FantasyCon 2009

Last year I attended my very first FantasyCon as a non-member, and it was a very pleasant and inspiring experience. In the twelve months since then much has happened: I am now a fully paid-up member of the British Fantasy Society, I've had my first book published (a novella called The Hotel Galileo, which I may have mentioned once or twice here on this blog!) as well as an ebook of Medea's Children through Screaming Dreams and a few other short story publications, most notably in the final print issue of Whispers of Wickedness, which has in the past year ceased publication, taking its thriving and friendly forum community with it into the smoke-obscured afterlife...

This year, the FantasyCon experience was even more inspiring and enjoyable. To begin with I was able to chat with some of the people I had missed last time around, most notably with Gary McMahon, Paul Meloy and Gary Greenwood, as well as spending time with the always delightful Allyson Bird. I was very pleased to come away from the convention with my very own copy of Ally's limited-run 'For You Faustine'; Gary's new book, Different Skins, a beautifully-produced double-novella published by Screaming Dreams featuring another stunning cover by Vincent Chong; and a copy of Paul's Islington Crocodiles which I was determined to get hold of this time around. I also picked up the latest issue of Murky Depths which is just awesome and still pushing boundaries in terms of its production design and its eclectic mix of graphics and prose.

As always, the weekend flew by in a blur and before I could draw breath it was Saturday evening and the awards were upon us. There were so many people trying to squeeze into the main hall that we were spilling out into the adjacent room. I can tell you - the awards sounded great! (I've since had to watch video footage of the event to find out exactly who said what, who won which award and why everyone was laughing at certain points!!!) It didn't dampen the experience though because after the awards everyone was on such a high and the alcohol and the chat flowed freely. I was very pleased for Ally when her book Bull Running for Girls won the award for Best Collection beating off some pretty stiff competition. What an achievement! I had some great conversations well into the early hours with Gary Greenwood, Stu Young and Gavin Williams and others - talking about everything from The Mist to Watchmen and everything in between - and then just before the night was over meeting Carole Johnstone and her sister at the bar to talk about stories published and hopes for the future. By that time it was three o'clock in the morning and time for this lad to go to bed before he really did end up turning into a pumpkin.

Roll on 2010...


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