Easter Con – that was rather good, wasn’t it?

Me, in a corset, at my first convention - I look so young!

Baby Ro at her first convention, trying on a corset for the first time. Over her ZARQUONISM T-shirt.

The first convention I went to was Lazlar Lyricon II in 1998; I was 14. In many ways, it’s still the best convention I’ve ever been to, even though I was only allowed to go if my Dad came with me. There were so many and so varied activities, including the robot wars, which I was able to join in ad hoc, along with three other enthusiastic individuals who attached four bits of string to a roll of carpet tape which we then operated in harmony to bring crashing down on the proper robots from above. Alas, eventually they found our weakness and cut our pieces of string. It was probably for the best – I’m still surprised that people were good-natured enough to allow us to cheat like that in the first place.

Since then, the only conventions I’ve been to were those organised by my University Science Fiction and Fantasy Society. (Those were a lot of fun, but not the same.) Until last year, that is, when the kind people at Angry Robot decided to offer to pay for my ticket to Fantasy Con if I agreed to fly the Angry Robot table in the Dealer’s Room for most of the weekend. As there’s no way I could possibly afford to go otherwise, I accepted very happily! It was a great success, and allowed me to meet the wonderful Lou Morgan, who I had previously only known via Twitter, as well as catching up with awesome people I never get to see, like Dave Moore of Abaddon Books, and Dave Tallerman – formerly of my local writer’s group. I also got a free copy of the amazing I, Zombie from Abaddon’s Heavy Metal Kareoke event, which turned me on to the burgeoning sub-genre of sentient zombie novels, as well as providing me with my very first review for this blog.

In general, the experience fired me up for making a real go of this writing and reviewing business, and I’m thankful to it for that. But I must admit that Fantasy Con was nothing to Easter Con. I was delighted to be asked to fly the Angry Robot desk again. I may not have seen any of the panels, but I got to see the new Doctor Who in a room full of hundreds of fellow fans, I got to go to the BSFA awards, and, most of all, I got to hang out with some truly awesome people. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting up with @LouMorgan again, I got to meet loads of amazing people that I have since got to know better via Twitter, including: @ghostfinder, @ALRutter, @GarrethLPowell, @murf61, @mygoditsraining, @Paul_Cornell, @emmajanedavis, @saxonb, @shevdon, @kevmcveigh, and probably a whole bunch more people whose twitter names are only omitted because I met so many great people this weekend, all of whom were even more lovely in person.

I also met a great many wonderful new people, including some of Angry Robot’s fabulous authors @VincentAbnett (Dan and Nik Abnett), @laurenbeukes, @aliettedb, @IanWhates, @AndyRemic, and @lavietidhar. Not to mention that I met many new wonderful people, including @AnneLyle, and a whole bunch more people who are either not on Twitter, or I didn’t catch a twitter name for, and old friends like Shana Worthen (who told me she has a new twitter account, but for whom I failed to note down the name!). If I’ve missed you out, do get in touch! Everyone who was there was ace and someone I would love to continue to know.

However, I shall leave the long list of Twitter names for now. I think what it does show is what an amazing tool Twitter is, and how social networking has changed the way we operate. My experience at Easter Con was transformed, relative to my experience at Fantasy Con, simply because I knew so many more people there, even though the number of people I had met in real life beforehand was roughly the same. I may not have been to any panels, but I had a fantastic time hanging out in the bar, even though the prices were universally extortionate (I will join the band of people saying that the Hilton was a uniformly terrible choice of venue).

Honourable mention should be made to Saturday evening’s game of creative consequences with Lou, Adam, and Anne. For those unfamiliar with the concept, you each have a piece of paper, on which you make up a line of story; you pass the paper round to the next person, who then writes a further line; they then fold over the paper so only their line is visible for the next person, and pass it on; so it continues, each person only getting to see one line previous, until you run out of paper. You then read out the consequences of this foolishness, and giggle like the extremely silly people that you are. We each took one of the pieces of paper home with us and promised to display them on our blogs for public mocking. For your pleasure:

Her tears shattered like diamonds on cut glass as they hit the river.
The gondola drifted, and Archibald took her hand.
“My darling,” he expostulated, “Will you make me the happiest man in the world?”
Jason – for it was he – smiled, shook his head, and said
“Oh my, that really was frightfully bitter!”
Said the actress to the Archbishop.
After they had stopped laughing, they realised it was time for dinner.
But the flight to Mexico did not go smoothly, especially after the pilot bailed out over the Atlantic.
Fortunately, being an international spy, Gerald leapt into the cockpit to save the day.
Triumphantly, he waved it aloft: the carrot of destiny had been found at last!

