Thank you, Laika



I think there is probably a limit to the number of times I’m permitted to mention That Thing That Happened before I become incredibly annoying, so let me get it out of the way: I only went and won a bloody British Fantasy Award, didn’t I?

The award-winning (!?) story in question is “Looking for Laika”, which was published in Interzone #273 and reprinted in Best of British Science Fiction 2017, and is a story close to my heart for all kinds of reasons, not least of which because it’s a kind of love letter to Laika, the Soviet space dog who was sent into space to die. I’m still astonished, honestly. I never expected that I might win, and I think I might have gone into some kind of shock when Adrian Tchaikovsky called my name out, because I don’t really remember anything that happened between that moment, and sitting back down. Apparently I made a speech, which sounds legit, although I didn’t write a speech because I didn’t think I’d win and I’m not entirely sure what I said (though I do recall yelling at Simon Bestwick to stand up…)


photo courtesy of Donna Bond

Anyway. That’s a thing that happened. And ironically even though I’m a writer, I’m not sure how to express in words how much it means to me, a vaguely person-shaped ball of anxious, imposter-syndrome infused jelly who has been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen. Except to say that it means that much more that I was in a room surrounded by dear friends, and respected colleagues, and of course, Mr Mauro. I might never fully be over it, but I promise I’ll stop going on about it, at the very least.

And then there was Fantasycon more generally, which may actually have been my favourite Fantasycon yet. Brilliantly sprawling hotel filled with weird, mismatching statues. Beautiful city. Tons of gorgeous books. And most important of all, wonderful company.


photo courtesy of Jim McLeod


photo courtesy of Tim Major


Photo courtesy of Jess Jordan

I would do a full con report, but it wouldn’t do any of it justice, and I’d miss people out. So I’ll just say, to everyone I spent time with last weekend, whether we spoke briefly in passing or spent hours laughing, whether we shared a few drinks, or a signing table, or a reading slot, or near enough the whole damn weekend: you are all magical people and you make my world so much better by being in it. Thank you.


Where You Can Find Me At Fantasycon 2018 (if you want to)

Due to the often ad-hoc nature of Fantasycon I can’t guarantee I’ll be in any one place at any given time, except for those panels and so forth that I’ve signed up to do. So, I’ll list those below. But if you happen to be at Fantasycon and you’d like to say hello – please do! I tend towards the shy and slightly awkward, but I’m always happy to say hello to friends old and new!

My confirmed schedule is as follows:


The Edward:

4.30pm: The Role of Class in Science Fiction and Fantasy with Kevin McVeigh (m), Rosanne Rabinowitz, Peter Sutton, Laura Mauro, Alison Baker

The Disraeli:

8pm: Horror Readings with Catriona Ward, Kit Power, Laura Mauro



The Gladstone:

2pm: The Genre Magazine with Laurel Sills (m), Terry Jackman, Cheryl Morgan, Laura Mauro, Sandra Unerman

The Jubilee Room:

4pm: Launch: Titan Press (for New Fears 2)

5pm: Launch: Newcon Press (for Best British Horror 2018)

And of course on Sunday I will be hanging about at the British Fantasy Awards ceremony trying not to die of anxiety,.
If you’re going – hope to see you there!