Gracious me, that was fun! VCon, I mean! What’s that? You weren’t there? You didn’t LIVE THE EXCITEMENT!?!
Okay, no sarcasm: this really was a fun event. The energy level was really good this year, after last year’s slightly tetchy mood of grumbly “why can’t I find the room my panel is in and why are all these people ahead of me in a line-up for something I’m not sure I’m even interested in?” Not that last year was a disaster; far from it! Just that there seemed to be a general air of muttering around many areas (or, possibly, around areas in which I manoeuvred).
Certainly this year I enjoyed myself more than last year, for whatever reason that was.
Particularly fun were the panels I got to participate in.
The one which I dreaded the most was “Are You Prepared to be Published?” with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing brainchild Brian Hades. Given the panel was set for 11 PM – Midnight, was concurrent with the dance, and a Saturday night infamous for its room parties, we anticipated an audience of three, all of whom hadn’t seen the outside world in the eight years it has taken to complete their 16-volume saga about space-exploring cats with ray-guns, all sitting in the front row, staring unblinking at us with intense expressions of “answer my question or I will follow you home and eat your entire garden.” Thankfully, instead we had a room of 25 people who all asked reasonably intelligent questions and were interested in the discussion without being scary enough to make me want to run screaming for my life at any point.
A happy addition to the panel was Barbara Gordon (no, not that one; the one who’s a mostly unpublished author living in Victoria). Providing the author’s perspective about the process of submitting to a publisher was a welcome one, and also something which made the variety of content more interesting. Granted, both she and her boy are a bundle of laughs, so it was good to have the warmth of them attending the panel in the first place, but dragging her up on the platform to help out was a brilliant idea and I’m glad Brian had it.
After stumbling home – completely sober, mind you – at 1:30 AM, I then next appeared almost entirely awake at a panel the next morning at 10:00 AM called “Listen to This! Listen to This!” for which I was entirely un-prepared. To begin with, I hadn’t any real idea about the format of the thi9ng, for Programming never replied to my eMail asking for clarification of how much material to bring, or the degree of specificity of SF & F content desired. The three books I considered selecting material from – including Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and an early scene in the “Gormenghast” trilogy – would have required a goodly chunk of time due to their sheer length of material, as well as a section of text either side to provide framing material for the passage. I explained the latter point to the few people there, including the white-haired gentleman sitting directly in front of me in the first row. He looks a tad familiar, I thought to myself, and wondering if he was in fact… and then he sat back up from putting his back-pack on the chair next to him, his name tag straightened out on his chest and declared that, yes indeed, I had just explained to Larry Niven that I was a complete loss when it came time to proper participation in the panel he had taken the time to attend. At one point I noticed him staring at my chest to see my name tag, then glancing into the souvenir programme’s section of biographies of those on panels, no doubt memorizing the name of the complete nit-wit sitting in front of him, swearing he will avoid all things connected with me henceforth.
Then again, apparently he’s got a bit of a hearing problem, so perhaps he wasn’t able to pick-up the conversation at that point so he decided to review the listing for the next panel.
British Fantasy Awards
Yes, sadly, the two categories that Atomic Fez was short-listed in went to other people: both the “Best Novella (2010)” and the “Best Small Press” awards. That said, getting that far with things in the first year one even qualifies for the awards is pretty dang good: long list in all of the categories but one that apply, and short-listing in two, is hardly something to sneeze at.
Thus, while no shiny “WINNER!” graphic gets to be placed on the site, there’s no shame being felt or soul-crushing disappointment hanging over the mighty laboratories of Atomic Fez Publishing.
After all, there’s always next year…
“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.