Of course, this is much funnier read out loud as you slowly discover where the line before the line you saw before you wrote your line as coming from. Just reposting it on a blog does not adequately convey how hysterically funny this can be for four writers who are slightly tipsy. What I like about this one is that, despite the fact that the plot completely loses its way, the tone stays consistent throughout.

Another highlight of the weekend was Lou, Amanda, and myself being about to get together for the first time in person, following Genre for Japan. The only shame was that Jenni and Al could not have been there too. It turns out that Amanda is even more wonderful in the flesh, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her better.

My Beeblebear

My Beeblebear, shortly before being elected chairbeing for my university SF&F Soc.

All in all it was a very good weekend. Even the dealer’s room was fun to be in. I got to get to know the Angry Robot crowd a bit better, as well as some of their authors. There were also numerous Beeblebears around, giving me a nice sense of nostalgia for my first convention, where I bought mine (shown right). And I even found the time to buy some bits and bobs for myself, with some of my Angry Robot money, including a first edition of Robin Hobb’s The Inheritance (which I have been coveting) and China Mieville’s Kraken. So you can probably expect reviews of those some time after I’ve reviewed all the other stuff I’m meant to be reviewing ;-p

I know a lot of people were muttering that this year’s Easter Con was not as good as previous years, but (having not had much to compare with), I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was very glad I came. Big thanks to Lee Harris of Angry Robot books, for letting me fly their table, and for all the show tunes we listened to on the way to and way back from the con 😀

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About Serenity Womble

I'm a writer of science fiction and fantasy short stories, as well as many, many unfinished novels. I review things of a generally speculative nature. This is my blog for writing and reviewing.
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6 Responses to Easter Con – that was rather good, wasn’t it?

  1. Always nice to see my name … well, anywhere! I only got to see about three hours worth of Eastercon goodness, I really wish I could have done the whole con. Although, based on those beer prices, I’d have had to hock most of my internal organs, so maybe it’s for the best.

    • The beer prices were truly shocking! Good to see you briefly – hope to have a proper catch up at some other con some time… maybe when it’s your turn to be signing books! 😀 Congrats again on the Giant Thief!

  2. Pingback: Truthless Consequences | Lou Morgan

  3. Hey Ro,
    would you mind if I forwarded your piccy of your younger self at Lazlar Lyricon 2 to the people making the new booklet for the HHGG Radio Show Live Tour?? We’re making a timeline of HHGG events across the years. I need an answer quick, as they are hot to go to press and I think your pic is the best one of that particular event.

    Hope you’re cool with this…

    Kevin Davies (I’m an honorary member of ZZ9 and was an animator on the TV series)

    • Hi Kevin,

      Flattered to be asked! I responded on Twitter, but I can see your account is fairly new, so I don’t know if you’re likely to check here or there sooner. Provisionally, I’m fine with this, if it’s specifically for the HHGG Radio Show Live Tour booklet. I’m not sure who originally took the photo. It could have been with my camera, or it could have been something someone sent me after – it was so long ago. I might have some more interesting pictures somewhere (I’m not sure a photo of a 14 year old in a corset really represents the convention) but I should really be going to bed, now. I’ll have a look Friday evening if you don’t need to know before then. Otherwise, yeah – go ahead.

      Ro (Rhubarb being my ZZ9 pseudonym of old, dubbed Rhube by my ZZ9 pen pal, and hence Rhube since I joined the Starship Titanic forums back when the Internet was young, and ever since…)

  4. Thanks Ro.
    The programme booklet designers are on a very tight schedule (the new one goes to print today) and I’ve been helping compile the pix. There were already a lot of con booklets etc on the timeline but imagery from LL2 was quite hard to come by, at short notice. It’s the Zarquonism T-Shirt that sold it to me though, charming as the rest of your outfit may be! As regards representing the event, from my long experience of conventions it could easily have been a 49-year old geezer in a corset – very little shocks me anymore! Yes, I’m very new to twitter and slowly dragging my sorry old carcass into the modern age. I’m quite content with Facebook, tbh. Find me there, if you like, and see lots of Hitchhiker stuff going on. The tour is a big hit – will you be going at all? See: http://www.hitchhikerslive.com/ – (that’s my video trailer there, btw).
    Thanks again,
    KJD

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