A slightly belated FantasyCon report, but Jay came down with the lurgy the following week and things have been a bit hectic.

Our first FCon was five years ago and it was a bit of a shock, after being entrenched in comics events, to show up somewhere and not know anyone! Thankfully in those five years of attending we’ve met lots of people and now always have friends to talk with in the bar.

Chaz Brenchley & Bryan Talbot

Chaz Brenchley & Bryan Talbot

For a change we managed to get there on the Friday before the reg desk closed and pick up the goodie bags. Then headed straight into the small press panel… which concluded that we really should rename it the indie press… the same debate has raged in comics for years! It wasn’t surprising to note that many people were very in favour of the small presses for their dedication, author support, editing skills and as a learning ground in the sf&f and horror fields. Plus for publishing those more speculative and undefinable stories that would never find a home with big publishers. Not that different from the comics small press, apart from it is much more accepted to self-publish in comics than in the book world. Possibly because there are even fewer places to pitch comics? Or because there are big names in comics who have gone down this route to maintain complete creative control?

We then planned on going to the bar but met Mark West on our way out the room and got dragged back in to take part in the quiz. Could hardly answer any of the questions, even the supposedly easy ones! Our team, the Fantastic Furies, came last (thought there were less points in it than expected), but it was good fun (plus there were free chips). Finally made it into the bar for a few quick chats before heading out.

Never Again Launch

Never Again Launch & Signing

Saturday we made it in time for a quick scoot around the dealers room and an early lunch before heading into two of the Special Guest interviews. First up was Lisa Tuttle being interviewed by Stephen Jones. I’d not heard of Lisa before she was announced as a guest at FCon, but managed to pick up one of her short story collections before the event and I’m  a convert. Intriguing stories with good central ideas and characters, plus a feminist overtone that appeals to me. I later succumbed to buying the lovely special collected edition of her early supernatural stories “Stranger in the House”. Interesting to hear about her life and decision to move over to the UK from America. Her thoughts on what she writes, and on British accents.

Next up was Chaz Brenchley interviewing Bryan Talbot. Now we’ve heard Bryan doing talks several times about his different projects, but I’d never heard about his early influences and work. Chaz did a great job of steering us through Bryan’s career and Bryan was entertaining as usual (see my last post to see us co-presenting a British Fantasy Award at FCon).

Then straight off to the Never Again launch for me, and the Rio Youers reading for Jay. Lots of authors were signing for the Never Again launch, in support of the good causes the money is going to. Showed the passion and hard work put in by everyone involved in the project, especially editors Joel Lane and Ally Bird, and publisher Gary Fry. (Otherwise known as the lion, the witch and the wardrobe).

Allyson Bird

Allyson Bird with her new short story collection, Wine & Rank Poison, & charity anthology Never Again.

We then got a chance to chat to a few people, like Simon Marshall Jones  and spend more money, before heading off to dinner with Jan Edwards, Peter Coleborn, Jen Barber, Mike Chinn, Debbie Bennett and the rest of the gang. Thanks for inviting us along.

Obviously we got back in time for the awards. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. We then planned to head off, but got immersed in conversations at the bar!

Bryan Talbot & I

Selina Lock (me) & Bryan Talbot presenting British Fantasy Award for Best Artist. Winner was Vinnie Chong.

Terry Martin

Terry Martin with the British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine, which he won for Murky Depths.

Sunday was a much quieter day, as we got up somewhat late and didn’t make it over to the con until lunchtime. I made the mistake of wandering around the dealers room too many time and spending all the money I had left! We decided to stay for the raffle and won a few things, though didn’t manage to win anything for Mary Talbot who had to leave part way through.

Andrew Hook or a penguin?

There are always strange goings-on at FCon...

The weekend finished off with chatting to Di Price and Marion Pitman, who we hadn’t met before, and many goodbyes.

FantasyCon Loot

FCon Loot

Now we have to work out whether we can afford FCon next year, as it’s moving to Brighton.