Yes, three exclamation marks!  It must be exciting, eh? Well, today is a truly exciting day for me coz we are officially launching “The Bumper Book of FICTS”.  OK, so we’re not being published by a super-giant publisher just yet, BUT you CAN buy the book online now, and it does look rather spiffing in all its 96 page hard-backed glory.  So…just what the heck is all this FICTS business anyway?  Well, I’ve been working in the UK radio industry since 1994 (good grief…that long?!) and sometime around 1996 I was presenting various radio programmes in the East of England (cue the Alan Partridge jokes) and for one particular programme I would prepare a load of silly sketches, audio nonsense and fake facts (I have always hated the laziness of using daily newspapers to come up with material for your show).  One of the most popular and long-lived of these bits of stupidity was an item called “Interesting But Blatantly Untrue Facts”.  These ridiculous non-facts were either read out live or sometimes pre-recorded by various famous DJs I worked with (such as DLT, Steve Wright, Paul Carrington, etc…)  People kinda liked them, the boss thought they were original, and so I kept writing them.

By the turn of the millenium I had about 200 of the blighters, but sadly I was no longer presenting, having moved on to become a producer/director.  I tried resurrecting them on the Dr Glitz Disco Hits show on Heart which I was producing, but they didn’t really fit.  So they sat in a file on the computer for many years gathering e-dust.  Then in 2008, following the success of bringing Robert Rankin’s “Brightonomicon” to audio life (it LIVES!!!!), I got to thinking about trying to get the collection published.  Having spoken to some rather important people in the publishing trade I was advised to get the book illustrated, so it would have a USP.  So…who did I know who was a kick-ass illustrator and enough of a friend to work as a partner with me on such a speculative venture?  Well, as it so happens, I did know one chap…a certain favourite author of mine, and following the Brightonomicon, a good friend.  Yes, Father of Far-Fetched Fiction, Robert Rankin had a prodigious writing talent, but also a rather incredible set of illustrating skills.  Having visited the exhibition of his books, art and sculptures at the Gunnersbury Park Museum, I knew I wanted Robert to take a pass at making FICTS something more tangible.

And so, over a few pints of perry in Brighton one sunny afternoon, I asked the great man, and he humbly agreed to do an initial 20.  A few months later, and the first 20 arrived, and…oh my deary me…they were spectacular!  As you have seen on this here blog, the design work, the originality, the humour, the intricate details…all of it contrived to make FICTS jump off the page and become real!  Where does someone get such abilities?  I am sure there is some hocuspocus involved (or spaniels at the very least!)

So, we had the perfect protfolio to show FICTS off to the world…to you via the blog, and to potential publishers.  And the rest is history, as we now have THE BUMPER BOOK OF FICTS, with 89 fully-fledged FICTS within its covers.  A 96-page hardbacked joy.  We are published through a small publisher at the moment, but we hope to get the book into wider circulation as soon as we can.  But in the meantime, it is available exclusively via the internet and it is already selling well.

So…back to today and the launch.  In fact, it is a double launch day for Robert.  At lunchtime he is appearing at the fabulous Forbidden Planet superstore in central London where he is signing copies of his latest novel “The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions” and then popping to the pub with friends and fans for much toot-talking.  And then this evening he’ll be joining me, and a host of Rankin fans and friends in lovely Brentford (West London and spiritual home of all Rankinites) to officially launch our FICTS book.  All the details are below…EVERYONE is welcome, just turn up and say hi!  We’ll have books there to buy, and we’ll sign each one AND add an exclusive bookplate.  In addition, the Rankin fanclub will be running an auction/raffle in which you could win some rather tasty rare items (including a cast-signed Brightonomicon poster) and something rare relating to FICTS.

I am VERY excited about tonight an hope to see a lot of old and new friends.  A night in the pub with Robert and the gang is always fantastic, but this should be a once in a lifetime experience.  I really hope you can join us.



7pm – late – The Magpie & Crown Pub, 128 High Street, Brentford



About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

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