Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part IV: ALL THE PARTY

At some point over the weekend up to Sunday afternoon, I met any number of lovely people whom I’ve forgotten to mention to date, like Sophie Calder (of Gollancz) and Joe Monti, a very nice bloke who works for Saga, and Lee Harris (of Angry Robot and now and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and briefly in passing Ada Palmer and Madeleine Robins and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. And C.E. Murphy and Sarah Rees Brennan and Ursula Vernon. And Abi Sutherland. And Tobias Buckell. And probably bunches of other people whom I’m forgetting I was introduced to.

I did not realise heretofore that if you were vaguely acquainted with all the lovely people from the internet, a convention is actually a multi-day party. Now I kind of understand the appeal.

from some other encounter

Scott Lynch and Zoe Johnson.

Scott Lynch and Zoe Johnson.

Zoe attacks Scott for books. That man is a very good sport.

Zoe attacks Scott for books. That man is a very good sport.

The Dealers’ Room calls

After “Seeing the Future, Knowing the Past,” I stopped into “A Queerer War,” a panel featuring Tanya Huff, Ann Leckie, and S.J. Groenewegen, and moderated by Duncan Lawie. Question time seemed to devolve a little into 101, but on the whole I enjoyed the panel…

…and then I broke my resolution and went to the Dealers’ Room. I acquired rather more books than I intended, especially since I also visited the Library area of the fan village, where books were being given away with great enthusiasm. I picked up another… three? free books. YAY FREE BOOKS. (I will list acquisitions later.) OOPS SUITCASE PACKING.

I don’t really remember who I was talking to Sunday afternoon. I dropped in on the Hugo Rehearsal (ie: stand here, walk this way, don’t fall over if you win) and ran into Aliette and Foz and Mary Robinette Kowal there, and then… Laura Lam at the green room, maybe? And Amal. Almost certainly Amal. At some point I know I ate half a rotisserie chicken from the chicken place on the ExCel centre’s Boulevard, and shortly thereafter was afraid I’d get lost on the way to the Hugo Reception. So I went to find it early, and ended up waiting for 30 minutes.

All The Party

Hugo Reception was amazing fun. Props to the volunteers and organisers for getting things as smoothly run and organised as it was. I spent most of the time hanging out with Foz and Max Gladstone and his partner Steph, I think, with occasional hanging out with Kate Elliott and Abigail Nussbaum and Neil Harrison and Nic Clarke. There was free food, and it was very tasty. And there were FAMOUS PEOPLE.

We were very uncool when Peter Davidson showed up. Very uncool. It was the amazing brave Amal who lead us in a posse over to him eventually to shake his hand and say “I like your work,” and he seems like a lovely guy.

The entire room was really uncool a short while later, though, when David Tennant showed up. The poor man. Mobbed by geeks who wanted to shake his hand. He was an exceptional good sport about it, but one does feel a little sorry for him. (Not so sorry that I did not go shake his hand and say “I loved your performance in Hamlet,” though.)


Wow. So ceremony. I ended up sitting beside Amal, near Max and John Chu and Wes Chu and Ramez Naam, directly behind George R.R. Martin. Justina Robson and Geoff Ryman did an excellent job as hosts, as did the other guest hosts, and seriously, it was a really pleasing ceremony. That Kameron Hurley, what? ON FIRE.

The whole ceremony is on ustream somewhere. What the recording does not show is how three-quarters of the auditorium stood up to applaud Ancillary Justice‘s victory, when Ann Leckie made her way to the stage.

Being in the auditorium for the ceremony was an awful lot like being part of an extended group hug. And not just because Amal is a really great person to be seated beside if you are a very nervous nominee.

And when it was all done, it was Hugo Losers’ Party time. And that was exciting. Because there were FRUIT PLATTERS.


It is full of people, and they are all interesting. So people. Very con. Much tiring. Wow.

(Thunder and lightning storm like the hammer of god between 1345 and 1430 today. Panel had DRAMATIC SOUNDTRACK.)

Final LonCon3/Worldcon Schedule

And I am now on five panels.

The Changing Face of the Urban Fantastic

Thursday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

Urban fantasy is a broad church. To some, it’s the genre of “Wizard of the Pigeons” and “War of the Oaks”; to others, it means Sam Vimes patrolling the streets of Ankh Morpork, or Locke Lamora conning his way through Camorr. Most recently, it has become synonymous with werewolves, vampires and hot detectives. What holds together the urban fantastic? Are different strands of the genre in conversation with each other? And how important is the influence of the structures and tone of other genres like crime fiction?

Liz Bourke (M), Paul Cornell, Robin Hobb, Freda Warrington.

Chivalrous Critics of Fannish Dimensions

Saturday 20:00 – 21:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

What makes a good epic fantasy? Does quality of prose matter, or is insisting on literary rigor killjoy and elitist? Is it possible to ‘overthink’ your experience of reading epic fantasy – or is it patronising to the sub-genre to suggest it should be given an easier ride than other types of writing? What are some of the primary critiques of epic fantasy and how can they be used to improve the genre moving forward?

Myke Cole (M), Liz Bourke, Nic Clarke, Justin Landon, Mari Ness

What does Ireland have to offer?

Sunday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

Ireland is disticntly different as a nation and its people posses a unique identity. How does this work through the creative fiction of modern times? Has the mighty weight of Irish Mythology that have permeated fantasy had an impact on modern writers in Ireland? Where is the new fiction coming from, and what issues of interest are explored?

Liz Bourke (M), Susan Connolly, Kathryn (Kate) Laity(, Ruth Frances Long, Bob Neilson.

I see I’m moderating this one, so I won’t be allowed to go to town on the snark. But seriously. Irish Mythology has a “mighty weight”? OH CELTIC TWILIGHT ROMANTICISTS I STAB YOU.

Seeing the Future, Knowing the Past

Sunday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Fantasy’s use of prophecy – knowable futures – often parallels the way it treats the past, as something both knowable and stable: details of history known from a thousand years back, kingly bloodlines in direct descent for several hundreds of years, etc. In reality, George I of England was 58th in line for the throne and there is a Jacobean claimant still out there somewhere. No one really knows where France originated. History is messy and mutable. Why is fantasy so keen on the known?

William B. Hafford (M), Sarah Ash, Liz Bourke, Karen Miller, Kari Sperring.

Critical Diversity: Beyond Russ and Delany

Monday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)

The popular history of SF criticism might just be, if possible, even more straight, white and male than the popular history of SF — but things are changing. Online and in journals, diverse voices are starting to reach a critical (if you’ll excuse the pun) mass. Which publishers and venues are most welcoming to critics from marginalised groups? What are the strengths and weaknesses of academic and popular discourse, in this area? And most importantly, whose reviews and essays are essential reading?

Andrew M. Butler (M), Liz Bourke, Fabio Fernandes, Erin Horakova, Aishwarya Subramanian.

I don’t read a lot of criticism. I’m usually too busy trying to meet deadlines. But I can talk about what I do read, I guess.