That was the weekend that was

So, Alt Fiction? Alt Fiction rocks. A fun and friendly convention in the heart of Derby, at a venue that is comfortable with a bar/cafe that charges normal prices. The kind of convention where everyone is accessible, running the kind of panels, podcasts and workshops that are broad in scope but all the better for it. No niches, no obscurities, no cliques.

Alt Fiction rocks.

Among the mix of excellent events were my three – a reading from Empire State (alongside a reading by the lovely Jonathan L. Howard), which seemed to go down well among the small group who came along, a podcast on steampunk with Jen Williams and Kim Lakin-Smith which was fun, although – and this is probably my single criticism of Alt Fiction – the room was totally unsuitable for podcasts, being so noisy we could hardly hear the questions. And rounding off Sunday afternoon, a panel on how to publicise yourself and your writing, which was surprising well attended given it was last thing on a very hot day. The panel was expertly moderated by Tom Hunter, and I think myself and co-panellists Jenni Hill and Jon Weir managed to impart some useful advice!

The main highlight for me was the comics panel with Graham McNeil, Dan Abnett, Paul Cornell and Pat Kelleher – in fact, this panel really showcased the attitude and tone of the whole event, with a gigantically broad remit (as Paul pointed out, a panel about comics was equivalent to a panel about painting or sculpture) resulting in a fascinating and focussed discussion.

But of course, one of the best reasons to attend events like Alt Fiction is to catch up in person with friends and colleagues you only see a handful of times a year – so, in no particular order, my thanks and greetings to: Kim and Del Lakin-Smith, Dan Abnett, Lee Harris, Marc Gascoigne, Jenni Hill, David Thomas Moore, Paul Cornell, Jonathan L. Howard, Anne Lyle, Adrian Faulkner, Amanda Rutter, Pat Kelleher, Andrew Reid, Scott Harrison, Cheryl Morgan, Alex Davis, Adele, Vincent Holland-Keen, Sharon Ring, Jon Weir, Stephen Deas, Mike Shevdon, Darren Goldsmith, and everyone I chatted to and met (and I apologise if I’ve left you off the list!).

And finally, big thanks to Jen Williams, writing pal and convention buddy, who came up from London and put up with an hour-long drive to and from Cheshire to Derby to attend – her assessment of Alt Fiction is over here.

Now, back to work. I’ve avoided post-convention crud so far, and I’ve got a novel to finish editing!