A very quick report on Alt.Fiction. A couple of hundred people gathered in Derby’s QUAD for one day of genre action, and this was not a leisurely convention by any means – the authors were worked very hard.
The good: this was the best Alt.Fiction to date. The bad: well, still essentially a good thing – for the first time, I was constantly being pulled in all directions to chat to various people. As a consequence, I didn’t get to speak to as many friends from the con circuit as I’d have liked. At a Worldcon or Eastercon you can arrange to chat at a more leisurely pace, but this was just one day. Despite that, I did manage to natter to the bloggers and reviewers who turned up, and also Cheryl Morgan, Lee Harris, Paul Cornell, Mark Chadbourn, Sarah Pinborough, John Berlyne, Conrad Williams, M. D. Lachlan, John Weir, Damien G. Walter, James from Speculative Horizons, and Mark Yon from SFF World. And I did meet new people (and fans – something I’m still not used to!) which is always lovely.
I did some panels and stuff, which went very well. A good crowd managed to turn up at the 8pm one, despite it being during the football. I signed some books (many more outside of the actual signing time). I talked – a lot. Kudos to Adele who sat assiduously throughout the podcast sessions all day, and which should be online soon, so if you weren’t there, you can at least listen to what went on.
Julie Crisp (a most definite non-mother figure (big frowns), but certainly happy to be a queen figure) of Tor UK popped along for moral support and a good schmooze. The highlight of the event was actually watching her approach Joseph Abercrombie, expecting him to be the real Joe Abercrombie and not, in fact, his Polish doppelgänger. Joseph merely looked up with a confused expression on his face, thinking Who is this crazy woman? whilst I chuckled in the background. I have never seen my editor so embarrassed – apart from, perhaps, when she reads this realising it’s now captured online.
Some folk mentioned the day had the vibe of a much smaller World Fantasy con, which for those of you who haven’t attended that event, means that there were a lot of industry professionals – editors, authors, reviewers etc – all in one place, and much more of a networking atmosphere was present. If forced to recommend three annual conventions worth going to in the UK, then Alt.Fiction, Eastercon and the SFX Weekender would be on the list – for thoroughly entertaining, smooth events, with lost of fresh faces and a great atmosphere.