Saturday, 13 October 2012

Fantasycon 2012, Part 2: The Good

Crown Thief in all its glorious glory.
I wrote up some general impressions of this year's Fantasycon at the start of the week, most of them less than positive - but in fairness to the weekend, it has to be said that I had a pretty good time all told.  If I wasn't overwhelmed with the Con itself, there were still some terrific people there; one thing Fantasycon can always be relied on for is an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones, mostly with the involvement of much reasonably priced liquor.

This time, though, with Crown Thief launching over the weekend, I was determined to prioritise work over propping up the bar into the ludicrous hours - at least a little.  I got to see Crown Thief in the paper for the first time on the Friday afternoon, a few days in advance of its official release date, and was blown away by the job Angry Robot have done.  Giant Thief was a great looking book, but I think Crown Thief is even prettier.  I hardly let a copy out of my sight for the rest of the weekend, and thrust it under the nose of anyone who didn't manage to run away fast enough.

Gav Thorpe, Adam Christopher, Me, Mike Shevdon
My actual official promotional duties were fairly light, however.  First up was a mass Angry Robot signing on the Saturday afternoon, where I got to catch up with Adam Christopher and Gav Thorpe, and to meet Mike Shevdon for the first time.  Unfortunately, we found ourselves up against a much bigger signing, not to mention hidden in the hotel's least accessible conference room, so attendance was more slender than it might have been.  Still, it was fun, and worth it to meet Ros Jackson from Warpcore SF - who, if my memory was a little better, I'd have realised had written an extremely positive review of Giant Thief - and who was nice enough to stop by and share some thoughts on promotion with me.

Mr Jonathan Green, rightly enthroned.
My only other scheduleded appearance was a reading on the Sunday morning, which I was a little nervous about since a) who goes to those things on a Sunday morning? and b) I've somehow managed to go this long without ever actually having to do a solo reading.  Mind filled with images of an audience consisting entirely of Jobeda, I decided to read a short story I'd recently finished instead of an extract from Crown Thief.  That proved a slight mistake, since it wasn't quite as finished as I'd thought, and nothing trips you up quite like trying to read around your own typos.  On the other hand, the attendance turned out better than I'd dared hope - mainly because most of Jonathan Green's audience, not to mention Jonathan himself, were nice enough (or maybe tired and hungover enough) to hang around for mine.  And despite my occasional stumblings, my nerves and a few technical difficulties, everyone seemed to have a good time, me included.

There ended my Fantasycon "work".  Elsewhere, though, I got to have lunch with my comic collaborator mate Bob Molesworth and to celebrate the tremendously exciting thing that we have to celebrate that I can't talk about just yet. I caught up with Stephen Theaker - who published so many of my short stories back in the day - for the first time in a couple of years, met his mysterious alter ego John Greenwood for the first time ever, and teamed up with them to win the quiz on the Friday night (okay, there might have been one or two other people on our team too.)  I briefly met Spectral Press publisher and editor Simon Marshall Jones to chat about my forthcoming chapbook The Way of the Leaves and try and peak his interest in another, grander project.  I managed to briefly smuggle in my friend Dan Scrivener and introduce him to Strange Chemistry editor Amanda Rutter to talk up his recently finished YA Fantasy novel.  I was approached by Cavan Scott to see if I'd be up for writing something for the BFS magazine (I would, and will be.)  And I met many, many other brilliant people, some new, some industry acquaintances ... people I rarely see outside of Cons but that I'm starting to think of as friends, and to consider catching up with in the "real" world.

And I guess that paragraph illustrates the good about even a disappointing Fantasycon.  Being that bit smaller, it's also that bit more intimate, making for a fantastic venue to just chill out and meet with lots of like-minded folks that would never normally be in the same place at the same time. If the committee could only find a way to combine those elements with a more ambitious, inspiring programme, here's hoping we might yet see a brilliant FCon 2014.

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