Announcing: FP/Gollancz Multi-Author Event!

YES! We’re hosting one of our trademark multi-author signings – you know, the one where we all go down the pub afterwards.

At 6:00pm on Thursday June 23rd, Forbidden Planet 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London will be playing host to: –

• Ben Aaronovitch
• James Barclay
• Elspeth Cooper
• Stephen Deas
• Jaine Fenn
• M D Lachlan
• Tom Lloyd
• John Meaney
• Chris Wooding

To promote the release of Elspeth’s new book SONGS OF THE EARTH, Forbidden Planet has gathered a host of science fiction and fantasy talent into one event – an event to bring writers and fans together and to promote interest in new and different kinds of fiction.

This is one of our trademark multi-author events, bringing our guests 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…

…oh, you know how this works. Turn up, get books, hang out with your favourite authors, go to the pub.

Got to love it!

Warm Up for KAPOW! at Forbidden Planet

In a special pre-KAPOW! event, ANDY DIGGLE, JOCK and JAMIE DELANO will be signing at FP London at 6:00pm on Friday 8th April… and may well be in the pub afterwards!

Grab yourself a copy of the Titan Books publications of Rat Catcher and Hellblazer: Pandemonuim – and get a head-start on the hottest, newest Con!

According to underworld legend, the Rat Catcher is a peerless assassin who specialises in silencing mob snitches. There’s just one problem – he doesn’t exist. Now there’s a pile of dead bodies in a burning safe house outside El Paso. The Rat Catcher has finally slipped up, and a washed-up FBI agent has one last chance to hunt him down. Follow Andy Diggle’s tale of two master man-hunters in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, each of them hiding a secret from the other.

In Hellblazer: Pandemonuim, an alluring Muslim woman catches John Constantine’s eye and brings troubles to his doorstep: a bombing in a London museum, mysterious ancient Sumerian artifacts and a terrifying creature running rampant with renegade intentions. To save his life and freedom, Constantine embarks on a desperate trail, blazing from the back streets of London to the detainment centres and battlegrounds of contemporary Iraq. Hellblazer: Pandemonium brings original Hellblazer writer Jamie Delano together with fan-favorite artist Jock to tell a tale about war and terror in a horror story tailor-made for the 21st century.

The best comics events – at Forbidden Planet!

Who Owns A Book?

Yesterday’s signing – and the conversation that followed in both staffroom and pub – has made me ask myself a question.

Who really owns a book?

It it’s written by the Author, represented by the Agent, bought by the Publisher, polished by the Editor – and then Printed (one way or another), promoted by the Publicist, reviewed by the Bloggers, featured in the Press, sold by the Bookstore, bought by the Public and promoted all over again… breathe, dammit… whose is it, really? What if you add digital publishing and certain online retailers to this cycle and it becomes more complex still? (Or less, depending upon which side of the till you’re standing. Charlie Stross put this one better than I ever could).

And that’s not forgetting the self-published authors; the cover artists, and blurb-writers, the fan-bases and bloody, bloody Facebook… everything folds in together and the list goes ever on.

Eventually, with fortune and planning, the whole thing comes full circle – and the Author comes in to talk to the Public. As a friend of mine used to say, ‘Everybody wins’.

But does that answer the question?

The face of publishing is changing. We’ve glimpsed it in the darkness – where new hopefuls or talented artisan writers are treated like monkeys, given peanuts for selling soul and talent to organ-grinders who want only profit… and the backlash has been substantial. I’m sure we all remember a certain gentleman in Frey Flannel.

I’m always reassured that the moment one faction steps in and demands sole ownership, the fight rises to topple their monopoly.

Watching Joe talking about and reading from ‘The Heroes’ yesterday – watching the responses of and questions from his fans – has made me realise something. Not about fighting (though we talked about that too) but about the real owners of a book.

Who owns a book? The characters. That’s where the passion is; if the cycles turns properly, then they live in the hearts of minds of everyone, Author to Public, all the way round. (It’s when they don’t that it seems to go tits up). To coin a popular phrase – it’s character driven, the whole damn thing.

And that’s how it should be.

