30 December 2008

Year End bits

  • Oh noes! Elastic Press is ceasing to be... Andrew's done a full press release thingy on the Elastic newsfeed, a copy of which is also on the BFS boards. 'tis a great shame as Elastic always put out some neat looking books.
  • Coo... Stan Nicholls of the The David Gemmell award thingy reports that they've had 800 votes since they opened the polls on boxing day. How cool is that! And that's just to get the long list to short list. If you've not voted for your fave heroic fantasy book of the year, get over there and do so as the voting is dead simple and you don't even need to register on their website or anything. Apparently, the final award will be given out at a do in June, at the Magic Circle HQ in London. Crikey! (Must remember to mention this to our Hell's magician boyf.)
  • Ooh er... Newcon 5 is down for 26th - 27th September '09. Which, unless I'm very much mistaken, is the week after Fcon is due to be... Oh that's going to be interesting... :-> (Of course, the Fcon site is due a major relaunch next month so our details aren't up on the current site yet...)
Book blast:

And talking of David Gemmell, have recently read Legend and Waylander as I'd never read them before and thought I really should get around to it... Legend was pretty intense and it had me hooked right up until the end... and then there was a bit of a cop out with one of the characters and a miraculous resurrection when they really should have stayed dead. Bugger. Things were going so well until then. Didn't help that the purpose of the resurrection felt like a blatant rewarding of the hero chap by bringing his woman back to life. A woman that died a decent fighting death too. Sigh.
Waylander didn't quite have the intensity but the ending was a bit more solid and the characters were very well drawn.

Also read Ravens of Avalon by Diana L Paxson - which I picked up from our Jan at the last Fcon. Apparently this is connected to the Mists of Avalon series that Marion Zimmer Bradley did (which, of course, I hadn't read...) But Ravens was some serious fabulous stuff - it was a pagany telling of the Boudica story just busting with enchantment all over the place. So, quite naturally, I then had to read Mists of Avalon by MZB just to see where it all began and I was totally blown away by it. Utterly, absolutely, magical stuff. Doing the Arthur thing from Morgan le Fay's perspective. Brilliant!

Also read Duma Key by Stephen King. Definitely a cracking good yarn, that one. Bit of a heartrending death towards to the end and some great characters.

Now I've a pile of Xmas and birthday books to get through so hope everyone had a fab Xmas and have an excellent new year!

- X -

09 December 2008

Daemons Are Forever

So I have just this minute finished reading Simon R. Green's Daemons Are Forever and I'm already champing for the next one. (Due around April next year, I think...)
Not that I'm at all unbiased, as I'm a bit of a Simon Green fangirl, but Daemons was ace! For why? Well, for a start, I always find Mr Green's stuff eminently readable, and Daemons is no exception.

Edwin Drood makes for a fun main character as he stumbles from hijinx to disaster and back again, saving the world with wild magics, weird tech and a fantastically depreciating sense of humour. And he's got the perfect partner in Molly Metcalf, witch of the wild woods. This would be another thing I love about Green's work, he always creates fabulous partnerships (Hawk and Fisher being my absolute favourite...).

There's family politics and bloody battles... and a Deathstalker crossover! (...and a very cool one at that! Yay!) As well as some promising things for future volumes.

Although Daemons does suffer from the first couple of pages being a bit on the infodumpy side it's generally one of those that begs the wild ride cliche to be liberally applied to any attempt to describe it. So if you haven't already read it, now would be a perfect time to add it to your Xmas list...

01 December 2008

Nano Finite

And we're done! :->

Final Nano wordcount - 108,678! Woot! Thanks in no small part to a mini competition between me and two others yesterday as we updated word counts every hour until closing in the bid to out do each others wordage...

On the regional word war front - yesterday England Elsewhere managed to crawl to first place... alas, 'twas but a brief victory as by this morning and the final numbers, Ireland had beaten us over the head and snatched back their top place. So we end this year at number 2. Which is, if memory serves, a few places better than the very tragic placing we had last year.

Worldwide, still number 12, and still beaten by London. Bah, humbuggery.

However, all numbers aside, this one was a particularly good Nano. I'll lay claim to two (short) novels finished (one of which is even polishable), a very bad very short story, half a SF novel, and the opening chapters of two urban fantasies. Plus a few bits of random blathering. We like random blathering...

And now there's books waiting to be read, and work to be done...

27 November 2008

Nano day 27

Word count: 88366. Lawks a mussy, could be better. Can I use sudden attack of the sinuses as an excuse? Nah, didn't think so. :->

We are number 2!! in the regional wordwar... hurrah! Number 12 worldwide... still being beaten by London (bastards!).

And in other news... 'tis my birthday, I'm old.
Also, received many many books! (They know what I like!)

That will be all...

23 November 2008

Nano day 23

So here we are with one more week to go of the fabled Nanowrimo and my total is up to... (drumroll please...) 81,038. Cool! Was hoping I'd be well past 100k by now though... must be something a bit psychological going on as I slowed down considerably after hitting 50k. Och well. 100k by the end of the month of there will be foul punishments and torture. Oh yes indeedy.

The sci fi thingy is stalling a bit. I've got very holey B and C plots that may need to be axed completely. On the plus side, I've worked out a way to do a cross over with my space pirates that were going to appear in one of the other potential Nano projects. So, yay!

Problem being, need way more research on that and the other potential projects to be able to launch as manically into them as I did on Taurus. So I've done a few thousand words on a couple of other things to add to the multi nano mash up wordcount, including a sequel to Taurus. Which is one of the things that's going to need the research. This time all things Ancient British - so running from Celts to Romans to Vikings with anything else I can get away with.

So December is apt to be read until you go blind month. Always a good thing!

Nano stats: England Elsewhere have dipped to number 12 in the world region wordage - beaten on these shores by those bastards in London....
In the UK regional wordwar, we're at number 3! Woot! Thanks mainly to one brilliant person who's at 160k already. Not jealous. Oh no.

I really wasn't going to do much on Authonomy this month, cos of the Nano thing, but it's so easy to get distracted. (This possibly explains why my wordage is stalling a bit!) Also, they added some new features and someone tempted me to read their book.
Which I did. And which I totally recommend. So check out Sim by Jak Brienhead - it's a fab YA scifi/fantasy thing wherein our hero discovers the ability to move between worlds and fight off the terrrrrrible destiny he keeps getting flashes off. It's well written, totally compelling, plenty of action and generally excellent. And totally free to read. (and if you happen to want to sign up and vote for it, I'm sure Mr Brienhead would be quite chuffed!)

In other news... snow! Wheeee!

16 November 2008

WF Saturday fun

So yesterday was the long anticipated Write Fantastic in Wokingham Library thing. Totally rocked!
I'm sure I've said it before, but Chaz Brenchley and Juliet McKenna are absolutely ace when they do things together and I could totally have listened to them talk on for longer. (Alas, the library time keeper hovered at the door, dead on 1pm so we had to be kicked out.)

So, it was mainly a creative writing seminar thingy. With slides! And handouts! Cool! And a reading list! Of which there are many books I haven't read so I can hit up the local libraries and try and grab them. Will probably have to hit Wokingham rather than my little local one though, as I've already burned through the interesting books that Lower Earley has!

Then there was the workshop portion, which showed how awake (not!) we all were. Basically, picking out the main elements for a new story. Some of the ideas were definitely a bit strange. (magical talking donkey!) But it did highlight how scarily intelligent both Chaz and Juliet are as they were picking out deep and meaningful themes behind lots of the ideas. (Oooch, did my head hurt!)

So, a little head hurty (I'm a simple soul!) but definitely fun. I'd totally go to a WF full day event if they did one.

10 November 2008

Nano day 10

Wordcount: 54,164!!! Do I hear a woot! :-) And also a woohoo! Virtual drinks all round.
Coincidentally, have reached the end of the Taurus plot. (Apart from those three chapters in the middle I've been avoiding. They're all basilicas, mithraeums and the University of Newcastle. Which means more than your basic flyby wiki research.)

So while I'm procrastinating over that, am straight on to Nano book number two. Title as yet not a clue, but it's a scifi thing with control freak A.I.s, survival horror hijinx on distant space stations and a motley crew of miscreants on a stolen ship who are constantly trying to find ways to stab each other in the back before the ship A.I. gets them all killed.

As yet, only twelve people have died so far. Well, unless you add the 4000 odd that carked it in one of the flashbacks. Still, the night is young.

Other nano stats - as far as general wordage goes, E:E is at number 10 worldwide. Top English region on that one.

However, we're not doing so well in the regional wordwars. Yesterday saw us at number 5, so I'm hoping we can claw our way upwards tomorrow...

In other news, procrastination being everybody's friend... saw Doomsday the other day. Goodness that was a lot of fun. Totally mad. Possibly improved by never having seen Escape to New York if the odd bit of online chatter is any judge. Except that there seemed to be a couple of scenes missing here and there which jumped the plot a bit. Use of music was cracking!

Also saw Wanted, which was better than the chatter allowed. A couple of naff bits, but some funky action sequences. Very weird listening to James McAvoy do the American accent. It's like listening to Daniel Craig in Tomb Raider 1 or Rosalind Pike and Karl Urban in Doom. There's just something totally wrong about the voice doing the accent. And is there something about changing accent that makes them all do it in deeper voices? Maybe that's where it gets disconcerting. Och well...

05 November 2008

Nano day 5

Current word count - 32,193! Woot!

And even better, England: Elsewhere is number 2 in the UK regional word war!
Also, E:E is also number 8 worldwide as far as wordage goes, which can't be bad either... :->

Book number one, currently going by the name of Taurus is turning into quite a surprising beastie. The body count is up to 61 - 8 archaeologists, 13 named mercenaries, 22 unnamed mercs & associated support staff (do support staff count as mercs?) and 18 hedonistic party goers who picked the wrong island to park their boat at. Gosh, all this carnage is exhausting.

Still gutted about one of the surprise deaths. (Shut up. I know. It's only fiction.) He was such a nice boy too. He was going to end up married to his agent and everything.

But there was a last minute reprieve for the other one. It was very close though.
And also, one of the mercs who was definitely supposed to have died managed to crawl out alive too.

Cool! :->

Questions that have arisen:
Is a minotaur in a leopard print bikini a bit OTT?
And do you still call female minotaurs minotaurs?
And can they swim?
And how big a pack of minotaurs can you get away with before it starts getting ridiculous?
And also, could any of said pack hit the broadside of a barn with a decent gun or would the weird shaped heads screw up their aim?
And just how many explosions can one underground temple take before it makes an island cave in completely?

Enquiring minds need to know... :->

Over on Authonomy some brave peeps have uploaded the first 10,000 words of their Nano efforts. Rest assured, I won't be inflicting that on anyone with mine! Not until it's gone through at least three edits. Which is not going to be happening until next month at the very least.

Meantime, I've some more plot to find, and a mad panic to do the chapter outlines for the next potential one as I'm almost at the end of #1 and, dammit, there's a wordwar on!

03 November 2008

Nano day 3

It's all about the Nanowrimo this month. Or at least it would be if I could only get on the bastard site to update word counts and play in the forum. Good grief, how am I going to know how manic to get if I can't see how everyone elses word counts are going?! (Mine's around 10,500 as of last night, in case you were wondering!)

So, because my first drafts tend to be very short, I ended up with a total of seven possible novels to hit the ground running with. (What? Shut up.) And right up until last week, the first attempt of the month was going to be a funky space piratey thing. Because it has to be done... :-> Except for some reason I'm starting out with a tomb raider-y thing. Which was meant to be a fun adventure type thing, except I got to the third chapter and started killing people. Then killed some more. And some more. And it's all gone disturbingly horror-ish. And one of the main characters that was supposed to survive to go on to other adventures is now dead. Oops. And so is another of the prospective survivors. Double oops.

Well, I had this pack of raging minotaurs, you see, so people were going to die anyway. I knew this. It was only supposed to be the redshirts that bit it, though. And technically, as far as the RMs go, that worked. However, one of the main protags, the one that was supposed to be a core part of this particular story, got himself gored in a tomb trap. The other one gets it somewhere near the end, in a more unceremonious bullet to the brain from a bad guy. Bugger. That'll teach me for skipping ahead to write bits of the end chapters.

In other news, apparently I'm currently the number three talent spotter on Authonomy! Grief, how did that happen? This apparently means that when I vote to bookshelf something it gets more points than someone who's a lesser spotted talent spotter :-> Now how can I capitalise on my evil new power? :->

18 October 2008


Oops... Monday morning chirpiness is about a month late...

So, Fcon then... well this year was weird. Surreal even. (Alright, I admit, I'm a workaholic!) Shopped on Friday when usually it'd be bag stuffing... spent way too much in bastard-stones. Did actually do that whole sitting in the bar thing for a couple of hours Friday afternoon. Also quite bizarre! Then Friday evening was the fabulous piratey quiz! Yargh! Dave Howe rocked the house with piratey chat. Oh, and my table also won!! Woot! Alas, there were only 4 tables actually participating this year. (And for a long while we thought there'd only be two...)

Saturday - Jo Fletcher & Chaz Brenchley in their talks were both fascinating. Didn't do any of the panels as they were either repeats of ones that have been done to death or were on at silly hours or just didn't appeal. Call me crazy, but it all felt a bit horror-centric this year. (I know! That old BFS-y arguement again!)
Of course, not that having a demon theme for the banquet helped... (shuffles feet, is totally to blame for that one!) After frantic setting up of that one (and I'm saying nothing about how damn slow the hotel peeps were at getting the tables out and set... oh, whoops... :-> ) a bunch of us buggered off to an all you can eat Chinese place up the road. Which was excellent. First time I've ever eaten outside of the hotel at an Fcon. Ever! ::faints::
Apparently the decorations went down ok (as evidenced by people chucking the body parts at the wall and ceiling...)
Awards, again, totally horror centric. Sayin' nothin'. Congrats to the ever fabulous Joel for his win, though! Raffle... despite Guy and Sarah's highly entertaining compere-ing... ye gods, it is time for that monster to stop. Please!

One highlight of Saturday was the morning launch (with tea & biscuits!) of Telos & Sam Stone stuff. Sam Stone is a brilliant lady though she couldn't go 2 seconds without someone wanting a picture of her in that outfit. If you were there, you know the one I mean! :->

Sunday we were off early so we just had time for the AGM which was actually quite good fun! Guy Adams got in as new chair, along with his many teasing plans for BFS next year.
Oh, and the lovely Pete Coleborn had a crazy moment and agreed to co-chair next years Fcon with Guy... and, um, somehow he managed to persuade me to help out... (Heh! Time off lasted a year then...) It'll actually be nice to be back sitting on the reg table, cos I like doing that.

So far, official details for next year are: at the Britannia Nottingham again, 18th -20th Sept, and confirmed MC is Ian (lovely voice) Watson. Yay!

The lovely Pete C. is also to blame for introducing me to Heroes - something which I'd somehow managed to miss seeing until a couple of months ago when himself lent me his Season One box set...
On the plus side, this means I got to see the entire season in one hit. Damn that was good. Barring a couple of tediously boring characters, natch. Season two was a bit wobbly, but now, oh sharp eyed viewers, we have season three! Woohoo! Sylar & Bennett in an amazing double act! Loving it! Only thing is, the US is a couple of weeks ahead of the Beeb, so the internet is the very devil for tempting spoilers...
Pop along to the BFS forum to chat about it if you've a mind...

