– It’s HUGE. There must have been at least 7000 people in the ExCeL, a place that some told me was half a mile end to end. Which would explain why I now have thighs that can kill a man. Also, I won’t miss the London prices, which explains the moths in my wallet.
– There were many good friends at the con, but also a large number of strangers. This was quite daunting from a ‘walking up and starting a conversation’ perspective, though Friday’s welcome party was a good help (thanks to Paul Cornell for being a great greeter!). I’ve been described- Pete’s words here, not mine!- as ‘an introvert who’s killed an extrovert and is wearing their skin.’ That skin wore pretty thin over the weekend but it served its purpose. I do love socialising, but after five days of intense panels and chatting, I definitely needed a few days under the duvet…
– People are interested in the imaginary people in my head and want to talk about them! And I’m glad I kicked myself up the backside and wandered the dealers’ hall to chat to authors, publishers and many other interesting folk. Thanks especially to Naomi Jacobs for a brief but fascinating chat about The Creative Exchange (which ties in nicely with my day job), Graham Austin-King for talking about his self-publishing experience (and sorry my business cards reminded you about the horror of editing!), and Inspired Quill who listened to my pitch despite being laden with lurgy. I love that they’re a social enterprise aiming to invest in the community to help disadvantaged young people with creative writing. I also loved that one of their writers has an urban fantasy set in Broadstairs, Kent. Take that, everything set in London! Kent and Edinburgh are after you!
– Celebspotting went well. After watching an interview filled with brilliant swinging Sixties anecdotes, we managed to speak to Chris Foss as he was illustrating the front of his art books (all selling at £200, and sold out!). What a jovial, kindly man he was, and his spacecraft artwork is stunning. We also kept running into Charlie Stross, who’s met Pete through his work with ORG in Edinburgh. He smiled at my Yes badge a lot. Maybe at Shamrokon I’ll be brave enough to, y’know, speak to him.
– I remembered I like sci-fi. You’d think, having chosen to go to something billed as a sci-fi convention, that liking it was a given. But it’s actually been a long time since I’ve read any, partly because fantasy is more my thing and partly because I haven’t found the sort of sci-fi I like. As a result of WorldCon, I’ve resolved to read Iain Banks, pinch Pete’s Borges and try to research quantum mechanics. After all, NaNoWriMo is only a few months away…
– We booked late on hotels, resulting in having to rely on the last train home, so we missed a lot of the evening entertainment. There was, however, no argument on sucking up the large taxi fare to stay for the 80s disco. I will never forget Sansa Stark and a werewolf boogying to Come On Eileen. Or the redshirt dancing to Duran Duran. Nor will anyone forget my abysmal air guitar to The Final Countdown. Sorry about that.
On balance, I enjoyed it and did get some useful panels and contacts from it, but I’m not sure if I’ll go to next year’s. I may be heading across the pond in January for Arisia in Boston, but I’d rather like to save up for a big holiday in the summer which I shall try and spin as ‘novel research’. It’s entirely not ‘Laura wants to eat her way around South America’. Nope.