This year I attended my first Easter Con. (Easter Con is the British Sci Fi Convention, like World Con – it moves around every year.) It was held within a literal stones throw from Heathrow Airport at the Park Inn hotel. This years EasterCon was Dysprosium, The 66th EasterCon.
Those of you who know me will be aware that until a few years ago, most of my recent (within the last decade or so) fandom activities have been “Over The Pond” in the States* attending Dragon Con.
Over the last couple of years for various reasons (almost all of them financial) I and my cohorts have been unable to attend Dragon Con. But going to conventions is a vital part of the experience I call my life. It is an addiction that cannot be cured, so what’s a guy to do when his drug of choice is not available to him?
Well, I could have started a life of crime to fund my habit, but I don’t like wearing polyester! I could start writing, become a massively popular author and get the convention to pay my way, but that seems like far too much work (although I am dipping my toe into the writing thing – let’s not kid ourselves eh!). I can start looking for conventions that don’t require circa £700 just for the air fare – something more local, in short I can switch from Class A drugs to Class B!
So, last year I attended Loncon3 (WorldCon) in London and Fantasy Con in York (I live in York so that was an easy choice. This year I also hope to be able to attend Fantasy Con again, but it will depend on shifts/days off at work later in the year.). This year my first convention was Dysprosium.
It was a blast! Despite arriving late on Friday and missing the first few panels and opening ceremony (Bank Holiday traffic on the M1/M25 was insane – a 3 and a half hour drive took nearer 6 hours!), I had an awesome time, purchased lots of books (another well documented addiction i have), met lots of awesome people and finally… finally after several attempts at more than one Dragon Con, I FINALLY MET JIM BUTCHER!!!
Sorry, but I’m a huge Dresden Files fan, Loved the Codex Alera and am really looking forward to the forthcoming Cinder Spires. Every time I was at a Convention where Jim was a guest, I was busy volunteering (**well I was actually Press Ganged) for the Fantasy Literature Track, which exploded in popularity on launch) at Dragon Con and could not get to his signings or panels.
Jim signed a load of books for me and posed for a photo with me and Seanan, this was very nice of him considering he was both incredibly jet lagged/tired or that the coke bottle I gave him exploded in his face! (I swear it was an accident, I was so ashamed!)
Other highlights from the con included (but are not limited to) Charles Stross Interviewing Jim Butcher. A Panel on how the Urban Fantasy worlds would be dealt with by the local government agencies (or vice versa), This panel is where Charles Stross unleashed his under reported “Dad Joke” repertoire. Seanan McGuire’s epic “Conversation with” panel where the audience could ask her anything – provided they accepted that the answer they got in return might not be the answer they were looking for. Medical Science in SF Not For The Squeamish, was a great panel, where guests who I shall not name described how easy it would be for them to wipe out humanity – for less than the cost of a cruise ticket!
Of course there were books to buy, authors holding signings, Free Books, Some great costumes as well as lots of fantastic people to mingle and meet with.
Musical entertainment was to be had on Saturday night courtesy of Talis Kimberley with support from Playing Rapunzel. Seanan McGuire was scheduled to have performed also, but because of health concerns – had to pull out (get well soon Seanan). The entire concert was fantastic and all the performers re-joined the stage at the end to perform Seanan’s Wicked Girls. It was beautiful.
Unfortunately there were downers too, The by now well talked about Hugo Nominations were announced, I won’t go into the ins and outs here, but they were much … discussed at the con. The biggest downer by far though was having to leave it all behind on Monday and return home.
Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen me live tweeting the journey home. (The route from Heathrow to York has surprisingly good 3G/4G reception on Three mobile!) Sorry about that, I was bored and had nothing better to do. 😉
Anyway, that was EasterCon. Did you go? What did you think, why not let me know in the comments.
(*Well, it would be more accurate to say “State” – Georgia.)
(**The Fantasy Literature Track was created out of what was the Anne McCaffrey Track combined with what was the Wheel Of Time Track, It happened almost something like this – Track Director: Hisham, Would you like this piece of cake? Me: Oooh, I love cake! *Walks into room*. Track Director: *Slams Door Shut* HAHA! You’re mine now, Set course for AWESOME!)