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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

What I Did On My Holidays

Eastercon 2008

Unfortunately, I could only attend the con on Saturday, which was a great shame because the whole place was a bustle of interest and activity, and I would have loved to sample much more!! However, with two young boys, I couldn’t miss them on Easter Sunday stuffing their faces with chocolate, could I??

So, where to begin? For a start, this was apparently the best attended Eastercon for many a decade, and the bustle reminded me of Worldcon in Glasgow, 2005. There were plenty of friendly faces, and I hooked up initially with Ian Sales (budding SF writer and shortly afterwards, the Heavy Boys from Solaris (, namely Christian Dunn and Mark Newton. Also present was Tony Ballantyne ( fellow teacher (well, Dep. Head!!) and Solaris author, Eric Brown (website currently under construction, I think) author of the fabulous Helix and Kethani and all round curry-aficionado. We were shortly joined by the cool and collected Jim Swallow (, author of many Star Trek and Doctor Who novels and a guy I was fascinated to learn was working on the story of the upcoming Eidos game, Deus Ex 3. Being a bit of a game-head, I loved Jim’s tales of being flown out to Montreal and chatting to designers who worked on one of my fave games of all time, Half Life 2. Jammy b******. Also had a chat with the esteemed editor-turned agent John Jarrold ( who regaled me with a tale from the David Gemmell years :-).

During a visit to the dealer’s room, I was head-hunted by Danacea ( of Forbidden Planet to sign her bust. No, really. A kind of plastic statue thing called MonQee destined to be auctioned and proceeds donated to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s; a very noble cause. I’m not sure quite why Charles Stross signed MonQee’s arse, but having taken the prime spot, I was forced to sign its head (and no, not the head Newtie proposed, the plump £100-jacket-wearing freak…)

After many beers, and a trip out for a late lunch, and more beers and fleeting meetings with Donna Scott of Visionary Tongue ( who’s just edited/ published my short story VACHINE (and yeah, Mark, donut-boy, it is spelt right) and a whole host of other nice people, we were joined by dapper chappy James Lovegrove (, fresh off a panel and ready for food. A thoroughly nice chap, and along with Eric, Christian, Mark, Ian, and a whole big bunch of writer-types we suffered a long freezing trek through the wilds of Heathrow to an Indian restaurant that served fine food aplenty (and much wine :-) ).

Back to the con for more drinkies with the likes of intellectual angryman Ian Watson ( who I love to bits, but really, he is absolutely barking mad in a really-cool-and-clever-sort-of-way, and then on to the famed Scandinavian party where I was forced to drink some toxic shite by the name of wormwood or deathwood or something; anyway, it was paint-stripper. No wonder all the Scandys (hello Anders!) had Big Beards. Reeling from that alcoholic blow, we (a rag-tag band of drunken heroes) somehow staggered to the disco, a kind of 80s school throwback playing Michael Jackson’s Thriller and other travesties of music. ‘Twas here I had the pleasure of meeting Saxon Bullock ( who’s just been signed by John Jarrold with his first novel Hyperion Gambit, which I hear is quite good. Saxon was the guy who wrote a scathing review of my recent novel War Machine, and so, tempting as it was to break his fingers, he did turn out to be a really nice guy, although it has to be said, he cannot dance. Ho ho. I have the video to prove it. Honest. I will auction to the highest bidder.

The evening rounded off in drunken merriment, and although I was going to mooch about on Sunday and sign up for Alt Fiction, I was struck by a terrible vomiting bug, obviously caught from one of the wormwood-quaffing Scandys, and absolutely nothing at all to do with the amount of grog I grogged. Anyway, spent the following morning reeling around in bed like a pathetic little girl. The new hardman of science fiction? Yeah. Right. I cried like a baby. Still, I’m sure I’ll be back on form for Alt Fiction in April!!


James Swallow said...

Andy! Nice to meet you too, mate!

Andy Rem said...

I'll look forward to standing you a beer at alt.fiction!! And hearing more stories about Deus Ex 3........