• International Shan Station!

    01 April 2021

    I have two interconnected pieces of incredible news stories to share with you today, concerning two amazing adventures which I'm getting involved with later this year, both of which started, as all great adventures should, with a trip to... the cinema!


    Basically, a few years ago I took my son Dante to the IMAX in London to see a short film about the International Space Station, narrated by Tom Cruise. It was a fascinating look into what day to day life is like on the ISS, and Dante loved it, especially when a rocket took off from Earth and the whole cinema shook like mad! I posted about it on my Facebook blog, and a few days later I received a very unusual, very interesting email...


    The space agencies who built and maintain the ISS are always trying to stir up positive publicity for it, to keep it in the public consciousness and ensure vital funds continue to be pumped into the program. One of their ideas had been to fly up a novelist to spend 6 months there and write a book based on their trip. Not a factual book, but a fictional novel. They didn't care what genre it was -- thriller, romance, horror -- just that the vast majority of it would take place on the space station. They were bouncing names around among themselves when one of them, a woman with an 11 year son who was absolutely obsessed with my books, mentioned my blog post, which her excited son had shown to her when he read it, and... well... to cut a long story short...


    I'm going!!!


    I'll be heading up in the autumn, in early September, for my 6 months (182 days, to be precise) stay. I was actually meant to go up last September, but it was postponed because of Covid. I thought it was going to be cancelled or postponed again, because obviously there's a fair bit of training involved ahead of launch, but they managed to start me off with one of the teams they work with, who are based in Ireland, and while it isn't ideal, they're happy enough with my progress. So, yeah, this September, I'm taking to the skies. I'll be writing while I'm up there -- I'll be blogging too, so you don't have to worry about me slipping out of touch! -- though I doubt I'll complete the entire book while on the station, and will probably require a few months back home when it's done, to rewrite and edit and get it ready for publication in early 2023.


    Now, all that would be mind-blowing enough, BUT, as I'm sure many of you will recall from last year, movie star Tom Cruise is shooting a space movie this October, part of which is going to be set on... the International Space Station. It was big news last May when the story broke -- you can read a lengthy, informative article about it here: https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/everything-we-know-and-dont-about-tom-cruises-plans-to-film-a-movie-in-space/



    If my trip had gone ahead last September, as planned, this wouldn't have been an issue, but obviously there's now a crossover, and that posed some pretty big problems. The space station is a fairly small, tight place, and it's not going to be easy, keeping a chubby, rosy-faced author out of sight while they're filming! They're getting around that problem with the crew by including them in small roles in the movie, and after much huffing and puffing, and an awful lot of phone calls and debate, they've decided the easiest way to deal with my presence is to include ME in the movie too!!!


    Look, it's not going to be a very big role, and I'll basically be playing myself. They've written some lines for me, which I'll do my best to deliver, but I imagine most of those will be cut -- unless I turn out to be natural, in which case, maybe they'll write even more lines and expand my role! :-) But, hey, even if I end up only saying my name and floating in the background, slightly out of focus for all the scenes that I'm in, I'm GOING TO LIVE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOR SIX MONTHS AND BE IN A FREAKING TOM CRUISE MOVIE!!!!


    How cool is THAT?!?


    Phew! It's good to finally be able to share this news. I've been sitting on it for a long time, but everyone involved -- the space agencies and the movie producers -- were very clear that I could only share the story on one specific date. There was only one day in the year when a story of this magnitude could be broken. And that day was today...


    April 1st...


    also known as...


    APRIL FOOLS DAY!!!!!!!


    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)


    Heh heh heh!! Come on -- how many of you fell for it?!?


    Once you've stopped cursing me or laughing (or both), make sure you check out the April issue of the Shanville Monthly, which has just gone live -- and that's no joke!!! https://darrenshan.com/news/shanville-monthly

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