Just returned from an enjoyable but exhausting couple of days in London, presenting at the INFORM session at the London School of Economics. I say ‘enjoyable’, but it was a bit stressful. On the way there, I left my passport, so had to go back for it, and I eventually arrived at the front gate of the airport at 8:03, for a plane whose gate closed as 8:15. So I was too stressed to sleep on the plane, etc. But it was great to see pals like Kim Knott, Matt Francis, Titus Hjelm, Beth Singler and Eileen, Amanda and Suzanne from INFORM, and to make new friends and colleagues.
It had already been a busy week, because two long-term publishing projects came together. One I will announce when the contract is inked, but I can hereby announce that I will be publishing my first monograph, UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age: Millennial Conspiracism, with Bloomsbury in January 2016, in their Advances in Religious Studies series. As well as having a strong editorial team, Bloomsbury guarantee that the book will be available as an affordable paperback (although not straight away, regretably). I felt strongly that I wanted this to be available outside of academia, but I lack the clout (or academic capital, to be more post-structuralist) to have demanded this of some other publishers. And while I didn’t actually approach them, I can’t imagine one of the more mainstream bookshop-friendly academic presses like OUP even considering going near a book with that title by an unknown author. Expect to hear lots more about this in the coming months.
The Unwritten (Mike Carey and Peter Gross) reached its end and its 70th issue. I loved the set-up (stories are magic and reality is a story and where does story end and so who creates and dammit #everythingisfiction) and generally the execution, despite the series sometimes feeling like it was spinning its wheels unnecessarily (although by no means as much as other work by Carey and Gross have). A good read though, especially if you’re Ethan Quillen.
Clementine is a novella (or maybe novelette) in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, which I have enjoyed quite a bit. This one concerns the notorious confederate spy Belle Boyd, recently turned private detective, and her quarry, the gigantic airship pirate and free slave, Croggan Hainey. It wasn’t my favourite in the series, but Priest’s prose is as sharp as ever and her characters vividly drawn, particularly the female ones. It’s a believable and consistent world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a film or TV series before long.