Posts Tagged ‘Real life’


Yesterday I posted a calendar of the coming year. It was quite woefully wrong, a consequence of working on my own and never speaking to anyone. Chief among its errors was mention of a couple of short stories that will appear in Hammer and Bolter. They won’t, as the ezine is now defunct, a fact that was revealed at the Black Library Weekender. In its stead, new stories will be available every Monday, to buy individually. My stories, very loosely connected to Skarsnik and Baneblade, will be two of those. When, I dunno, although if I were a betting man I’d say around the time of the books’ releases.

Here’s an updated version of the calendar.

January

My first story for Interzone will be published in issue 243 (not 244).

March

I’ll be at Black Library Live in Nottingham on 3rd March, then the day after at The Scifi Weekender in Pwllheli.

April

I am going to be at Salute with BL, on 20th April in London.

Out this month is the Mark of Calth anthology, in which is my second Horus Heresy story, “The Shards of Erebus”, and this opens the collection. Cool, eh? I was wrong about the date originally as I got it from Amazon. Lesson for the future, always check the BL website first…  Mark of Calth will first be released as a BL/GW exclusive.

May

Baneblade, my first published novel for The Black Library (and the first one I wrote), is out on 7th May.

June

The Crash is out on 25th June. My second original novel for Solaris, it’s about a colony expedition that goes horribly wrong. Published this same month is The Best of Hammer and Bolter II, included therein is my story, “The Rite of Holos”, originally published in Hammer and Bolter 24, and a direct prequel to The Death of Integrity.

July

Skarsnik is out, my second BL book. This hits the shelves on 19th July.

September

My third novel for The Black Library/Games Workshop is released 3rd September. Space Marines galore, Genestealers, and a twist.

November

I’ll be at the Black Library Weekender II.

As I said yesterday, there’s a few more appearances I’ll be making for BL, but they’re yet to be finalised. Other than that, I better sort some more work out, or I’ll be on the street…


Criminy, another new year, my 40th to be precise. I’m halfway through my life, or thereabouts. Now that’s something to chew on. Once more the terrifying brevity of human existence troubles my thoughts.

Happy New Year!

I don’t celebrate New Year much. This year (I suppose “last year”) I watched Predators on telly, which was better than expected, then went to bed at 11.30. I’ve always found New Year’s Eve a bit of an anti-climax, unless you can find a good house party. And I always get maudlin about my mortal span (see above). In any case, now my son Benny is four, there’s no going anywhere on days like that. So, onto 2013, it’s a busy one. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in the Guyniverse come the next twelve months (all provisional, naturally).

January

My first story for Interzone will be published in issue 244. Hurrah!

March

I’ll be at Black Library Live in Nottingham on 3rd March, then the day after at The Scifi Weekender in Pwllheli. See you there?

April

I am also going to be at Salute with BL, on 20th April in London. I’ll be at several other events with the Black Library this year, and I’ll be posting details of those nearer the time.

May

Baneblade, my first published novel for The Black Library, is out on 7th May. Expect a linked story in Hammer and Bolter before the book comes out.

June

The Crash is out on the 25th. My second original novel for Solaris, it’s about a colony expedition that goes horribly wrong.

July

Skarsnik is out, my second BL book. This hits the shelves on 19th July. There’ll be a tie-in story about another famous Greenskin warlord in Hammer and Bolter. If you’re seeing a pattern here, that’s because there is one.

August

My Horus Heresy-era short story will appear in the Mark of Calth anthology, out on 13th. I actually just finished this today, and will tell you the title when I am one hundred per cent sure I won’t get into hot water for it (meaning, I’ll ask my editor).

September

My third novel for The Black Library/Games Workshop is released 3rd September. Space Marines galore, Genestealers, and a twist.

And that’s about it for the time being. I’ve got several other projects bubbling away, and as I said I will be appearing at other events. As for this blog,  I’ve made my one and only New Year resolution to get all my Death Ray work online. And then I’ve  a four-year backlog of SFX material; and that’s just the stuff I’ve got permission to publish. FYI, the blog got 25000 views in 2012, nowhere near the likes of John Scalzi’s eight million but not bad, I think. Things I’m hoping for this year? Less rain.


Today Champion of Mars is out in the US! Hooray! Americans can buy it here. We Brits and other assorted Euro-types have to wait until May 10th. Oh well. Whet your appetites with the free sample, or head over to Solaris Books for more information.

