BristolCon 2012

A few days have passed since this year’s BristolCon and I thought I’d best get something down. I’m on the con committee, albeit in a fairly minor role, so I spent much of the day dashing about helping keep things ticking over. I like this; I think it’s a good way to see a small, friendly con like ours. So here’s my very personal and unofficial write-up – just some things that have stuck in my befuddled mind.

The Art Room was a fantastic improvement over previous years – the display stands provided by Roundstone Framing made the place feel really open and were far more aesthetically pleasing than the slightly cobbled-together gazebo of previous years.

Anne Sudworth and Gareth L. Powell‘s guest of honour interviews were interesting. Their interviewers, Ian Whates and Kim Lakin-Smith respectively, were very good and both had an excellent rapport with their interviewee. Colin Harvey‘s Ghost of Honour session was poignant, and I tried my best not to screw up the projections.

As for panels, I kept finding myself focussed on practicalities like watching the time, ensuring there was water and clean glasses for the panellists or helping out with the sound (the PA in programme room 1 was generously supplied by Del Lakin-Smith who was very patient with my fumbling attempts to help him set-up first thing) but I particularly remember the Colonising the Solar System and Women in Sensible Armour discussions.

Later on Gareth’s monkey was a high point, Talis Kimberley and her band performed to their usual excellent standard (although I didn’t listen to as much of this as I should have) and the quiz was, well, too hard!

I met plenty of new people, all of whom had complimentary things to say about the con. I got Philip Reeve, due to be a Guest of Honour at BristolCon 2013, to sign a copy of his latest book for my daughters.  I’d hoped to have a quick chat with Marc Gascoigne (even brought my old copy of Titan for him to sign) but missed him after the Colin Harvey memorial – perhaps at a future event. The Colinthology was an excellent buy and contains some really top-class stories, so I can recommend this as not only a good cause but a good read as well.

The rest of the committee and everyone else who helped out did a fantastic job – most of them worked far harder than I did and often in the face of sickness and pain on the day, so well done to all.

On top of it all I didn’t end up with a bad hangover the next day and I even missed the fire and pestilence. A good day all round and I’m already looking forward to next year!

 

BristolCon ’10

I went to BristolCon’10 last weekend, a Science Fiction and Fantasy convention held at the Ramada Hotel in Bristol. It was BristolCon’s second year, and my first convention since going to Games Day ’87 as a teenager.

It was a great day out.  Loads of interesting panel discussions, a range of dealers and artists displaying their work and plenty of interesting and friendly people to talk and drink with.  High points of the day were chatting with Alastair Reynolds during the mass book-signing at lunchtime, Eugene Byrne‘s talk on the fantastic cityscape of Bristol and watching John Meaney and Juliet McKenna terrorise Joe Abercrombie and Cheryl Morgan during the “Writing Fight Scenes” panel.  I enjoyed all the panels I attended (all but two I think), came second in the pub quiz with a group of people I’d never met before (well, except for Mark) and narrowly avoided becoming embarrassingly drunk (at least I think I avoided it…)

Strangely, I was a little apprehensive before the Con.  I’ve been a fan of SF and Fantasy for as long as I’ve been reading, but I’ve never really been into Cons and fandom although it has intrigued me.  I guess my reluctance to take part in the past has been due to my own insecurities as much as anything else; I feared things might be cliquey or exclusive and I’m happy to have been proved wrong, at least by the folks at BristolCon.  I’ve been going along to the Bristol Science Fiction and Fantasy Society monthly meetings on and off for a few months this year and have met a group of friendly and interesting people, many of whom were involved with running BristolCon, so I’ll be going again next year.  Thanks to everyone involved in organising a fun and interesting day!

For the interested, there are a handful of photos on my Flickr page, and a list of links to other BristolCon’10 write-ups here on the BristolCon site.  Search Twitter for the #bristolcon hashtag for a load of associated tweets.