At Bristolcon, We Drink and We Learn Things

I totally suck at writing convention recap posts. In fact I failed to do one for Worldcon, it was simply too overwhelming to pull my head together and write a post. I figured I should do one for Bristolcon since it is a very special gathering for me and I owe it to the folks.

I booked a few days in order to actually see the city this time, do a trip to Bath, and take some photos of Bristol. I don’t have the energy to download and sort the DSLR photos at the moment, but I will post them on instagram at some point.

We planned to be there at the same dates with my buddy Thomas James Clews (who is an amazing fantasy and grimdark literature advocate) and we attended the female grimdark authors panel at Waterstones the night before Bristolcon. That was a great panel, featuring authors including brilliant Anna Smith Spark, Jen Williams and Anna Stephens.

I haven’t been in the best shape in terms of physical and mental health lately and I was not able to update my own blog while I was involved in judging the SPFBO for Booknest (check this link to see all of my SPFBO reviews on booknest)

Late it better than never, however. I had some of the best moments of my life with my awesome bookish friends, made some new friends and got to visit Mark Lawrence along with T.O Munro (Check his books out on his Goodreads profile!)
Celyn Lawrence has the most heartwarming and precious smile. Those big smiles made my day as much as the company of my dear friends.

Special thanks to Julia Kitvaira and Marielle Ooms-Voges for the surprise presents. Huge thanks to Thomas James Clews for being a beacon of positive energy and goodness, of and R.B. Watkinson for being such a sweet and caring friend since my first Bristolcon. Also, James Latimer deserves a big trophy for organizing the sightseeing trip.

Dyrk Ashton came all the way from the States and Petros Triantafyllou (of Booknest) traveled all the way from Greece, winning both the distance award and life of the party award. Dyrk was a finalist in last year’s SPFBO with his book Paternus, and he is one of the most likeable and fun people in the fantasy scene. One of the most positive and energetic folks I’ve ever met. I am hoping his arch nemesis Michael R. Fletcher can make it to Bristolcon next year. We are trying hard to make it international.

Sadly I didn’t make it to any panels other than the pre-Bristolcon one at the Waterstones, the crowd at the bar was so awesome I just couldn’t leave such a magical party for any panel even if it were GRRM. Yes, the Bristolcon crew is that good.

I must also thank the Doubltree Hotel’s night shift manager and bartenders for taking great care of everyone and tolerating us. Bristolcon is the one place where you can geek out about books with the bar staff (they turned out to be Polish, so we started chatting about the Witcher books and it went to Wheel of Time and other good stuff from there.)

I’m not known to upload photos from my DSLR right away, sometimes I take up to a year to process the photos from trips, but I intend to make a post with the Bristol and Bath photos soonish. (Don’t take my word on it, I’m a lazy sod!)

But here are some photos from Laura M. Hughes’s Twitter feed which sum up the party spirit: https://twitter.com/HalfStrungHarp/status/924725739190136832

And T.o. Munro’s blog post which makes a better summary: http://tomunro.blogspot.fi/2017/10/i-dont-get-out-much-but-when-i-do-i.html

I am hoping to do better convention reporting next year.

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Bristolcon 2016 Report

I should have written this sooner, but the jetlag and the lack of sleep made it a bit difficult. Bristolcon is the first book/literature related convention I’ve been to, also the first time I traveled alone to unfamiliar territory in many years. It was the best convention I’ve been to, in terms of positive energy, super friendly folk, great authors and cozy atmosphere. In fact I can’t think of anything even close to the amazing overall experience -and I have been to a lot of different conventions/gatherings, many of them nerdy events.

There were interesting panels, but I went to only one and cause the airline lost my luggage and I have been busy chasing it down, I sadly missed the panel about Grimdark ladies where Anna Smith-Spark was a participant. However, I am not much of a panel person and I prefer sitting at the bar and talking to people. Sitting down for an hour and being quiet doesn’t agree with my hyperactive mind and talkative character. Therefore I don’t have much to report about the panels, it’s so not my thing. I am not sure if I can do panels even if I become a published author some day, I’d much rather sit at the bar and chat with the folk till I drop.

I was happy beyond words to finally meet some of my Facebook friends, even got to meet a bookish blogger friend, Sarah from Brainfluff blog, we chatted for quite a bit not realizing we actually were regular visitors to each other’s blogs. What a small world! It has been great to meet GR Matthwes, To Munro, JP Ashman, Luke Scull, Julia Kitvaira, James Latimer, Mhairi Simpson, RB Watkinson, Ben Galley, Andy Remic and many other awesome people whose names I can’t recall or didn’t catch. I talked to so many people my head is still spinning.

I was extra happy to finally meet Mark Lawrence and Agnes Meszaros (She runs That Thorn Guy and is behind all kinds of awesomeness) -that was perhaps the best part of the convention for me as a huge fan of Mark’s work.

After the convention closed, we continued the party at the bar and everyone had blast. Both the convention and the afterparty were brilliant, you could hop from table to table, talk to complete strangers and geek out about books, have drinks with the Facebook friends you got to meet in person. It was the complete opposite of the horribly exclusive convention scenes Kameron Hurley describes in a blog post. There were no closed wheels and whatnot, everyone was sweet and friendly.

Overall, it was awesome to meet the fellow fantasy fans, grimdark lovers and geek out about books nonstop till we all dropped. Not to mention I added even more books to my ever-growing TBR pile.

Here is a bunch of photos from the con and the afterparty: Bristolcon 2016 Photo stack

I am already looking forward to Bristolcon 2017!