Friday 5 October 2012

That There FantasyCon


So, we did go to that there FantasyCon everyone's talking about, and we had a blast.

I think. Truth be told, we had quite a bit to drink on Friday and sort of lost track. We... we may have a problem.

So we got to the beautiful, slightly-run-down-but-all-the-more-interesting-for-it Royal Albion about fifteen minutes before Jon's first panel, on the blurring of genre:

L-R: Paul Finch, Benedict Jacks, Jon (clearly), Lynda Rucker, Jon Green

Same panel, artier new angle-shot! Jon Green's early pint more prominently displayed.

There were genres, they blurred them. Aw, yeah.

It was an interesting panel, tackling the idea of genres as marketing constructs or as demanded by the readership, blurring as innovation (and how a lot of our most hoary genre tropes started out with people breaking the tropes of their day), about whether current writers - including our panelists - see themselves as part of a given genre or constrained by them, or the genre stretches and fits to their writing, that sort of thing. Heavy fare, given we hadn't had lunch yet...

Then we unloaded the car, checked in and set about meeting up with friends old and new - I was deeply gratified how many of both there were, actually; met some wonderful people over the weekend - and getting our serious drink on. We headed down to the front for some utterly amazing tapas with the fabulous Glen Mehn, Amanda Hemingway and Rob Spalding (we tried to coordinate some sort of mutual dinner with a crowd from Quercus, but it turns out that "the tapas place down near the front" is a spectacularly unhelpful description in Brighton). On the way back, I tried for the obligatory nighttime arty photo:

Jon, Glen and Amanda. Really, this was going to be a lovely shot: huge full moon framed by clouds, beautiful regency hotel, the Wheel, just lovely. Alas, street lights kind of made it all look a bit crap. Also, I was drunk.

Saturday was a bit of a rush, as we went to the excellent morning "Ask the Editors" panel (we were slightly tempted to heckle, but we were good), then Jon's reading, then more networking, then sorting out the big Giveaway, then sorting out the Magic launch, then more readings, then more networking, then more dinner, then...

It was a brilliant day, actually. The Giveaway was a huge hit, with the queues heading out into the reception area and everyone really excited about picking up our books and meeting the authors. The Magic launch was one of the best attended of the weekend, near as I can tell, with more signings and lots of copies sold and lots of chatter, and the readings I went to were all amazing (sadly no photos of either the Giveaway or the launch, as I was busy doing things in both).

We were just about sober and recovered (for a given value) in time for the disco, where Jon and I both cut some serious rugs and got to enjoy the sight of Gary McMahon properly losing his shit to Footloose and the inimitable Gardner Goldsmith in danger of losing everybody else's shit to Firestarter and Kung Fu Fighting. Brilliant work on Rio Youers' and Sarah Pinborough's part, there (sadly no photos of the disco as I was busy dancing; also, I have some reservations as to whether said photos would be considered suitable for public consumption...).

Too little sleep and the second slightly disappointing fried breakfast in a row later, we were back in the bar for some more meeting and catch up and talking nonsense, and then it was time for the banquet and awards ceremonies. Every winner was worthy and wholly deserved, and we're immensely pleased and proud for our friends who won awards (we didn't win ours, sadly).

All in all, it was a blast of a weekend, and there was an amazing energy and enthusiasm to the whole thing; if anything, the controversies surrounding last year's con were the best thing that could have happened, as so many people seemed so determined to rediscover the enthusiasm that informs the con and put on the best show possible. We saw and met more people than we deserve to know, and spent less time with anyone than we'd have liked, and are desperately looking forward to next year's World Fantasy Con.

Oh, and all the readers had to sign and wear this hat, which was cool.

Good times.

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