Fine evening in the pub with Gollancz buying the drinks last night, the offer of alcohol luring out Messers Abercrombie, Levy, Roberts and Devereux to mingle with the assorted editorial types. Curiously enough, babies were used as reasons both to come and not to come, depending on the respective parents and how much they actually like their offspring. At least that’s my reading of the situation, it was never explicitly stated but…
We were of course all on our best behaviour because Gollancz has a new head-honcho in the form of Jon Wood, who I think is in charge of all Orion fiction now, but I might be wrong there. Certainly he’s above the level of Editorial Director so he’s a pretty good person to get on-side because he’s writing the cheques. So it was nice to see that he’s not dismissive of the SFF genre at all, which is an endemic problem in publishing (certainly, when I’ve said to the twinset and pearls type of literary editors that I’m a fantasy writer they usually give me a look of patronising sympathy they normally reserve for the disabled; I’m sure a few times they’ve just wanted to give the brave soul a hug and tell me to hang in there and one day I might be a real writer).
So, Jon Wood, nice bloke, seems to get that we can write some decent books and sell a fair amount. Doesn’t hate the disabled. As far as I’m aware. As I said, he writes the cheques so lets give him the benefit of the doubt, even if I don’t have any actual evidence of a lack of prejudice. He might spit on anyone in a wheelchair for all I know, to pick an example at random. But probably not.
Things I never want to hear again however: Adam Roberts’ rendition of “If I had a Mjolnir” (mainly because we’re all geeky enough without pandering to the stereotype! ;0) ) and David Devereux seeing just how suggestively he could say “caramelised shallots”, which was unnerving for all present.