Last week something amazing happened, something miraculous, something so gods-damned (points for guessing the reference) wonderful that I (very nearly) ran up and down the office crying ‘yaaayyyyyy’ like a child. Fortunately, I did not do that, otherwise I may well have lost my job. ANYWAY, the point is, we’ve got a new publicist. That’s right: our very own, in-house, sparkly new JFB publicist. This meant a few things to me, but to detail a couple of the most important a) I don’t have to do the tweeting any more b) I don’t have to sort out the blog any more – that is, until Andrew said those fateful words, ‘It would be good if you wrote a blog on the World Fantasy Convention.’
So here I am. And in a rather odd twist of fate, it seems I am using this blog post to avoid real work on this fine, stormy morning (don’t tell Jo – oh, this is a public forum you say? – damn).
Anywhoo, this blog post is on why I am looking forward to WFC. Welcome and enjoy.
1. When I first joined genre circles I was a total greenhorn. I’d never been to a convention, had no idea what to expect and – most worrying of all – could not decide what to wear for love nor money. I know! Bad times! Fortunately, I quickly learned one of the things that still, to this day, is my favourite aspect of a genre convention: no one cares. No one cares who you are, what your background is, what you choose to be. Genre fandom accepts who you are, it doesn’t question or judge, it doesn’t mind if you are an ‘outsider’, it doesn’t matter if you’ve only read one genre novel in your life, everyone is accepted into the fold. This is something to be celebrated and it’s why I always look forward to going: for three blissful days, no one will give a damn that I don’t quite fit in, that I can be a little weird or that, sometimes, I choose to wear earrings shaped like the Enterprise.
2. When rival publishers and rival authors get together in one slightly mangey hotel (hopefully not in Bradford) and remain cooped up together there for three days, you don’t expect that merriment and drinking will commence. It does. Always.
3. I learn new things: the panels at these cons are, almost without exception, intelligent discussions on contemporary topics given by those you want to hear from – the authors. They can be funny (I’m thinking particularly of the race panel at Eastercon this year, or the SFX Weekender panel two years ago with China Miéville, Joe Abercrombie and Sarah Pinborough), they can be serious, but they always give me something to think about.
4. I get to know our authors. Normally when Fantasycon rolls around, Jo recommends that all of the authors come. This is not compulsory, but when our authors do turn out in force it is always fun.
5. And finally, the last reason I am looking forward to WFC this year in particular (and it’s a bit of an odd one, so bear with me) is Garth Nix. Garth Nix is coming over here! Sabriel has been my favourite book since I was about fourteen. It is my comfort book, it’s my reset book (when I read so much slush that I need to read something good to reset), it is the book I want to have written … I’ve already told Jo she might have to stop me talking to him, because it’s guaranteed I won’t say anything intelligent.
So I hope to see you all there in a couple of days, joining me on the dance floor to throw some god-awful shapes, because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like the prospect of four days of drinking with friends?