Sunday 6 November 2011

Stories of the Apocalypse at Tate Britain

On Friday night I was fortunate enough to attend Late at Tate for the launch of Pandemonium Fiction's first title Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, inspired by John Martin's infamous painting. You may already know Pandemonium Fiction in their other guise, as the commentators on geek culture, reviewers of genre fiction, and founders (not to mention administrators) of the Kitschies, Anne Perry and Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch.

Now a book launch is a cool thing in and of itself. But a book launch at Tate Britain? Top that, I dare you! The evening was, as you would expect of Jared and Anne, a very civilised affair. First there was diverting conversation over wine with the likes of Scott Andrews (who christened me with the title 'Virtual Author' since my current batch of releases are all zeros and ones) and Lavie Tidhar (who's becoming quite a regular at these kinds of things).

Anne Perry introduces Lavie Tidhar as Jared Shurin celebrates a successful launch at Tate Britain.

Seeing as this was a Pornokitsch event (in all but name) the Great and the Good of literary geekdom were there, from m'colleague Bex Levene to China MiƩville (who made my night by recognising me, after we were on a panel together at the SFX Weekender back in February). The red wine flowed freely, as did the conversation and then we were ushered into the Duffield Room for the main event.

Tom Hunter, current director of the Arthur C Clarke Award (you see the serious literary kudos associated with this event?), opened proceedings and was followed by Jared himself. We then had three fabulous readings. First Anne read from a story the author of which was not in attendance (I apologise that I missed whose story it was), followed by Magnus Anderson, who's own story opening was wonderfully witty. Then came Scott Andrews. The only way to describe his reading is 'electrifying'. You could literally hear a pin drop, that is until the applause began.

After a word from Hannah Flynn, Online Co-ordinator for the Great British Art Debate, all moved back to the bar where I got to geek out over Fighting Fantasy gamebooks with James Long of Orbit Books (Spellbreaker included). When that bar ran dry we all headed into Tate Britain to find the bar there. I really was a most wonderfully, and I fully intended to visit the John Martin exhibition, but there were even more wonderful people to talk to and before I knew it the gallery was closing and we were all heading off to the Morpeth Arms just down the road on Millbank.

It was there that I got to geek out with Magnus about FF, talk to Tom Pollock about his forthcoming projects for Jo Fletcher Books, discuss BFS business with Lizzie Barrett, catch up properly with Bex, and have a number of people not believe me when I told them I turned forty a few weeks ago (which was nice).

Lizzie Barrett, Tom Pollock and James Long, complimentary poster in hand.

I also just got to say hello to John Berlyne of the Zeno Agency, who gave Marc Gascoigne's acceptance speech at the World Fantasy Awards and which you can enjoy in the video below (Marc’s award is introduced at 32.10).


Anonymous said...

The first reading was from "Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion" by Archie Black. (

It was, as always, a blast to have you there!

Anonymous said...

We're delighted you had such a good time (I mean, we enjoyed ourselves, but that was never in doubt...) - thank you so much for coming!

Anne was reading from Archie Black's "Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion". When she got to the part where all the hooves fell off the horses, I think you could've heard a pin drop...

Jonathan Green said...


Thank you very much!

Jonathan Green said...

I can't wait to read the rest of the story.