Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with Michael Pickwoad in Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Magazine #476 is available in shops now. As well as interviews with Steven Moffat's preview of the forthcoming new series - and details of who is writing which episodes - there's an interview with production designer Michael Pickwoad by me. He explained how to build whole worlds...

I had a very nice day in March visiting the BBC's Roath Lock studios to speak to Michael, who could not have been nicer. As well as him explaining to me - who can barely draw or make things or tie a shoelace - what it is he does, we discussed his work on Withnail and I, the Children's Film Foundation films of the 1970s and his dad helping Doctor Who battle The War Machines.

And before I left he quite extraordinarily handed me - well, you'll have to read the interview to find out.

Friday, July 04, 2014


Earlier this week, the nice people at Jurassic London announced the contents of forthcoming anthology Irregularity - which I'm thrilled to have an story in. Here's what they said:

Irregularity is about the tension between order and chaos in the 17th and 18th centuries. Men and women from all walks of life dedicated themselves to questioning, investigating, classifying and ordering the natural world. They promoted scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual rigour in the face of superstition, intolerance and abuses of power. These brave thinkers dedicated themselves and their lives to the idea that the world followed rules that human endeavour could uncover... but what if they were wrong?

Irregularity is about the attempts to impose man's order on nature's chaos, the efforts both successful and unsuccessful to better know the world.

Fom John Harrison to Ada Lovelace, Isaac Newton to Émilie du Châtelet, these stories showcase the Age of Reason in a very different light.

This anthology is published to coincide with two exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum taking place in 2014: a major exhibition on the story of the quest for longitude at sea and a steampunk show at the Royal Observatory. The Museum is also our partner for the publication of Irregularity, including access to their archives for materials, imagery and inspiration.

"Fairchild's Folly" by Tiffani Angus
"A Game Proposition" by Rose Biggin
"Footprint" by Archie Black
"A Woman Out of Time" by Kim Curran
"The Heart of Aris Kindt" by Richard de Nooy
"An Experiment in the Formulae of Thought" by Simon Guerrier
"Irregularity" by Nick Harkaway
"Circulation" by Roger Luckhurst
"The Voyage of the Basset" by Claire North
"The Assassination of Isaac Newton by the Coward Robert Boyle" by Adam Roberts
"Animalia Paradoxa" by Henrietta Rose-Innes
"The Last Escapement" by James Smythe
"The Darkness" by M. Suddain
"The Spiders of Stockholm" by E. J. Swift
Afterword by Sophie Waring and Richard Dunn, Head of Science and Technology at Royal Museums Greenwich

Illustrations by Gary Northfield and the National Maritime Museum

Cover by Howard Hardiman

Edited by Jared Shurin

Irregularity will also be available as a limited, hand-numbered, hardcover edition. The "Meridian Edition" is a quarter-bound volume in the traditional 17th century duodecimo size, on 120 gsm paper and complete with decorative ribbon, coloured endpapers and head and tail bands.

The Meridian Edition is available exclusively through the National Maritime Museum.

Published 24 July 2014

Hardcover (100 numbered copies): £29.99 (coming soon)
ISBN: 978-0-9928172-2-0

Paperback: £12.99
ISBN: 978-0-9928172-1-3

Kindle: Coming soon
Kobo: Coming soon
Spacewitch: Coming soon
ISBN: 978-0-9928172-3-7

Find it on Goodreads

Join us at the launch - "Dark and Stormy Late" - at the National Maritime Museum on 24 July.

"Calling irregular authors!" - background on the project and an introduction to the 2014 exhibitions from the National Maritime Museum.

"Longitude Punk'd" - a selection of objects to inspire the upcoming exhibition, selected from the Museum's archives.

The Board of Longitude archive - now available online through Cambridge University Library, the National Maritime Museum and the Board of Longitude project.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Doctor Who fights ALL the monsters in Croydon

Some foolishness I wrote - Face of Boe Book, in which lots of Doctor Who monsters invade Croydon. Design by my clever friend Lee Midwinter.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Monday, June 02, 2014

Modern Man wins at Kinofilm 2014!

Hurrah! Modern Man - a short film I wrote - has won Best Three-Minute Wonder at the Kinofilm International Short Film Festival in Manchester. You can read the full list of winners on the Kinofilm website.

The film has also been playing recently in cities even more exotic than Manchester. Director Seb Solberg blogged about his recent trip to see Modern Man playing in Paris.

You can watch Modern Man below, and I wrote a thing about making it.

Modern Man from Sebastian Solberg on Vimeo.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Paul Spragg (1975-2014)

My friend Paul Spragg died on 8 May. His brother Nick and best friend Tom have written beautifully about what a lovely, funny, hard-working and magnificent fellow he was. It's not only desperately sad, it's just ridiculous that Paul is gone.

There's a justgiving page set up to donate money to the British Heart Foundation in Paul's name.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Sci-Fi London winners

The nice people at Sci-Fi London have announced the winners of this year's 48 hour challenges to make films and tell stories.

For each competition, entrants had 48 hours to entirely create an original work based on stuff we gave them on the morning of Saturday 12 April: the title, a line of dialogue, a prop or action, and an optional science theme or idea (created by readers of New Scientist).

As you may remember, two years ago, Brother Tom, I and a gang of handsome desperadoes threw our all into the 48-hour film challenge. Read of our adventures making Revealing Diary.

This year, I was one of the three judges on the "flash fiction" short story competition, helping Charles Christian and Robert Grant whittle the entries down to one winner and two runners up:
  1. "Silent Storm" by Erin Johnson (PDF)
  2. "The Journey" by Bisha K Ali 
  3. "Tomorrow At Noon" by Glen Mehn
Congratulations to Erin, Bisha and Glen, and well done to everyone who took part. You can also watch the winning storytelling film and short films here:

"Shift" by Gareth Topping:

The March by Mission Media / Black Ant

The two runners-up in the film-making contest were Back Issue by the Creepy Guys:

And Life External by Bokeh: