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!