Best. FantasyCon. Ever!
Not that I'm biased or anything.....
So we got back yesterday afternoon and evil boss/mum immediately insisted on dragging me out to work til early evening... bah.... no xmas presents for her this year.... spent all today waiting for my brain to wake up...
So, crikey, so much to tell, where to begin.
The guests... yes, that'll do ya fine. Steve Erikson - can't say overly much about as didn't see much of him through the weekend but he seems like a nice bloke and gave a funny after banquet speech.
Ooh, Graham Joyce, what a wicked sense of humour the man's got! I can proudly say I was there to witness the sacred wafer incident! And I now know exactly (and in fine detail) why he hates the raffle so (and he does make some very good points...) And, of course, it was his social responsibility to highlight the awful wrongs done against the fey kind... you see, everytime you go in the Dealer's Room and walk past a stall without buying something, a fairy dies.... this message brought to you from Mr Joyce, chair of the society for the prevention of slaughter to pixies.... He also kept us organised rather nicely too!
Simon Clark... OMG, what a totally lovely guy! He's about 7 1/2 feet tall yet very softly spoken and gave an excellent talk on the Saturday. Had never read any of his stuff beforehand (except the extract of his latest book, The Tower, which was in the Fcon mag..) but I totally need to track down some of his stuff. Right now!
And then there's Mark Chadbourn, another fab bloke with a great sense of humour and the ability to talk about anything. (Anything? Yes, anything!) But then, I was already a huge fan...
So, one of the organiser's perks is dinner with the guests... which was great (especially as I was sitting opposite three of them in the row)... but, alas, a whack yourself about the brain with a baseball bat moment was had when I spent the entire evening unable to respond to their conversational delights with more than 'yes', 'cool', 'uh-huh' (and other similar monosyllables) - sometimes it's a real pain in the ass being socially inept.
Apart from that.... who else was there... oh yeah, loads of H&N peeps who I got to say hi to... John L. Probert, Steve Dean, Gary McMahon, Tony Richards, Allen Ashley, Andrew Hook (more on him in a mo..), Jetse De Vries (although I was little zombied by the time he signed in and had trouble understanding what his name was for quite an embarrassing long time... then the lightbulb flashed on...)
Oh, and Gary Fry (appearing in issue 7, which I'm just putting together,) was also about but I didn't get to speak to him as someone else signed him in and he spent the weekend flogging Poe's Progeny in the Dealer Room... so... Hi Gary! Meant to buy a copy of PP, forgot, will do it online...
Gail Nina's talk on Friday night was totally cool and she's promised to write me a version for the mag... just got to work out how to go about acquiring copyright for some of the pictures... may have do without the pics which would not be good as the flow of it is kind of dependent on some of the images. But then, G.N's wicked intelligent and can probably write her way around that!
Oh, and Andrew Hook, top bloke! Won TWO! awards this year... one of which was for Best Small Press which knocked PS Publishing off their winning streak... which was good... I mean, not that PS doesn't deserve an award, but, yay, Elastic!!
Forget who took the other awards.... except Stephen King got Best Novel for The Dark Tower (book seven of the DT series) - someone from Hodder was supposed to collect it but they didn't show - the committee has since had a nice little email forwarded on from the man himself saying that 'he and Roland thank everyone big-big'... cool beans!
Would have liked it if the win could have gone to a Brit author (like Mark Chadbourn for Queen of Sinister...) but, still, I absolutely adore the Dark Tower series so am still chuffed about the choice.
Oh, and we had new awards this year ... instead of the amazing golden cthulonic dildo of legend, we've now got an anatomically correct demony looking thing (apparently each award has a different facial expression too...)
According to sources the mass book launch was Best. Launch. Ever!
Didn't get to see many of the panels as was behind the registration desk but the Write Fantastic one was fab (and I totally need to get them to do Reading - either the main Reading Library or maybe the one in Woodley... alas, the one in Lower Earley is a bit on the titchy side...)
I shocked and stunned Dave Howe in the Quiz when I could pin point the exact episode a certain Buffy line was spoken in. (It was the one about happy meals on legs, said by Spike in Becoming part 2! Hah!) Don't know how I remembered it as usually I've got total sieve-brain when it comes to things like that.
