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!

Heresy and The Tenth Doctor

Okay, you got me… I never really liked Tennant as Who.

Before you stone me for heresy, though, I’m a child of the Seventies and Tom will always be the Doctor to me. I miss the jelly babies and the scarf; I miss the voice and the humour and his wonderful, powerful presence. Seeing him on stage at the SFX Weekender, last year, was a throwback to my SF roots.


Having said that, Titan Merch have just released images of their latest 9” limited edition maxi-bust featuring Tennant as the Tenth Doctor – and I might just change my mind. It’s gorgeous. It’s got the pose, it’s got the stare, it’s got the tight sense of dynamism and the posture and the sharp suit. It’s even got the sonic screwdriver.

There’s a strong sense of motion to the flow of the garments – his energy is palpable. Hell, he almost looks like he’d move.

My son is a Tennant Fan – I guess we all fall for the Doc we grew up with. And looking at this particular release, I’m wondering if he might have a point after all.

He’s startlingly contemporary – and I guess you do have to move with the times. He is the Doctor, after all.

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!

Toy Launch: Lunartik at Forbidden Planet!


We’re delighted to be hosting the Launch Event for Matt ‘Lunartik’ JOnes’ latest range of vinyl figures Lunartik in a Cup of Tea: Mini Series 1 at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR.

Matt JOnes’ debut figure, Lunartik In A Cup Of Tea, was an instant and refreshing success to the UK art toy world; Lunartik was the base design for the gorgeous Custom Tea Tour involving such artists as Pete Fowler and Jon Burgerman, which also made its debut at Forbidden Planet. Now, Matt JOnes brings us his first set of blind-boxed mini collectibles, including 12 fresh favours and four hidden special brews!

And from 1pm on Saturday 20th November, Matt ‘Lunartik’ JOnes will be in our store to make you a cup of tea – as only he knows how – along with beautiful cakes supplied by Hidden Crumbs.

Matt JOnes is also the designer of the 3D version of our famous ‘rocket’ brand, originally created by Rian Hughes.

Forbidden Planet has always been on the forefront of the art toy sensation in the UK, hosting events with Tara McPherson, Jon Burgerman, Pete Fowler and James Jarvis as well as being the only UK venue on the Custom Bart Qee Tour in 2007 and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Research Trust with the MonQee Project, as supported by Terry Pratchett and Toy2R.

Visit Matt’s portfolio at:

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.

What the Fuck Happened?!

You ever have one of those days when you wonder what the fuck happened? When you wonder what the you-of-a-decade ago would’ve thought? When several things, good or bad, all sneak up on you at once and you find yourself looking at your hands/screen/surroundings and wondering quite how you got where you are? (And no, I don’t mean waking up on a mystery couch at 6am).

You know what I mean – yeah, one of those.

I’m having a morning like that. Never mind that it’s Monday, never mind that the not-FP Danie has been sailing the choppy seas of Divine Amusement recently… never mind any of that shit. I’m up to my ears in a sudden and wondrous feeling of gobsmacked surreality.

And what I’m looking at is this:

Pat Mills and Clint Langley
Rob Rankin
Brian Froud
Guillermo del Toro
Iain M Banks
William Gibson
Michael Moorcock
Bryan Hitch
Simon Pegg

And there are still more coming – look out for Bryan Talbot in December.

I mean, seriously. I read down that list and my eyes nearly fall out – our signings diary has gone up by a third year-on-year for the last couple of years, but that? That’s a list of childhood heroes and modern-day rock stars that’s verging on scary.

What the fuck happened? I’m not sure I know – but I do know that it’s down to more people than I can list or name, who all work together to make this shit real.

Come on, gobsmacked or no, you got to love it!

The Black Library Invade!

They may have left their bolters at home and checked the Dreadnought at the door… but you can’t underestimate the efficiency and passion of the boys – and girl – from the Black Library.

Writing warriors all, every one of them has an incredible enthusiasm for the stories and characters, which comes across with everything they do. I’m guessing this is why the Forbidden Planet ‘open plan’ event malarkey absolutely suited Dan Abnett, James Swallow, Graham McNeill, Nick Kyme, Nik Vincent and Sandy Mitchell – all of whom were good enough to work their socks off last night.

And it suited the fans too. The chance to actually ‘mingle’ with the authors and creators of the mythology was a new thing to them – they’re not standing in front of a table, they’re actually on ground level and can talk about the characters and the books that they love… as an equal. To me, that’s completely the point.

I’ve ranted about this before.

We had a great night. In the office before the event began, Sandy was talking about kids’ love for gaming, in particular his seven-year-old daughter and her Barbie-pink Tyranid army… and in the pub afterwards, Dan was telling wondrous tales from the ‘set’ (you know what I mean) of the Ultramarines movie. From school kids to international movie releases – nothing illustrates more effectively just how wide a range of appeal the mythology really has.

And between these points, you have two New York Times bestselling authors both still gobsmacked by their own success… and, more importantly, delighted for the profile and credibility it’s brought to all of them, and to the tales they, too, loved as kids.

With every person they spoke to, every interview they undertook, you could see that all six of these writers would be nowhere else. Their own Forbidden Planets are alive, bristling with new potential – and it was all there to be seen our books department last night. Perhaps that’s how the WarHammer worlds get an appeal that goes from children to filmset.

A final thank you to the crew for showing military efficiency in signing so many books for us (I was half-expecting to hear Dan bark, ‘ONE, two, three ONE!’ and have everybody sign in sync). Watching last night work so well was fantastic – as Invasions go, you lot can come again!

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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