So, that was fun. It was a fairly packed few days - but saw some great panels, heard some great readings and drank a month's worth of overpriced hotel beer. Success!
Adam Baker and Anne face off against the undead hordes.
(Like Juggernaut, but with even more carnage.)
Other highlights include a game of ZOMBIES!!! with other bloggers and authors Sophia McDougall and Adam Baker, getting to talk bookshelf design with Jon Courtenay Grimwood and pulp authors with Joe Lansdale, practically tackling EJ Swift to get my copy of Osiris signed and meeting loads of wonderful people that had previously only existed as virtual presences. So cool.
Missed opportunities? I missed the Solaris giveaway (probably a good thing given my carrying capacity, see below) and all the launches I had in the diary: Alchemy Press, ChiZine, Carnivale of Horror and Magic. The latter is especially gutting given the quality of the Lou Morgan and Will Hill readings - the book sounds great. The weekend was so busy that virtually everything was a conflict. (Not a complaint. That's a good thing.)
Fan wisdom says that if people are bitching about the hotel, you've got a great convention. And loads of people were complaining about the hotel (we didn't stay there - mental note: flowers for Anne). And that's the truth - FantasyCon was well-organised and well-run. Too much stuff to do is no problem at all.
(Ok, in the spirit of minor-complaints-as-an-indication-that-everything-else-was-great, two things that felt like missed opportunities: Anne moderated a panel on awards at the rather vampiric hour of 10.30 pm. Will Hill, Steve Mosby and Lee Harris had a lot of interesting stuff to say about awards (of all types) - I'm sorry it wasn't better attended. But, given the packed schedule, something had to be at 10.30. C'est la vie.
Second missed opportunity: the mass signing was a fanboy dream. Knowing I'd have a full schedule on Saturday, I had planned on using this to get all the looting out of the way, but none of book dealers stayed open for it. Lots of authors. No books. Boo.
However, I managed to do a lot of subsidiary looting in a small-but-thriving dealer room, including:
Copies of Gutshot and A Carnivale of Horror (despite missing the launch of the latter). Gutshot, sadly, I've vowed not to read until November. I want A Town Called Pandemonium out before I start admiring the awesomeness of Conrad Williams' Weird Western brilliance.
Somehow we didn't already have two Lavie Tidhar novellas, so, wooooo. And the Lansdale books came from The Man Himself and are now signed (eeee!). Savage Season and Cold in July both have the same cover model (despite the character on the cover being a different gender... bizarre). The Heroes joins our impressive stack of Abercrombiabilia.
A couple of that: Still is a limited edition of 250 copies - on sale at Foyles. We missed the launch, but grabbed a copy the next morning. We don't have a hardcover copy of Retribution Falls, but this (rather battered) tpb will do nicely. And The Opener of the Way is the first UK edition. Despite being ex-library, it is in very good shape.
I've never read Modesty Blaise. So finding this stack at a used bookstore felt like a cosmic incentive. Pretty excited about it. I've also not read that particular Dick (Confessions of a Crap Artist), so, hey, that's worth a pound.
The first book I bought at FantasyCon was a copy of Mark Lawrence's King of Thorns. (Ironic 'cause he wasn't there.) I'm keen to read it, I love the cover and it was signed. So, ker-pounce. The bottom half of the pile is also from FantasyCon - proofs from the Del Rey launch (signed!) and fun stuff from the goodie bag.
We had two copies of The Troupe in our goodie bags, which was handy, as we'd lent our copy out. Also the copy of Jack Glass that Adam Roberts inscribed for us at the British Library (with a picture of a spider, because... I don't know. Because we're weird.) And the enormous pile of Georgette Heyer novels that Anne found at the South Bank.
Hand of Kane was another South Bank find. The Time-Lost series from Centaur Press is a minor collection of mine. They didn't print a lot, but they had a penchant for old-school sword & sorcery fantasy, plus covers from some of the best of the era's brawn & bust illustrators. This means I've picked up the first 7 of their 17 publications, which feels like a pretty good start.
So, in the immortal words of Solomon Kane: "Blah blah blah fighty fight."