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.