Jun 26 : The 'The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O' Book Signing

June 26th, 2017.

There are currently no confirmed premieres coming up in London (but there are rumours for both 'Dunkirk' and 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets'. In such times of austerity, what can I, a simple photographer, do to keep myself amused?

Well... there's a Neal Stephenson book signing for one thing. (and yes, book signings can be premieres - I did them for Julian Assange's 'The Wikileaks Files' and also JJ Abrams' 'S' / 'Ship of Theseus'). Also I don't need an excuse : Neal Stephenson probably has 3 books in my alltime top 10 favourite books, and if you asked me to put together a list of the Top Ten Fictional Anything Ever (book or movie or tv show or comic book or computer game) - at least one of his books makes that top 10,... probably top 5. All Time.

No way I was missing this one. Here's how it went down:

If you'd asked me before today which living author I'd most want to photograph and get an autograph from, it would have been Neal Stephenson. As soon as I saw Barnes&Noble in the USA let you order a signed copy of his latest book months ago and have it shipped worldwide, I placed an order. That was... uh.... before I knew he was coming to London. And the book still hasn't arrived. (oops!)

If you'd asked me before today which living author I'd most want to photograph and get an autograph from, it would have been Neal Stephenson. As soon as I saw Barnes&Noble in the USA let you order a signed copy of his latest book months ago and have it shipped worldwide, I placed an order. That was... uh.... before I knew he was coming to London. And the book still hasn't arrived. (oops!)

Earlier:

"who's the bigger fan of Neal Stephenson? Well, the guy on my left got here before me, but I think you'll find my pile of books to be signed is higher. I notice you bought a single book to be signed... that's so sweet"

"who's the bigger fan of Neal Stephenson? Well, the guy on my left got here before me, but I think you'll find my pile of books to be signed is higher. I notice you bought a single book to be signed... that's so sweet"

"Did I really write all those, or did you slip a Fifty Shades of Grey hardback in there to see if I'd notice?"

"Did I really write all those, or did you slip a Fifty Shades of Grey hardback in there to see if I'd notice?"

"I see you've already pre-written a dedication "to my favourite blogger" here...."

"I see you've already pre-written a dedication "to my favourite blogger" here...."

After takinga few more establishing shots, I've joined the queue with my two books I've just bought because I foolishly didn't think to take any number of Neal Stephenson books I own....

After takinga few more establishing shots, I've joined the queue with my two books I've just bought because I foolishly didn't think to take any number of Neal Stephenson books I own....

"I notice some of these are already signed. Can I get one of those and grab an second signature?" (happened to me with a George RR Martin book once. True story!)

"I notice some of these are already signed. Can I get one of those and grab an second signature?" (happened to me with a George RR Martin book once. True story!)

"He seems like a nice guy! Maybe I could get him to sign other peoples' books that I also like?"

"He seems like a nice guy! Maybe I could get him to sign other peoples' books that I also like?"

No, I'm not about to faint at meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. Or if I am, I hope the security cams capture it : I'd love to get a shot of Neal Stephenson being induced to be concerned about my welfare...."

No, I'm not about to faint at meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. Or if I am, I hope the security cams capture it : I'd love to get a shot of Neal Stephenson being induced to be concerned about my welfare...."

"I don't suppose you could write a full message of your high regard for the degree of my fervent admiration for your talent? I'm happy to wait, or provide some key turns of phrases you could incorporate...."

"I don't suppose you could write a full message of your high regard for the degree of my fervent admiration for your talent? I'm happy to wait, or provide some key turns of phrases you could incorporate...."

"No, I will NOT do that ' "Sistine Chapel" finger-thingy', as you call it"

"No, I will NOT do that ' "Sistine Chapel" finger-thingy', as you call it"

Neal Stephenson.

Neal Stephenson.

So... that was pretty awesome. Neil Stephenson is not somebody I thought I'd ever meet or get to snap of photo of, or get a book signed in the presence of.

You should totally buy (and/or read, but certainly buy) his books if you're after big, dense ideas (and yes, you should totally rush down to Forbidden Planet and see if they have any signed copies of 'The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.' left!).

My signed "Snow Crash" (damn straight it's not for sale!!)

My signed "Snow Crash" (damn straight it's not for sale!!)

My well-worn and well-loved copy of Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" - not just one of the best books I've ever read, but also one of the most... uh... useful hardcover books I own. (nope, I'm not elaborating)

My well-worn and well-loved copy of Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" - not just one of the best books I've ever read, but also one of the most... uh... useful hardcover books I own. (nope, I'm not elaborating)