Scott Pilgrim Event at Forbidden Planet

Bryan Lee O’Malley does not have seven evil exes.

In fact, he’s quiet, almost shy, responding to questions with a subtle, dry wit and a sideways flash-glance that seems to gather more than it gives away. When I ask him where the inspiration for the character of Scott Pilgrim came from (you have to do these things) his answer is a blend of himself and the people he’s met during his life.

But isn’t that true of every writer’s protagonist?
I’m remiss in never really having heard of Scott Pilgrim – not until the movie merchandising began and the build-your-own avatars were saturating my Twitter page. Yet there’s something about him… the artwork’s compelling and he doesn’t let me go. The big eyes and the strong expressions are very anime, and very accessible. The characters that surround him are lively and engaging and you’re sure you know them from somewhere…

I learn more about the character while trading anecdotes in the backroom at Forbidden Planet – meantime, Bryan faces a truly epic pile (of epicness) of pre-orders with that same wry sense of humour and truly record-breaking speed. Excited members of FP staff are frequent and jumping-up-and-down with enthusiasm and the queue outside the store is a patiently sprawling monument to just how popular Scott Pilgrim really is.
I really feel I should get to know him a little better.
I find out that, if there are parts Bryan Lee O’Malley in Scott, then there are no less parts of us all. He’s every one of us, every youthful memory and bright-eyed hope. Scott Pilgrim is those post-Uni days when you hadn’t quite settled on what you wanted to do; those days when you were all about the dreams and your life was all ahead of you and sharing a bed with your mate was just how it was.
He reminds you of the hot girl or boy that you wanted desperately and then (amazing!) actually got, the hot girl or boy you that didn’t really want but didn’t really want to have to hurt… the thing about Scott Pilgrim is that we’ve all been there. And the thing about Bryan Lee O’Malley – is that he must’ve been there too.

So: I’m guessing that, if Scott Pilgrim is made up of all of everyone, then that would explain the sub-space highway in his head…
…and maybe why I’ve been dreaming about hot girls on roller-blades.
PS: If you are the girl who decorated this fantastic Munny – or you know who she is – please shout so give the credit where it’s due.

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Forbidden Planet Bares All!

Thanks to Angry Robot books, LAUREN BEUKES will be signing an exclusive pre-release hardcover of ZOO CITY at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR on Thursday 29th July from 6 – 7pm.

Zinzi December has a talent for finding lost things. But in a city of black magic, familiars and damaged people, some lost things don’t want to be found. To save herself, Zinzi will have to confront her demons and find the hardest thing of all: the truth. An astonishing second novel from the author of the highly-acclaimed Moxyland.

Lauren Beukes is a recovering journalist who used to hang out with township vigilantes, electricity thieves, trendoid swingers, teen vampires and great white sharks; now she spends most of her time making stuff up as a TV scriptwriter and novelist. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and daughter.


As part of the Zoo City promotion, five art toy BARES are being auctioned for the Suitcase Project, helping Johannesburg’s refugee children. These unique customs a have been donated by the Am I collective and decorated by South African artists Joey Hi-Fi, Elise Wessels, Clemi, Willeen le Roux, Carine Nguz and Bia van Deventer.

Lauren will be bringing one of the Bares, Bi-Polar Bare by Willeen de Roux, with her to the event.

And please don’t forget to go and bid!

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Three of the Best Event: When A Plan Comes Together!

I love it when a plan comes together.

Oh all right, all right – there may be a plan, but its execution isn’t mine. This stuff doesn’t happen without the unsung heroes in the books department, without the publisher, without the fantastic triple bill of the boys themselves, and without Sharon Ring who rounded up the critical mass of bloggers and brought them in for the night.

And what a night.

From Adam’s cherry flavoured e-cig to the threat to shave Mark’s head, from China’s choice of entry music (check Mark’s blog for this one) to the winding–fractal queues (suitably squid-like in fact) that coiled across the floor… this was an evening that coalesced flawlessly. Yes, there were books and there were buyers, there were writers and there were readers – but there was also that fantastic, spontaneous combustion of friendliness and badinage that brings tradition down in flames and builds something Phoenix-like (see what I did there?) out of the ashes of what has gone before.


Question: why do people feel they can @celebs on twitter? Because it’s an even field; when you look at your screen, at your choice of app, Stephen Fry has exactly the same 140-character slot as your next mate down. Suddenly, if you wish it, he’s approachable.