There are two interviews with me online about it now, one at the Solaris Editor’s Blog, the other at SFX. They’re about the same book, so I do repeat myself a little, but about halfway through they diverge and I talk about Richards and Klein, writing spin-off fiction and other highly captivating subjects. Really, you’ll be captivated.

I’m not doing much at the moment. I had a flappy piece of cartilage removed from my knee last week and so will be out of action for some time. I can’t walk or move about at all. It’s very frustrating, and it’s made me think on how people with real mobility problems must feel. Worst of all, I have had to send Doctor Magnus away to the kennels until I recover enough to walk him. He’s a teenage pain in the backside at the moment, but I was welling up as I booked him in.

So, to take my mind off it, I submitted a short story today (expect to see it here when it is inevitably rejected) and  I’ve put a whole load of reviews up, including one of Lavie Tidhar’s early novella, An Occupation of Angels, where I make some comments on the perils of reviewing books of colleagues and friends. There are many others too, head on up to the drop down menus at the top. All these reviews date from my slightly angrier period (I’m always frigging angry, but I used to be more angry), so you may notice a change in tone to the later ones.

Until later.


The post I made on 27 January certainly got a lot of people stoked up, that’s for sure. Which is really good, because I want people to read this blog, because I want people to know who the hell I am and consider buying my books, but more on that later. And now, some more on the subject. You’ve had emotive me, now here’s something a little more reasonable.

I warn you, there are more questions than statements in today’s blog. The topic is: Pirates – evil sea-rapists who terrorised shipping for a century, or lovable cultural memes and suitable subjects for children’s parties?

1. Entitlement

Referring to the first part of my previous blog, it seems that an awful lot of people feel entitled to download free things off the internet. From a strictly “Thou shalt not steal” point of view, that’s baaaad. But is it as simple as them being very naughty, amoral villains, and me being a poor little author? Shall we see? Okay then.

2. Try before you buy

There’s suggestion (not just you lot, but research and that) that some pirates are super-consumers, ie, they’ll consume creative stuff, and if they like it enough, they’ll pay for it. If they like it a lot, they’ll pay for a lot of it. They just might try it for free first, or pay for it when they feel like it, but enough of them generally contribute money to a creative venture to make it worthwhile.

The problem is for creators and publishers is that this removes all control (control is a loaded word, I choose it deliberately). How do I know if my book will be paid for by the majority of people who try it for free, or none of them at all? This is frightening for me, and my mortgage.

3. This is not a new problem, and is it a problem?

Copied tapes, bootleg videos, unauthorised reprints of Dickens – this has been going on forever. Is it, even, a necessary corollary of the distribution of entertainment? (Let’s leave other idea “sharing”, like patent infringement, out of this). One comment on my other post suggested pirated copies should be regarded as shrinkage/wastage. Maybe it should.

Here’s a positive example, again inspired by a comment – the entire anime SF subculture in the west might never have been as big as it is were it not for those bootlegged, home-translated videos of Japanese shows doing the rounds in the 80s and 90s. I’m no otaku, but I’ll bet there are still self-taught anime freaks translating the latest Naruto before the official DVD comes out and banging it on the web. Without that, there’d be no action figure, spin-off/original manga or dodgy little schoolgirl cosplay costume sales. Or even legit Naruto sales. Is anime an entire geek subculture, a lucrative one at that, founded in piracy? I don’t know, answers in the comments box please.

4. Someone is making money

Whether it’s the operators of upload sites coining it in off advertising (have you seen how many advertisements are on those site?) or it’s the more obvious villains selling copied DVDs at a car boot sale, someone is generally making some money off the distribution from illegal copies. You might do it because it’s free, if you’re of a particular mindset you might think you’re getting one over on “The Man” – those Hollywood coke-snorting whoremasters, or Wicked Publishers Inc, but instead you’re giving money to criminals. At the lower, non-internet, car-boot (yard-sale) end, a lot of this cash goes into more serious crime. So, er why not just give the money to the person that made it?

I’m not for a second suggesting upload sites should all be shot down in a cyber-orgy of digital destruction while we all wave the Stars and Stripes (why the hell would I do that? I’m English) and hit people offenders in the face with rolled up SOPA manifestos. Upload sites do have legitimate uses, I use them for such. However, I don’t have the facts, but I’d be really surprised if the majority usage is legit… Still, they do have legitimate uses. Like guns, yeah.  You can shoot targets with them, not just people! (I’m joking, chill out). And the people who run them can stop it dead themselves: Don’t allow illegal crap on your sites. Easier said than done, but if there’s enough legal threat, they’ll employ people to do just that. Enough legal threat to outweigh the ad revenues, at any rate.

