It felt really nice to be back at FantasyCon, it was the first one since 2012. Every time I've been I've met people and had good conversations and come away feeling positive. This time there were so many people I knew, from cons and the internet. It was great to catch up with friends and meet new people. After the intensity of Loncon3 FantasyCon felt relaxed and friendly, as I'd expected.
This year I was also on my very first panel. This was less relaxing, but still a very good experience. The other panelists were interesting people and we had a good discussion that was well-received, which is comforting when doing a panel about politics. I said some stuff I'd thought of in advance and some stuff in response to the discussion. I don't think I talked too much, but neither did I sit quietly. It's slightly hazy in my recollection, but I'm told I was amusing and you couldn't tell it was my first time. Even though I was nervy at first I relaxed into it. I'm really glad I did it and that my first panel was a positive experience.
The convention had many interesting panels and events. There weren't things so many that you felt overwhelmed, but of course it's not a big con. The programme didn't just feature the normal basics but featured at a variety of subjects. This is likely to have been helped by the online survey the con had months ago asking for topic suggestions from attendees. It was nice to see them being proactive about involving attendees.
Highlights of the programme were:
- Fox Spirit Book Launch - for Breed by K. T. Davies
- But Does It Make Sense? - panel about economics in Fantasy
- Tea and Jeopardy - a live recording of the Hugo-nominated podcast
- Just A Minute - hosted by Paul Cornell, featuring Gillian Redfearn, Kate Elliott, Stephen Gallagher and Frances Hardinge
- Worldbuilding Worshop - with Kate Elliott and Tom Pollock
FantasyCon is always good for books (2 years ago we broke a suitcase). There were many free books available at and after registration through the convention. There were various book launches and plenty to buy in the dealer's room. I also got some free review copies of various books (which will keep me occupied reading and writing for a while).
The convention itself had a supportive environment and seemed to run very smoothly. This is largely down the the efforts of the con volunteers, called redcloaks. They gave up their time and worked hard to make it a success. The redcloaks were headed up by my friends Alasdair Stuart and Marguerite Kenner, who did an excellent job. They are an alarmingly organised couple with Marguerite clearly queen of her domain and Al being a friendly but determined blur for much of the time.
I'm looking forward to returning to FantasyCon next year.