SFX's Summer of SF Reading kicked off last night with an event at Waterstone's in Piccadilly and I went along to rub shoulders with the likes of China Mieville, Dan Abnett and Sir Terry Pratchett himself (although I didn't get to speak to him as he was off for some supper by the time I got over to his side of the room).
It was a great evening, the focus of which was a panel of authors, chaired by SFX editor Dave Bradley, discussing the question "Millions of people watch SF on TV and at the cinema - why don’t more people read SF books too?”
After all that was said and done it seemed to me that millions of people don't watch SF on TV and at the cinema. Most of the time what they're watching is in fact fantasy, or other genres dressed up in a SF costume. Doctor Who is not science fiction - it's fantasy. Likewise Star Trek, Iron Man (and all his ilk), Avatar and Star Wars. They're all fantasy franchises really. Same is true of my own Pax Britannia books.
Anyway, I had a great time catching up with mighty Dan Abnett, Nik Vincent-Abnett and Graham McNeill, Dave Bradley and I discovered we have a mutual love of the humour (and fanboy references) in Iron Man 2, and I also caught up with the inestimable Jenni Hill from Abaddon Books (and her very tall fella Mike).
I also had the pleasure of meeting a genuine fan, one Joe Kelly, who remembers Spellbreaker from the first time round and loves my first novel The Dead and the Damned. (Made me quite nostalgic for Badenov's Band, as it happened.) He, Graham and I also spent some time discussing the ready made critical audience there is for Warhammer and 40K books.
When all's said and done, it was a great evening with much SF-related banter and a fair few gags too (and I loved China Mieville's description of what a science fiction movie is), so thanks SFX and thanks Waterstone's - perhaps we can do it again some time.