On the weekend of Friday September 17th to Sunday September 19th I attended Fantasycon 2010 at the Brittania Hotel in Nottingham.
I like Nottingham. I have fond memories because of attending plentiful tournaments at Warhammer World. I've spent many hours in various bars around the city centre, and found myself at Rock City too many times to count. Nottingham is fairly seedy after dark, the town centre is all over the place and it is too full of students (which I can now say as an old fart!), but I do enjoy going there.
The Brittania Hotel lived up to the image of Nottingham - past its best, too busy for its own good and yet somehow fun to mock gently. My room wasn't too bad (the bed was ace!), although the shower required quantum mechanics to get it both working and producing hot water. Some people told horror stories about their rooms, but anyone who has attended work conferences will have stayed in worse!
Earlier this year I attended the Saturday of Eastercon and had muchos fun. Pretty much on my return home I booked into Fantasycon 2010 and have looked forward to it all year.
First the good: seeing all my great, great friends. These are people I have been chatting to almost daily since I started blogging, and it is amazing to be able to waffle on in real life. So I say a big hello and thank you to: Adam (@ghostfinder) and his wife Sandra, Adrian (@Figures), Liz and Mark (@LizUK and @Gergaroth), Kai (@kaisavage), Paul and his wife Nadine (@PabloCheeseCake), Sharon (@DFReview), Adele (@Hagelrat). You should totally follow all these people on Twitter!
It was also enormously cool meeting some fabulous new folk, like soon-to-be-published author Will Hill *waves*
And I love, love, love being able to meet people in the industry: a shout out to Gavin Smith, James Barclay, Peter F Hamilton, Dave from Abaddon, Lee and Marc from Angry Robot, Juliet E McKenna (seriously, this lady is just the coolest and tells very humorous tales!), Mike Shevdon, Chloe from Tor and Gillian from Gollancz, Alasdair Stuart (he says lovely things about me!) - gosh, and many many more!
Seriously, if I haven't mentioned your name above, then it isn't through malicious intent, it is my crappy memory and far too much alcohol!
A strange highlight was hanging in the dealer's room near the pulp table, crying with laughter over titles and illustrations. Look out for a pulp fiction week soon enough *grin* Who wouldn't want to read a book called 'Space Tug', with a tagline that begins: 'A thrilling tale of work...' Seriously, this is scintillating stuff!
I attended two panels - the one on How Not To Be Published was entertaining enough, albeit a little unfocused, and I came out feeling no envy for all my friends who are trying to get published; it all sounds so incredibly exhausting! You guys write the books and I'll just keep reading them, m'kay? The interview between Peter F Hamilton and Alasdair Stuart was incredibly good - pertinent questions and very candid and thoughtful replies.
Other than that I spent my time in the bar and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
The bad: You've seen my blog post title, and you've probably seen the complaints elsewhere. For the premier fantasy event in the UK, it felt a little too much like Horrorcon Reprised. I acknowledge that the organisers are supported heavily by horror writers, and that a lot of the attendees appreciate this, but I would have liked a great deal more fantasy for my buck. James Barclay, Mark Charan Newton and Juliet E McKenna were virtually the only authorial representatives of a genre that includes a great many more authors. Where were they all? Where were the fantasy representatives in the Fantasy Awards? Where were the fantasy book launches? Why was the dealer's room light on tables by the major publishing houses?
This isn't BAD, just bad, if you see what I mean. I still loved the event and had a blast, but it just didn't seem to be FANTASYCON! Maybe the move to Brighton in 2011 will stir things up a little bit? Either way, I'll still be going *grin*
Finally, have some pictures of the books I hauled home! Apologies for the random books in the background...
First up, here are the books generously given to me by Sharon:
Here are the books I was given free and *ahem* liberated from the banquet room:
Here are the Angry Robot titles I received in preparation for a future themed month:
Here are the few books I actually brought:
And here is a simply awesome picture of the pulp fiction I decided must be mine! Look at the titles! Look at the pictures!
If you get the opportunity to go next year, then take it - I'll see you there!