I have returned from the SFX weekender, and overall I’d have to say I had a great time, although I freely admit to spending the vast majority of it in the bar, one way or another, blathering with a fine assortment of authors and editors. It was grand the way that common cause was made between the people of Gollancz (including Richard Morgan, Chris Wooding, Tom Lloyd, Justina Robson, John Meaney and Stephen Deas) and the people of Tor UK (including Peter F Hamilton, China Mieville, Mark Charan Newton, Paul Cornell and Adrian Tchaikovsky), even though they had fancy beach-front digs while we languished in Stalag 13. I mean Pontins.
As for the events themselves, the two panels I took part in were a little hard to get into because they took place in the main arena early in the day, the room was very dark and very big and so there was no rapport with the audience, which is really the thing that makes panels work in my experience. Author readings and Q&As took place on a small stage at one end of the bar. I get the feeling some of the writers didn’t enjoy the background noise and the general feeling of disinterest too much (certainly competing with the cheers and jeers of the rugby was a big ask), but I actually really enjoyed the relaxed feel of it. Thanks to Dave Bradley from SFX for setting me off with a few questions, though his comment about my titles being pretentious will have to be paid for. In BLOOD.
Accomodation was not of the five star variety but, hey, I’ve stayed in worse. For real. Food was more of a problem. If I never eat another hot dog it’ll be too soon. But in spite of a few teething problems I daresay I’d do it again. The authors, the guys from SFX, and above all the punters were all hugely friendly. My thanks to anyone who turned up to my events. Actually, no, come to think of it, you were HONOURED to be there.