I was really looking forward to this one – though during the long train journey to Bristol, a treacherous little voice whispered in my ear that maybe my fond memories of the warm friendliness I’d experienced at this Con over the last two years had been exaggerated with the telling and retelling. But from the moment we wandered into the Reception, the cosy sense of being amongst like-minded folks was palpable.
And the programme had me struggling not to drool as it was packed with a series of enticing panels, intriguing small group sessions and useful other events, such as How To Draw Dragons and Other Stuff hosted by Graham Higgins. I sorely needed that clone to attend all the sessions AND hang out in the bar to catch up with conference friends I chat away to on Twitter or WordPress…
Being the nerdy sort, I love panels and overall, the standard of discussion was impressively high, doubtless helped by the inspired subjects on offer.
Favourites include What Makes a Good Dystopia? which was ably moderated by Janet Edwards and Censorship in the Global Village, where Juliet E. McKenna had some interesting things to say about self-censorship, relating to her campaign against this piece of limp-brained legislation from the EU. I also very much enjoyed Radically Alternate History, deftly moderated by Dev Agarwal as I’m a sucker for this particular sub-genre. And the day’s panels was rounded off by Here Be Dragons. This always had the potential to be enjoyable, but Anne Lyle’s inspired idea to get the panellists to sell their particular favourite imaginary monster to the audience had us all cheering for Mhairi Simpson’s battle chickens… You couldn’t make it up, could you?
The rowdy game of Be A Bard in the bar on Saturday night was another highlight – where buttercores and mantiflies were also brought into being, along with the idea of an anthology – or is it a bestiary? – featuring these creatures.
Other treasured memories include Janet Edward’s explanation for how she broke her ankle – ‘I fell while rescuing the occupants of a space ship.’; Joanne Hall’s fantastic book launch party for her latest release, Spark and Carousel, complete with wine, cake and an awesome lightshow. Thanks to my technical advisor, I have now managed to load the ARC onto my Kindle, so will be shortly getting stuck into it. Another highlight was meeting up with another delightful bunch of writerly folks, including Ben Galley, Alice Reeves, Lor Graham, Jo Lindsey-Walton and Richard Bendell.
I also got to read a short piece from my science fiction novel Running Out of Space, shortly to be published. Many, many thanks to the kind souls who stayed behind to listen and apologies for the rather croaky delivery. Of all the times to go down with a cold…
Those darned panels I didn’t manage to see – I’d have LOVED to have made Faster Than Light and Bad-ass with a Baby and who wouldn’t want to be able to Learn to Write Your Name in Galifreyan with Andy Bigwood?
I only managed a fleeting hug with the wonderful Sophie Tallis as she was busy dashing between panels and exchange a grin with Justin Newland while he was panelling. So much for catching up. It also sounded like Friday night was great fun – THAT reading by Cheryl Morgan was obviously an event not to be missed. It would also have been a blast to have watched Galaxy Quest with an equally appreciative audience. Oh – and next year, can someone sort out the relative time anomaly? It was advertised as a day-long affair, but I swear it zipped past in just a couple of hours…
Massive thanks to everyone who slaved to make Bristolcon 2015 such an exceptionally enjoyable day. I’m only too aware that producing a day where everyone runs so smoothly takes a great deal of hard work. It just gets better every year – and I’m definitely making that train journey again next October.