That’s the third alt.fiction finished. And each year it has grown bigger, and more areas of the labyrinthine Assembly Rooms have been opened to the event. I only made it to only two items during the day – a reading from his new novel, Kéthani, by Eric Brown (with the able assistance/prompting of Tony Ballantyne), and a talk by my agent, John Jarrold. I did want to attend the talk on ‘Science Fiction’ given by Eric Brown, Tony Ballantyne and Charles Stross. But it was the last item on the agenda at 8:15 p.m, and I didn’t want to get home late. Sorry I missed it, guys.
All attendees were given an ARC of Charles Stross’ Halting State in their convention pack. I had a chat with Charlie – mostly about the appalling cover art to the US edition of his Saturn’s Children and his upcoming signing tour of the US – and then got him to sign the ARC. On which subject… There were no dealers present – other than the redoubtable and near-ubiquitous Elastic Press, NewCon Press and TTA. This was both good and bad. Bad because I might have been able to pick up a few hard-to-find titles from the wants list. Good because it saved me money. The event organisers were selling books by the attending authors, and there was a signing session arranged about halfway through the day. But there was a poor choice of titles available, and they were pretty much all massmarket paperbacks. But then alt.fiction isn’t a convention per se, and that’s reflected in the attendees. This was particularly obvious during John Jarrold’s talk. Alt.fiction is aimed at unpublished writers, and in that respect the many talks provide some very useful and helpful information. And, of course, an opportunity to network.
Annoyingly, I forgot to take my camera along – although one or two people were happy I’d left it behind. I can’t think why… But, despite that, despite the lack of dealers, I had a good time, and I’ll certainly be attending next year’s alt.fiction.