Friday afternoon, Ali (my good lady wife), David and I drove up to Nottingham, me taking a route I was convinced would only take about an hour and ten minutes from Oxford. It took three hours, but the witty banter and occasional musical interludes kept our spirits up and soon we were wafting into the luxurious splendour of the Britannia Hotel Nottingham in a cloud of literary excellence, wafted by the wings of a thousand muses.
We checked in and saw our boxes... sorry, rooms. But the convention is really about the guests and the events and this is the last year Fantasycon is in Nottingham, so enough moaning about the hotel.
Friday evening saw us at The Salutation Inn, Nottingham's premier pub for heavy metal, where Abaddon Books sponsored an evening of metal karaoke. The place was heaving and many attendees turned up to rock out with us. David Moore, desk-editor extraordinaire (or the Antipodean Anvil as we like to call him) lead proceedings, doing 4 numbers himself along with a goodly amount of moshing. But man of the night was Rio Youers, with his take on Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine. He was verily the metallist of metal and was rewarded with the promise of a bounty of Abaddon books. Much fun was had and it was particularly aces for the good lady wife and I to catch up with some old friends, and show off Ali's bump (she's in the family way you know?).
Then it was back to the hotel bar for some night caps and to hook up with such splendid folk as Simon Bestwick, Paul Meloy, Paul Finch, Rio again (who draped himself over me and told me why he should write for me, he's a bit forward that Rio (but, sadly, he doesn't dance amongst the sands)) and several other fine scribes and lovely fans. Then it was way past my bedtime so I said adieu.
Saturday afternoon saw us do a preview launch of The End of The Line, with a massive multi-signing. We rapidly sold out of every copy we brought along. Many thanks to our crew of writers and the fans who brought copies. It was great to sign for people and put names to new faces.
Then, later on, I was on a panel called 'How Not To Get Published' with Marc from Angry Robot, Jo from Gollancz and Stephen Jones, legendary anthologist. It was good fun with Jo reading some startling submission letters, and the rest of us relating various stories from the frontline. A few more audience questions would have been ace, but time was not on our side.
Then the rest of the convention involved hooking up with friends old and new, seeing a couple of readings by Paul Meloy and Chaz Brenchley. Saturday night was Ali's birthday so we took ourselves away from the convention for a quiet meal, which was very nice.
Overall, a splendid time was had by all. It was exhausting but fun, and over all too quickly.
Thanks once again to the organisers for a terrific Con. We shall see you all next year for the Brighton Bash.