Eastercon is done for another year. This was my second year at the event and despite only being there for only a couple of days due to family commitments, I had an excellent time and met some wonderful people.
So I attended on Friday and Saturday, took part in one comics related panel on Friday night, where a panel and I recommended some of our favourite comics to demonstrate the diversity of the medium. On the panel were Alys Sterling, CE Murphy, and David Tallerman. Despite the timing of the panel it was fairly well attended and there was a good spread of comics. My recommendations were Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire from Vertigo comics, Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips from Wildstorm, Chew from John Layman and Rob Guillory and Rachel Rising by Terry Moore. I took a little perverse pleasure from the expressions in the crowd whilst describing Chew and I think it was the one title that generated the most questions. After that I could relax and I spent the first evening relaxing in the bar and taking it fairly easy as there was another long day ahead. The snow is still stubbornly sticking to the pavements and piles of it lie around being obstanate, but thankfully the weather did not have any adverse effects on travel to the event.
Earlier in the day on Friday, I also attended two talks where my friend and all round good egg, Adrian Faulker, was a panelist. The first was Games in Fiction, which was interesting, however, because there was another panel on a very similar subject on Saturday, it meant the area of discussion was very narrow so it sort of trundled along. The second panel was probably one of my favourites of the weekend, Debut Authors’ Panel, where Bella Pagan from Tor UK moderated a diverse group of new writers. The panelists included Adrian Faulkner, Emma Newman, Francis Knight, Naomi Foyle and Stephanie Saulter. It was a great panel and each author had a very different story to tell about how they went from aspiring writer to being an author in print. Bella Pagan was an excellent moderator, including everyone, keeping the conversation going and it was also a lot of fun.
On Friday I also attended a Clarion Publishing launch in the frosty conservatory and later met up with head honcho, Colin Tate, whom I met at Eastercon last year. This sort of event is always great for catching up with people who I normally only see once or twice a year. At the bar (big surprise!) I also caught up with and chatted to Andrew Reid, Mike Shevdon, Anne Lyle and Ruth Booth. I was also introduced to Gillian Redfearn, of the mighty red pen, at Gollancz. I’m sure I’ve missed someone and am now feeling guilty. It will come to me!
I’m still getting over a nasty bout of man flu that is clinging to my chest, so as well as a cough I also lost my voice in the latter part of my panel. Thankfully I only had one panel, so I called it a night fairly early on Friday and gracefully skated to my car across the ice. Well, what actually happened was I rushed towards my car, slipped on the ice, nearly did the splits, and yet managed to stay upright due to waving my arms about. I took it as a sign that it was definitely time to call it a night.
Saturday went a lot more smoothly. With my voice varying between a squeak and a Barry White’s imitator, I watched several panels including Reinventing Urban Fantasy. This was probably my favourite panel of the weekend. All of the panelists were really engaging, there was a lot of back and forth between them and the time just flew by. They discussed magic, tropes and archetypes in fantasy, Harry Potter, their favourite authors and all sorts of other stuff. It could easily have continued for another hour without anyone noticing.
Edit: other stuff I forgot to add the first time I posted this. I also attended an excellent reading by Gareth L. Powell, who read from his second Ack Ack Macaque book, and Stephanie Saulter, who read from Gemsigns. Adrian and I visited the art gallery and we were both transfixed by the amazing paintings of Guest of Honour, Anne Sudworth. I’m notoriously picky about art and I know what I like and don’t like. Her landscapes were gorgeous, rich, vibrant and quite remarkable. While an original is out of my price range, a framed print is not and I shall be investing.
Later that evening, whilst everyone was watching Doctor Who in the main hall or were drinking at the bar, a few friends and I snuck off to the secret American style diner for dinner. When we got back we had more drinks and spent time chatting to new and old friends including CE Murphy, Adrian Faulkner, Mike Shevdon and comedian and master magician John Lenahan, who later entertained everyone in the main hall. His act was so funny my sides ached and everyone came away with a smile on their face. After that I spent the rest of the evening chatting with people in the bar and it was a wonderfully relaxing end to my Eastercon weekend. From seeing a few other posts, and from listening to feedback from other people, it seems as if they also had a great event. I’m really looking forward to the next one and also to the next big event on my calendar which is World Fantasy Con in Brighton.