Witness: –

With thanks to Joe, his Heroes, Gollancz – and the team at FP Bristol.

#MADMONTH! BristolCon and Other Stories

Every so often, life at Forbidden Planet goes balls-to-the-wall crazy.

We’ve done Star Wars Days and Hallowe’en Celebrations, we’ve had signings with some of the most exciting names in the industry and we’ve taken our butts and our books to the Bristol Ramada and drunk far too much beer at BristolCon… and had a great time doing all of it. No matter how busy the business may be, there’s a sense of involvement that keep the energy levels high.

As Doctor Tim, manager of the Bristol Megastore said: we do it because we love it.

Honest, guv’nor.!

Seriously, though, sometimes, this stuff is just a privilege. From the wondrous (and hair-raising) tales of Michael Moorcock’s youthful antics, to stealing William Gibson’s ebook signing pen (erm… sorry about that), to remembering the basement days of Denmark Street with Iain Banks, to rediscovering the warm and open friendliness of Simon Pegg… there’s never a dull moment. The tales of Denmark Street remind me that all of these people started in exactly the same place as the rest of us – and each one still values the opinion and input of every single one of his fans. Props to the lot of them!

The #madmonth has ended with a day at BristolCon – a new venture for the local SF/F collective and a perfectly slotted-together event. In the Dealers’ Room as ever, it was still good to see a full and engaging programme of events (we at least got to Nick’s pub quiz – Walters, you’ve missed your calling as a stage comedian!) and (inevitably) to the bar… plus we got to chat to a guest list, all local, that all pitched in to make the event a success.

And the ‘local’ is absolutely the event’s hand-on win. There’s a strong genre family in Bristol, a gathering of authors and bloggers and podcasters and fans who’ve helped build a city hub that’s become big enough to host a Con of its own – and to make it a success. The atmosphere was very chilled – and there was a togetherness to it that can be missing from larger gatherings.

As with the signings at the Megastore – it’s gone to underline that we’re all the same at the root, and we all have the same things dear to our hearts. At the risk of sounding a scrape too cheesy… do we all do it because we love it?

So – props to Jo and her team for a fantastic event that will grow into something even better next year. It was absolutely bigger on the inside!

And yes, we will be back!

The Imperial March

They never tire of it.

The frightened little ones, the loud-mouthed pre-teens, the squealing girls and the enthusiastic Dads – everywhere the Garrison go, you see the same kaleidoscope of reactions. All the hot girls love a Stormtrooper, all the geeks make jokes about droids, and all the smart arses end up on the pavement with their hands behind their heads.

Hell, I never tire of it either.

And we’ve had a few new discoveries this time. Working with us at Bristol and Southampton to promote our exclusive book-plated edition of Star Wars: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, the UK Garrison do seem to like Forbidden Planet. Lord Vader himself came to inspect Bristol, where he absolutely refrained from throttling anyone (unless they really deserved it) and loomed outside the store, silent and menacing and breathing as only Vader can. Surrounded by a plethora of flashing cameras, eagerly costumed children and wide-eyed tittering Mums.

The UKG absolutely excel at the Comedy Photo Op. They will pose for days and the passing public will never let them go… but there’s also something surreal and hilarious about any Stormtrooper doing something that’s essentially mundane. Trooper reads menu, Trooper goes into shop – it’s a win every time. Faceless and humourless, voices both mechanical and polite, all they have to do is stop by the front of a market stall and people turn and point.

And they never, ever, tire of it.

Today, though, we’ve had a moment.

Spotting a pair of smartly kilted bagpipers on Southampton High Street, the Troopers naturally had to investigate. The public were naturally entertained. The piper naturally made an attempt at The Imperial March on his chanter, and promised solemnly he would ‘learn it’ for the next time.

Fair enough, we thought.

Imagine our wonder, then, when the ‘next time’ turned out to be two hours later, when both pipers came down to Forbidden Planet Southampton. As promised, he played, fucking flawlessly, the Imperial March.

We were, Troopers and store and onlookers alike, absolutely gobsmacked.

Check this out…

[vimeo 16125323 w=400 h=300]

Piper at the Gates of… from Danie Ware on Vimeo.

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!