SFX Summer Of Reading Launch Party

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The night Terry Pratchett, China Mieville, Adam Roberts, Dan Abnett and other top authors joined SFX and SFX readers to talk sci-fi. And a blimmin’ great time was had by all…

Above: Authors, pens, books, queues? Hmm, Watson, I think we have a signing…

It may have been chilly outside Waterstone’s London, Piccadilly branch, but inside The SFX Summer Of SF Reading was kicking off in sizzling style. On Monday 10 May, SFX and assorted top SF authors invaded the six-storey store for a special book event that turned out to be a massive success. (You don’t have to take our word for it – check out some of the online reviews we’ve been having on sites like Porno Kitsch .)

The event kicked off at 5.30pm with an open-to-all signing session on the ground floor, with authors such as Dan Abnett, Michael Cobley, China Miéville, Adam Roberts, Stephan Hunt and Graham McNeill all getting autographer’s cramp. Meanwhile, upstairs in the sixth floor shop’s bar (yes, Waterstone’s at Piccadilly has a bar… and a restaurant, and a cafe… though we didn’t find a swimming pool or cinema) Terry Pratchett had arrived and was holding court with fans who’d spotted the familiar hat. Luckily there were no disgruntled Doctor Who fans who, having misinterpreted his SFX blog , were demanding his head.

Then the action moved to a special, exclusive private panel and soiree (with free booze!) for 80 SFX compo winners, up on the seventh floor (just below the shop’s helicopter landing pad presumably).

The panel – chaired by SFX editor Dave Bradley – was meant to be discussing why millions of people watch science fiction in the movies and on TV but don't read books. No conclusion was reached, other than the fact that literary SF is definitely not a dying genre. The panel debated what “gateway drugs” kids are reading these days to lead them on to harder SF later, the rise of fantasy and young adult literature, what the medium of books offers that's different from other media, the huge popularity of certain types of SF (like the Warhammer novels) and what experience they deliver, whether the movie business churns out sci-fi to meet business objectives rather than be focussed on creativity like book publishers, and loads more. Questions from the audience covered topics like the tools writers used to source their vocabulary and how to put the science in science fiction.

After that there was a chance to mingle with the authors (including Jonathan Green who decided to join us and lig), drink more booze and talk some serious sci-fi.

You know what? We may just do it again.

Above: Stephen Hunt gets ready to scribble in a copy of Secrets Of The Fire Sea . We don’t think the owner will mind.

Above: China Miéville being careful about where he looks

The SFX Summer Of SF Reading is in association with Waterstone’s , where you can buy all the books you’ll be reading about.

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Above: A few people were surprised to learn that Adam Roberts has to operate his mouth manually

Above: Terry Pratchett tells SFX ’s Nick Setchfield that his drink looks like someone has put Carmen Miranda in a blender (this is not a gag – that’s genuinely what he said!)

Above: Terry mingles while SFX ad manager Adrian Hill admires his hat

The SFX Summer Of SF Reading is in association with Waterstone’s , where you can buy all the books you’ll be reading about.

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Above: Some subtle branding

Above: Dan Abnett during the panel discussion with Robin Day-vid Bradley chairing

Above: The panel in full. From left to right as seated: Michael Cobley, Dan Abnett, Dave Bradley, Adam Roberts and China Mieville

The SFX Summer Of SF Reading is in association with Waterstone’s , where you can buy all the books you’ll be reading about.

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Above: Michael Cobley tries to rationalise the Transformers movies.

Above: The wine was served in Kryptonite green plastic tumblers for some odd reason, not that anybody minded. It was free. That’s all that mattered

Above: China Mieville in full flow, possibly halfway through the word “exigency”.

The SFX Summer Of SF Reading is in association with Waterstone’s , where you can buy all the books you’ll be reading about.

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