Wednesday, October 5, 2011

[October 10th] FantasyCon 2011

I’m reporting what happened in Brighton on a Wednesday, way after it’s appropriate to report a convention, because I decided to spend the Monday in Brighton. The journey home started on Monday in the early afternoon and I changed the following vehicles: train, bus, plane, taxi, bus, taxi for nineteen hours. The good from this situation was that I read The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon, which as you might have heard on Facebook is bloody brilliant and you must read. A special thanks to cheery as hell Gary for signing the book at 3am in the morning and the celestial being, which ensured I did not end up in Botswana [I was so very focused on reading, after all].

First con. First international tripped, planned and executed as a solo mission. A lot could have gone deathly wrong, yet it didn’t. All in all it’s a success. Brighton greeted me with cheeky sunshine, blokes with pasty, naked chests and girls, who genderbendered like chromosomes didn’t matter. The Brighton atmosphere contributed to one of those warm, cozy, baked to a golden crisp moments you can’t decide on if they’ve transpired or if in actuality you’ve gone through one really convincing acid trip. Not that I’d know what an acid trip is like…

First and last panel picture, cause I'm shit as a photographer and I'd rather not blind the panelists as I make a failed effort after another.

The organization behind the con impressed me, which I assumed is the norm for any British event, though I heard that the Nottingham edition impressed no one. Panels ran on time. Busy helpers chased deadlines, tapped suggestively on their clocks when a discussion extended beyond its assigned slot, tended to every con-goer’s needs and maintained one of the strongest happy moods I’ve seen. The panels were informative and while I didn’t learn anything that I’ve not already learned [no, I’m not pretentious; I just don’t have a social life and I’ve read a lot of posts by a lot of people, who are experiencing being published and fighting to stay that way], I confirmed that I had not formed any delusions.

The readings proved to be a tremendous success. Adam Christopher convinced me that I’m going to have to be on a lookout for an ARC of Empire State*. Anne Lyle acted out a light-hearted and promising dialogue from her upcoming book, while Robert Shearman almost made me cry. I mean literally. His reading came with the appropriate pantomime and I believed that he was in fact a distraught stewardess, who had slept with a Frenchman. I enjoyed the press launches with Solaris’ free-for-all signed books buffet and cupcake fiesta, topping the charts.

From a social angle, I placed a face [and a body] to a substantial amount of the people I know from Twitter. Adele [@hagelrat] became my Fairy Con Mother and I trailed behind her and a quiet Vincent Keen [@Fiskerton] for the majority of the weekend. My late night chat with Amanda [@ALRutter], Marc [@Marc_Gascoigne], Adam [@Figures], Alex [@Alex_Bell86] and Anne [@AnneLyle] goes down in history as one of those surreal moments you wish don’t end. Everything else is rather and in no proper order, but I met up with Ian Sales, Neal Harris, Mike Shevdon, MD Lachlan, Gary McMahon, Jenni Hill, Michelle Howe, Tom Pollock, Jaine Fenn, Tom Fletcher, Lavie Tidhar, Ian Whates, Simon Marshall-Jones, Steve Mosby, Mike Crispin, Stephen and Michaela Deas, Danie Ware. God, it continues. I’m thrilled to have met the TRUE Overlords, Marc Gascoigne and Lee Harris as well as a charming Jon Weir. Of course, my meets and greets compared not to what Laura Lam performed as socializing. It’s as if the girl cloned herself and I think I saw her pretty green shirt in EVERY room.

Yes, that's Jon Weir. And he's not pretending to know me. He knows me. Kinda.

During FantasyCon I said my weirdest set of words: ‘sentient, sarcastic talking refrigerator’.

I also promised myself that I will not buy books, but succumbed to weakness and bought oh so many pretties. I’m extremely proud of my Sourdough and Other Tales by Angela Slatter as I have spent enough money on it to live off for two weeks in Bulgaria. I’ll do a separate post on the books tomorrow, so this is it. I loved it. Thank you everyone for being so welcoming and helpful and patient, when I asked my weird foreigner, touristy questions. It’s been a blast and I will do it again.

PS: I’m sorry if I didn’t mention someone on this post. If I completed that list, it would seem as long as a short story.

* Yes, the original post said that I did have an ARC, which is not true, cause I don't, but I wish I do even though official ARCs are yet to be printed. Not an intentional lie [travel lag], but a mistake that still looks incredibly bad. Apologies.