On the other hand (there’s a lot of hands in this post), the advent of the digital age actually cuts out revenue for baseline crims. A copied physical book sold on by Mr Dodgy does not the same social impact as Joe Average getting my book for free.

I still don’t get paid mind, but I’m thinking bigger. Isn’t that big of me?

5. This is not just you

I’m no psychologist, but a large number of the responses I’ve had (except for the one in Spanish that told me to have sexual congress with my dear old ma – funny, I didn’t approve that one) have come from people who are attempting to justify copying. I use justify, because they kind of sound like they know they’re doing something a bit wrong. But it’s not just you. What about those corporations who advertise on upload sites which have a large amount of illegal content – they know that site has a large audience because of its illegal content. Do they care? Um, not really.

6. Fair usage

“But I loan books!” Yep, so do I. And DVDs, and I copy my CDs onto my computer, and I buy second-hand books. So what? But, someone, originally paid for even that secondhand book. That’s the killer difference. And it’s legal.

My industry relies on sharing, it’s called word of mouth. More on this later. It’s the killer question, I’m saving it for last. Is potentially millions of people not paying for something the same as lending a book to your sister? No, but then I ask myself, is it really “millions” of people downloading this stuff?

7. The nightmare scenario

This is the thing that keeps scaredy pants like me awake at night: What if we get to a situation where NOBODY EVER PAYS FOR ANYTHING EVERY AGAIN. And I don’t mean in a Captain Picard “Oh, hero Cochrane from the past, we do not have money anymore, we’re all communists now, and it works!” kind of First Contact way. I mean in a culturally inculcated, why should I pay when I kind have it for nothing,?kind of way. It doesn’t matter if it’s still there when it’s been taken, if no one pays, no art, and no job for me. This is happening in some countries/ cultures.

8. What will happen

But honestly, do I think this will happen? No. I think people are in the main too moral. I think people who enjoy the kind of stuff I write aren’t that stupid. I think people are of this mentality: “Hey guys, if we like oranges, let us pay the orange growers to grow oranges and we can all have yummy oranges forever and a day.” And not the “BURN ALL ORANGE TREES AND STEAL THE FURNITURE!” Viking-types (heck, even the Vikings were more of the former, not the latter, unless you were a monk. I don’t think they ever really saw the point of monks).

People do pirate, have pirated, and always will pirate. But it’s important it does not get out of hand. SOPA and the rest are not the answer, that’s a 20th century solution to a 21st century issue.

People pirate not just for free stuff, but for flexibility, to try things out, to experience new, foreign stuff. The solution to the “Oh Christ, they’re downloading my crap for free!” is one of accommodation. The current situation has arisen from an imbalance between what people expect, the technology that enables them to do what they want, and the slow response by the industry. The equation’s a complex one, but it can add up for everyone.  Rock stars might not be living it up quite like they used to, but then I don’t see many begging on the streets either.

And “free” can work. Spotify? Artists get money per play. Libraries? You actually get money every time someone takes your book out. Very cheap and instantly available works even better. iTunes? I buy a ton more music than I ever did and funny, all of it is legitimate. Do I think Ebooks are overpriced? Absolutely. Would I rather sell ten million books for £1.00 (at my 8% I’d get £800,000) or ten thousand for £7.99? (I’d get £6392) What the hell do you think?

9. Publicity and exposure

The internet is a very powerful tool, that’s for sure. I was advised by my publishers to start this blog. I use it as a kind of diary, and an archive of work I’ve done –there’s a fragment of my journalism here, but when I have chance, I put more up. (By the way, the copyright on that I do not own, but I asked permission to reprint it). On average, I’d say I get about one hundred hits for every post.

By deliberately choosing something contentious, like piracy (heartfelt though, it’s not fake, I wouldn’t do that, but I did think about it), I’ve had well over six hundred hits. I’ve sold books. A lot of people who have no idea who I am have at least glimpsed me, even if some of them think me a jerk. That’s me exploiting the internet, not the other way around.

By that extension, is the wide availability of my book for free on the internet actually good for someone like me? Or is stealing simply wrong?

