I’m heading to the train station, where I will catch the train to San Jose for World Fantasy. I’m looking forward to the ride and having the quiet down time to just focus on writing and reading. I’m taking Tobias Buckell’s Ragamuffinfor the trip.
After Steve, Lee and I met up, we went to the Long Acre pub to meet Stel Pavlou. We had a nice lunch and were joined by Stel’s friend James. Afterwards, we all followed Steve to Forbidden Planet for the booksigning of Elemental
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I had no idea that a place like Forbidden Planet existed. It’s a store dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, horror and “cult entertainment”. They’ve got graphic novels, anime, manga, videos of every SF show ever made…astounding. In the midst of the SF section, they had set up a table with a pile of books for Steve, Lee, and Stel to sign. They were joined by Michael Marshall Smith, one of the other authors in the Elemental anthology. For an hour they signed books and chatted with customers.
And then there was Liam. Picture a little boy, very slight, about nine years old. Now put him in a Jedi cloak and give him a lightsabre. Further, give him no parental supervision and free range. He understood that the four people at the table were some sort of celebrity and that things signed by them were more valuable, so he brought them all manner of things to sign, none of which had anything to do with Elemental. They were remarkably gracious and Liam did break up the monotony of the signing, I’m sure.
After the signing, everyone except Michael Marshall Smith went to another pub, which I’ve forgotten the name of, and met up with Ian Farrington (editor of the Dr. Who anthology I had purchased), Simon Guerrier, Joseph Lidster (two of the authors in it) and Lizzie, a voice actor for Dr. Who as well as one of the anthology authors. We geeked out on Dr. Who for a while, which was very satisfying for me.
I also indulged in a pint of Cider, which you can’t get in Iceland. Mmmm….
Then we were off to Woodlands, although by this point the group had dwindled to just Steve, Lee, Stel and me. This was a phenomonal vegetarian Indian restaraunt that Steve had recommended. It was just around the corner from his dad’s office, so Steve just asked the chef to send out a variety of food for us. All of it was exquisite. I highly recommend this place next time you are in London.
After far too much food, we all waddled back to our various accomodations. To my surprise, the dorm room in the hostel was clean. Only two bunks showed signs of residents, although neither one was in when I got back. I got into bed and collapsed, satisfied with the day.
Later, I discovered that everyone had moved out except for the two who snored.
In the morning, I packed my bags and headed to Steve and Lee’s hotel. While the hostel was fine for sleeping (aside from snoring boys) the showers were so awful as to be almost unusable. Each shower had a single thin stream of water about the width of my little finger. There was no way to adjust the temperature. There was also no way I was going to be able to wash my hair in it. Saturday, I just didn’t wash my hair, and counted on product to see me through the day, but Sunday, Steve and Lee said I could use theirs. Ah, heaven.
Once I was clean and presentable, we went out for sightseeing. First stop, 221B Baker Street for the Sherlock Holmes museum. This was interesting because they treat it as if Holmes and Watson were real people so the whole thing is laid out as if it were really their flats. I don’t think it gives me anymore insight into the stories, but it does make me revise my idea of room size. The rooms were tiny, tiny, tiny.
Then it was off to Whitechapel to look at the narrow streets where Jack the Ripper dwelled.
And then it was time for tea. We elected to go back to their hotel and have tea there. I so love clotted cream.
And that was the last of my London adventures. I caught the train back to the airport, and now I’m home.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]