Also won a few bits in the raffle (which I then offloaded on evil twin... be nice to me for the rest of the year, girly girl...!!)
What else, what else....
Bad: some idiot at the hotel double booked the function rooms on Friday and said we couldn't have the main room until 5pm as some business types had got it... I mean, we've had them booked since this time last year but apparently someone got confused cos the big room (with it's own name) can also be split into 3 smaller rooms, each with different names, and the gits had booked the smaller rooms and no one had the brains to notice the clash.... were we furious or what! And what did we get in compensation? Some chips and sandwiches at lunchtime for free! What a gyp....
Fortunately the business types were all done and gone by 1pm ish so we swooped...
Also, the hotel housekeeping was appalling, a lot of people's rooms hadn't been cleaned from the previous guests (luckily mine was fine, for a change, I even got a heater that actually worked which had me well shocked... first time I've not frozen at an Fcon..)
We'll not even mention the food...
Good: the posse of about half a dozen porter types led by the brilliant Glenys, who all wore Fantasycon tshirts through the weekend(!), were very helpful and sorted out most of the problems to do with the function rooms...
The fact that the Fcon tshirt, despite only be a Large, actually fitted.
The fact that every year I get to have longer and longer conversations with people like Chaz Brenchley, Jo Fletcher, Ramsey Campbell etc. etc. Not bad for someone who avoids the bar because I don't drink and gets odd reactions to cig. smoke.
Plus, I got more hugs and kisses over the one weekend than I get over the course of the average year, which was nice! :-) Heh! Of course, I've spent many many years training the home peeps to keep their distance... touchy-feely I'm not. But still, Fcon affection is different.
Oh, and I did my first ever signing!! Okay, so technically it was only a half dozen Fcon mags that Bob of the Talking Dead was going to get signed by the GOHs and auction off for charity but Debs suggested to him that I ought to sign it too as I edited it... so I did! Double heh! And a hee, too!
The AGM was very quiet... some git asked about membership stats, but apparently Debs was in charge of doing that and admitted she hadn't had time so I was off the hook! We got some good publicity suggestions, Chaz B. volunteered to help out with a couple of bits (which shocked even him I think!), Jo Fletcher offered up £50 of Gollancz books as an incentive to get people to respond to an Fcon short and easy questionnaire we're doing to get an idea of things you lot think important when choosing to come (eg. how far you'll travel etc. Pretty much the same sort of thing I floated on the BFS messageboards...)
Gary Couzens stepped down as Awards admin and Dave Sutton (one of the original creators of the BFS and also, I think, organisor of the first Fcon) stepped up to take his place. And we're doing some juggling with the editors of DH & Prism... but more on that when it's official...!
On next year's Fcon, the lovely Ariel suggested Manchester - which went down rather well... research is happening as we speak. For 2007 (yes, we really are planning 2 years in advance..) Fcon I'm still holding out hope for getting something in Reading. Apparently getting it right in town centre isn't so vital, so long as it's near enough to the train station... there's a travelodge on one end of the Oxford Road(do I mean Oxford Road??... it's the one that has either a tescos or a Sainsburys on it and a PCWorld near it..) that might do... it had it's function rooms redone a couple of years ago and the accomodation should be more sensibly priced... ah well, have to investigate....
Debs & Vicky are also coming back next year as organisors, we've got a nice lady from Hadesgate publishing offering to help out on publicity and mum reckons she's going to do the nagging hotel liason stuff (ye gads, can't escape the woman...!)
(Talking of whom, this weekend the issue of Chat magazine that had her 'spooky story' came out - easiest £50 she's ever made, she reckons.... the whoever at the mag completely re-wrote her original sort of true ghost story into something which is, well, pretty much tabloid style fabrication. And my name comes up about 8 or 10 times in it!! And will she give me a cut... oh no....)
So now that Fcon '05 is done (and Fcon '06 & '07 are nicely distant), I can concentrate on getting the mag done this week, off to the printers and back next week. Lovely.
Happy bunny all round.