This weekend saw me at my third FantasyCon. The first (2009) I was clueless and misstimed everything. I popped to Nottingham in the morning on Saturday, when everyone was still in bed after drinking friday, and left at tea time just as things started to warm up.
Learning my lesson, last year (2010) I spent the weekend in Nottingham and that changed everything. I committed myself to ‘conspace’ (it is a different space/time structure to the real world) and had a much better FCon. It might also have helped that I knew a few people by this point.
This year the Con moved to Brighton and the sun shone, the sea sparkled and somehow I still didn’t manage to get any candy floss. The Royal Albion isn’t a conference hotel really, so there are quirks to the layout and such that may have provoked occasionally comparison to ‘The Shining’ but overall it worked and the atmosphere for the weekend was fantastic.
This was the first time i’d been invited to be part of the programme, moderating the ‘Maintaining an Online Presence’ panel with Lee Harris, Adam Christopher, Scott Andrews and Stephen Hunt. I was a little nervous and may have had a bit of a coughing fit, but overall I think it went well, my panellists were excellent speakers, well informed and considered and we had some good questions from the audience.
Other than that I attended some reading.
Lou Morgan read from the upcoming ‘Blood & Feathers’, wisely acquired by Solaris.Well read and I am looking forward to that one coming out. Lou handled difficult questions about mythology and religion very thoughtfully and with a nod to her own knowledge still being limited. This book will be one for urban fantasy fans to look out for.
Rob Shearman read the first story from ‘Everybody’s Just So So Special’ which is a another fantastic selection of short stories. His reading was wonderfully animated and brilliantly delivered. Again, time for questions saw Rob dealing with everything with his usual warmth and humour.
Simon Bestwick ably read two extracts from his horror writings,The Faceless (out next year) and Angels of the Silences dark and atmospheric. The extracts were well selected to give a flavour, difficult without giving away key plot points.
Vincent Holland-Keen read his short story from the new Anarchy Press anth, coming soon. It ties loosely with Lost and Found and since I was there and he is one of us video footage will be going up on the Un:Bound youtube channel, for posterity. It was well delivered and is a great story. There was only time for a couple of questions as the reading was slightly longer.
Finally Guy Adams read a chapter from ‘Restoration’ that was originally written as a short story taking a seat in true Jackanory fashion. The first question was ‘can you read some more’ and since it was the last reading of the weekend he sought another suitable passage while answering the other questions.
I was extremely impressed with the quality of the readings, all the ones I attended were extremely smooth and enjoyable, which is not always the case. The attendees at FCon seemed more interested too with a pretty full room at all five I saw.
The rest of the weekend was a blur of unnecessary calories, conversation, meeting up with friends, getting to know new people and a lot of laughing. Apart from the raffle, when time stood still, but I was impressed with our hosts game attempts to keep it moving. I have lost my voice and sleep gained some books and new friends and am definitely going to have to spend more time in London just to have all the coffees i’ve promised to go for (oh the terrible terrible hardship). All in all an excellent weekend.
A huge shout out to the Redshirts btw, who did an amazing job throughout and seemed to be a very small number for everything they achieved!
My pictures are on the Un:Bound flickr set.
Coverage Round up, which I will add as it goes up.
Adrian Tchaikovsky starts at the end.
Christopher Fowler contemplates the venue
First timer Rhian Bowley covers her weekend
A before and after from Simon Kurt Unsworth
A round up of the award winners and a few comments on the process
Rob Spalding fears for his liver
A quick look from Lily Childs
My lovely roomie Karen Davies shares her thoughts
Danie Ware’s views of a sweaty Brighton
The lovely Pablo Cheesecake shares his overview
Fantasy Faction provides a superb look at the con
And Wilf contemplates one of the arguments that raged in the bar