It was a 2 day event for the first time, which is good because I would have had to miss it otherwise. Sadly this year I was working on Saturday so I was only there on the Sunday. I got the impression that Saturday had perhaps been the better day, but I was glad to have gone all the same.
After getting up as early as I would to go to work and catching a bus then a train I arrived in Derby, where the sun blazed down in a very holiday-like way.
The first programme event I attended was Juliet E. McKenna's Workshop on making every word count. It was an interesting and fun workshop which was very interactive and got the participants to focus on use of words and ways to use language in order to raise questions and assumptions in a reader's mind.
The nicest thing about Alt.Fiction was catching up with various people I'd met last year and at Eastercon, especially Saxon, Emma, Charlotte, Sam and Tom. I had been hoping to catch up with a few more people but the heat became less holiday-ish and more boiling-you-alive-ish. This meant that my mental processes were particularly slow and when I saw people I knew on the other side of the bar I found it massively difficult to remember to get up and talk to them. Then by the end of the day the ratio of Alt.Fiction people to the general public had shifted in favour of the latter.
I went to 2 of the podcasts, run by the lovely Adele - another person I should have spoken to more. I am impressed by her commitment as she sat in a small, hot room for most of the day.
Although one benefit of the very hot little podcast room was that work yesterday didn't seem so hot. At least until the afternoon when the air was completely still and stifling, by then I just found excuses to stand in the coll storage closet.
- Has Genre Conquered the Mainstream? was an excellent and thought-provoking discussion which covered various points. It seemed to suggest that genre may well have conquered (or at least infiltrated), but this is a fact little-known by both fans and -I suspect- the mainstream people (whoever they may be). I did make a comment, which I think started as I question but then changed as I was speaking (apparently this is not unusual for me). My experience in the library is that there are a lot of people who will read SF but who aren't geeky, or part of fandom and would be confused by the idea that they should be. I think sometimes fan-based events and publications can forget these people, but they are there.
- Using Mythology in Your Writing was another excellent podcast, and well worth listening to. The discussion was very interesting and ranged from the popularity of Sumerian mythology, through Cthulhu mythos, to celebrity culture and conspiracy theories. I found it fascinating even though I was sitting on the floor and had to (very quietly) move every so often so that I could continue to feel my legs. There was a brief musical interlude provided by a marching band outside, from my floor level vantage point I couldn't see them, but I'm told they were Girl Guides. K. A. Laity valiantly tried to continue the podcast to the rhythm provided, but sadly the laughter of the audience caused the whole thing to stop until the band had gone on it's way.
Overall it was an excellent day. Even if I did end up missing my original train and losing an earring to the streets of Derby. Though if that hadn't happened I would have missed out on some fascinating conversation, and finally talking to someone else who has read all of both Vellum and Ink by Hal Duncan.
I really hope that whatever I'm doing next year I'll be able to come again, and hopefully for the full weekend.