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Author Topic: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013  (Read 3381 times)

Offline AJDalton

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The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« on: October 28, 2013, 09:11:58 PM »
If you want to share in the cheers, the tears and the beers of World Fantasy Con 2013, then I’ll be giving it to you blow by blow, glass by glass, indiscretion by indiscretion... right here. I’ll post the latest wisdom and controversy as it emerges from Brighton, from Thursday 31 Oct to Sunday 2 Nov inclusive.

I’ll be putting up reports and pictures of the great and the good... and the less great and the bad (as long as it’s not too incriminating). I’ll be rubbing shoulders with Brian Aldiss (well, he’s much taller than me, so maybe his elbow will catch me in the neck), Sir Terry Pratchett, Tom Lloyd, Stephen Deas and a load of American scribblers too.

Why am I going? Well to be honest I felt like it. Its the first time I have had the opportunity to attend, and now as a signed author, I thought I ought to go and see what all the fuss is about.

The buzz and complaints actually started a while back. Here are current talking points on the net:
•   The entry fee of 150 quid is too high – especially when you add on hotel, travel and restaurant costs – meaning it costs at least 500 quid all in

•   There were a limited number of cheaper tickets issued in Aug, but they went to those in the know and those best connected – meaning that touts can now sell on tickets at a decent mark up

•   The slots for panels, readings and signings are dominated by the American names and only the biggest of the UK authors – meaning that not even A J Dalton himself can get any sort of proper platform beyond the overcrowded bar

•   Nice though the convention centre is, its capacity is pretty limited, meaning that the attendees are in large part from the ‘trade’ – authors, publishers, merchandise sellers, etc. – just how many fantasy fans will actually get in? And it’s meant to be the ‘World’ convention? For the sake of comparison, you may like to know that when Dragon Con took place in Atlanta a few years back, it had 50,000 attendees. (Is the Hilton Hotel Brighton really going to manage that?)
These are not my opinions and insights, I should add, but feel free to respond with thoughts.

 In the meantime, as a Halloween treat and to celebrate my attendance of WFC (the first time it’s been in the UK in 17 years), I’m giving away Knight of Ages for free until the end of the Convention. Get your free download here: http://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com/knight-of-ages/

I'll be back with my first missive from the Con on Thursday!


fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 01:00:03 PM »
•   Nice though the convention centre is, its capacity is pretty limited, meaning that the attendees are in large part from the ‘trade’ – authors, publishers, merchandise sellers, etc. – just how many fantasy fans will actually get in? And it’s meant to be the ‘World’ convention? For the sake of comparison, you may like to know that when Dragon Con took place in Atlanta a few years back, it had 50,000 attendees. (Is the Hilton Hotel Brighton really going to manage that?)

To be fair, World Fantasy is and always has been focused on the publishing industry, not fandom. You can't compare it with a fan-run convention like DragonCon or WorldCon. WFC is a place to go to network with editors, agents and pro writers, not to get books signed.

Unfortunately the organisers of the UK event don't seem to have made this difference in culture clear - and given that the event has attracted a bunch of big US names (Scott Lynch, Pat Rothfuss, etc) who are rarely seen at UK cons, this has caused a lot of annoyance amongst fans. Particularly as the organisers have muddied the waters by arranging mass signings at the convention, which doesn't normally occur at WFC.

On the plus side, most of the big names do have non-convention events going on before and after the con, including signings at Forbidden Planet in London. Scott Lynch is also hosting a free "kaffeeklatsch" at the Red Roaster coffee shop in Brighton for all-comers.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 01:04:56 PM by AnneLyle »
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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 12:33:41 PM »
Maybe the americans' idea of 'world' is slightly different from an european's, hehe
But I also get what Anne means, that maybe they really are aimed at different areas of the market (professional vs. fans) and that wasn't made clear in all communications.

