Saturday, 24 January 2009

Forbidden Planet mini-con

I went along to the signing that David Deveraux and danacea , Danie Ware of Forbidden Planet, organised/set up for the release of his new book Eagle Rising. 

I don’t normally go for these kind of things after being to one years back when FP was by centre point, where you sort of shuffled along in a queue with your 2 items and go them signed dribbled out your star struck question and got moved along. Not fun.

This was billed as a signing with a difference; there were to be many authors and they would be milling about talking signing etc the list was thus:

Joe Abercrombie 
Alex Bell 
Mark Chadbourn 
David Devereux
Jaine Fenn
Jon Courtenay Grimwood 
Tom Lloyd
Suzanne McLeod
Steve Savile 
James Swallow

I’ve seen a lot of chat in the blogoverse about this, primarily because I have been looking at the author’s sites and from that side of the event people seem to be happy. 

Two of the authors I read and like enough that I would go to see anyway, four are on my must buy list and the remainder I think I’ll read them now because they were there recommended as it were by the other authors present.

It’s actually a damn clever piece of marketing and I hope it catches on.

I’m on the punter side of the table here and wanted to share my thoughts on the evening.

This day out was actually my birthday present to myself, so without a twinge of conscience I stuck some cash in my wallet knocked of work early and caught the train to London. I used to live in London and it’s always a bit strange going back but at least I still knew my way round. Right? Wrong. They moved forbidden planet since I was last there; so I decide I’m going to rest my weary legs and have a pint of the black stuff. Duly refreshed I make my way down to Shaftsbury avenue.

I sort of aimlessly wondered until I saw a milling crowd and made my way over. Hurray I’d got there, now what am I going to do? As it turns out I’m going to shuffle over to a table and say something inane to Jon Courtney Grimwood who was a very nice man by not looking at me like I was an idiot and chatting to me. It got slightly easier once I figured that all of us there were meeting people for the first time and it was probably harder for the authors as they know next to nothing about those approaching them. (who’s that psycho?)

Then I went and had a chat with Joe Abercrombie (probably always going to be called Joe Applecrumble from now on) who was there with the ArchPoohBah of Hype ,Simon Spanton. Joe kindly wrote out a line from ‘Before they are Hanged’ in the front cover of the copy I took with me. If I’d known his writing was that illegible I would just have got a doctor to write out any old blah!! Once past the prepped anecdote/story I had in my head and I just started talking like a normal person the whole conversation became more natural. I’m starting to relax now.

Next up I go and speak to Mark ‘Zane Lowe’ Cadbourn. 

Now that I am slightly more relaxed I seem to be able to ask more coherent questions. He's researching a series of books based around Dr Dee which sound great. And he's done a Hellboy story. After a little while David of GeekSyndicate interrupted to interview Mark for their podcast.

By now i'm a bit fan boyed out so think to myself I'll just look around on the tables; the next thing I know is that someone is giving me the hard sell. A lady is waving her arm and pointing at a book saying "buy this, you'll like it" After some chat it turns out that it is Jaine Fenn selling me a copy of her first novel Principles of Angels. To be fair to Jaine it was her publishers fault, telling her to jump up and down and sell the book. She should have said I'll write them, you sell them. I'm now 80% through this book and it does not disappoint. 

Here are some  Photos not mine but from Danie Ware on Flickr

Handily there is a pile of David Deveraux books near so I scoop one up and go and have this signed by the man before a big pile of books is placed in front of him ready for his signature.

Fortunately when I turn round and start to wonder what I will do next I spot Robert Rankin. One of my all time favorite authors. So full of enthusiasm I approach the great man and introduce myself and to my eternal horror call him Ian. Ground, open up, now, really. Fortunately he was not too perturbed by this. I, however, slink off in disgrace.

Trying now to work on a damage limitation strategy I approcah Suzanne McLeod. I've not read any of her stuff but did look her up on the internet. So I safely manage to talk about her books which are Urban Fantasy. So I'm back on safe ground, talking vampires and Simon Green. She notices I have a Jon Courtney Grimwood book in my hand and suddenly she is fan girl telling me that she's also bought some and had them signed as he is one of her all time heroes. It's just so nice that the authors are as big a fans as us readers.

By this time the event is winding down and people are leaving. Did I come all the way to London, on my birthday outing no less, to go home and not drink beer with these worthies? No I did not. So shamelessly I invite myself along to the drinks at the Phoenix Bar.

Well needless to say there was drinking and merryment. Alex Bell let me try on her famous hat, I met bloggers Adam Whitehead and Graeme Flory who I believe was killed in a most grusome manner in Eagle Rising. 

Tom Lloyd and his other half were lovely. Many a talking crap conversation happened.

It's quite late by now and I've had quite a few when are you coming home calls by now so I chance my arm and ask Robert Rankin how he's getting home. Robert lives down Brighton way, as do I. 

The end of my fan boy day is me and Robert catching a cab to Victoria, having a coffee and travelling back on the train together. I might have mentioned that Robert is one of my all time favourites, one reason is that nearly every book he has written has been set somewhere I have lived. What a fantastic journey.

The only fly in the ointment is that I lost my camera. I have linked pictures in this blog but it's not the same. I even had a photo taken specifically to make Elena spit with envy, me and Joe Applecrumble. 

I think it was the best fortieth birthday present.

I think David Deveraux is a genius for suggesting this format and may he and others keep coming up with ways to include the readers. Thanks


Elena said...

wow. i am so jealous. what a great 40th present to yourself! sorry i won't get to see the picture of you and abercrumble. i am imagining it and spitting with envy all the same. :)

i think your getting to ride most of the way home with one of your heroes trumps my meeting my hero story, where when i went to get sharon shinn's autograph at a con she said "i think i've seen your blog." but we didn't get past my awestruck fangirl into a real conversastion so...

David Devereux said...

Don't worry, Elena we found his camera!

Swainson said...

Elena, you're now going to be subjected to 'the picture' Now I've bigged the thing up it's bound to disapoint??

I hope you called her by her given name?


Thank you, my home life is somewhat more comfortable now.