The 2013 Eastercon blog thing
April 5th 2013
(now with added hyperlinks!)
There are very good reasons why I didn’t do a day-by-day blog of Eastercon. The first reason is because the convention hotel and the one I was staying at were separated by a bus journey, and nipping back to my room to file a report would have taken a significant chunk of time out of every day. The second reason is allied to the first, in that I didn’t want to lug my steam-powered laptop around with me (and in the event, the con hotel wifi was taking a beating without me adding to the bandwidth). The third reason is probably the most important, however: I was having too good a time to stop.
So – sunny Bradford. For me, denizen of the wild north, that meant a journey of less than two hours, door to door. Which was nice. And the recent heavy snows hadn’t affected the travel arrangements of anyone, as far as I could tell. The Jury’s Inn hotel was a stone’s throw from the station, was clean, comfortable, quiet, had an ethernet connection for fast, free internettery, and the breakfasts were excellent. The bus service (laid on by the con) was frequent, even though misjudging the traffic density on Saturday morning did mean I was late for my slot in the ‘genre get-together’. Fortunately, it wasn’t a panel, and I wasn’t left too embarrassed. The con hotel food was, er, limited. Probably not much anyone could have done about that, and the drinks were reasonably priced, and the wonderfully skiffy-named Clarks’ beer – traditional and blond – were more than acceptable brews.
I could give you a blow-by-blow account: I’d rather you came and experienced an Eastercon yourself (next year in Glasgow). Suffice to say, there were many highlights, and no lowlights. People kept on coming up to me to say how much they liked my books – which doesn’t get old, and is actually quite sweet. With the news about Iain Banks ringing loudly in our ears, realise that all of us are mortal, and my writing heroes and heroines won’t be around for ever. Say nice things to them while they’re still here – which is why sitting next to Chris Beckett on a panel and talking to him about how much I enjoyed Dark Eden and The Holy Machine is important.
I inevitably launched two books – and inevitably not my own – for Clarion Publishing. Due to Ben Jeapes‘ indisposition (he was the centurion in the Abingdon Passion Play), he’d asked me to stand in for him. Not the weirdest request I’ve ever had, but very close. I did a reading, and signed the books – there are now copies of His Majesty’s Starship and Jeapes Japes from such unlikely luminaries as Mary Shelly and Jerry Cornelius, Engels and Ursula Le Guin. Seriously.
I was on panels, which were good and educational and entertaining, and I got to hold forth about my favourite subject, the state of science education in British schools…
I got to talk to an awful lot of lovely people. I got to witness a light-sabre duel between Francis Knight and Anne Lyle. I had a very nice curry thanks to the lovely crowd at Gollancz, and then drank whisky into the small hours with Simon Ings. I didn’t get up to collect a BSFA award for Joey HiFi’s cover of Thy Kingdom Come, but did see Ian Sales‘ Adrift on the Sea of Rains – which I very much liked – win the Short Story catagory. I signed books (which I had written myself), and bought books, too.
Special mention has to go to the organising committee. The fact that most people didn’t even notice that there was a committee was a testament to how good the con was. It was brilliant. See you all again in Glasgow.