Monthly Archives: September 2014

And Finally: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

Presupposing you’ve not been there, of course. As a first-timer, these are some of the things that particularly surprised me. A quarter of Japan lives in Tokyo. Of what we used to call the Big Four (London, New York, Paris and Tokyo, although we should probably revise that list to include at least two SE […]

An Enchanted Author

One of the first people to be kind to me in the weird nest-of-vipers atmosphere of British Fantasy Society meetings was Graham Joyce, the most unlikely author I’ve ever met. Unlikely because he was the son of a Yorkshire miner, because he seemed like a two-fisted, red-blooded kind of guy who stuck out in the […]

What Does A Copy Editor Do?

I suppose they used to be called proof readers, and their role is subtly different from that undertaken by the main book editor. Once the manuscript reaches them, the main themes have been addressed (in my experience there’s very little editorial interference, more a matter of advice) so they can concentrate on the flow of […]

Re:View – ‘Godzilla 3D’

I finally caught up with this on the big (B-I-I-I-I-G) screen in a deserted Toho Cinema on a thunderously rainy night in Tokyo, the perfect place to watch the big guy kick off against the world. Or rather, not against the world buy against two more monsters; Godzilla’s WWF smackdown unfortunately turns the film into […]

Bryant & May’s Hidden Cases

Remembering those Sherlock Holmes stories where Holmes enigmatically refers to an untold case as ‘that scandal of the Bohemian pilchard snatching’ and moves on to the investigation at hand, I started smuggling references of missing cases into the Bryant & May novels at a very early stage. The Leicester Square Vampire was suitably sorted out […]

Japan: Two Sides To Tokyo

They say nobody vacations in Tokyo. In order to prove them wrong, I’m spending my last few days here. My first stop was to be Yoyogi Park, but dengue fever has broken out there for the first time since 1945 – it’s not fatal and the numbers are small, but officials are being careful. But […]

Nyctophobia: US Cover First Look

Even though it’s more straight-laced, I really like the reversed-out cover below, chosen for the US edition of my next book, the haunted house thriller ‘Nyctophobia’, while we have the spiffy lightbulb cover for the UK (see columns passim). It’s out in time for Halloween stateside.  If you’re a professional book reviewer, you can request […]

Japan: Good For The Senses, Hard On The Knees

Over at ChristopherRobertFowler on Facebook, I’ve been running shots from around Japan, mostly of toilets, which range from insanely complex to hole-in-the-floor types, which are trickier for inflexible westerners. Having mastered bath etiquette (very serious stuff) and the art of the tea ceremony (sitting on my heels on a tatami mat for hours nearly finished […]

Japan: The Art Of Efficiency

  It strikes me today that the extraordinary level of efficiency you find in Japan is based on a simple principle; instead of trying to stop people from being messy analogues, you retrain them and channel their natural tendencies. Assuming they’ll be disorganised, you organise them in advance. Assuming they’ll be untidy, you tidy everything […]

What Does An Editor Do?

Your editor will most likely be the person who brought you into the publishing house.  You are their discovery, and therefore you’ll work closely with them, so you’ll need to be compatible. I’ve known a couple of editors who have put up with badly behaved writers, but generally there’s an atmosphere of mutual respect. First […]