In truth, it was only on Monday that I found out about the signing, after Chloe from Tor UK very kindly invited me to dinner with herself and Peter afterwards. Despite the fact that I walk past Waterstones on my way to work every morning, I'd somehow failed to notice the large window display that said PETER F HAMILTON SIGNING 16 SEPTEMBER. Well, are you fully awake first thing in the morning? Exactly.
Anyway, there was a decent turnout for the signing (as you'd expect for an author of Peter's standing), and a lively Q&A session followed Peter's reading from his latest novel, The Evolutionary Void. Peter talked about a number of subjects, including his approach to writing and how he balances the amount of science in his novels, and also told a few amusing anecdotes from his writerly experiences. Then of course came the obligatory book signing session (authors must have wrists of steel, that's all I can say).
Afterwards I joined Peter, Chloe, the store's SF buyer Andy and events-organiser Vivien, for a drink in the swish new bar in the bookstore (alcohol and books is a great, but potentially wallet-bothering, combination), before we all headed to Rosso for dinner.
As you can imagine, with Andy being involved in frontline bookselling and with Peter being one of the world's most popular SF writers, the ensuing discussion was lively and covered a wide variety of topics, from the decline of SF reviews in the broadsheets to the emergence of e-books, via how nasty it is having to wear a gruffalo costume at a kids' book event. One revelation that I found particularly interesting is that - despite the deluge of 'dark/vampire fantasy' in bookstores, this new subgenre is apparently not selling well at all (if you remove Meyer and Harris from the equation). Perhaps the vampires' dominance won't last that long after all...
I ought to close by saying that I enjoyed Peter's company immensely; he's quite simply one of the nicest people I've met since I've been involved in the genre, and after chatting with him for half an hour I felt like I'd known him for years. Top bloke. And the food at Rosso was excellent, I definitely recommend it.
So, an excellent evening. Many thanks to Chloe for inviting me (and for paying what must have been a hefty bill), and also to Peter, Vivien and Andy for their excellent company.
Sigh. One of the few times I wished I lived in the UK...
I was there too. Great night. I asked the "balancing science to the story" question, in fact! My writeup is here, feel free to look:
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