I had a wonderful day yesterday . . .

And I’d just like to share a little of it here—I’ll probably put more of it either in my occasional blog or the PS one. We’ll see how it goes in terms of your reaction. (Certainly it’ll enable me to start some of the framework for the actual project.)

For some considerable time, I’ve wanted to write a cross between an autobiography and a semi-fantastical thriller so I’ve been having meetings with people from my past—both my earlier working life and my childhood and adolescent friendships—to get more information. 

Things have been going fairly well but I had two big gaps, both of them regarding friends from the late 1950s through to the early 1970s. For many years I have been unsuccessful in tracking down those friends—Jeremy Roberts, a friend from my days at Leeds Grammar School who, last I heard, was a psychiatrist in Canada; and Richard Hackett, who lived nearby in the northern Leeds suburb of Headingley. I’m still drawing a blank on Jem (Jeremy Keith Alken Roberts, to use his full name in case anyone can point me in the right direction) but thanks to my accountant, Brian (who has always fancied himself as a gumshoe PI), I’ve managed to get in touch with Rick . . . after almost 40 years.

I think Rick was initially a little puzzled by my call but he agreed to a meet-up back in Headingley . . . the starting point venue to be the house where he and his mother lived all that time ago. Well, yesterday was the day and I have to tell you what an absolute joy it was. Sometimes you do something and, despite the best intentions in the world, things just don’t work. Well, this one was different and I feel like sharing it.

We spent a few hours wandering the streets of Headingley—no longer a regular community but now little more than a student dormitory for Leeds University whose campus begins properly only a mile or so away—and I even had the opportunity to visit #6 Derwentwater Terrace where I spent the years 1958-1968 (when I was 8 through 18). The house is currently undergoing student bedsit conversion, although the guys working the cement-mixer allowed me into the house. Mum and dad are long gone now, alas, but I could feel them by my shoulder as I walked around and stood in the tiny garden trying to catch a glimpse of my long-ago self sitting cross-legged on the garage roof reading DC comicbooks.

Rick and I then walked around Becketts Park, where we spent so many of our evenings together practicing our vocal harmonies. We were in several groups—The Cave Dwellers (pop—I’d forgotten about that one), The Bone Idols (soul), The Sound Waves (surf) and Raspberry Seedless and the Jamjars (psychedelia, as if you hadn’t guessed) and I recall our early ‘gigs’ in the auditorium (long gone, of course) in Bennett Road to which—on foot, we didn’t have a car—my father used to help me carry my drum kit. And I even called around at the house of my then girlfriend, Pauline, staring up at the bathroom window where, one dark night with a paper-wrapped parcel of fish and chips, I threw some pebbles and she opened the sash window fully disrobed. (Pauline, if by any strange stroke of fate you ever get to see this, I just wanted to say Hi!)

But, oh, my word . . . what memories. I’m going to have the time of my life working on this—working title OLDEN DAYS AND AIRSHIPS—and I may share bits of it with you if anyone’s interested.

Okay, last week I promised you an update on one of our deluxe titles but first things first.

I just got off the phone with Sarah at our printers and she tells me that the unsigned editions for the following books will be arriving on Tuesday (Mike is already doing push-ups in readiness while I’m planning to spend the day eating toasted teacakes, doing the Times ken ken puzzle and watching the sea).

  • PROJECT CLIO by Stephen Baxter;
  • REUNION ON ALPHA RETICULI II by Eric Brown
  • STARSHIP CODA also by Eric Brown
  • EPIPHANIES by Matthew Hughes
  • THE BRAIN FROM BEYOND by Ian Watson
  • THE BEST OF IAN MCDONALD by, yes, you guessed it, Ian McDonald

The signed editions will be early April. Copies of the above will be sent out to customers next week to arrive at UK addresses before Easter. For folks who live a little farther afield, it’ll be late the following week. Yum yum!

Even more yums for Deborah Biancotti’s WAKING IN WINTER . . .

 . . . with Deb taking some time out to answer a few questions about her work. Go here and see the author her very own self fessin’ up.

And just in case you’d forgotten (shame on you if you have), here’s a reminder:

http://appleworld.ekmdigitalvault.com/DVPublic/appleworld/PAF/PSPubShort-Small.mov

On a far, frozen desert world, Muir the pilot discovers an ancient artefact in the ice. She sees a mermaid at first, but later comes to wonder if it is Ningyo, a fish god from her homeland in Japan. A god that brings misfortune and storm. A god that—by all means possible—should be returned to the sea. The rest of Base Station Un see something else. Bayoumi the lab rat sees Sekhmet the lioness goddess, daughter of the sun god. Partholon the creep finds in its shape a ‘good, old-fashioned cruxifix’. But all of them want to possess it. All of them want it for themselves.

Deborah is the author of two short story collections, BAD POWER and A BOOK OF ENDINGS. She is the co-author of the Zeroes series, along with Scott Westerfeld and Margo Lanagan. Her work has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award and the William L. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Book, as well as the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards.

You can find her online at www.deborahbiancotti.com

​And finally, as promised . . .

Here’s the latest concerning the PS anniversary edition of Stephen King’s second collection, NIGHT SHIFT, which we’re aiming to have out in “the wee small hours” of this year. Undertaking the artwork chores for the 19 stories plus slipcase, dust-jacket and end-papers AND the giveaway pieces for those folks who have signed up for the deluxe edition is none other than Dave McKean. Dave and I have had a couple of long-winded (that’s long-winded as in me, not as in him: he’s actually very succinct) conversations and the pair of us are just a little bit giddy, so I’m already pretty psyched up and so is Steve.

Okay, that really is it for this week . . .

And next week we’ll be at EasterCon so we may take a short break from the Newsletter. If you find yourself in Manchester, we’d love to see you so, whether you buy a book or not, come and say hello. (And bear in mind that Eric, Matt and both Ians will be there and spending time at our dealers table to sign copies. Check with us to get the times as soon as you get to the Con.)

Have a great weekend over the next few days and, of course, enjoy hunting for your Easter eggs next week. Look after each other and read read read like a mad reading thing. Oh, and getting back to my opening ramble, have a little think about people you may have lost track of or drifted away from down the years. Judging from the Big Hug I got from Rick—which effectively reduced the pair of us to the 14-year-olds we once were (and still are, deep down . . . as of course are we all)—I reckon it’s safe to say that there are people out there for you just wondering what happened and why. Pick up the phone or send a letter (text shmext!) And don’t forget to tell ‘em Pete tol’ ya to do it!

Go well.

Pete