FantasyCon 2009

The British Fantasy Society held its annual convention, FantasyCon 2009, in Nottingham, UK, over the weekend 18-20 September. Fantasycon was first staged in the mid-1970s in Birmingham and has run more-or-less continuously since.


The Guests of Honour were Jasper Fforde, Brian Clemens and Gail Z Martin. The Master of Ceremonies was Ian Watson. The convention’s highlights included guest interviews, panel discussion and the British Fantasy Awards Banquet.

Since Jasper Fforde’s first novel – The Eyre Affair – was published in 2001 he has consistently blurred genres, producing a wonderful series of reality-bending, funny, complex, literate and very silly books. His Tuesday Next series follows the adventures of the eponymous heroine and Literary Detective as she solves crimes against fiction in an alternative Republic of England. The Nursery Crime series, starring DCI Jack Spratt, have addressed both the murder of Humpty Dumpty (The Big Over Easy, 2005) and porridge-smuggling by bears (The Fourth Bear, 2006). A new series begins with his latest novel Shades of Grey.

Brian Clemens was born in Surrey in 1931. He is best known as the creative force behind The Avengers, for many of us epitomised by the image of Diana Rigg starring as Mrs Emma Peel. After service in the Army he worked in an advertising agency, during which he wrote a script which attracted the attention of the BBC. And from small beginnings… He later wrote the pilot episode of The Avengers, first shown in 1961. Besides writing for this, he scripted TV shows such as Adam Adamant Lives, The Persuaders, The Professionals and Thriller.

Gail Martin is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series: The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven and Dark Lady’s Chosen (coming in 2010). She discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The very first story she ever wrote — at age five — was about a vampire. Her favorite TV shows as a pre-schooler were Dark Shadows and Lost in Space. At age 14, she decided to become a writer, and launched a fanzine when she was in college.

Ian Watson was born in 1943 and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1963; he spent time working abroad before becoming a full-time writer in the 1970s. His work includes The Embedding, his first novel and which won the John W Campbell Memorial Award. His other books include: The Power, The Fire Worm, Whores of Babylon, Miracle Visitors, God’s World and The Gardens of Delight.