FantasyCon 2008: Thoughts of the Great and the Good

If you didn't attend Fantasycon 2008 and you're wondering what you missed out on, take a peek at the comments of some of last year's attendees. When we say you missed out on the fantasy event of the year, don't take our word for it. See what Peter Crowther and Christopher Golden and James Barclay and others had to say.


Rob Shearman

My first FantasyCon – but very definitely not my last! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t being so welcomed by some of the friendliest (and funniest!) people I’ve met in a long time. There’s this sort of artsy cliché that all writers are tortured souls who live in isolation and scowl testily at each other, but FantasyCon proves the lie to that, and shows just how mutually supportive a bunch we can be. (Even if our souls are a / bit /tortured.) Thanks so much!


James Barclay

I was looking forward to good chatter, wide-ranging and stimulating debate, time with old friends, time with new friends and time to simply enjoy the warm embrace that is FantasyCon. And it’s always good to have your expectations exceeded, isn’t it? There’s something unique offered by FantasyCon, something that has grown organically over the last few years. It’s a sense of genuine inclusivity. More of the same next year, please.


Peter Crowther

Pete Crowther (c) Peter ColebornThis year’s FantasyCon was marred (though almost imperceptibly) only by a somewhat dysfunctional hotel and an even more gibberingly-incoherent than usual acceptance speech by yours truly on the momentous occasion of PS picking up the Best Small Press Award for the seventh time! The event itself, however, was wonderfully organised with some fine highlights – Nicky and I particularly enjoyed the banquet (now refreshingly bearing traces of pomp and circumstance… not to mention increasingly flamboyant attire by both girls and boys alike) and I loved the “Taboo” panel that followed the raffle late on Saturday night, when I was Guinnessed and wined to such a degree that one might have reasonably expected me simply to have keeled over (which, to be fair, I did – to Nicky’s great amusement – when the panel had ended and I returned to the room).

The guests and emcee were all fabulously good eggs, of course (it was especially good to see Chris Golden on this side of the Atlantic – excellent speech, chum!), but it was the sheer energy, good humour and pure warmth of the delegates – fans, crowd, attendees… call them what you will – that, as ever, carried the entire gig shoulder-high into the record books. Hotels and their dippy-doo bar staff and gruff-mannered reception drones may come and go, you know – and guests of honour and assorted dignitaries, too, back into their garrets with their brushes and quills – but the mass of the British Fantasy Society will continue, unfazed and undaunted, long after all of we 2008 con- goers have fallen from the perch. We are carrying forward a tradition and a collective mentality that may one day save the world. Well, shoot… somebody has to. Bravo, I say to us all!


Conrad Williams

Best part of FantasyCon for me was winning my award and then, about ten seconds later, being “volunteered” to fold raffle tickets. Apparently Glenn Close, having won her Emmy, was conscripted to wipe effluvia off the toilet floors with a toothbrush before the end of the night. So I’m in good company…


Simon Guerrier

Stayed up too late, bought too many books, drank too much beer, met too many people, talked too much rubbish, had too much fun. Sleep now.


Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden (c) Peter Coleborn

FantasyCon isn’t the rowdy, drunken free-for-all I’d been warned it might be… mostly because all of the people I met were too professional and polite to get very rowdy. Drunken free-for-all, yes. Rowdy, no. I had a fantastic time as the 2008 Token American, and my only regret is that there were so many people I spoke to in passing that I wish I’d had more time to talk to all of them. If someone would hurry up and invent teleportation, or buy me my own airline, I’d go every year.


Ramsey Campbell

Who cares (well, not too much) about the beer or the treacherous key cards or those of the staff who graduated from moroseness class? We’re the FantasyCon, for heaven’s sake. We have the people and the panels and the community we’ve built up and are still building. Here’s to the next one! And the next, and the next, and wheel me into the bar when I’m in my box.


Steve Jones

I enjoyed this year’s FantasyCon even more than last year’s – and I was a Guest of Honour then! From the various panels to the Awards Banquet, through the Raffle to the liveliest British Fantasy Society AGM for years, this was a convention that had a genuine energy to it. I even did business. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror signing quickly sold out, and the number of writers, artists and publishers attending ensured that there was always plenty to talk about. Added to that, I won an award. And I’ve finally started to work out where the good restaurants are in Nottingham! Marie O’Regan, Paul Kane, Vicky Cook and their dedicated team of helpers are to be congratulated for bringing the convention up to a level where those who follow them will undoubtedly be able to build upon their success. Thank you to everyone who helped make my weekend such a terrific experience.


Tim Lebbon

FantasyCon’s all about the company. Well, the company, and the beer… though if you stayed in the hotel, the ale was shite (when it was actually on). The company and the food… which was OK if you ventured to one of the many excellent eating establishments around the hotel. The company and the atmosphere… which on the streets of Nottingham at midnight on Saturday when Golden forced me out for a walk and a tray of chips, was what I can only describe as “exciting”. So yes, the convention is all about the company. And if you can judge someone by the company they keep, we are fine people indeed.


Graham Joyce

“FantasyCon was real!”