5Apr

And That Was Eastercon

Well, there were no tales of authors cooking each other eggs (well, not to my knowledge), but it was still a very fine convention.

This was the first time that I’d really been to Eastercon as a Proper Author. What that basically means is that strangers know who you are and introduce themselves. As an aside, there were so many occasions (and I heard many other conversations) where people said, more or less, “Oh, we tweeted each other a couple of times”, so if you are not on Twitter and want to be more involved with the SF community, get yourself on Twitter.

So. We arrived on Friday and slumped in the corner of the very suave Polo Lounge, which was a nice quiet sanctuary. One of those Very Cool moments happened when, with my girlfriend rolling her eyes looking impressed beside me, someone asked for me to sign a book for them within ten minutes of sitting down.

Later, we met the Mighty Sam Sykes, and then Joe Abercrombie. Now, I had told my partner that there might be lots of discussion about high brow topics, chats about publishing. About art. But no, the conversation was guided by Mr Sykes across a whole plethora of gutter topics, including him having read my book whilst drunk and sitting on a toilet. But despite his rough charms, Mr Sykes has quickly become a favourite con person, alongside the ubiquitous John Berlyne. Later, I caught up with Paul Cornell, man of a thousand secrets, and a thoroughly charming chap. (Some of his secrets will be revealed soon no doubt.)

Joe Abercrombie and I were standing nattering on the Saturday morning, and a couple of bloggers came up to say hello to me (not recognising Joe at all, I might add… I can only speculate whether this says something about the quality of Joe’s books or my ubiquitous online ego). This was the first con I’d been to where a lot of the internet review crowd turned up – and it was great to meet all the bloggers. (Hello to you if you were there, and sorry we couldn’t chat for longer.)

Then, whilst chatting to Bella Pagan from Orbit, I utterly failed to notice my own editor, Julie Crisp, standing right next to her. I’m blaming her height. She’s blaming my rudeness. I’ll let you decide.

Saturday’s panel was a huge success. There must have been a hundred people in that room, listening to myself, Joe Abecrombie, Maura McHugh and John Meaney fight over whether or not authors should engage with the web (my spin, if they want a successful career in the long run, then yes – and I gave arguments to support that point). The crowd seemed to react well to the debate, so I hope those of you who were there found it enlightening.

In the evening, Julie took the Tor UK authors out for a meal – Tony Ballantyne, Gary Gibson, myself and – guess who tagged along for the free food? – Joe Abercrombie (who is, I have to say to balance out my teasing, a thoroughly splendid chap). Some time during that meal we all began to rant to Julie about ebooks and DRM. Other good folk I talked to were Damien G. Walter (one day we’ll hatch our plans to revolutionise the poorly served UK fantasy scene), Simon Spanton, Alex Bell, Jon Wier, Niall Harrison and Nic Clarke (sorry I couldn’t speak for longer to you both), Tom Hunter, Simon Kavanagh, Graham McNeill, Jenni from Solaris, Catherine Rogers… And many more who I’ve forgotten to mention, only because I’m blogging early in the morning. There were also people I had hoped to speak to, but never got the chance.

And that was that. I hear that Mr Miéville won the BSFA for Best Novel – so congrats to him. I think Julie was collecting it on his behalf, and she hates public speaking – does anyone know how she did?

Onto the next event. It might be Sci-Fi London, I don’t know yet.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

13 comments

  1. Gutter topics? Ridiculous.

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome time, Mark. 🙂 As all will be going according to plan, I’ll definitely be there next year – perhaps as an author, too. :-0

    Btw, did you manage to convince Joe to get onto Twitter? 😉

    Sam, don’t listen to Mark, he was only trying to show off because Rachel was there. 😉

  3. *ahem* I was one of those bloggers who came up to you Saturday morning and, rather than not recognising Mr Abercrombie, was far too terrified to muster words! You are far more approachable 🙂 (compliment or not, you decide!)

  4. Sam – most of the topics were about things which might end up in gutters.

    Dave – that would be great to see you next year!

    Amanda – yes, it was good to finally meet you. Joe has that effect on people. 🙂

  5. It sounds like it was a great con. I would definitely like to attend it one year. Recent blogs and posts have highlighted a couple of new authors I wouldn’t mind trying like Sam Sykes for one. Will add to my To Buy pile which then goes into my To Read pile!

  6. Maybe one day I will get the opportunity to attend Eastercon. Until then I will devour the posts about it….

  7. Eastercon was great a couple of years ago, I wasn’t sure if it would repeat itself a bit second time round? Though I guess panel discussions will move on, though I noted there was another one about London, which I refuse to believe could have improved on Neil Gaiman talking about research for Neverwhere!

    We might be going to Sci Fi London also. Tarn stupidly decided to enter the 48hr film challenge. Madness.

  8. Was great to finally meet you, Mark.

    Saw Julie’s moment of fame – she did fine!

    And we recognised the Crombie, but he ran off before we could say hello – obviously scared 😉

  9. Ridiculous. You simply weren’t worldly enough to appreciate the value of my commentary. That’s what happens when you spend time looking for poop jokes in everyone else’s conversation.

  10. I wish I was there to meet my favorite author Mark C Abercrombie. His book “Nights Served Cold” is definitely the best I’ve read in years. :p

    Seriously, though, I’m going to try to make it next year. I’d love to meet you guys, authors and fellow bloggers, in person and it would also allow me to see if Sam Sykes swears that much in real life too.

  11. Sadly I was only able to go on the Sunday…and then I looked at the programme for the day and decided that bondage and sock knitting weren’t high on my SciFi agenda and bowed out 🙂

  12. Hi! It was great to meet you at the weekend, and glad to hear you enjoyed the con. Look forward to chatting more at a future event (oh the packed social calendar of sf/f fandom…!).