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.
12 comments so far
I had an interview for Pontins in Lowerstoft once. Think I created an unfavourable impression when I awnsered their question of whether I liked children with an impassioned "No of course not!"
Don't suppose we'll be able to see/read any of the panel will we?
Someday I hope to make it back across the pond and do one of these Brit cons with you, Joe. Glad you had a good time (except for the hot dogs).
You definitely stole the show – the preview of The Heroes was probably the conference highlight.
Thanks again for signing all sorts of things. And generally being nice to your obsessive fans!
hmm I was shocked to read that someone called your titles pretentious; I have been studying the two books that I have, along with the chapter headings. I would say, contra your (perhaps jesting critic), that they freely engage in a ludic postmodern aesthetic that at once acknowledges the literary tradition and yet freely recontextualizes the umbra'd dicta in a fulgent artistic light, ad majorem gloriam….fantasycrombiem.
I am reading "before they are hanged" which I grabbed solely because of the Heine quote. To my mind, Fantasy is becoming more literary (and by fantasy I mean Joe Abercrombie), which makes it a fascinating genre to be reading right now.
Please keep writing precious works, and, for what its worth, the title "The Heroes" needs to be made far more elitist to speed us ever-forward to that noble huspos so valorized by Longinus.
The food was dire. If you could get served.
Was good to see you again, both on and off the stage.
My friends and I did a major Sainsbury's run and bought our own supplies, and were deeply grateful that we did – should have said you were peckish, and we would have fed you!
Agree that the "Main Void" was a rubbish venue, and felt that the bar also had too much background noise.
Loved The Heroes though, looking forward to reading it.
I had a lovely time doing my reading and Q&A; stuff in the noisy bar, but you wouldn't know, Joe, because you watching the rugby, pretending to be normal instead of "delightfully twisted and evil" like wot it sez on yer very own book.
Any plans on coming over to the U.S.? (Austin,Texas) Friend of mine owns a bar down 6th Street, and the eats and hotels arn't bad. Love to see ya over here!
It was great to see you, thanks for the picture! I finally met Hobbit from sffworld too. Although the authorly panels were great, it was a really noisy venue, both the main void and the bar. And the only time I stayed in accommodation worse was when I went to a place called Massawa in Eritrea where I'm from, just after independence. Only the fact that there were bullet holes in the walls made it a worse place to stay.
Anyway, as promised, you were very funny and as readers I was pleased that we were introduced to some new writers and lots of great discussion. Not quite Eastercon a couple of years back but close. And we came 13th out of 62 in the quiz apparently. Which wasn't bad:)