I give work away for free for publicity. Here is a sample from Reality 36. Here from Champion of Mars, here’s a free Richards & Klein short story. Here’s another free short, and another. There’s plenty on this site, I’ll be putting more here over time.  But that’s my right to do so, it’s not a pirate’s right, because it’s my frigging stuff.

And I will say, people do expect to have everything given to them for nothing. And I will also say, when my book is available as cheaply as you want, as conveniently as you want, when there are free samples of it here and on my publisher’s site and it meets all the other halfways and market forces we’ve been discussing and you still choose to download it for free? Then you really are ripping me off.

It’s all going to change. New encryption systems and bigger computers will eventually put the lid on this (mostly). I wouldn’t be surprised if every piece of entertainment in the world has free elements, but then quantumly encrypted, embedded programming demands payment every time you get past that. Whatever, I reckon this whole debate will be of far less importance in a few years time. Seeing my work given away for free by people who have no right to do so upsets me right now, though. Still, creators and consumers will meet halfway.

Thanks for reading, and commenting.


A couple of weeks ago I filled out my tax return. My lord, what a horrible shock awaited me at the end. Although the amount of money I owed was cause for night sweats – it is not a huge amount of money, but it’s all proportional – it was the complexity of the tax system that got me thinking about, oh, loads of stuff, but largely the decline and fall of the west, in a super-optimistic kind of way, or Why Our Tax System Is One Of The Many Reasons To Learn Mandarin Now. Not a snappy title for a manifesto, accurate to my feelings nevertheless.

I will try not to lapse into rage-fuelled profanity, but I may slip up.

For a start, the tax system is mind-bendingly overly complicated, and complication can only lead to abuse. Kudos is due to HMRC for their online tax form , because it actually makes the complex relatively simple. On the other hand, you can see how large companies with wily accountants can avoid paying all but the most nominal amounts of tax.

My shock at my tax bill actually came about because I’d misinterpreted one of the few loopholes available to we lesser people, you know, people who aren’t banks staffed by braying rich bastards. To whit, if you’re a creative like me, then you can spread your tax over two years. Great! I thought. Then: Ooh no, shitbollockswhat? as it turns out you can’t be doing that unless you’ve been self-employed since before April 2009. Fucking awesome. Bang went me low tax bill. Added to that one of my main contractors was compelled to put me on their payroll during 2012 in a manner that does not take into account my citizen’s right to £7000 tax-free earnings, thus sapping two-thirds of the money I intended to save for my 2010-2011 tax. So, higher bill, no money put aside.

We were looking at a very deep hole indeed my friend. Still, I soldiered on, and I discovered many weird exemptions along the way. My favourite example: Did you know divers and diving instructors are exempt certain bits of tax? What high-powered lobby group did they employ to get that?! Did Neptune, King of the Sea write to his MP and promise wrath and tidal waves and so forth if they didn’t get a flipper allowance?

I exploded into rage when I discovered that not only did our government want me to cough up all of 2010-2011’s money owed, but also half of 2011-2012’s tax bill, all by the end of January. NO FUCKING WAY. I couldn’t pay my tax bill because I’d been heavily taxed at source during 2012 and now it looked like they wanted that tax AGAIN. I’d get it back, but as they wanted this “payment on account” before I’d fill in my 2011-2012 return and explain that I’d already paid up, I’d have to claim it back. Not that I’d be able to claim it back, because I wouldn’t be able to pay it in the first place. Mostly because they already had the money.

My fury at large companies that can have cosy little chats with high-up civil servants and talk their way out of funding our massive, uneducated underclass so I can do it instead became bloodthirsty and priapic (not me, my fury. What it was going to do with that hard-on of anger I shudder to think).

Luckily, it doesn’t work like that, I’d effectively already paid this part of next year’s tax, and so didn’t have to cough up the payment on account, so that was okay. But it wasn’t immediately apparent. Of course, I could have paid a tax consultant to make it immediately apparent, but I can’t afford to.

Later, in a bit of a break, a friend told me that my contractor was as obliged to pay me holiday pay as they were obliged to tax me (and pay national insurance to employ me etc, all because I do a minimal amount of work in their offices). Maybe they feel hard done by, because they don’t actually tell you this, you have to find it out for yourself. I felt some sympathy for them. Although I have the legal right to holiday pay do I really deserve it? But then I thought about all the massively long hours I was expected to work when I was employed full-time at this same company, with no renumeration, and that their freelance rates haven’t gone up for 14 years, and I thought, sod ‘em.

And that’s what had me in a funk. We’ve so many rights, our companies have so many obligations, and there are so many special interest groups trying to weasel their way out of either, or both. We wage serfs try to eat and afford one shit holiday a year, our employees try to stay competitive enough to pay their board members ludicrous wages, and the government has to carry on paying Sharon from Lakeside to have a thousand badly behaved children because if they don’t they’ll be more riots. Oh, and they need the money to wage a few post-imperial wars. It’s got to come from somewhere, and it’s certainly not coming from our tax-havened megarich.

What happened to the simple equation of: I work eight hours, you give me £40, I give the government £5, I go home in time and get to have a life? Instead we have: We pay you to work eight hours, but we actually pretty much demand you work eleven, because IT has meant the forty people that used to be needed to do your job in eight hours has been reduced to three, and we thought we’d make it one. Anyway, we have to give you stuff we aren’t going to tell you about unless we have to, and our CEO wants three Porsches. Then you can give the government £4.57, unless you have a tractor, the King of The Fish has your back, or it’s a Tuesday.

And why is it like this? Because we’re all egocentric twats. Me included. Society is a glorious wooden temple riddled with the worms of self-interest. I have enormous sympathy for the recent strikers, and the same time I think they are being monumentally selfish. We’re all in the shit, what makes you so special? Oh, sorry, it’s you.

What further boggles the mind is that nobody had the foresight to see that in a world where wages are the highest cost part of a process, the jobs will always go where its cheaper to do whatever those people doing those jobs are doing. That the more rights a workforce accrues, the more expensive they become, and the more likely those jobs are to leave. And why does this happen? Partly because our corporate mindset has become detached from the societal body it sits in, but mostly because we as ‘consumers’ (Jesus, I hate that term) would rather pay £50 for a pair of trainers made in some sweatshop by a worker on $1 a day than £70 for a pair made by a worker in Bury with full rights. That’s as big a reason as the company that makes them demanding a 70% mark-up.

We are all. Selfish. Twats. It really isn’t just the bankers. And that applies equally to The News of The World phone hacking scandal (who bought the papers and created the demand? The morally outraged Great British Public) as it does to the rising cost of what was horribly under-priced milk, rubbish on the beaches, the plague of  hoody youth crims and so on. Everyone must have prizes, so nobody actually does. Except bankers.

The effects of the industrial and informational revolutions continue to ripple around the Earth. In an ideal world, the upheaval stops when everyone is equally prosperous. What will probably happen is that prosperity will slosh dangerously across the globe like water in a rocked bowl, leaving environmental degradation, overpopulation and social collapse in its wake. The cycle will then start anew from a lower basepoint. Repeat until Earth is dead. In a century’s time the Chinese will be employing starveling Mancunians to make novelty plastic apes for peanuts. In two centuries’ time we’ll be smashing each other’s faces in with rocks to steal peanuts.

When will we learn? We’re all monkeys. The sooner we stop insisting we can just groom ourselves, the sooner we’ll stop falling out of the fucking tree.

Go on, think beyond your own interests. At the very least it’ll make my tax return easier to fill out.

I address some of this stuff in my books Reality 36 and Omega Point. I’m not Charles Stross or Cory Doctorow, but it’s there dudes, it’s all there.


I wrote the piece below about six months before my son Benny was born. It’s mostly about Star Wars, but also life.

Benny is three now, and today is his very first day at nursery (I just left him in the arms of a teacher, me with a lump in my throat) so I thought I’d put this up.

It’s doubly pertinent, as the very recent release of the Star Wars saga on BluRay has the SW fanbase enraged all over again (see? I’m being topical!). Why? Yet more tinkering, that’s why. Personally, I’d rather Lucas just left the things alone and made something new, but they’re his films. I find the geek rallying cry/ self-indulgent, spoilt-brat whine of ‘George Lucas raped my childhood’ to be utterly odious on several levels, its lazy, knee-jerk use of such an emotive term top of the list. And why hate the guy for providing you with years of entertainment? If he wants to overpaint his own work obsessively like some latterday Richard Dadd, let him. (At least he didn’t knife his father). Surely the impact of Star Wars on you as a child is more important than what it looks like now. I mean, I loved Krull, but I wouldn’t peg it as essential viewing, and I certainly wouldn’t call Peter Yates a retroactive pederast if he’d decided to add a CGI glaive to the proceedings (too late, he’s dead now).  Or aren’t we moving on? We’re not, are we?

