Book List: Alternate Histories

Book List: Alternate Histories

Alex Fitch looks at the science-fiction sub genre of Alternate History, talking to three novelists about their works that imagines the past and near future if historical events had taken a different path. Charles Stross discusses his parallel worlds series “Merchant Princes” which depicts travel between various 21st Centuries where Europe is still feudal or has only just seen the industrial revolution plus his collaboration with Cory Doctorow “Rapture of the nerds”; Max Brooks talks about “World War Z” which depicts the present day Earth after twenty years of a war with zombies; and Ken MacLeod discusses his novella “The Human Front” and novel “Intrusion” which look at the kinds of police states that might exist in this county if various political movements had access to more advanced technology.

Originally broadcast Tuesday 3rd September 2013, Resonance 104.4 FM (London)

Covers of World War Z and Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks, Intrusion and The Human Front by Ken MacLeod, The Bloodline Feud by Charles Stoss, Rapture of the nerds by Stross and Doctorow

Covers of World War Z and Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks, Intrusion and The Human Front by Ken MacLeod, The Bloodline Feud by Charles Stoss, Rapture of the nerds by Stross and Doctorow

For more info about this podcast and a variety of other formats you can download / stream, please visit the home of this episode at

Links: Charles Stross’ website
Max Brooks’ website
Ken MacLeod’s blog
Listen to Alex’s interview with Ken MacLeod and Edward Ross about their stem cell comic book

Recommended Events:

Quick Strips at Brighton Digital Festival

Twelve cartoonists reveal all in under six minutes each

Quick Strips, part of Brighton Digital Festival, is a speedy showcase for 12 cartoonists and graphic novelists to reveal all in public by presenting their work or giving away their trade secrets in under 6 minutes each.

Alex Fitch of Resonance FM is compere for the night, and the stellar cast features First Graphic Novel Competition winner Gareth Brookes, author of The Black Project, to be published on 12 September, and fellow Myriad graphics authors Nye Wright (Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park), Hannah Eaton (Naming Monsters), and, down from Leeds to investigate the Balcombe fracking protests, Darryl Cunningham, author of Science Tales. Other guests are graphic novelists and cartoonists Hannah Berry, Joe Decie, Chie Kutsuwada, Ottilie Hainsworth, Julia Homersham, Jaime Huxtable and Ben Naylor. Held in association with Cartoon County.

Location: The Latest Bar, Manchester Street, Brighton BN2 1TF
Thursday 5th September, 2013

Doors open 18.30; show starts 19.00; ends 21.00 FREE

More info at:

How to Write a Graphic Novel: A Guardian Masterclass

The latest Guardian Masterclass at their new venue near Kings Cross, London is an all day event looking at the process of creating graphic novels. Speakers include:

Andrzej Klimowski, Professor of Illustration at the Royal College of Art, London. His acclaimed career has seen him designing film and theatre posters, as well as directing short, animated films in Warsaw plus designing covers for Penguin, Faber & Faber, Everyman Library and Oberon Books. His graphic novels include The Depository The Secret and Horace Dorlan. He has adapted The Master and Margarita and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for SelfMadeHero.

Paul Gravett, Britain’s best-known comic book critic and historian and author of many books, including 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die and Great British Comics.

Audrey Niffenegger, creative writer and visual artist who has achieved enormous success in both worlds. Her debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, has sold more than seven million copies worldwide and has been translated into forty languages. Niffenegger is also the author of two ‘novels-in-pictures’, The Three Incestuous Sisters (2005) and The Adventuress (2006), and a graphic novel, The Night Bookmobile. Her latest book is the illustrated fairytale, Raven Girl, published by Jonathan Cape.

Pat Mills, a British comics writer and editor who, along with John Wagner, revitalised British boys comics in the 1970s, and has remained a leading light in British comics ever since. He is best known for creating 2000 AD and playing a major part in the development of Judge Dredd. He has been called “the godfather of British comics”.

Karrie Fransman, creator of comics for The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, Time Out and Psychologies Magazine. Her acclaimed graphic novel, The House That Groaned, is published by Random House’s Square Peg imprint. She led the London Print Studio’s excellent graphic novel course in 2011 and 2012.


9.30 – 10.30am: Paul Gravett on the history of comics
10.30 – 11.15am: Audrey Niffenegger keynote speech
11.30 – 1pm: Karrie Fransman workshop
1.45 – 2.45pm: Pat Mills tutorial
2.45 – 3.45: Andrzej Klimowski tutorial
4 – 5pm: Panel discussion with Emma Hayley (publisher / editor, SelfMadeHero), Pat Mills (2000AD), Roger Sabin (comics historian) – chair: Alex Fitch (Resonance FM)

£119.00 for the day

The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU

More info at: /

Forbidden Planet signings

PETER MILLIGAN and BRENDAN McCARTHY will be signing THE BEST OF MILLIGAN & McCARTHY at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Saturday 14th September at 1:00pm.

