12May

Final Copy Of The Book…

Is at the post office because I wasn’t in during the day.

Reasons to break in and rescue it:

1) Getting my copy of the book now
2) Sleeping well
3) Feeling smug

Reasons not to break in:

1) Prison

3:1 in favour. I do not like waiting for things.

11May

Pakistan War Fuels International Tension

What is says in the headline:

Comments by China’s ambassador in Islamabad last Thursday highlight the reckless character of the Obama administration’s escalating intervention in Pakistan. By pressuring Islamabad to wage an all-out military offensive against Islamic insurgents in the Swat Valley and neighbouring districts, Washington is not only destabilising Pakistan but raising tensions in a highly volatile area.

Speaking to Pakistani business leaders, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui pointedly voiced concern about the growth of “outside influence” in the region. He singled out the US in particular, saying that China was worried about US policies and the presence of a large number of foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. While reiterating China’s support for “the fight against terror,” Luo declared that US strategies needed some “corrective measures”. He added, “These are issues of serious concern for China.”

Luo’s unusually blunt remarks came just one day after US President Obama spoke to his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao. While a number of issues were discussed, the escalating war in Pakistan was clearly high on the agenda. This first publicised phone call between the two men came as Obama met with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents over US strategy in the two countries. While Hu reportedly offered his cooperation, Luo’s comments express China’s underlying fears over growing US influence in South Asia.

Last week’s tripartite summit in Washington signalled a major upsurge in military violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under intense pressure from the US, the Pakistani army has launched a large-scale offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in which hundreds have already died and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee. The summit, however, involved more than discussions on military cooperation, outlining comprehensive plans for the closer economic and strategic integration of the two countries into an American sphere of influence.

Read on.

11May

“Partition” by W. H. Auden

Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
“Time,” they had briefed him in London, “is short. It’s too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we’ve arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you.”

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

The next day he sailed for England, where he could quickly forget
The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not,
Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot.

9May

Dying Earth Photography

I stole this shamlessly from Cheryl Morgan’s blog.

Artificial Owl is so many types of awesome, a blog with photographs of the bizarre and once-decadent decaying man-made structures littering the Earth. What Artificial Owl also does is provide a concise summary – where possible – of function and history.

What I love about these kinds of constructs is how they once had a specific purpose, and now abandoned, they take on a totally different kind of aesthetic value which is totally separate to what the designers had in mind.

Could an architect plan for such decay in his or her drawings? It’s rather like planning what to wear at your own funeral.

7May

Press Release: Two-Book US Rights Deal to Del Rey

PRESS RELEASE – TWO-BOOK US RIGHTS DEAL FOR NEW BRITISH FANTASY WRITER

Margaret Halton, Rights Director at Pan Macmillan, has sold US rights in two fantasy novels by UK novelist Mark Charan Newton to Chris Schluep for a good five-figure sum in US dollars.

World rights in the novels, which open with Mark’s mainstream debut NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR (to be published in hardback in the UK in June 2009), were acquired by Peter Lavery at Tor UK from John Jarrold in 2008.

Chris Schluep said: ‘I am so excited to be publishing NIGHTS OF VILLJAMUR, which is an absolutely wonderful book, and I’m very much looking forward to launching the U.S. career of an important and talented new writer in the field. I’m convinced that Mark has a bright future ahead of him; he’s one of those writers that you come across only on occasion . . .’

‘Chris acted quickly and with great enthusiasm. Mark and I are delighted, and looking forward to working with him and his colleagues at Del Rey, who I know well,’ said John Jarrold.

5May

“Metamorphosis” by Charles Bukowski

a girlfriend came in
built me a bed
scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor
scrubbed the walls
vacuumed
cleaned the toilet
the bathtub
scrubbed the bathroom floor
and cut my toenails and
my hair.
then
all on the same day
the plumber came and fixed the kitchen faucet
and the toilet
and the gas man fixed the heater
and the phone man fixed the phone.
noe I sit in all this perfection.
it is quiet.
I have broken off with all 3 of my girlfriends.
I felt better when everything was in
disorder.
it will take me some months to get back to normal:
I can’t even find a roach to commune with.
I have lost my rythm.
I can’t sleep.
I can’t eat.
I have been robbed of
my filth

1May

Forbidden Planet Signing, Thursday 4th June, 6 – 7pm

A press release from Forbidden Planet!

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Diary Date: Thursday 4th June 6 – 7pm

Forbidden Planet is pleased to announce a signing by Mark Charan Newton. He will be signing his astounding novel Nights of Villjamur the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Thursday 4th June 6 – 7pm

Already making a name for itself as ‘a contender for the best fantasy novel of 2009’, Nights of Villjamur is Mark’s epic debut work. With a richly convoluted plot and a corrupt and decadent culture, the story is told from multiple points of view, each with a distinct voice and agenda. Gloriously complex and beautifully evocative, Nights of Villjamur sets a new standard in fantasy fiction writing.

Born in 1981 and now live in Nottingham, UK, Mark writes strange and highly erudite fantasy fiction and brings a new level of literacy and awareness to the genre. When not wandering the streets of Villjamur, you’ll find him enjoying books, guitars, geeks, cheap indie-music bars – or escaping the big city completely.

Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for signing events, including: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Terry Gilliam, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Mark Millar, Guillermo Del Toro, Brian Froud and Stephen King.

For more news about our signings please go to: http://www.forbiddenplanet.com/Signings.html

Danie Ware
Tel: 020 7803 1890
Email: danie.ware@forbiddenplanet.com

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Note how I “enjoy”, amongst other things, geeks… (I think this was cut from the sidebar on the right, but hey, if you are a geek, chances are I will enjoy your company.)