In which I never quite know what to say, to be honest. How to sum up a weekend like Fantasycon? Three days of books, great conversations, books, friendship, nice food, books, booze, books, very late nights, and books. It all seems completely normal when you're in the Fcon bubble, and its only when you're back in the real world and attempting to talk to strangers on the train about Shirley Jackson that you realise again how special it is.
The events I was part of were all brilliant. On Friday I took part in the horror reading session, with Kit Power and Jonathan L. Howard - a great session, which showed off the range of different horror fiction around at the moment, with Jonathan's clever Lovecraftian pastiche, Kit's very dark tale during which he pulled out a real hammer and my, well, densely-written creepy shit.
On Saturday I took part in a panel on horror writing with an absolute hero of mine, Ramsey Campbell, and another writer I immensely admire, Nina Allen. Not nervous at all, honest guv. Fortunately my good friends Mark West and Phil Sloman were also part of it, and it was an amazing session. The 50mins flew by (ably moderated by Helen Armfield) and I could have talked for twice as long with everyone - like the best panels it felt like a chat between friends and colleagues, not a back and forth Q&A. A real highlight.
Sunday saw me take part in another panel, this time on putting together anthologies. Whether I was as qualified as the other participants - Peter Mark May, Stephen Jones, Colleen Anderson and Peter Coleborn - to talk about such things, having only done The Hyde Hotel and Imposter Syndrome, the audience can decide, but again I found it hugely enjoyable.
Other great moments included John Llewelyn Probert's brilliant reading at the Great British Horror launch; the Weird Fiction panel; the fifteen minutes of the disco when they played decent music and, well, just chatting to everyone.
Because it's the people that really do make the weekend, and I know I'll miss someone out but thanks to the following for making Fantasycon as special as it always is: Steve Harris, Phil Sloman, Mark West, Kit Power, CC Adams, Neil Williamson, Dion Winton-Pollak, Priya Sharma, Cate Gardner, Simon Bestwick, Tracy Fahey, Adam Nevil, Gary McMahon, Ross Warren, Lisa Childs, Timothy Jarvis (and brother, whose name I forget, sorry!), Helen Marshall, Malcolm Devlin, GV Anderson, Laura Mauro and Mr Mauro, Lynda E. Rucker, Stephen Bacon, Paul Feeney, Georgina Bruce, Tom Johnstone, Peter Mark May, Sue Moorcroft, Stephen Volk, Tim Major, Alison Littlewood & Fergus, John Llewelyn Probert, Thana Niveau, Robert Sherman, John Travis, Tim C. Taylor, Steve Shaw, Richard Farren Barber, Charlotte Bond, Dave Jeffery, and Penny Jones. It seems incredible that I can know so many talented people, let alone have spoken to them all over the course of one weekend. But that's the time-bending wonder of Fantasycon. Roll on 2018.
|Horror Reading - after finishing my extract from The Quarantined City, I'm enjoying Kit Power's reading, in which he genuinely pulled out a hammer.|
|Dion Winton Polak, Neil Williamson and me, deep into our cups.|
|Horror panel, with Ramsey Campbell(!), Phil Sloman, Mark West, Helen Armfield, Nina Allen and myself.|
|Mark West, me, Kit Power, talking about IT and god knows what else early into the morning.|
|Blurry dad-dancing on the dance floor. Plus non-dad dancing from Priya Sharma and Tracy Fahey.|
With me, Tim Major, Dave Jeffery, Dean M. Drinkel, Sue Moorcroft, Paul Melhuish, Mark West