A couple of weeks back, wearing my Spring Heeled Jack hat, I attended the British Fantasy Society’s annual wingding, or FantasyCon as they will call it.
As they define fantasy to include weird fiction I saw it as a chance to put in a bit of networking and get an idea of what’s what in the genre these days.
So what did I discover? Of this I shall sing:
Obvious point, but does need to made for those of us whose idea of ‘fantasy’ is that it’s solely made up of those interminable multi-volume sagas involving magical artifacts and epic quests and heroes who introduce themselves as so and so’s son assuming an interest in their genealogy which most of us simply do not share, is that it’s a cheerfully open genre happy to embrace just about anything it likes. There was none of that ‘Oh I never read [insert whatever/whoever here]’ that so bedevils a lot of book talk.
I don’t know if this is usual as I’ve never been to one of these things before, but it is an odd experience to find yourself reading a book in a bar and looking up to see the author sitting three foot away from you.* Or even more a challenge to etiquette, to realise one is sitting opposite an author whose name you recognise and whose work you are aware of but have never actually read. What, if anything, can you say? Nothing in my case.
*’Ash’ and James Herbert if you were wondering
Fantasy authors are engagingly shy about that unhappy business known as networking. I thought I’d missed a trick by only having the logo, a mildly sinister quote and the web address on the cards I scattered about cheerfully, but apparently not.
Mark Gattiss disliked the new iDalek design and argued against it. He was therefore particularly irritated that it was introduced in a story written by him.
He also uses the neologism Poliakoffian to describe very, very slow moving drama.
The members of the panel discussing the member’s vote on ‘Best Ghost Story’ all admire MR James but really wish the membership would stop voting “Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come to You, My Lad” in every single bloody year.
Any many other things besides, but you'll have to wait for the next volume to find out what manner of things they may be.