I’ve just returned from Fantasycon, this year held in Nottingham at the Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel in the University grounds. It was a good location: comfortable hotel, plenty of parking and the added bonus of being slightly less that 90 minutes drive, even with the M1 down to a speed limit of 50 for most of the journey. The conference centre itself had an excellent central hall (raked seating for theatre-style events) with several break-out rooms for smaller panels. Seats were always available, which was a blessing for someone with metatarsalgia (hurty-foot-syndrome).
There were plenty of free books on offer (I acquired a Scalzi and a George RR Martin amongst others), but it’s really the panels where this conference excels. Don’t get me wrong, Eastercon is great, and barring exceptional circumstances I will always be there, but Eastercon is for fans and Fantasycon is for writers and publishing industry professionals. I have already put next year’s Fantasycon in Scarborough in my diary.
This year panels included subjects such as worldbuilding, character creation, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, franchise fiction, folklore, humour in genre fiction, diversity, fight scenes, epic fantasy, dark fantasy and religion. There were also a number of extremely informative panels on publishing, with some of the top folks in the industry: editors and agents. In particular I enjoyed: Hack and Slash:Editing Dreams and Editor Nightmares, a rundown on Genre Publishing in the C21st with a panel consisting of Gillian Redfearn (Gollancz) Jo Fletcher (Jo Fletcher Books), Anne Perry (Hodder), Meg Davis (agent), Natalie Laverick (editor) and Marc Gascoigne, which offered wonderful insights. Similarly the agents panel Agent’s Charter: From Pitch to Deal and Beyond, featuring Meg Davis, Juliet Mushens, Ellen Gallagher, Kevin Andrew Murphy and John Wordsworth, was fascinating.
And there were others I would have liked to go to, but it was a physical impossibility. I needed a cloning device to get to everything. Without exception the panels were well run and stayed on-topic with quality panellists and sound information. The whole programme is here: http://fantasycon2015.org/whats-on/
I was on the historical fantasy panel, Stealing from the Past, and I also did a reading, the first Chapter of Winterwood, my upcoming historical fantasy.
A great weekend. And now I need to sleep for 24 hours.