Any lovers of fantasy fiction looking for something to do this weekend? You could take a trip down to Fantasycon in sunny Brighton, where Guests of Honour will include John Ajvide Lindqvist, Gwyneth Jones, Chris Paolini, the great Brian Aldiss, and also that lovely Joe Abercrombie, all MCd by Sarah Pinborough, and with a veritable galaxy of other significant genre figures in attendance.
I’ll be around, probably haunting the bar mostly, from Friday afternoon through til Sunday afternoon, but specifically:
Friday 5-6pm: Welcome to Fantasycon Party
Friday 8-9.30pm, Russell Room: Mass Signing
Saturday 10-11am, Russell Room: Trends in Fantasy Fiction Panel
Saturday 8-9pm, Russell Room: Guest of Honour Interview by James Barclay
Sunday 1pm: Banquet and British Fantasy Awards where I will, as it happens, be presenting the award for Best Collection.
I shall look forward to maybe seeing some of you there…
15 comments so far
Christ!! If I wasn’t in Australia I’d step over my grandma’s neck to get to Lindqvist.
And I’d probably punch my way to meeting that Abercrombie bastard.
What do authors do at a Fantasy con? I mean beside scribble and scrawl on previously clean white pages and talk loudly about themselves and have people clap after they are done.
What does an author do when he meets another author whose books are complete shite, a waste of paper and all?
Smile politely and bob your head and tell him that he is the best author since Shakespeare exited the scene?
Imagining all this seems to make the entire being guest of honour terribly exciting. Perhaps it can make for an exciting blog post too…
I haven’t been to Fantasycon before but in general at cons authors visit panels if they seem at all interesting, or hang around the bar talking to other authors, agents, editors, and professionals of their acquaintance, and occasionally even to readers.
If I see an author whose books I think are shite, I taser them. Why even carry a taser if you don’t use it on shite authors?
Then I will definitely read this headline in the paper tomorrow:
Highly successful author blah blah blah was tasered by fast talking, incredibly deadly author, Mr.A.
Come to America sometime lad…we have all sorts of fun things in store for you…like Dragoncon in Atlanta Georgia.
I’ll buy you shit tons of [insert your favorite drink here]! As there is no need for an actual bar.
You could do a lot worse than popping into the Regency Lounge at 2pm Saturday. I’ll be giving away free copies of my new novel. And signing them… for a pint!
Since you obviously enjoy a good con, why not pop down the road to BristolCon again (22nd October, Ramada) and say hello to Jim Burns, Justina Robson, Juliet McKenna, MD Lachlan and Philip Reeve, to name but a few? Go on, you know you’ll enjoy it (oh and BTW, I have a couple of copies of The Heroes that are missing your elegant signature).
Joe. If you must taser anyone, then let it be Chris Paolini. I don’t hate the guy. Just his books are,well, shit.
Joe- So if I was Paolini then ‘duck and cover’ maybe in order.
Well It was featured in the Guardian today, although perhaps not for the best reasons (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/oct/06/british-fantasy-award-winner-returns-prize). Steven Jones’ slating of the awards is pretty entertaining, I’d be interested to hear your perspective.
I met Christopher Paolini while there and he seemed a really nice (shockingly young) guy. Haven’t read the books so I’ve no comment on that. But though I am of course a jealous god and thou shalt have no other god but me and all, this probably ain’t the forum for slagging off other authors or their work. The internet is not short of other venues for that…
I have indeed observed this kerfuffle and it’s a great shame for everyone involved. I stand at several steps removed from it in many ways, because I’ve never been a member of the BFS and this was my first visit to a Fantasycon – neither one tends to cater all that strongly to the epic/sword-based end of fantasy and is much more horror and small press oriented in the main, not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily, just the nature of the membership. I would observe that the ceremony itself was very long drawn out, and a bit weird in that presenters were all given prepared speeches to read which rather killed the atmosphere. But what do you do once given a speech to read out?
On the actual award process, again I’m not intimately involved by any means. I was shortlisted for Best Served Cold last year I think but had no contact with any of the organisers. I don’t think for a second there was any explicit rigging of the vote going on, but it does seem that for quite a long time there hasn’t been an effort to get a broader involvement in the voting (members of the con, as well as of the BFS can vote, but most didn’t seem to be aware of that) and as a result it looks to have become (or perhaps always been) quite a small, close-knit group at the heart of the BFS that’s doing most of the nominating and voting. I think only 116 votes for best novel this year, so you could win with maybe forty or fifty, which really is just you, publisher and staff, and a few friends and colleagues, potentially. If there were 500 people at the con and maybe a couple of hundred BFS members who weren’t attending it really is quite a poor level of involvement and that does no good for the credibility of the award. So it feels as if the awards would benefit from a thorough revision of the rules and a concerted effort to involve as many voters as possible. That the chairman of the BFS and organiser of the awards was so closely connected with so many winners (and indeed was one) is clearly far from ideal as well.
All that said, you can’t help but feel for Sam Stone, who has presumably just written the best book she could and encouraged friends and colleagues to vote for it, which is pretty much what any author would do. There will always be problems with any method of selection. You have a public vote, it’s populist and open to powerful fanbases. You have an academy, it’s subject to campaigning and the biases of the membership. You have a jury, it’s hard to organise and who picks the jurors anyway? A tough business, all round. There really are no winners in this particular debacle, alas. Except, maybe, in the long term, the possibility of a more inclusive and credible British Fantasy Award, I guess…
Got to feel very sorry for Sam Stone. A happy moment ruined by this palava. But only 116 voters makes me question the awards validity, I’m really shocked that so few people voted for this award.
Yeah. Hugos are often criticised for lack of inclusiveness and they get around 1800 votes for the big awards. 116 is nowhere near enough, though it would appear that plenty of past winners have won from an even smaller pool. If they want the award to be taken seriously they need to make a much greater effort to involve a wider grouping, if only of their own membership and convention. Voting on key awards over the weekend of the convention, maybe, with encouragement to do so. It seems to me they perhaps need a tighter mission statement as well, as pretty much anything is theoretically eligible, so the slant is generally very much towards horror and small presses, but with the occasional Stephen King thrown in, the occasional non-genre piece, the occasional sword-based fantasy or weird fiction. It’s mostly British but not always. Clearly there are some in the membership who want to keep it as a relatively exclusive club and others who want it to reflect the wider, more mainstream fantasy scene. They need to make a decision on that and take action to make it happen, and my own feeling is very much that they should be going in the latter direction. But then it would be…
And where can we read you being interviewed by James Barclay?
I wish some great authors I enjoy could come down to Melbourne 🙁