Have fun!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 10:09:24 PM by ScarletBea »
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Offline AJDalton

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The dreams and the screams of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 12:31:04 PM »

Even as we speak, I’m hurtling down on the train from Manchester to Brighton – alright, ‘trundling’ more than ‘hurtling’. Anyway, I’m trawling thru the programme for World Fantasy Con, and today’s highlights include readings from Ian Hunter, Charles Stross, Guy Adams, (the mighty) Michael Marshall Smith and (the glorious) Garth Nix! (There are others, but I’ve never heard of them.)
There are panel debates from 2pm, one of them’s on ‘Genre Poetry’. Not my thing really. Are there many or any notable genre poets? Am I missing something here? Perhaps they were desperate to fill the programme on the Thursday – after all, most people probably won’t be turning up until Friday.
Yet here’s a proper panel topic for Thursday: ‘A Tribute to Richard Matheson’. Mr Matheson sadly passed away this year. He authored I Am Legend, Duel and episodes of The Twilight Zone (amongst many other things). RIP
The convention really gets into gear on Friday, by the looks of the very crowded programme. Joe Hill! Oh my. Sir Terry Pratchett!! Patrick Rothfuss!!! The dreams and the screams!

Until my next post, remember you only have four days left to get your free download of Knight of Ages, which I’m giving away as a Halloween treat and to celebrate my attendance of WFC13: http://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com/knight-of-ages/. Enjoy!
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 01:34:02 PM »
As promised a very short update. Its pretty busy here!!!

Until I can figure out how to post photos here ( anyone?) If you care to go to @AJDalton1 on twitter, you shall find a few photos of some famous folk. I'll try to post the pics here later on tonight with a bit of a write up of my day so far. Very busy!
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Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2013, 10:14:50 AM »
It's Saturday morning and, against all expectations, Dalton lives - there was a Gollancz party with a free bar last night, you see. So irresponsible. Anyway, yesterday, I saw Joe Hill interviewed as Guest of Honour. A very honest and generous man. "How does it feel to be guest of honour here at WFC?" "It feels like someone made a mistake," says Joe. A cheap laugh, but also the tone for his entire interview. He spoke of how his first three books were rubbish because he was avoiding fantasy and horror, in order to be NOT like his dad Stephen King. His first three books never got published. He then realised that all literature is fantasy. There is only one genre in existence, and that's fantasy. He embraced that and became the stellar writer he is today. He spoke of his first time reading his work and how he pissed himself with fear. He told us about an unfortunate incident with "lunch meat" - but that's a story for another day.
 
I then went to see Sir Terry Pratchett. Very moving. His new book is 'Raising Steam' - sounds very steampunk. "It was low hanging fruit," said the great man. Then onto Patrick Rothfuss, who was reading at pretty much the same time as Sir Terry was being interviewed. "You do know you're in the wrong room, right? I'm not Terry Pratchett," said the bearded one. And he does have the biggest and most impressive beard here, closely followed by Joe Hill. Pat read a short sotry called 'How Old Holly came to be'. Amazing and poetic. And it shows how Pat crafts his stuff to be read out. Big rolling deep voice. Lovely.
 
And that was just Friday. Today? Oh, just Scott Lynch and Trudi Canavan! So glad I came all the way from Manchester. Now download Knight of Ages for free, you fools. Only a couple of days left. Bye for now.
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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2013, 04:44:10 PM »
Oh wow, that sounds amazing! :D
*very jealous*

(and the photos, hehe)

Say hi to Tom from me, will you? Ta.
(not that I think he'll remember me, though...)

And I hope that Terry's book is better than The Long Earth, though, because that one was extremely underwhelming...
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Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2013, 10:40:21 AM »
On the battlefield of dreams and screams, the valiant Dalton still lives! He looks to the skies and offers thanks, etc. Anyway. So, yesterday (not entirely a blur) was full on. My bank manager is going to hate me - inevitably, I spent all his money on books - so many that I probably won't live long enuff to read them all - will have to give them away as prizes in some competition, and so on.
I saw the wonderfully understated Trudi Canavan do a reading - she's going post-industrial! Yes, that means steampunk. A re-emerging trend. Then I went and saw THE Scott Lynch. He bounded into the room, hair flying (no, I'm not jealous... alright, just a little) and wise-cracking. He read a short story from a forthcoming collection/anthology. Funny. Very funny. Smart. Wonderful, very. Just very.
Then the master. Brian Aldiss talking about 'Finches of Mars'. The man is a scholar and a gent. He talked brilliantly (he's not capable of anything else but that) about the 'assumptions' we make that construct false worlds. Genius. I'm smarter for just having been in the session, I think.
Then a panel of commissioning editors from all the big publishing houses. They told everyone in the room that they could have a book deal. Oh, hang on, they didn't say that. Sorry. So Dalton goes out and wrestles Bragalonne and Titan to the ground until they finally yield. It's for their own good. They will thank me one day - hopefully while I'm still alive.
Then onto a Jo Fletcher party - what a host. More alchohol than even Conan could drink. Patrick Rothfuss's beard now reaches the floor. He is a wondrous Gimili made of jelly and ice-cream.
And now the long journey home to Manchester. Good job I've been in the gym training for 6 months so that I have the strength to haul all these damned wonderful books.
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2013, 08:37:45 PM »

