I was invited to Celsius 232 once again this year and enjoyed a wonderful few days in the temperate Asturian climate, writing, eating, signing books, and kicking back with some writers I knew a little, like Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Paul McAuley, Chris Priest, Ian Watson and David Moody, and some that I didn’t like Nina Allan, Rob Sawyer and Marc Pastor. It was great to meet Lauren Beukes, who I knew by reputation but had never looked at over a giant gin and tonic, and Steven Erikson, who many would say works in a similar dark and challenging corner of epic fantasy, and actually had some rather tantalising ideas for a collaboration. Also had the opportunity to listen to one of my favourite TV writers, the creator of The Wire, Generation Kill, and Treme, David Simon.
Excellent, easygoing organisation from Jorge, Christina, and Diego. Though they’re all festival veterans, last year was their first in Aviles and they had George RR Martin to kick things off. Without him I thought they were sure to have taken a step back but in many ways they took a big step forward, with better attendance at most of the events and signings, certainly at mine. Good people. Good times. Look forward to heading back next year if I get the chance.