random stuff) in one place. And now I’m back from Thought Bubble, where I sold a few of these items, I’m going to put everything up over the weekend, so do check it out on Monday.
The Night of the Gnomes is Nearly Over!
Paid subscribers now have only the Epilogue of my first new Lychford novella, in serial form, left to read. That’s out next Thursday, then there’ll be a four-part Christmas story, Don’t Forget to Catch Me, and then in January the second new novella begins. So I’ll start announcing all of that next week. In the meantime, if you’d like to upgrade to paid and get new Lychford in your inbox at 5pm every Thursday, just click here:
Hammer House of Podcast
Hammer House of Podcast, in which myself and Lizbeth Myles watch the Hammer horror movies in UK release order, is out on the 13th of every month, with our November episode being about The Satanic Rites of Dracula. You can get these episodes free wherever you normally get your podcasts, as well as on our site, but if you sign up to our Patreon, for any sum of money from £1/$1, you get an extra episode every month too, on the 27th, in which we watch Patron requested movies and films from other horror studios of the same era.
I mean, that is actually what happens, but it’s… just okay.
My Ko-fi Store Will Be Back Next Week!
I have a shop on Ko-fi, selling signed and personalised copies of my work, and, now I’m back from Thought Bubble, I’ll be putting a handful of remaining items up there this weekend, ready for Christmas, so check it out from Monday!
Find my Books at Bookshop.Org and Help Out Indie Booksellers!
Bookshop.org is a collective selling tool that sets up a marketplace for all indie bookstores in the UK, functioning exactly like Amazon, except you’re supporting your local bookshop. You can find a selection of my books here, and I get a little cut of the proceeds too if you order from here!
You can now find all my social media links, my website/blog and links to where you can buy my books, in one place here, thanks to Linktree!
So the Friday evening before last was the Quiz and Curry Night at my cricket club, and I went along, my team came second, I had a lovely time and several beers. I woke in the early hours as one does, went to the toilet, and, I was turning out of the toilet to head back to bed, I, well, switched off. I was suddenly unconscious, and then conscious again a second later as my head hit the doorpost of Thomas’ bedroom (not waking him, mind you.) I got to my feet and went back to bed, and found in the morning that I had a lump on my head, which wasn’t the ideal look for meeting an old friend for lunch the next day…
You can indeed see the bump.
Anyway, I thought nothing more of it as I had a busy week preparing for the Thought Bubble convention in Harrogate. I’d sorted out a meeting with an editor, and made a list of people I wanted to catch up with, I knew when and where I was meeting up with Liz, and I had the stock and set-up for my table all prepared, including borrowing two hi-viz jackets from Ryan down the pub. I always look forward to driving up there, through a lot of lovely countryside. I set out on Thursday just feeling a bit tired.
Then, about an hour into the drive I realised I was weirdly exhausted, shaking and dizzy. I had to stop the car in a lay-by and try to breathe calmly. I was suddenly convinced this had to be the effects of concussion, and thinking that made me more and more anxious. After a while, though, I felt able to drive again, and, ready at any moment to pull over, I kept going. I thought on the way about how this might be just nerves about having a repeat of the huge status anxiety that messed up Thought Bubble for me last year, when I felt as if I didn’t fit in and couldn’t bring myself to sit with my peers, even those I knew really well, if there were more successful comickers about. I also thought about how, in the last two years or so, I’d passed out twice before, in roughly the same circumstances.
Readers, I got there. And Liz was incredibly kind and caring. ‘You’re safe,’ she told me, taking my arm as we walked to get dinner and all I could think of was how hard that pavement looked if I dropped headlong. I calmed down a lot and woke up the next morning feeling entirely fine. So it was just nerves, I thought. Until the sudden exhaustion arrived again. It, and the dizziness, has been with me ever since, and I saw a doctor immediately I got home, and have some blood tests and an ECG scheduled. (I saw a doctor so young and nervous it felt like I might be his first ever patient. He seemed to be talking to himself to calm his own nerves, saying things like ‘we could try the same circumstances and see if it happens again, but no, that would be bad!’ I chimed in with that last bit.) I’ll let you know what this all turns out to be.
At any rate, the above didn’t ruin my Thought Bubble. It kind of made it. I found myself plonking down with Jock, Sean Phillips, etc., and passing the time of day without a care in the world, because I was literally just glad to be alive. Becky Cloonan, who, long ago, I’d wrong-headedly thought I’d offended, made sure to come over and say hi, because she’d heard about that and wanted to indicate that wasn’t the case. (Isn’t that the kindest thing?) Everyone was of course utterly welcoming, confirming my feeling that last year I’d just been fighting my own head. I even got past taking a bottle of beer proferred by Ram V, only for him to say ‘err, I was just trying to clink glasses’. And thus, I had the best Thought Bubble time ever.
On the Friday night, Liz and I put on the hi-viz, took part in that lovely rush of exhibitors into the Convention Centre, and set up the table, Liz designing it with aplomb as always. Then we stepped back from it, and Liz took this photo!
We then went to Destination Venus, the comic shop in the foyer of the Everyman Theatre in Harrogate, to go see Rachael Smith’s exhibit, launch and interview in the theatre bar. It was all about her new project Nap Comix, slices of life with baby Henry. (Who was present and a star throughout.)
(Lee Harris, Liz Myles and Annie Tchaikovsky watching Rachael’s interview.)
(From left to right, back to front: Adrian Tchaikovsky; Brian Schirmer; Sarah Miles; Lizbeth Myles; Alec Cecil; Rachael Smith; Lee Harris; me (just caught with my eyes closed in the moment of the flash going off); Annie Tchaikovsky.
The next couple of days were about standing behind the table and selling, but not just that: so much of interest arrives at that table, from the scallies who wanted to wittily blame Liz for Big Finish’s Paul McGann release schedule, to the comic shop employee who told me he’d given my Three Little Wishes to Lenny Henry, to the comics editor me and Liz were separately pitching to, to old college friends, to Who fans who just wanted stuff signed, to collectors who made serious faces looking through my eBay longbox. (And there were, err, some big-time offers of work made, which I really can’t go into here, but which put a stake through the heart of my imposter syndrome. Well, for now.)
We got to explore the hall too, visiting Claret and Time Bomb Comics and so many pro friends. Liz got to find once again a print artist she loved, and discover a new one. I got to show her Steve White’s amazing wildlife art.
Brian shows off his mini-cuda, as I started calling this small ‘Barracuda’ roll-up poster he had on his table.
Rachael was our neighbour, and baby Henry spent a lot of time reaching out in our direction as if he was about to use the Force on us.
Comics journalist Jimmy Aquino applauding and supporting creators as ever.
I sometimes wish I could walk through time like it was space, because these three halls, full of young creative folk, are, for those two days, one of my favourite places on Earth. I find just being there incredibly relaxing.
The Mid-Con Party on the Saturday night was even more frustrating than last year’s was, because the Majestic Hotel, while magnificent in every other way, just can’t handle it. There were two other events booked in alongside us on both the Friday and Saturday, and that compromised especially the Saturday. Getting to hang out on Sunday night (having gone for dinner with Rob Williams) when the bar was ours again was a joy.
I took the home drive slowly and carefully, and it was fine, and my heart was settled and I was deeply relaxed.
I always take this photo on the way out. The Majestic on the hill, the Convention Centre just down it, the walk inbetween out to dinner, the friends in the town of art and curry, the shared endeavour. The love. We’re not here forever. Best Thought Bubble ever.
To Be Continued
By Crom, it is, for I live!
See you all next week!