Alt. Fiction Report

This past weekend, the Quad in Derby was packed with authors, publishing types and fans of Sci-fi, fantasy and horror at the Alt. Fiction convention. As usual, I completely forgot to take any photos of the event, but I am sure that there will be plenty of visual aids across the internet in the coming days.

So what did I learn from the experience? Well:

  • Military sci-fi isn’t just for fascists and gun nuts, but some of it is.
  • Characters in a well-realised political and social context are just as important in military sci-fi as anywhere else, but blowing big shit up helps.
  • Tolkien’s presence continues to be felt right across the fantasy literature, for good and bad, but the genre is so broad it can encompass many different types of fantasy.
  • Talking about race in a fantasy context is tricky, when it can mean both people of different physical and cultural backgrounds as well as varied species such as dwarfs and elves.
  • The Witch King of Angmar was sucker-punched by a midget and a cross-dresser.
  • Dwarfs are still more fun than elves, whatever way you put it.
  • The world of audiobooks and audio dramas is a fascinating if somewhat surreal place.
  • I was glad to have practised my reading from the Crown of the Conqueror – some names are easier to read in your head.
  • The Wasp people in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of Apt series are badass; and the Rapture isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
  • Water is indeed essential, especially in a very hot convention venue; helped by caffeine and alcohol.  Having nine hours between ‘appearances’ needs a lot of liquid filling.
  • Turning up a little late to a panel on ‘The Writer’s Life’ is somehow apropos.
  • There are as many different writing processes as there are writers.

I’d like to say thanks to all of the people who came to the recordings, panels and readings, as well as the folks I talked to in the bar and around the Quad. It was great to see familiar faces and to meet lots of new people. This was my second Alt. Fiction and to be honest I felt a little like a fish out of water last time, with so many strangers about; not so this year, where I was kept entertained, informed and amused for the whole event.

Special thanks to Alex for organising and on two occasions taking personal charge so that I ended up in the right place at almost the right time. Big props to all of the volunteers who made the convention run so smoothly, they are the heart and soul of Alt. Fiction.


Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 11:45 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Gutted I didn’t go. See you next year though, when I’ve got something to tout 😉


    • Other than your arse in the bar?


      • Is that why you wouldn’t come with me this year?


  2. Er, I mean, interesting post, Gav.


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