Say hi to Tom from me, will you? Ta.
(not that I think he'll remember me, though...)


Said hi! He remembers you. Sharp one, that Lloyd. He's also agreed to cowrite a book with me! Rock and roll!
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 05:54:42 PM »
I'm not sure how I managed to miss you all weekend! Especially as I was at Scott's reading and the Gollancz party, amongst other things.

A good time was had by all, as they say...
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline AJDalton

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WFC ’13 afterword – the sadness and the gladness
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 08:33:55 PM »

Ah, the sadness and the gladness of endings! It had to happen, I suppose. Sunday’s trip back up to Manchester was hellish – didn’t sleep a wink, cos I had a new novel turning in my overtired brain. A science fantasy called Lifer. Had to start writing it there and then. I blame Brian Aldiss. Couldn’t even sleep that night cos I had to do more. Then up at a hideously early time on Monday to get to the uni and start teaching. Agony.

Still, a day off tomorrow, when I will have to check with a couple of publishers that I didn’t entirely imagine certain conversations we had. I’d also better check whether I owe anyone apologies for poor behaviour. Heh. As if!

What was the highlight of the event? Maybe doing a deep voice competition with Pat Rothfuss. Maybe calling him the Dwarf King. Maybe asking him if he’s a nature poet who writes in the tradition of Walt Whitman. Maybe being unexpectedly kissed by some drunk American woman at the bar (she was probably committing assault, but I’ll forgive her). Meeting the Charlie’s Angels of Belgium? Being mesmerised by Scott Lynch? Maybe chewing the fat with Joe Hill (very tall man – I’ll forever be in his shadow). Hanging out with Tom Lloyd. So many things.

The lowlight? The emotional difficulty of navigating what Brian Aldiss calls the strange mix of competition and collaboration that is human life? Trying not to be upset when blanked by certain people? Trying not to turn into the Hulk. Nah, none of that. The lowlight was leaving behind so many friends that I might not see again for another year.

Glad I went really. And I love Titan books and the whole of France (even the unwashed bits).
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2013, 09:06:30 PM »
Sounds really great!

I had my doubt's after reading Scott's blog entry, but looks as if it was a great and fun event nonetheless. :)
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Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2013, 09:15:32 AM »
Sounds really great!

I had my doubt's after reading Scott's blog entry, but looks as if it was a great and fun event nonetheless. :)

Just read his entry - and he's soooo right. The tone of the con's communications was shocking. I received emails that were downright rude. I asked a couple of genuine questions and was told I should already know the answer or my publisher should. And my publisher didn't and was just as frustrated by everything as me. Having said ALL that, it was a huge event to organise and the saints who'd foolishly agreed to doing that work were clearly stressed. They probably thought my questions dumb and annoying.

But the MAJOR comms problem of the event. Brighton being on the coast, the wifi connection was appalling. How can anyone blog the world's biggest fantasy event effectively in such a place? Madness.
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Offline AJDalton

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Re: The cheers, the beers and the tears of World Fantasy Con 2013
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 09:19:29 AM »
I'm not sure how I managed to miss you all weekend! Especially as I was at Scott's reading and the Gollancz party, amongst other things.

A good time was had by all, as they say...

You had to work hard to miss me, I think. LOL. Nah, I was a bit beseiged by aspiring authors wanting intros to the celebs in the room. Didn't stay still all night. And when I managed to duck them, I had to get my own business tasks sorted, for the survival of the Dalton species.

But the event was far far better than I'd feared it would be. Learnt stuff too.
fantasy reader, writer, dreamer, screamer - Empire of the Saviours

 

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