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Eastercon 2009 Bradford: The Magical Bus Tour Con

Okay, now that some of the dust has settled I can set down some of my impressions about LX2009, the Bradford Eastercon (and the 60th Eastercon held in these fair isles). The convention itself, held at the Cedar Court Hotel, was quite neatly laid out, with all the main rooms, all easily and quickly accessible, no expeditionary yomps down long, lonely corridors to reach a distant annexe. The dealers room was a little small, but there was a reasonable selection of goodies on show, although I have to mention that there was only ONE copy of Seeds Of Earth for sale. In fact, there were more copies (2) of my first nov, Shadowkings, the hard-to-get one, than that, which was odd.

Anyway, the con hotel had not many rooms so the majority of the attendees had to reside at other hotels, the Midland, the Hilton (where I was) and the Campanile. And the con ran a bus service to link up all the overflow hotels with the con hotel, a pretty good idea.

The four panels I was on went rather well, although the one on the Sunday at 8pm risked having the panel outnumbering the audience. That one, “Writers, artists and fans discuss their musical inspiration”, was a slight mini-revelation in that I seemed to be the only one who associated specific albums with specific books – for me, Tangerine Dream’s PHAEDRA will always bring to mind the Mines of Moria section of Lord of the Ring, while the same band’s semilive album, RICOCHET, always reminds me of Asimov’s FOUNDATION trilogy. Also, the 1st Black Sabbath album is forever linked in my mind to the fevered writing of HP Lovecraft since I discovered them both at the same time, back in the early 70s.

The David Gemmell Award panel, moderated by fantasy writer Debbie Miller, went very well, taking a look at DG’s life and writing, then revealing the short list, having a talk about the writers on it (I was able to big-up Joe Abercrombie, having read his trilogy, and give a mention for Andrej Sapkowski since I`d played The Witcher, the game based on his fantasy sequence). And it ended with a raffleised giveaway of some books from the long list mingled with chocolate bunnies.

Apart from that, quite a good time was had, seeing old friends, shooting the breeze, gossiping, as you do, and picking up the odd item at the dealers room. I laid hands on the new ORCS book by Stan Nichols, HOUSE OF CHAINS by Steve Erickson, SWORD IN THE STORM and LEGEND OF DEATHWALKER by David Gemmell, and GALACTIC EFFECTUATOR by Jack Vance. I had been wanting to get hold of BLACK MAN by Richard Morgan but didnt see a copy – got it from Amazon last week, though. Oh yes, and I got CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian Mcdonald, his short story collection set in his RIVER OF GODS future.

Folk I met there included my agents, Johns Parker and Berlyne, my editor, Darren Nash, and Bella Pagan, another Orbit editor; Ian Sales, ubiquitous titan of British SF; Eric Brown, titan of British SF (Keighley chapter); Keith Brooke, titan of British SF (Gifford Division); Ian Watson, megatitan of British SF (Gluteus Maximus Legion); John Jarrold, Grand Overtitan of British SF (Editorius Emeritus); as well as Neil Williamson, Paul Cockburn, Roger Robinson, Rog Peyton, Craig Marnoch, Debbie Miller, Tiffany, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Ian Sorensen, Vince Docherty, Mark Chitty, Ian Whates, and many others, each and every one titanic in their own special way.

Next year sees a return to the Radisson Edwardian hotel at Heathrow, a repeat of last year which wasn’t an especially enjoyable con for me, featuring The Most Expensive Bar Drink I’ve Ever Paid For, namely a bacardi-and-coke priced Eight (8) British Pounds, m`lud. Worked out at roughly 50p a sip.  Don’t….get me started.

PS – it occurs to me that there are other events which took place which I haven’t mentioned (Bradford Curry Quest, the case of the closing  hotel, and the mysterious foreign deal), but rest assured that I shall once certain conditions are satisfied.