April & May

 

BSFA Ytterbium

Chocaholics and parents might have noticed it was Easter again last month. To me, that meant eating chocolate at the British Science Fiction Association‘s Annual Convention!

Code-named Ytterbium, it was held this year at London Heathrow’s Park Inn.

As always, I rolled up ready to meet old friends, make new ones, and learn about current trends in Science Fiction. And I did all three!

I was really pleased to meet Geoffrey Carr of the Economist and chat about a zillion things, including his first venture into Sci-Fi, Genesis.

Sadly, our intense chatter left little chance for anyone else to get a word in.

Happy, too, for my good friend David M. Allan, who just signed up for a sequel to his novel The Empty Throne.

Happy Returns

I returned home to a garden badly in need of attention. We sanded-down and re-stained the shed, which had badly deteriorated in the past 4 years of weather despite the 7 years’ guarantee of the original coating manufacturer. (Huh!) Of course, the work was disrupted by blazing sunshine, rainstorms, hailstorms, and even a fluttering of snow.

(Happy Spring, everyone in the northern hemisphere!)

The Luxembourg ban on using power tools on Sundays and public holidays didn’t help. (FYI, there are three midweek public holidays here in May.) But I do appreciate the quiet Sundays when I don’t need to get out and make noise.

Writing Progress

As usual, life intrudes on art. I am way behind on my online critique group contributions but managed to complete two short stories in time to submit to anthologies just before their deadlines. I also had to make serious changes to my upcoming classic noir novel, Private Vices, but that should be off to my trusted advisor this month for a final overview before I send it out to Advance Readers.

RIGHT! Back to work.

 

Happy News/Strange News


Happy News #1

Had a great time at the UK’s annual Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention (Follycon) in Harrogate. Met some old friends and made some new ones. Learned a lot and had a few new ideas sparked. Delighted to say that my friend David Allan got his first publishing contract. Congrats, David!

Happy News #2

The final part of my sci-fi trilogy (Janus Arrival: Journey’s End) was released on April 1st and sales are very satisfying. I’m already at work on my next book. Continue reading

The Economics of AI: Example

I recently had a great time at the 68th British National Science Fiction Annual Convention: meeting old friends; making new ones; attending some fascinating panels…

The panels prompted my restless mind to explore tangential threads, as they should. Example… Continue reading

My, The Force Was Strong

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What a wonderful month May was.

Family

The first big event was my eldest daughter’s engagement party in sunny Romania. It was wonderful to see her take the next step in life, Continue reading

So Where Have I Been?

Debt Collector in Storm in the Stars

Andy as Debt Collector in A Storm in the Stars

I took a long break between posts this year. I’m sure you noticed.

So where have I been? Continue reading

Mancunicon (Eastercon 2016)

mancunicon

I’m still recovering from a splendid few days at the annual British Science Fiction Convention, held at Easter and generically named Eastercons. 2016 was the turn of Manchester, England to host 1200 sci-fi and fantasy fans, and a fine job the organising team did. Continue reading

Dysprosium : SciFi Convention

dysprosiumDysprosium was the 66th annual UK SciFi Convention, held at Easter 2015.

(Yes, I’m still playing “catch-up”.)

Overview

Weird and wacky, thoughtful and intelligent, and a Real Ale bar permanently packed-out with hobbits. Well, not real hobbits, but hairy folk wearing homespun and sandals. (For my non-UK readers, Real Ales are traditional beers produced by smaller breweries with love and care and no artificial additives.) The Bar seems to be a popular recurring feature of these conventions.

Differences

This was my first “big” scifi convention. I’d attended Luxcon a week earlier (see post): the difference was remarkable. Most Luxembourg attendees lived locally and needed no hotel accommodation. UK attendees were from a wider catchment area so most needed hotel rooms. As a result, the age profiles were radically different. LuxCon folk were predominantly young adults, with a greater cosplay tendency: the UK folk were generally older, more likely to have spreading waistlines, receding hairlines and greater disposable income (to afford the travel and hotels).

I’d say there was more pop-scifi in Luxembourg, and more fantasy in the UK.

Workshops and Beyond

I submitted different pieces of writing to three writing workshops. Due to the number of attendees, time constraints prevented full analysis of the submissions, but each presenter team provided follow-up:-

  • Elsewhen Press – critique session
    • submitted : a short story, “Homo sapiens inferior
    • follow-up : Elsewhen invited attendees to submit a story after the convention for a full critique
  • Terry Edge and Kim Horwood – improving writing and achieving goals
    • submitted : the first chapter of my far future novel-in-progress, “Succession!
    • follow-up : Terry and Kim sat with me between other sessions for valuable informal chats
  • Donna Scott (editor and chair of the British Science Fiction Association) – critique session
    • submitted : the first page of my noir novel-in-progress, “Private Vices
    • follow-up : Donna edited the entire submission after the convention and sent me her comments

Thank you to them all.

Conclusions

Between the Real Ale and the wonderful attendees I met, the excellent session presenters and the great folk running the workshops, I had a great time and learned so much. Already looking forward to next Easter’s Convention, “Mancunicon” (in Manchester, UK).

Afternote : Only a few people ignored the “No Bare Feet” notices. I do hope they enjoyed their pedal fungal infection transfers.