…as the immortal Tom O’Connor used to say on the classic daytime game show Cross Wits. (For “immortal” read “not dead yet”, and for “classic” read “long-forgotten”.)

Speaking of crosswords – see what I did there? – yours truly has become official crossword correspondent for a new BBC publication. The magazine in question in Mindgames and the first has issue has just appeared, available at all good newsagents and WH Smith. My mission, which I have chosen to accept, is to explain in a series of bite-size chunks how to solve cryptic crosswords. Look for me on page 26. I’m the one with the thick pink column. (Why does that sound somehow sordid?)

And if you are at all curious to see me in the flesh, you could always invent a time machine and travel back to the beginning of May, when I made an appearance at Alt.Fiction, a day-long event put on by Derby City Council and organised, immaculately, by their Literature Development Officer, Alex Davis. I did a reading from Provender Gleed, then rabbited on about my work for far longer than I intended, leaving no time for audience questions at the end of the session. Sorry about that. But I had a fantastic time and met up with lots of old pals and signed books and chatted with fans… A great day, and I understand Alex already has a follow-up planned for 2007. Check out his blog.

Publication-wise, my story ‘Speedstream’, a favourite of mine, has recently appeared in a French anthology, Science-Fiction 2006, from the mighty Bragelonne, and I have a short piece in Cinema Macabre (available now from PS Publishing), which is a collection of articles by genre writers and editors, each celebrating his or her favourite horror film. Mine’s The Omega Man. Not high art, I’m sure you’ll agree, but a classic of its kind and a movie that had a profound influence on me at a shockingly impressionable early age.

Current music rave: Seu Jorge, The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions. One man, a guitar, a selection of early-Bowie covers. In Portuguese. Lovely, if odd. Or: odd, if lovely.

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• Filed under News • 16/06/2006 •