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People are beginning to blog about this years BristolCon, so I thought I’d join the fun! Obviously my perspective on the whole shindig is from the side of running it, rather than just being a member, but hey-ho 🙂 I know the things you don’t know about how closely we flirt with disaster, this year in the form of finding out ten days before the con that the hotel had double-booked the art room on the Friday night, which meant we had to set up the whole room (a long and complicated job), from scratch, on the Saturday morning. There was shouting. There was stress. There was an enormous flurry of emails, a number of massively generous offers of help from con-goers who were staying in the hotel on the Saturday, a few sleepless nights and a LOT of hard work by the committee and the art team, and you know what? At 10am on the Saturday the art room was good to go, nobody was any the wiser, and the art display went off without a hitch. Dodged a bullet there, I feel!

That’s the side of Conrunning that most people don’t see, the long days in preparation, the running about, the clean-up afterwards. What most people see is The Day, and luckily most people this year seem to have had a good time, according to feedback on Facebook and Twitter. I know I did, even if it was tiring and hard work.

I was only on the one panel this year, talking about The Evolution of Genre with Cavan Scott, Jonathan L Howard, Dev Agarwal and Lou Morgan. I was sat next to Dev, who is always super-organised and had made tonnes of notes and was jotting things down on them so he could make sensible point. I, typically, had done zero prep, was totally winging it, and spend most of the 45 minutes rambling on about Squidpunk Romance, which is going to be The Next Big Thing (in my brain, at least – Sammy HK Smith, are you listening?). When really what I should have done was copy Dev’s homework….

Octopus and squid

After the panel I did a short reading from “Art of Forgetting” (The same reading I did at the Forbidden Planet launch, so apologies if you heard it twice!) which was fun – one of the nice things about BristolCon is that people get the chance to do short readings between panels, rather than have the readings tucked away in an obscure room upstairs. It almost ensures an audience, as people either stick around after their panels, or are already in the room waiting for the next one to start. I think the readings were Meg’s idea, we’ve been doing them for a few years and they always seem to be popular – we have more people wanted to read than we could possibly fit in!

Highlights – oooh, many, many highlights…. Meeting Max from Rambling Genre for the first time, and learning for him within 20 seconds that he had amazing skill at Deep Throating (apparently there was a demonstration over the breakfast table involving a banana, which I’m simultaneously sad and relieved to have missed…)…. Having a long chat with Philip Reeve, Steve Blake and some of the con committee about Star Trek in the bar on Friday night…. The mass signing, which I went to with very small expectations and found myself sitting next to, and sharing a pen with, Lou Morgan, who is one of the loveliest people you could wish to meet…. The lovely man who had brought a copy of In Exile all the way from Cornwall, and had carefully laminated the covers to keep it nice… The people who bought my signed books from the FP stand and chased me down to get me to personalise them (I never thought of doing that!)…. the FREE CAKE, courtesy of Pat Hawkes-Reed and Amanda Beecham – we came home with a Black Forest gateau and demolished it in front of Star Wars on Sunday night… Grant Sharkey and his hilarious solo double bass performance… just…. meeting people and all the hugs and not going to any panels but hearing afterwards how good they were and feeling all glowy that we had done this and made so many people have such a good time that they want to come back and do it all again next year….

And the great thing is that I get to do it all again next weekend at WFC, where there will be MORE drinking and LESS running about like the proverbial blue-arsed fly – hope to see some of you there!


Memberships for next years BristolCon cost £20 until the end of May and will be on sale from www.bristolcon.org really soon, and our Guests of Honour will be Jon Courtney Grimwood and Emma Newman – can’t wait!