So: we’re breaking tables. Their absence removes emotional barriers, social barriers – barriers that divide an author from their readership, and that readership from each other. Queues formulate readers into ceremonial silence.

And don’t we want to shout about the books we love?

Once again, I return to the sense of community – and the multiple subsequent posts I’ve seen about this event all celebrate the same song. We met our friends and we shared something that mattered.

Yes, we might read a book alone (though if it’s ‘Apartment 16′ you might want the light on) – but being able to share that book, not only with your friends, but with the author that wrote it, really matters.

Thank you to everybody who came down and made that event what it was. I only work there ☺

(The image is Krakencome by Nycopterus. Sadly, my iPhone takes lousy photos. That’s what I tell myself anyway)…

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Five Authors, One… Oh, You Know How This Works!

And off we go again!! Forbidden Planet and Gollancz publishing are delighted to bring you one of our now-celebrated, open-format, multi-author signings! At 6pm on Thursday May 13th, Forbidden Planet 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London will be playing host to: –

• Stephen Deas
• M D Lachlan
• John Meaney
• Sarah Pinborough
• Adam Roberts

Once again, we’ve have gathered the hottest new sf/f releases into one event – an evening that bring writers and fans together and promotes interest in new and different kinds of fiction.

This is a free-form and open signing, bringing the authors out from behind their tables and giving their readers a chance to meet them and talk to them about their work. An array of fantastic books will be on hand to be picked up and signed – including works by every one of the writers present.

You know how this works – you’ve been to one of these before!

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MARK MILLAR and JOHN ROMITA Jr. will be signing the graphic novel KICK-ASS and the movie companion book KICK-ASS: CREATING THE COMIC, MAKING THE MOVIE at Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2h 8JR on Sunday March 21st 2 – 3pm.

The KICK-ASS phenomenon unites acclaimed writer Mark Millar and award-winning artist John Romita Jr. for one of the 21st century’s most outrageous and acclaimed series. What would happen if you tried to be a superhero – if an ordinary kid in spandex came face-to-face with the criminal underworld?

In the graphic novel, Dave Lizewski is just a regular American teenager with a MySpace page, a comic book collection, and no girlfriend. As self-styled vigilante Kick-Ass, however, he’s about to find out exactly how a superhero would fare in the real world… and it’s going to get really, really violent!

To accompany the film release, Mark Millar has also written the full and official page-to-screen story of KICK-ASS, collecting the input of the cast and crew as well as artist John Romita Jr. With eye-popping art from the original comics, script extracts and hundreds of movie photos, this is the indispensable guide to every aspect of ass-kicking.

Please note we can’t offer signed pre-orders for these titles – though we do have a crapton of cool merchandise. If you want to get your ass kicked, so to speak, you’ll need to be at the event!

The Definitive Solomon Kane Archive

Check this fantastic piece of cheeky widgetry, sent over to FP by the guys at!

And if that bundle wasn’t enough, Solomon Kane star JAMES PUREFOY will be signing at Forbidden Planet Megastore on Saturday 20th February 1:30 – 2.30pm.

RSC-trained, James grabbed the spotlight when he played Mark Anthony in the series ‘Rome’. As well as numerous TV appearances, his movie career includes ‘Resident Evil’, ‘A Knight’s Tale’ and the forthcoming ‘John Carter of Mars’.

Solomon Kane, written and directed by Michael J. Bassett (Deathwatch), is the tale of a brutally efficient 16th Century killing machine. Armed with his signature pistols, cutlass and rapier, he and his men unleash their bloodlust as they fight for England in war after war – but when Kane decides to attack a mysterious nearby castle, things take an evil turn.

One by one, Kane’s men are picked off by demonic creatures until he alone is left to face the Devil’s own Reaper – dispatched from the depths of Hell. Though Kane at last manages to escape, he knows that he must redeem himself by renouncing violence and devoting himself wholly to a life of peace and purity. His newfound spirituality, however, is quickly put to the ultimate test and he finds himself having to jeopardise his own soul by re-embracing his murderous talents for a higher cause.

Grab your own Solomon Kane widget here!

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Win A Gruesome Death!

Your chance for immortality by your own gruesome demise – in John Meaney’s (Thomas Blackthorne’s) next Angry Robot title – or you can win a gorgeous replica Aztec calendar offered by Aliette de Bodard.

All you have to do is be at the signing of ‘Edge’ and Aliette’s stunning ‘Servant of the Underworld’ at Forbidden Planet’s London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue on Friday 12th February 6 – 7pm.

