I’m back from FantasyCon, and have had enough time now to catch up on sleep. It was a wonderful weekend – I’d had my doubts ahead of time as last year’s had felt a bit cliquey – but this year it was great fun. Being on a couple of panels helped enormously; it gave me a focus and raised my profile a bit. As a result I spent a lot more time talking with other authors between sessions, which is surely the real reason to go to these events. So thank you, Toby Venables, Anna Smith Spark, John Garland, G.V. Anderson, Eliza Chan… It was lovely to meet you all, and I hope I see you all again next year, if not before.
The Grimdark panel, chaired by Susan Bartholomew, was my highlight. Well, it was my first panel and one always remembers the first time. I was a bit surprised to be on it – After the Ruin is full of terrible things happening to innocent people but I’d not call it grimdark: it lacks the nihilism I associate with that (sub)genre of fantasy – but it was a group of well-read people talking about books to a room full of people interested in books, and that’s about as good as it gets. Oh, and Watership Down is the grimdark writer’s grimdark. Who’d thunk it!
And conversations late into the night with Eric Steele, and John Garland, and – of course – Irene Soldatos, about epic poetry, and heroes, and mythology, and Superman… So much fun and so inspiring to talk so much and listen.
It’s in Chester next year. I’ll be there.