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wild times in shoetown - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-10-13 22:34
Subject: wild times in shoetown
Security: Public
Location:home
Mood:calmcalm
Music:sky news
Some time ago, the Northampton Development Corporation released a single, 60 Miles by Road or Rail, to generate publicity for the town. Sixty miles is the approximate distance from Northampton to London. Like camies, it took me four hours to cover those sixty miles yesterday.
But I get ahead of myself. More - and some pics -

Newcon has been described as a little convention that punches well above its weight in terms of the guests it attracts. Newcon 4's guests of honour were Iain Banks (I guess in his `M' guise) Paul Cornell, Storm Constantine and Ken Macleod, which is not too shabby, you have to admit. The venue was The Fishmarket, an arts centre in an old, um, fishmarket just beside Northampton's Market Square. This is what it looks like from the outside.



It's an interesting place - a big L-shaped open space, very bright and airy. Down one end of the L were the dealers' tables, and down the other was the bar, and sort of at the corner was where the panels and interviews were carried out, so there was a sense of everything going on at once, which was a little disconcerting when you were trying to concentrate on a panel.
This is what it looks like on the inside.





Speaking of panels, I was on the first one of the day, `Does the future of SF lie in media other than traditional media?' alongside Paul Cornell, John Jarrold, Steve Longworth and Una McCormack. Those of you who know me will know I don't usually regain the power of speech until around lunchtime. Paul Cornell and John Jarrold did a sterling job keeping things going, Steve Longworth was an admirable moderator, and Una McCormack made some very interesting points. I sort of muttered and tried to look cute.
This is a pic of people leaving after the panel. Or possibly during it.



That done, I went and bought some books. Among the books I bought was something by some bloke called Grant...something with big lizards on the cover...was supposed to be a signed copy, but it looks as though it's signed `John Clute...'
Anyway, there were many interesting panels, I bought almost too many books to carry, and in the evening Ian Whates launched Subterfuge. This was followed by a double celebration - Storm Constantine's birthday and the 50th anniversary of the BSFA. There were cakes for both occasions, and a barbecue.

I was going to stay for the second day of the con, but that would have meant dragging all my gear straight into work from Northampton, so I decided to come back on Sunday, and knowing what the British railways are like on a Sunday I left earlyish. Because of engineering work, I first had to get a bus from Northampton to Milton Keynes. Then I had to wait a while for a train to London. Which, because of all the track work that was going on, crept gingerly along like a teenager sneaking out of the house. Still, it was a nice day. Not a bad weekend, really.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-13 23:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Glad to hear you got yourself at least one decent book.

If Clute had signed it you'd not have been able to make out the "John". Or, for that matter, the "Clute".
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 21:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's true enough.
It's a damn good-looking book. And now I can read it on the train.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 21:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Make sure all your fellow passengers can see the cover and preferably the ISBN. In fact, you could carry a ream or two of order forms . . .
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 22:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Perhaps I could hold a helium balloon with `I'm reading The Dragons Of Manhattan by John Grant, why aren't you reading it too?' written on the side.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Now that's an excellent idea!
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 22:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*checks Yellow Pages for `author-themed helium balloons*
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2008-10-13 23:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Is Newcon just for people in the biz, or is it open to the public too? Northampton is only about 30 mins away from me, and for a chance to rub shoulders with that kind of crowd I'd drag my carcass out of the house! Well, probably...
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 21:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As far as I could make out, it was writers and fans, just like any other con but smaller - I'd guess about 150-200 people, and I don't think they were all there at once. I enjoyed it, but my understanding is there won't be one next year because the Two Ians have been asked to do some organising for FantasyCon.
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Kat: Question
User: artykat
Date: 2008-10-14 00:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Question
hmmm that book sounds vaguely familiar, but never heard of that author. Must be someone new....

*snickers*
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 21:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know; these newbies...
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

"*snickers*"

And the same right back at ya, without the introductory "s".
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Hm, if I still have any money by this time next year I might think of doing Newcon rather than Fantasycon. Really, of course, it's Eastercon I should be aiming for . . .
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Oops, I've just read your comment above that there won't be a Newcon next year. So much for that, then.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 22:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, that's what I think Big Ian said - there was a lot of noise and busyness going on at the time.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 22:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We're giving Eastercon a miss next year. If NW2 comes off, I'll be at Fantasycon.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Hm. We wearied a bit of Fantasycon this year.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-14 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a long way for you guys to come for a con you don't think you'll enjoy, but if Chris launches NW2 there I'll have to be there.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-10-14 22:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

"but if Chris launches NW2 there I'll have to be there"

Oh, obviously -- that's why we went to it last year. This year? I wanted a trip to the UK and Fantasycon was at about the right time, and then of course NW1 was shortlisted for the award, so it all seemed to fall into place. Of course, the trip then got fucked because Pam was uncertain if she wanted to come along and we ended up with both of us going on the quick-there-n-back-by-Paul-solo schedule. The standard of the con itself can be judged by the fact that this time it really mattered to me what a crap hotel the Britannia Nottingham is.

The bit of the trip we really did enjoy was the couple of days beforehand in Reading with Dave and Hazel. What follies! What laughter!
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Altariel
User: altariel
Date: 2008-10-22 15:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hi -- just wanted to say how much I enjoyed 'Multitude', which I read last night. Dark, funny, brilliant ideas on every page, a pleasure to read. Many thanks!

Una McC
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-22 22:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey, Una! I'm glad you liked `Multitude,' but you're much too kind. It's not a patch on `The Great Gig...' which I adored. It's a cracking little story and I'm proud to be in its company.
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Altariel: Crept upon the waters by applegnat
User: altariel
Date: 2008-10-23 14:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Crept upon the waters by applegnat
Thank you, very much! It's a story that I loved writing and I'm so pleased other people have enjoyed it too!
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-23 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If Big Ian hadn't got his hands on it first, I'd have bought it like a shot.
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Altariel
User: altariel
Date: 2008-10-24 07:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, thank you! That's most encouraging!

I really hope there are going to be more stories in the same setting as 'Multitude'. I think it's a really clever setting, so much potential for storytelling. Also, my other half and I have been laughing about the start all week ("These three elves walked into a bar...").
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-24 22:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I should admit I've only read three of the stories in the book so far. I've read mine because I have a colossal ego, I've read Asher's because I want to heckle him about it if he ever comes back from Crete, and I read yours because `The Great Gig In The Sky' is one of my favourite Pink Floyd tracks.
There are actually already another three elf stories; I tend to write them when I can't think of anything else to write, which is increasingly often these days. The previous one is also set in a pub, which may be Freudian or may not. I had this vague idea to keep writing them until I had enough for a book, then sort of bash them into shape, but to be honest right now I haven't the first idea where the story's going.
I kinow what you mean about the joke; I couldn't think of a punchline.
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Altariel
User: altariel
Date: 2008-10-26 16:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I read mine in the first batch too. And took it along to my writing group and made them read it too :-)

I had read the elf story in Celebration (it was one of the stand-outs in the collection for me), and I wondered if you were experimenting until you found the novel in the setting. It definitely deserves one.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-27 23:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cor. Well, thank you! Considering the company I was keeping in Celebration, that's...cor...
I'd never planned a novel - although you never know - I was just sort of noodling around with the idea and I've been lucky enough that people have wanted to publish them. I still don't have the first idea how it's all going to work out, but I'm open to suggestions.
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