I attended the annual British Fantasy Society Convention, or FCon, at Nottingham last weekend. It was a great event. Meeting writers, chatting with friends, buying books, attending panels – life doesn’t get much better than that.
All in all, the weekend was a great success. I acquired many books, all of which I’m eager to read over the next few months. It was great to mix with luminaries such as Ramsey Campbell, Pete Crowther, James Barclay, Christopher Golden, Stephen Jones, Reggie Oliver, Chris Fowler, and many others.
Got there early on Saturday and registered. Hit the dealer’s room instantly and purchased Bull Running For Girls by Allyson Bird, from the Screaming Dreams table. What a gorgeous cover, by award-winning Vincent Chong! I can’t wait to dive into these stories. The head of Screaming Dreams, Steve Upham, was there, even though he’d been ill recently. It was great to see him. Although it was a tiring weekend, I’m sure he enjoyed being there.
Spent quite a while in the room, frittering away my budget. While I was browsing, Gary McMahon and his wife arrived, and we spoke briefly (and he signed a few books). Troo Topham from Humdrumming let me collect my copy of Tim Lebbon’s The Reach of Children, and I picked up The Second Humdrumming Book of Horror. Also got Paul Meloy to sign my copy of Islington Crocodiles, and we chatted – his Cockney accent was so strong, I thought he was a character from Eastenders! Managed to mumble my regards to Tony Richards, declaring my admiration for his work. I attended a good panel in the gallery suite about writing short stories; brilliantly funny, hosted by Pete Crowther, featuring Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, Christopher Fowler, and Tony Richards. Bought my copy of Beneath the Surface, and got it signed by the elusive Simon Strantzas. It’s a lovely looking book with a wonderful cover.
After lunch I picked up my winnings from Chris Teague of Pendragon Press – a signed limited edition of We Fade To Grey and a copy of Rough Cut by Gary McMahon. Chatted to John L Probert briefly, and got him to sign my copy of Coffin Nails. Nipped up to the 10th floor to see some readings – Gary McMahon, Tony Richards, Chris Fowler, and Joel Lane – all of them brilliant.
PS Publishing book launch next, and I got Mark Samuels and Ramsey Campbell to inscribe my copy of Glyphotech. I also bought a Chris Golden chapbook, and got Nicholas Royle to sign a copy of The Enigma of Departure.
Of course, I bought loads more books than I can list here. I wondered blindly around, staring awestruck at Reggie Oliver, almost getting stuck in the lift with Charles “the new Herbert Van Thal” Black and John L Probert. Then stood in line for The Best New Horror signing, chatting with John Probert and Charles Black about various bits, before talking to Wayne Mook, just as it was time to go. Other writers at the event included Sarah Pinborough, Mark Morris, Tim Lebbon, Simon Clark, Conrad Williams, Graham Joyce – all favourites of mine.
All in all, I had a great time. I’ll definitely be back next year. It’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, who share your interests in film and literature, and who know the difference between Ligotti and Layman. There’s certainly more to horror than the average Joe-on-the-street realises, and it’s an honour to have mingled with such pioneers of the genre.