Oh, and Pete has himself a blog now http://piperatthegatesoffantasy.blogspot.com/

Oh yes, it's almost that time. November madness minus 14 days and counting. This year I've got multiple novels planned -not just because I'm a bit indecisive about which one to pick... but last year I finished the main one after the second week and there was a word war on gorramit, and words still had to be dredged out... This year I'm determined to be prepared. And drag England Elsewhere kicking and screaming into the top three of the UK regions...

If you're Nano-ing I'll be queenofeverything if you fancy buddying up. Or pointing and laughing... :->

17 September 2008

Write Fantastic get local!

Have just discovered via the BFS news page that the Write Fantastic, in the forms of the fabulous Chaz Brenchley and equally fabulous Juliet McKenna, will be in Wokingham Library doing a creative writing course & discussion on 15th November. This is very exciting news! Finally a local event! :->
Alas there's not many details to be had about it but apparently you can ring the library on 0118 978 1368 for the full info.

14 September 2008

Pre Fcon Glee

Ooh, one week 'til Fcon. I'm excited. Are you excited? :->

What's even better is this year, minimal stress and total utter laziness. Ha hah! Except for a couple of hours on Saturday when I've got to be a bossy madam about setting up the banquet. Balloons is all I'll say to you. Why I suggested them I'll never know... Hopefully, if all things come off, there should be some fun stuff on the tables for those of you who're attending it.

Also, Fcon Friday is Talk Like a Pirate day. Woo hoo! I'm expecting some piratical type things from peeps during the quiz. And no ninjas. Oh no. Ninjas will be walking the plank, yargh!

The usual happy puppy Fcon report will inevitably follow as soon as the beast is slain for the year.


In other news... if you haven't already checked out Wonderlands then pop along as it's rather good fun.


And also the Harper Collins Authonomy website is now live. Even if you're not a writer type wanting to post your work up there, it's still fun for reading other peoples work. The main gist of it is that, through a complicated ranking system that nobody quite understands, the five books that get in the top five at the end of month make their way to a bunch of HC editors for reading and commenting.
And me mate Debs made it last month! Coolness, or what?! She's still waiting to hear the verdict on her book.

19 May 2008

Bits and bobs

TV Heaven!

Hurrah, NCIS is back for a new series! FX, Sundays at 9pm or repeated on FX+1 at 11pm....
But seriously, did anyone actually believe for one minute that the corpse was DiNozzo? And the continuity fairy has been having the day off as some of the hair?! Shocking!
Oh yeah, there was a plot, wasn't there... :-> Despite the fact that anyone with half a brain guessed the Frog/Jeanne relationship somewhere quite early on last season, it wasn't a bad follow through. The post-explosion scene of crime bits were very well done, the DiNozzo entrance and barney with the creepy CIA guy also good. The Madam Director bits were the usual cringeworthy stuff but the DiNozzo / MD smack down was very good, accented by that Gibbs 'attaboy' smirk. The ending boat scene seemed needlessly tacked on, though. (There's a joke there somewhere...)

And Doctor Who!
Agatha Christie and giant wasps!! The vicar was a boring gink though.
It did also remind me that I've never actually read an Agatha Christie. (Shock, horror!) Had no idea that Murder on Nile & Murder on the Orient Express were Poirot mysteries either! (Wiki is my friend. As is Amazon.)
And next week looks cool. (Except it's not next week, it's the week after, bloody useless Eurovision thingy.)

Bookity Book

More thumbnail reviews!
Smoke and Mirrors - Tanya Huff. The mystery portion was of the good, the protag wangsting about his love life, not so good. Luckily, not much of the latter, so a damn good book.