There will also be a unique opportunity to interview the authors – and to speak to them about their work – after the signing… (which is also likely to involve beer).

John Meaney brings us the terror of Knife Edge – the reality TV show where wannabe blade fighters are the celebrities in a nation going to hell. Take a bloodied trip through a future London where prime-time gladiatorial combat has taken on a deadly bite.

Aliette de Bodard is a winner of the Writers of the Future Award and a Campbell Award finalist. ‘Servant of the Underworld’ is her debut novel, an Aztec mystery-fantasy featuring ghostly jaguars, bloodthirsty Gods and fingernail-eating monsters – and revealing her passion for, and knowledge of, Aztec mythology and culture.

Check it out at Forbidden Planet, or at Angry Robot Books.

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At Last We Shall Have… Peter Serafinowicz

We’ve had Simon Pegg – advising me on what to call my then-unborn son – and Nick Frost – running loose with a price-gun and answering the phones. Hence, it seems rather fitting that their Spaced arch-rival Peter Serafinowicz will be signing at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Monday 1st February 6 – 7pm.

Peter Serafinowicz is a cult figure, known by fans for his show-stealing appearances in Spaced, Black Books, How Do You Want Me?, Look Around You and Shaun of the Dead. He also has a hugely credible list of guest appearances to his name – including, famously, providing the voice for Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.

Taking a humorous swipe at today’s choice of viewing, the BAFTA-Award nominated The Peter Serafinowicz Show hosts gloriously futile television game shows, including Heads Or Tails? and Which Hand Is It In?, while offering exclusive ‘celebrity’ interviews on O! News.

Through his impressions of familiar faces, Peter creates a world in which Simon Cowell and Terry Wogan mingle with famous fictional characters like Darth Vader and with his own quirky creations – like the wonderfully incompetent PI Brian Butterfield. And look out for Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Mikey, Mikey and Mikey, and Kitchen Gun’s Derek Bum.

We’re just hoping we can persuade him to use the tannoy…

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Yes, he’s back! The one-and-only Rob Rankin will be signing Retromancer at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Saturday 12th December 1:00pm – 2:00pm. And I swear we’re all out of rayguns…

Evil magic is abroad. The Germans have won WWII; America is a nuclear wasteland. And worst of all, the breakfast menu at The Wife’s Legs Cafe in Brentford is serving Bratwurst. It’s time call Hugo Rune – a man who offers the world his genius, and asks only that it cover his expenses. Together, the Retromancer and Rizla return to war-torn London, match their wits against beautiful spies, alien technology, killer robots and death rays – and come face to face with Hugo Rune’s arch-enemy, the sinister Count Otto Black.

London-born Robert Rankin started writing in the 1970s and his books regularly storm the bestseller lists including The Witches of Chiswick and The Toyminator. He’s one of the country’s most renowned humorous fantasy writers and is well known for having recurring characters and running gags that pop up throughout his books. Robert is also an unrepentant Luddite who writes novels by hand in exercise books.

And I swear I’m not just posting this because he hosts a class party!

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Now With Added Swearing

There’s no better arse-kicking heroine than Tank Girl – the icon of my twenties, the rebel streak of my thirties and now a professional contact of my forties (ain’t life surreal!). Yes, Alan Martin and Rufus Dayglo, unaccompanied by kangaroos, will be signing Skidmarks #1 at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Saturday 5th December 1 – 2pm.

Alongside artist Jamie Hewlett, Alan created Tank Girl in 1988 for Deadline magazine – and now, this gorgeous and anarchic heroine is a cult icon that has starred in strips, monthly comics, graphic novels, prose novels and a Hollywood movie. For Skidmarks, Alan has been joined by hot British artist Rufus Dayglo – and they’ve brought us, complete with added swearing, a riotous, brand new Tank Girl mini-series.

Skidmarks shows us Australia in the near future: a post-apocalyptic, but still rather picturesque wasteland. The former bounty hunter turned outlaw known as Tank Girl spends her days drinking, fighting and getting up to all manner of mischief – until she’s forced to give up her life of semi-retirement and climb back into the saddle to save the life of her best friend, Barney. This is everything you ever wanted to know about Tank Girl’s schooldays – and everything you didn’t!

It’s a book that makes me wonder if I missed out on a load of (tank)-girly schooltime fun…

(The poster for done for FP by Rufus last year – don’t let the date confuse you!)

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