One of comics’ most fruitful collaborations gets its due in this deluxe collection of hard-to-find gems from Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy. There is still nothing else like Freakwave, Paradax!, Skin, and Rogan Gosh, and this volume is the ideal starting place for new readers!

Collecting twenty years’ worth of the pair’s finest work from Vanguard Illustrated, Strange Days, 2000 AD, and Vertigo.

Saturday 14 September 2013 13:00 – 14:00
London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

BRUCE BOXLEITNER will be signing RISE: A LANTERN CITY ILLUSTRATED NOVEL at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Saturday 14th September at 4:00pm.

The new Steampunk show Lantern City is an exciting foray into fan-inspired and fan-created television. Blending great science fiction with dynamic storylines, at its heart the show asks two questions: how far would you go to be with the person you love and what lengths would you go to in order to survive?

RISE tells the story of Isaac Foster Grey, the first leader of Lantern City. Isaac’s battles through misfortunes and his ultimate quest to save his family intertwine with a burning vengeance against his father’s killer and that man’s plan for domination over every citizen in the land of Hetra.

Saturday 14 September 2013 16:00 – 17:00
London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore, 179 Shaftsbury Avenue, WC2H 8JR on Tuesday 17th September from 6 – 7pm.

“Compulsory reading… Glorious” ? Neil Gaiman

Kim Newman is a London-based author and movie critic. He makes frequent appearances on radio and TV. He has won the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy and British Science Fiction Awards and been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. He writes regularly for Empire Magazine and contributes to The Guardian, The Times, Time Out and others.

Tuesday 17 September 2013 18:00 – 19:00
London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

CORY DOCTOROW will be will be signing HOMELAND, the follow-up to the hugely successful LITTLE BROTHER at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore, 179 Shaftsbury Avenue, WC2H 8JR on Wednesday 18th September from 6 – 7pm.

Set two years after the events of Little Brother, in Homeland Marcus faces a whole new set of problems. California’s economy has collapsed, taking his parents’ jobs and his university tuition with it. Thanks to his activist past, Marcus lands a job as webmaster for a muckraking politician who promises reform. Things are never simple, though: soon Marcus finds himself embroiled in lethal political intrigue and the sharp end of class warfare, American style.

Wednesday 18 September 2013 18:00 – 19:00
London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

More info at:

Gosh! signings and launch parties

The Day the Crayons Quit, debut author Drew Daywalt and Jeffers is team up to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis:

Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?

Oliver Jeffers will be at Gosh! to sign for one hour on…

Saturday, September 14 from 3pm – 4pm

City lit: John Miers – the first Fast Forward talk at the famous Gosh Comic Book store in the heart of London. John Miers, an award winning contemporary comic book artist will be giving a talk on Visual Storytelling techniques, addressing the question: Are comics art or literature- or are they both, neither, and something else entirely all at once? This is your chance to find out how image, text, abstract symbols and composition combine in the most innovative medium around.

Tuesday, September 17, 7 – 8.30pm

The Best of Milligan and McCarthy: on Wednesday the 18th of September Gosh! have not one but TWO classic British comics guys in the house talking comics. Peter Milligan (Hellblazer) and Brendan McCarthy (Zaucer of Zilk) will be here doing a talk and Q&A about their new book from Dark Horse that collects the very best of their hard-to-find collaborative work from years ago: Freakwave, Paradax!, Skin and Rogan Gosh and more. That’s 20 years worth of their finest work from Vanguard Illustrated, Strange Days, 2000 AD and Vertigo!

Wednesday, September 18, 7.30 – 9pm

Gosh!, 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR

More info at

Sophie’s World – unseen photographs by Steven Cook

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, Orbital Comics is proud to present this special exhibition featuring rare and unseen of photographs of Sylvester McCoy’s companion Sophie Aldred (Ace). Originally taken by photographer Steve Cook in the late 1980s, a lot of the negatives were just recently recovered (not unlike the rumours of lost episodes being found).

The photos show Sophie’s versatility in a number of scenarios and guises, including that of The Doctor’s beloved companion Ace. The exhibition starts with a private viewing on September 5 and will run through until the end of the month. Sophie and Steve will be in-store signing prints of the photographs on Saturday, September 7 between 12 and 3pm.

September 5th – 30th

Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JA

More info:

Steadman @77 exhibition

The Cartoon Museum is proud to present a selection of Ralp Steadman’s iconic cartoons to celebrate his 77th birthday. To accompany the exhibition there is a programme of events and talks, including Anita O’Brien discussing the use of the weird in Steadman’s work – 3rd September, 6.30pm

Exhibition continues until Autumn 2013, more info at

The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH