Toastmaster - Paul Cornell


LoneStarCon 3 Toastmaster Paul Cornell is a New York Times #1 Bestseller writer of SF and fantasy for prose, television and comics, the first person to be Hugo Award nominated for all three media. He's written Doctor Who for the BBC, and Action Comics and Batman & Robin for DC Comics. His stories have appeared in Asimov's, Interzone, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. His SF novels are Something More, British Summertime, and most recently London Falling, an urban fantasy novel. He has also co-authored several non-fiction books on television, including The Guinness Book of Classic British TV, X-treme Possibilities (a guide to The X-Files), and The Discontinuity Guide (a humorous guide to Doctor Who).

Paul Cornell on the web:


Paul Cornell - An Introduction

By Graham Sleight (originally published in Progress Report 4)

I can’t remember when I first met Paul Cornell, but I do remember what he said to me. It might have been at a BSFA pub event where I was interviewing him; it might have been at an Eastercon; it might have been at some Doctor Who event. What he said was, "You're Graham, aren't you? What can I get you to drink?" Which might not seem significant, except that it embodies a lot about Paul: his default state is generosity and friendliness. His default assumption seems to be that if he's kind to people, they'll repay the compliment.

You might, of course, know him from the work he's done for Doctor Who - as a writer of the New Adventures, or as someone who's brought emotional force and complexity to the new series. You might know him from his increasing profile in the world of comics like Demon Knights, Saucer Country, Captain Britain, and Wolverine. You might know him from novels like London Falling or British Summertime. Or you might have heard him as one of the unfailingly enthusiastic (and now Hugo-winning) SF Squeecast collective.

Paul comes from fandom, of course - specifically, Doctor Who fandom. I've heard him speak disparagingly of his work on Licence Denied, an anthology of fanwriting by others from Who zines. It seems to me, though, one of the most Paul-ish books he's done: full of unselfconscious enthusiasm for its subject, revelling in the joyous playfulness of the best kind of fandom. Although he's very very far from being just a Who writer these days, he remains a (considered, thoughtful) enthusiast.

To speak in the first person again, I vividly remember a dinner with Paul and half a dozen other friends on the last night of the Chester Eastercon in 2007. Paul confessed that he'd given up reading Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow - several times, I think - because of the sequence a few pages in where the giant cocaine-fuelled adenoid gland threatens to take over London. He felt this was in some way implausible; and from there escalated a series of fantasias about adenoid glands - sentient, cocaine-fuelled, and otherwise - about which I can remember nothing except that I've never laughed so hard in my life. I somehow doubt that he will talk about adenoid glands, but I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job hosting the Hugos. So look after Paul while he's in Texas. And maybe offer to buy him a drink.