Empress - Karen Miller. Crikey. Fevered or what. Despite the protag being not the most pleasant of peeps, it's got a frantic pace and it was only towards the end where our girl is much older and more deranged that it started losing it a bit. Want next one. Now!

Halting State - Charlie Stross. Once you get used to the second person p.o.v. it's a lot of fun.

However, The Atrocity Archives by Mr. Stross totally hits it out of the park.

Dark Space - Marianne de Pierres. Found myself skipping half the p.o.v.s but still got a good story out of it. This one will benefit from re-reading (and including those other p.o.v.s now that I've got the drift of the story...)

Small Favor - Jim Butcher. Loved loved loved it! Am a total Dresden groupie! More please. Soon please!

Midnight Never Comes - Marie Brennan. Wow. That was a surprise. Faeries in the court of Elizabeth, all very smoothly done. Excellent!

Blood Noir - Laurell K. Hamilton. Never speak of this book again. Unless you have brain bleach handy. You can pretty much tell from the first paragraph how dire it's going to be. On the plus side there are less sex scenes (I think. I skipped over the portions that threatened to be the usual boring step by step blather...) And poor Jason. Resident of village of the damned! It's those blond identical children... Strangely, I think you get more plot in the epilogue then you do in the whole book. If you're looking for a continuance of the more interesting Mother of Darkness plot rather than the how-many-more-men-can-we-add-to-the-orgy and just what super power will it give us this time plot. Oh Anita, what have you become...

Shadow Gate & Spirit Gate - Kate Elliot. Gosh. I'm now a fan! Excellent stuff. When's the next one out?

The Burning Man - Mark Chadbourn. Better than the last one (whose title currently escapes me). Alas, Jack and Ruth still very irritating. Expecially Ruth, who managed to be both bland and sanctimonious. Laura, however, still bringing the winning snark!

Last Argument of Kings - Joe Abercrombie. Make this man king! This was a fabulous ending to the trilogy. Glokta! Dude! Bayaz! Bastard!!

(One day I'll remember how to do proper length reviews... )

06 May 2008

Little Brother

As reviews go, I'll keep this short and sweet.
Cory Doctorow's Little Brother - read it. It's a mind-bomb of a book.
But don't take my word for it, you can download it for free and gratis from here.

28 March 2008

Cons and stuff

Where's my room service gone?! I was getting used to that :->
(My Visa, however, will be spending the next three months trying to recover. Ah well.)

Anyhoo... the rest of Eastercon also fun, if a bit knackering. Apparently they're holding it there again in 2010 - April 2-5, 2010 with GoH: Alastair Reynolds, Liz Williams, Mike Carey. Definitely be going to that one. Not so convinced about next years Eastercon in Bradford though...

In the meantime, had a wild and impetuous moment over the weekend and booked into Newcon 4 which is happening in Northampton in October. It's run by Ian 'sells ice to eskimos' Whates and Ian 'lovely voice' Watson. The main event isn't based in a hotel, but why let that stop you!

Alt Fiction looks to be good fun this year - which is a shame cos it's on the same day as mum's birthday and she got a bit stompy when I mentioned the possibility of actually going this year...

Back to Eastercon - spent all my money cash in the Dealers Room. Books, books and more books... and a t-shirt. Have only read one of my purchases - Dalton Quayle Rides Out by Paul Kane - published by Pendragon Press - and that one I highly recommend as it's ridiculously funny. It's a bit of a Sherlock Holmes spoof that shamelessly takes the rip out of a whole heap of other genre things too!

From the panels - the Mythology panel was interesting but a bit distracting due to the prancing about of the tech guys in the scaffolding rig to the side of the room. Liz Williams is an excellent panellist (and she also has a shop in Glastonbury! Think it's the Magick Box one...)

The supernatural romance panel was quite fun, mainly because Tanith Lee was beyond brilliant! (Must now read some of her books... ).

