Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fantasycon 2016.

The view from the bar on Day 1: Sunny Scarborough
Fantasycon this year took place in sunny Scarborough (and it really was sunny) amidst the faded, peeling glamour of the Grand and Royal hotels. As ever it was a long and intense weekend, so I'm just going to mention some of the highlights here...

John Gilbert; Sue Moorcroft; Neil Williams; me; Priya Sharma; Phil Sloman; Mark West; Lisa Childs; Ross Warren; Wayne Parkin; Cate Gardner

On the Saturday, I featured on the 'Bright Lights' panel, which was about awards and new talent coming through in genre fiction. I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but it was really well moderated by Penny Reeve, with interesting contributions from my good friend Kit Power, Donna Scott and Liz de Jager. When the questions from the audience came there was the inevitable one about the rabid/sad puppies in America and in our own different ways both Kit and I made our thoughts quite clear...

I may have said "dickheads".

My favourite panel that I saw was 'Is Reality The New Horror' - it featured Paul Finch, Mark West, Tracy Fahey, Victoria Leslie, Helen Marshall, and Ramsey Campbell. With that calibre of talent it couldn't fail to be interesting - I'd have quite happily watched them talk for longer.

Great British Horror Launch:
Steve Shaw was launching both This Twisted Earth (edited by Dion Winton-Pollock) and Great British Horror #1:Green & Pleasant Land, a collection of horror stories with a stunning lineup of authors. Present at the launch were Victoria Leslie, Laura Mauro, Adam Millard, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Ray Cluley, Jasper Bark and Alexandra Benedict. I think all of them felt as thrilled as I did when Steve presented us with our contributor copies - wrapped & with a scroll of the artwork for each of our stories. Laura and Jasper read from their stories; Dion gave a very personal introduction to This Twisted Earth (complete with heckling gulls); Victoria gave a brief chat about the influence of Virginia Woolf on her (wonderful) novel Bodies Of Water, and then it was onto the signing. And we seemed to sign a lot of books. It was one of the most wonderful launches I've done and I left on a real high.

Best contributor
copy ever?
GBH Launch:
Laura Mauro,
Ray Cluley, me,
Simon Kurt Unsworth

Adam Nevill Launch:
I bought *cough* a few books over the weekend, but none were so handsome as Adam Nevill's latest,  Some Will Not Sleep. It's Adam's first collection of short stories and people were literally queuing out the doors for it. I for one can't wait to read it.

Hersham Horror Launch:
The launch for my novella Paupers' Graves, as well as novellas from good friends Phil Sloman, Stephen Bacon and Mark West, and a collection from Marie O'Regan. It had all been organised by head honcho Peter Mark May and I had an absolute blast. Lots of people seemed really interested in buying books and getting them signed, and it was a real pleasure to be launching alongside some of the first friends I made when I started attending conventions. The fact they're all fine writers helped too, of course.

Hersham Horror launch: Phil Sloman, Stephen Bacon, Mark West, me

D.P. Watt Launch:
An intersting one, this. I didn't really know anything about this book other than the fact Undertow published it - which was good enough for me, as I love what they put out. It was a very interesting reading: some of it delivered in the normal way, some via a preprepared recording. It made me instantly think of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. And the story itself seemed brilliant - needless to say I picked up a copy of Watt's collection, Almost Insentient, Almost Divine.

The People:
As well as the folks mentioned above, the following all helped make my weekend a brilliant three days: Conrad Williams (a nice prologue to the con on the train); Wayne Parkin; Andrew Hook & Sophie Essex; Jim McLeod (sorry I lost the t-shirt!); Ross Warren; Lisa Childs; Sue Moorcroft; Chris Barnes; Charlotte Courtney-Bond; Steve Shaw; Chris Teague; Jay Eales & Selina Lock; Neil Williams; Priya Sharma (congratulations on the award!); Cate Gardner; Simon Bestwick (telling rude jokes, natch); Richard Farren Barber; Laura Mauro (still no idea about that wrestling thing, sorry!); Gary Couzens; Ren Warron (told you we would have a proper chat this time), Victoria Leslie and Tracy Fahey (great cow stories!), Ben Jones (Whitby? Whitby??); CC Adams; Dion Winton-Pollock; Ray Cluley and his partner Jess; Kit Power, Helen Marshall; Des Lewis; Neil Snowden; Georgina Bruce; Steve Byrne; Amanda Rutter; Graeme Reynolds; Jasper Bark; John Travis; Terry Grimwood; Lynda E. Rucker; Gary Fry (thanks for the book!); Tim Power, and Tim Jarvis (a nice epilogue to the con in a cafe)

Horror writers are scary, serious people
Lisa Childs, Mark West, Laura Mauro (hidden), Ross Warren, Phil Sloman, Gary Couzens, Peter Mark May, me, Richard Farren Barber, Stephen Bacon

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