It occurred to me reading my last post on Fantasycon 2010 that the convention was more than just the hotel and the books I purchased. I spent the weekend in the company of a couple of hundred people, all of whom are interested enough in genre fiction to spend a weekend dedicated to it in a hotel. So I really should mention a few of those people. Unfortunately, my memory is not what it once was – well, obviously, it’s still a memory, but it’s no longer as effective as it once was. Or at least, no longer as effective as memory insists it once was…
I arrived at the con around mid-afternoon – it’s an easy journey for me to Nottingham. There weren’t many people about but after about an hour sat in the bar I spotted my first friendly face: Mark Harding. He admitted he’d been in the hotel since the night before. Over the course of the evening, the bar began to fill with con-goers. I spoke with: Mark about projects we were each working on; Gavin Smith, author of Veteran, about role-playing games, underwater holidays and technical diving; Allen Ashley about Catastrophia and collaborations; Neil Williamson and Andrew Hook and Jasper Kent, author of Twelve and Thirteen Years Later, about writing… and no doubt other subjects, and with other people. See above re memory.
Most of Saturday I spent in the bar and in the dealers’ room. When I wasn’t browsing through the stocks of the various dealers, I was chatting to Roy Gray on the Interzone table. Andy Remic turned up for the day, as did Mark Charan Newton. Andy finally saw my review of Ian Whates’ anthology Conflicts in Interzone. In response to my comment on his story, he asked, “What’s wrong with low humour?” Nothing, Andy. The review of Conflicts generated a couple of conversations over the weekend (that might even be ironic…) – it was interesting seeing how different people preferred different stories. But that’s the nature of anthologies. I also chatted to Colin Harvey, author of Winter Song and Damage Time (which was launched by Angry Robot at Fantasycon; as was Andy’s Soul Stealers), some of the Angry Robot people, Chris Teague of Pendragon Press, Gary Couzens (who’d attended the Worldcon in Melbourne), and a few members of The T-Party, a writing group in London.
After we got back from the Thai restaurant, we waited for the banquet to finish so we could attend the awards ceremony. But we discovered that would mean standing up for the duration as all the seats were taken by those who’d attended the banquet. So we went back to the mostly-deserted bar. Which soon filled up, once the awards ceremony was over. I remember an interesting conversation with Terry Edge about writing workshops and the way in which rules of punctuation are often broken by successful writers. I lasted until about midnight before calling it a day.
The Sunday was a much quieter day and, like the day before, was spent mostly in the bar or dealers’ room. I forget how I spoke to and about what, although I do remember discussing poetry with Gaie Sebold. I’d planned to leave about three p.m., but the raffle took longer than I’d expected, so I didn’t actually catch a train until 4:40 p.m.
That was Fantasycon (redux): a series of conversations on a variety of topics (most were writing-related), some of which were lubricated by beer, some not. I don’t generally attend programme items – I keep promising myself I’ll go to more of them, but I usually fail. Because I enjoy sitting in the bar, chatting to friends and meeting new people.
And buying books, of course…