Back from Loncon and a very long trip to England. Unpacking always seems to take as much time as packing; plus I have organized the many momentos and items of research that I collected for my work in progress, and also came home to a cat who was feeling poorly and seemed blameful for my having abandoned him for three weeks, despite the fact that he had a perfectly lovely housekeeper waiting on him. You cat owners will know what I mean.
Loncon? A blast. The venue was the ginormous Excel center in the Docklands, so huge that there was a train stop at each end (I am not lying.) But the con was actually tucked into one end, so it was even easier to navigate than some smaller Worldcons I’ve been to. (I think 8,000 or so attended in London.) While I liked the venue, it was quite a long haul into central London, with the need to either cab it or take the light rail to a tube station. And one Did have to get into London, of course! The dealer’s room had all the excitement of a world con, including this amazing dress.
Best of all, there were thousands seductive SFF books, with an emphasis, naturally, on British authors, and I loaded up, with an eye to how much I could get in my suitcase considering that I was then going to travel through north and south England . . . I made judicious choices, including this wonderful book by Ian McLeod, a winner of the world fantasy award. Dense, stunning prose, elegaic in tone, it’s an alternate history of 1940’s England, meticulously drawn. I was privileged to be on a panel on alternate history with Ian MacLeod, and also several other authors including Jon Courtenay Grimwood, author of the wonderful Assassini books, and a smart, articulate panelist.
I moderated a panel on Imagining the City, a celebration and inquiry into how authors create cities of the imagination. Panelists were Kathleen Ann Goonan, Scott Lynch, Ellen Kushner, and Simon Spanton, publisher at Gollancz. It was great fun to hear a bit about how the magic happens and take a closer look at their iconic cities, such as Kushner’s unnamed town in the world of Swordpoint. And then there is Kathleen Ann Goonan’s stunning Cincinnati of Queen City Jazz, a classic, perhaps the best city in SF.
Tom and I took in as much as we could of the con, and snuck out to central London to see St Paul’s, the Tower Bridge, the West End . . . and then at the end of another two weeks of travel, we came back to London to see even more. Next post, more pictures!
Me at St Paul’s stone gallery, 376 steps up from the nave.