It was one of those moments. I was in the dealer’s room, checking out the Forbidden Planet stand and saying hello to my friend and fellow author, Danie Ware, when the other guy working the stand asked whether I could sign their stock of Empire State. Sure, I said, and as I signed copies, I talked to Danie about her forthcoming novel, Ecko.
Two years ago, I was in the dealer’s room at my first EasterCon. It was at the same hotel, and the Forbidden Planet stand was in the same place in the dealer’s room. I had gone over to introduce myself to Danie, whom I vaguely knew online. Before she saw my name badge, she asked whether I was an author who wanted to sign their stock of books. I laughed and introduced myself, and thought how cool it would be if that were the case. Cool, and impossible. Right?
EasterCon 2012 was an event of epic awesomeness, filled with strange little memories and connections and things like that. At EasterCon 2010, I met Lee Harris from Angry Robot for the first time in person, and he informed me that I’d just won their World House short story competition. Two years later, there we were in the bar, discussing copyedits of my forthcoming second novel from them, Seven Wonders. Later that night, Amanda Rutter and I reminisced over that first convention, where we had both wandered around, somewhat in awe of everything going on. She had just started her book blog and I was working hard on a novel.
This year she was representing Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot that she’s now editor of, while I was on a couple of panels as the author of one book, with another three coming.
A lot can happen in two years, can’t it?
But, okay, enough with the smug nostalgia. EasterCon 2012 was special for other reasons. It really felt like there was Something Going On, that genre was alive and well and partying hard in a hotel near Heathrow. Much of the weekend was spent ensconced in the bar, talking about anything and everything to do with books and writing and making friendships that will last forever – my thanks especially to Kim Curran, Laura Lam and Emma Newman, three wonderful writers, all of whom were attending their first EasterCons. And to Tom Pollock, and Tom Hunter, and Nick Harkaway, and Lee Harris, and to everyone who came to my panels and my reading and who – to my continued surprise and delight – came up to say they enjoyed my work and asked if I would mind signing their book.
It goes the other way too, of course. I eventually summed up the courage to introduce myself to Cory Doctorow and say thanks for his Empire State review and blurb, and seeing the one marvellous George RR Martin wandering around – and him joining our corner of the bar late on Sunday night – really was pretty cool. I also managed to say hi to Gail Carriger, who I’ve known online for ages but had never met in person.
On the Thursday night, Guest of Honour (and early arrival) Paul Cornell tweeted to say that he “felt very cosy in genre”. I think this it actually, in a strange way, kinda sums it up. For perhaps the first time, it really felt like I was part of a big, supportive community of peers. It was the same at the Hugo Award nomination announcements on the Saturday night, where I clapped and cheered as the names of several friends and colleagues were read out. Paul even did a dance, and I ate a lot of chocolate biscuits. That was a good night. There was Something Going On. And it seems I wasn’t the only one to notice.
Roll on FantasyCon!