Thursday, 15 September 2011

Out of this World

It has been a good week. To begin with I sold a story to and the acceptance email arrived in the final hours of my birthday – a very welcome extra birthday gift. Dead Man's Shoes is scheduled to be published in the March 1 issue of so I will post a link when it happens.

The other thing that happened was I finally got the chance to visit the Out of this World exhibition at the British Library in London. I first learned about the exhibition when The Guardian newspaper ran a Science Fiction special to coincide with the opening, earlier in the year. It sounded good, but... well, it's in London. Everything UK is in London, and I'm not. For me it is an expensive deal to get down to the capital, so I muttered about it and hoped an opportunity would turn up.

And this week the day-job stepped up by sending me, not once, but twice down to the big city for meetings. On Monday I travelled with the laptop and ipad executives on the early train, feeling like I was important. Then, in London, I left the high-flyers and caught the tube out to Wood Green, to a tiny, overheated office, where 30+ people met in a room that was little larger than a news kiosk. But it was a successful meeting, not the least because it finished at 4.30, giving me time to dash back into London and catch the last hour of the British Library before it closed.

So, with barely a week remaining before it ended, I was able to see the Out of This World exhibition. And hey, it was worth it. Someone has done a remarkable job researching this thing. It really was very good indeed. Amongst the highlights were the hand-drawn timeline sketches for First and Last Men by Olaf Stapledon (A Wirral writer it must be said). A page of the original theme tune score for Dr Who, by Ron Grainer of the BBC radiophonic workshop, (mercifully keeping the Dr Who content proportionate) and also a real gem, a page of an early typewritten draft of John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids, complete with typos and corrections and edits. This really was a rare and special exhibition. And it was all about the printed word; books and magazines. The temptation is, so often, to resort to film media - but this time the printed word was the focal point, and rightly so for a library exhibit, and it was so good to see.

So, a big thank you to my day job bosses for bankrolling this little outing. It's nice that, for once, things actually worked out.

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