Alt Fiction 2010

So this weekend gone was Alt Fiction weekend, and a marvellous time was had by all.

I won’t say too much about it, because I suspect it has already been blogged to infinity and back by better bloggers than I, but I will just run down a few personal highlights.

This was the first “big” convention I’d been to, and I don’t think I could have chosen a better one to start with- it was well organised, with no huge geek pile-ups, and plenty of room for people to sit comfortably in all the talks, and there was a general relaxed atmosphere that added to the friendliness of the event. There was a cafe/bar on the ground floor that served as a great “Let’s have a bit of a rest here and oh, go and talk to so and so…” area, and we ended up spending a remarkably long day having quite a jolly old time.

Things I particularly enjoyed:

Pete Crowther (publisher and writer and apparently very lovely chap) introduced the con, and then appeared on many panels, and was immediately tremendously friendly and enthusiastic. I think I could have happily followed him from panel to panel all day and had a most informative and enjoyable time.

The Hack and Slash vs Sparkly Vampires panel, where Kari Spelling (fantasy author and fan of duels) described the Angry Boner Man character apparently very popular in Paranormal Romance. I had no idea about Angry Boner Man, but described in that way I suddenly am able to spot Angry Boner Man cropping up everywhere. So to speak.

The How to Get Published Panel, which featured lots of great advice from John Jarrold and Stephen Jones and others. It was both inspiring and vaguely terrifying, realising not just how much work was involved, but also how much luck is needed to get anywhere. I’m not sure if I was exhilarated or depressed coming out of that discussion, but I did feel like I had more of an idea of how the whole thing works. (Jon Weir was on the panel too, that nice young man from Gollancz, and I had that creeping feeling of “Oh no, I’m fairly sure I spoke to you before when I was quite drunk….”)

And then there was the general chatting and meeting of people that forms so much of these things, all of which was a delight. I was tremendously impressed by the lovely hair of Mark Charon Newton (the charming author of Nights of Villjamur) , and amazed that Simon Guerrier (writes lots of things, but most excitingly for me, Being Human books) remembered talking to me at a previous thingy (again, I was quite drunk). I met the lovely Alasdair Stuart (The Hub and Angry Robot Books) while I was rather over excitedly buying a copy of Black Static and had a groovy chat about short story writing. And I am pleased to tell you that Paul Cornell (Doctor Who, comics, Pulse… many many things) likes the name of this blog. So there you go.

A great weekend, and in truth, there were too many lovely moments to list them all here. But a big thank you to everyone who took the time to have a chat with me, and I hope to not be quite so painfully shy at the next one.

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