I suspect the SFX team will be juggling kudos and criticism (both well-deserved) for the next year - any event this size will have its ups and down. The main thing? We had a brilliant time and look forward to next year.
Here are a few people that we encountered who helped make our convention a great experience:
1) The bar staff in the Queen Victoria Pub. Of course we would start with the bar staff. Chatting with the nice folks behind the counter, we learned that most of them had just come back from a week's holiday. Their return the day of SFX was a HALO drop into Armageddon, and they did amazingly well. Prompt & polite service and plenty of staff helped juggle 2,000 thirsty convention-goers. I overheard one patron complaining of a "flat pint", and the manager had it efficiently whisked away and replaced before he could utter a second word. Great service under rough conditions. Well done.
Four more heroes after the jump.
2) Craig Charles. More than a few experience con-goers were baffled by the amazing music for the Maskerade. Where was the 80s cheese? Who was this enthusiastic, funk-spinning lunatic? Anyone that stuck around til midnight saw the Gremlinization of the music. After Mr. Charles left, the next helmsman put on a Spotify playlist based on the keyword "sci fi" and only resurfaced to bugger the mixing.
3) Kate Griffin. Here's a fun-fact: 47 guests in the programme. 6 were women. Of those, 3 were actresses. And of the 3 remaining - representing all the female comic creators/authors/screenwriters/artists in the industry - one (Rebecca Levene) couldn't make it. I'm afraid I never saw Sarah Pinborough, but I did see Kate Griffin on a panel and at her signing. Ms. Griffin was articulate, charming and a welcome change of pace. (She also inscribed a book with a reference to killer clowns... bonus points.)
4) Tom Hunter. The administrator of the Arthur C. Clarke Award did an exceptional job with his panels. Moderation is a nasty, time-consuming, stressful, unrewarding duty, but the moderator makes or breaks a panel. Most of the time at conventions, we see naught but well-intended chaos. In Mr. Hunter's panels, we had pacey, interesting discussions that stayed on-topic and brought out the best in the guests.
5) Andy Remic. Mr. Remic had a rather unfortunate early afternoon timeslot for the launch of Cloneworld, but he made the best of it by bringing good chat and a surprise video. Judging by queue, it worked as well. We've reviewed one of Mr. Remic's books in the past and were (bravely) keen to discuss it. To no surprise, he's an absolute gentleman, and meeting him made for one of the weekend's highlights. (We also bought Cloneworld, but need to read War Machine first.)
We've already done an informal review of SFX2. Some of the panels (including Pat Mill's epic fail) merit their own posts later this week. And after that? I guess we just stare forlornly at the calendar until next February.