Sunday, 21 September 2008


Tony Lee, Sam Stone, Chaz Brenchley
Spoke to book-dealer Bob, and Gary Couzens, at early breakfast. There at glam Sam Stone's book launch for Killing Kiss (Murky Depths), first novel in the Vampire Gene trilogy, and heard rumours about financial problems of a certain publisher of UK media magazines... Went to morning panel, 'To Boldly Go...' (are there any new frontiers in SF?), in the main hall, where I met Paul Barnett (alias, John Grant), and listened to 45 minutes of amusing and illuminating chat by him, Christian Dunn, and the great Ian Watson, moderated by Ian Whates. 'Crafting The Short Story', with Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, Christopher Fowler, and Tony Richards, moderated by Peter Crowther, was very well attended, offering a fascinating discussion that packed out the 'Gallery' suite with standing-room only. After, Gary Couzens told me about the disappointing farce over his morning reading in the Trent room, where everyone was locked out of 10th floor access, but – as con-going veteran - he seemed unfazed by this lack of organisation.

Very pleased to meet Simon Clark, the author I'd interviewed - via email - for a BFS 30th 'birthday bash' publication, several years ago. Following the lunchtime break, I bumped into Chaz Brenchley in the foyer, and was very soon the proud owner of Northern Gothic intriguing ghost stories collection Phantoms At The Phil: The Second Proceedings (Sidereal), which is complete with readings by the writers, on two CDs. Having already decided on a money-saving strategy not to buy any paperbacks, this hardcover was my first purchase at F'con. Attended launch of Pendragon anthology We Fade To Grey with fiction by Paul Finch, Mark West, Mark Morris, and Simon Bestwick, edited by Gary McMahon (a VideoVista regular whose taste in horror films is remarkably similar to mine). The editorial seminar by Jo Fletcher (who I remembered gave a talk at Worldcon in Glasgow) was as entertaining as ever with tales of hilariously bad fiction submissions collected from slush pile reading. In the main bar, Stephen Jones' launch of Best New Horror #19 had an impressive line-up of writers signing paperback copies. Had a great chat with artist Vincent Chong (who later won a BFS award).

While the banquet was going on, I went to dinner in the hotel restaurant (serving steak, but with no steak knives!) with my brother Stephen, and got the latest news about my uncle. While the BFS awards ceremony was ending, a very British queue formed at the typically understaffed main bar. Scheduled against the main hall's popular raffle, my panel 'Nothing New Under The Sun' in the Gallery room was a non-event, despite the presence of Christopher Fowler, Nicholas Royle, and latecomer Ramsey Campbell, but 8 of us had a good chat about film remakes, anyway. Midnight's panel item 'Forbidden', had Joel Lane (another BFS award winner!), Adam Nevill, and Nicholas Royle, discussing taboos in genre fiction, moderated by Conrad Williams. Despite the late hour, it proved an interesting discussion, especially with audience involvement. Back in the main bar, I failed embarrassingly to recognise Sam Stone's sister, but had a lively chat about something, um, whatever... After 5 pints, I just can't remember any details today.

Thanks to David J. Howe for the photo.


Webmistress said...

I hope you enjoy Phantoms at the Phil!

Unfortunately, the link you gave doesn't work any more, as Side Real have let their web site go - but you can still get copies via Chaz'z web site, here.

Geoff_N said...

I see you were soooo busy! Good feel for the Saturday con. No wonder you had no time to visit me and chat about our Escape Velocity magazine, which you could have had for free with a purchase of Exit, Pursued by a Bee. Ahh but you were following your no-buying-paperbacks policy. Oh well. Next time I'll try and find you instead!