Perhaps this is yet another indication of our culture’s intense juvenilisation effect, a step on the evolutionary road to idiot-Eloihood, and a time when our giggling, endlessly masturbating, Hello Kitty-dependent descendants will be feasted upon by giant intelligent rats who keep them high on food made entirely of corn syrup and the essence of superhero movie remakes.

Or maybe I’m being harsh, because I’m just a little sad that my little boy is growing up so fast.

Firstborn

No, not the story of Gor the Gorilla-boy, but the impending arrival of Guy’s new kid. A few days ago, crucial question of fatherhood reared its ugly head to vex our already troubled cheeky tyke…

The recent news that my wife is expecting our first child heralded a whole new wave of worries in the Haleyhold. Not only do you find yourself fretting over a lot of unpleasant potential pregnancy problems and imminent financial meltdown, but you find your mind racing ahead, past the gestation, vaulting over the birth and scampering far into the future, like some kind of terrified chrono-hare. What if baby inherits the coarser looks of dad, rather than the finer features of mother? Is it going to be stupid? The fretting ranges on  – Which university should I start looking at? What job will young Haley do? Then it gets silly. It’s a conscious effort to wrench your mind back to the present, and that’s weird enough as it is. It’s almost like science fiction. Like, there’s a tiny person growing inside my wife! Help! I feel like Kevin McCarthy at the climax of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, shouting an unbelievable truth at an indifferent world.

At least I don’t need to dwell too much on how the newborn is going to get out, unlike my wife.

A few days ago, a far more pertinent problem popped into my head: What SF am I going to show it first? This really is crucial. (Don’t think for a moment that, boy or girl, it’s not going to get an SF upbringing. There’s an awesome two foot high rocket, complete with moon rover and chewable space people, in the Early Learning Centre that has got my name, erm, I mean my child’s name, whatever that is going to be, on it). Like most kids, my very first exposure to the fantastical was through stories read to me by my parents, space toys and TV. As a preschool kid there was Thunderbirds, Space 1999, Star Trek, Bagpuss, The Clangers, Doctor Who, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Jamie and the Magic Torch, classic black and white RKO serials – a galaxy of SF and fantasy gems, opening the already wide eyes of 1970s tots to the pleasures and disappointments of the fundamentally unreal. But now, what awaits my offspring? A lot of badly drawn, shouty anime, by the looks of it, cut into meaningless, garish scraps by even shoutier adverts. And that purple frigging dinosaur.

If that were not a troublesome enough worry, I have had also to ask myself: which  Star Wars first? Tricky. Now it’s obvious Haley 1.1 will have to see these films, at least twelve times. It’s the law. But in what order? According to the narrative’s internal chronology, or classic trilogy first? Is it fair to make someone who doesn’t know who Darth Vader is miss out on learning the shocking truth of Luke Skywalker’s true parentage? Actually, is it fair to make someone new to the world sit through an animated tax dispute with some disinterested actors standing around in the foreground? Hmm. I think I have just made my mind up.

With kids too, there’s always the issue of the bizarre things that scare them. My brother Garth and I, for example, both loved the Muppets, but Sweetums and the other monsters freaked us out so much we used to hallucinate that they were standing outside our bedroom window. Screaming followed. You can’t legislate for these things, but Mrs. Haley’s collection of disturbing Scandinavian fairy tales is going on the top shelf, just in case.

Crumbs, I just thought, what if the kid likes Jar Jar? I think I’ll go back to worrying about the cost of childcare. It’s less upsetting.

Back to 2011.

FYI, Benny was born on July 12th, 2008, and I have been tired since July 12th, 2008. He was two weeks late due to some low level of incompetence on the part of the local maternity services (i.e. they forgot about us). His birth was terrifying. After an attempt at induction he was delivered by caesarean section. He’s a lovely lad, very cheeky, and clever. I laugh now at my brother for the impending arrival of his own offspring; real, wineglass-in-hand schadenfreude guffawing, because he has NO IDEA how much his life will change.

Fortunately, it is worth it. Which I tell him after I stop giggling.

As for watching space stuff,  we’ve tried both the original Star Wars (“Daddy! Want to watch spaceships!”) and the Phantom Menace. Star Wars holds his attention until we meet Kenobi. The Phantom Menace loses its lustre as soon as the younger Kenobi and his boss sit down for tea. Exploratory watches, but it says it all really. We also tried The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, but it was  a bit too scary.

And yes, childcare has nearly bankrupted me. But we did get that rocket. And it is cool.