Books on the web turned into deep discussions on copyright issues. Plus Mr Boing Boing showed us a pic of his new baby! Toughening up Fantasyland good due to the fabulous Joe Abercrombie... although another distracting one due to a) the people eating a sloppy curry on the back row... coincidentally, during the discussion on Fantasyland stew! b) the woman knitting a stripy sock not two chairs away from me and c) the strange person with a wooden ale mug attached to her belt that kept doing odd exercises in her seat.

People-wise - chatted to Chris Teague, Andrew Hook and Jonathan Oliver (poor boys!), said a very quick hi to Juliet McKenna, waved to Chaz Brenchley and was this close -) (- to Joe Abercrombie! Have I mentioned he's fab? He seriously needs to do a panel or something at Fcon...

And talking of the always excellent Juliet McKenna... she'll be running a workshop at the Winchester Writers Conference this year in June. Have always wondered though... what exactly happens in a workshop? How does it work? Must hit up my experts and ask...

22 March 2008


Morning! Long time, no blog.
So to get things back and funky, today's blog is live from Eastercon at Heathrow! As this is my first Eastercon, Fcon/Econ comparisons are inevitable so let's get them out of the way first.

Eastercon is huge! 1200 registered people, most of whom have already signed in (according to Mark from the committee who I had brekkie with this morning) Goodie bags are much the same sort of thing as you'd get at Fcon... Econ went a little better and did a groovy Econ mug. Scored myself a Neal Asher book (Polity Agent) as the book-in-the-bag. Never having read the chap before this is proving to be quite an interesting experience...
Registration was total chaos. Queued for a good 30 mins to get to the desk. (Never have that problem with Fcon!)
And the hotel is a total maze (including helpful signs pointing the way to the minotaur!)

The panelling so far has been a lot of fun and there's a great atmosphere going. Yesterday I did the 'so you want to be a SF writer' where John Jarrold depressed everyone by saying that out of the millions of subs both he and big publishers read, they only take on one or two a year. Ian Whates moderated that one and the boy done good. He's very entertaining.
Then there was the 'hovercraft of disbelief' which the panel peeps worked out was the rant panel for the weekend so they ranted and we ranted about all those irritating inconsistencies that you get on the telly and in books and wotnot. Never mention a King Arthur film to a Celtic Historian... Paul Cornell was also on that one and he was really good.

'When it changed', a panel about women f/sf writers was quite interesting - Juliet McKenna subbed for Pat Cadigan at the last minute, Kari Straun (?) was an excellent mod. Got a bit distracted by the room though as it was done up with staging and a huge flat screen to the side and a scaffolding rig with the tech guys in. Gosh. You don't get that at Fcon!

People wise, despite being totally unsociable, managed to accost and subsequently bore Andrew Hook, Gary Couzens, Martin Owten, John Aitken, George Budge, Billy Stirling and a very chirpy Steve Jones.

Hotel wise, excellent! Great rooms, good food, very friendly staff. Although it's easy to spend a lot of time wandering the corriders... they move, I swear. Peeps are calling it the Raddison Euclidian.

Like this as a venue. If Fcon ever gets monumentally big, then this would be a good spot.
Not that I'm biased because it's only 30 mins down the road from mine. (Or an hour if you get as monumentally lost as I did once I left the motorway...) Really embarassing thing is I grew up around here (in my defence, I was six when we moved... but still... :-> ) Our old house is a couple of roads down the A4 from the hotel (Firs Drive - you'll pass it if you decide to get on at J3 of the M4 when leaving the hotel...) and my old school is up a little bit if you're trying to sneak up Sipson Road to avoid the one way system and get on the M4 at J4 (William Byrd, since you asked).
Also, if you open your bedroom window, you can hear the planes taking off, which is fab. (Ah memories... in my day, we lived so close to the airport we used to get plane headlights shining in our windows at night!)

And with that merry thought, I'll leave you for the day!