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EDGE-Lit 2012 Convention Report

Earlier this year Alt.Fiction moved from Derby to Leicester. In its absence, EDGE-Lit has sprung up to fill the void at The Quad.

 

Preparation

 

It doesn’t matter the duration of a convention the same rule always applies – preparation is key. When a convention is only a day long I advise focusing your attention on a good breakfast. Our day started at 9am in Jack Rabbits in Derby, check out my friend Vick’s review of Jack Rabbits. Based on the conversations occurring around me at the table I can confirm the following: 1. The bread for the cafe is delivered by pandas? (I can’t confirm this is 100% factually accurate as this delivery occurred while I was looking the other way) 2. I am reliably informed that the bathroom design for the gents is predominantly based on Logan’s Run 3. Anne Hathaway appeals to many people for the same reason, irrespective of gender. Oh, I can also heartily recommend Jack Rabbit’s bacon sandwich as it got the day off to a perfect start.

 

The Panels (The ones I was at anyway)

 

Guest of Honour  – Christopher Fowler:  After a reading from next Bryant and May novel, The Invisible Code, Fowler answered some questions from the audience and I was struck, as I have been in the past, by his obvious affection for his subjects and particularly London. As a side note, I was pleased to discover that authors also carry around bags just full of books.

Reading – Anne Lyle & Mike Shevdon:  Extracts from Merchant of Dreams from Anne, and then Strangeness & Charm from Mike. Two of my favourite Angry Robot authors in one room reading to a select audience. Hardly a surprise I felt thoroughly spoiled.

Unexpected Guest of Honour – Graham Joyce:  Geoff Ryman was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, so Graham Joyce stepped into the breach at the last moment. First a reading from his latest novel, Some Kind of Fairy Tale, and then a question and answer session. Like the session with Christopher Fowler earlier in the day, it really is insightful to learn about what makes an author tick.

Panel – Publishing Today:  Sarah Pinborough, Lee Harris, John Jarrold, Christian Dunn. Topics discussed were the rise of the ebook and how this will affect traditional publishing, the increase of self-publishing, and was it harder now to get a publishing deal that it has been in the past.

Panel – Does Fantasy Need Archetypes?:  Gaie Sebold, Anne Lyle, M D Lachlan, Adrian Tchaikovsky. The quick answer to the question the panel were posed is yes (as long as the panelists can have some fun subverting the archetypes and defying readers expectations. Seems entirely reasonable to me)

Panel – Ray Bradbury:  Christopher Fowler, Emma Newman, Sarah Pinborough, Graham Joyce. As a Ray Bradbury virgin (yes I know, I’m a bad man) I found this discussion particularly interesting. Rather than just covering all of his accomplishments there was also some vigorous debate about the issues that some of panellists had with some of Bradbury’s output. Nice even handed approach. It certainly made me keen to explore some of Bradbury’s work.

Raffle – The final session we attended was the chaotic nonsense of the raffle. Expertly hosted by Sarah Pinborough and Lee Harris, the assembled crowd were treated to a fun hour of prizes and pithy banter. We actually won a couple of items which was awfully nice but as we already had copies of both books, we declined them in order that some other lucky recipient could enjoy.

 

Five Random Convention Thoughts

 

  • In what has become a bit of a convention habit, I continue to be slightly obsessed by Adrian Tchaikovsky’s epic beard. I cannot properly explain the basis of this ongoing obsession. I fear it will be the ruin of me.
  • Unexpected highlight of the day – picking up The Harm by Gary McMahon in the dealer’s room.
  • Alt.Fiction had baked goods, but Edge-Lit used esoterically flavoured fudge as a motif.
  • I did not know that you could hire Humvee’s for weddings, turns out it appears you can. (To clarify the venue for the convention is next to Derby’s registry office).
  • I learned I have an amazing ability I was totally unaware of. I can be used as a reference point in any room. “Where are you sitting? Next to the man with the bright red hair”. That’s going on my CV.

 

The People

 

I’m a great believer that conventions are made by the people you meet at them, Edge-Lit was no exception. Everyone I had the opportunity to speak to was extremely gracious with their time, and utterly pleasant. So in absolutely no order whatsoever I’d like to thank the following people for making my day in a variety of ways – @madnad @vclinde @mygoditsraining @mrsamstrong @mithciriel @GevaudanShoal @ctjhill @peculiar @grafire @sarahpinborough @LeeAHarris @EmApocalyptic @shevdon @annelyle @selinalock @SignorFurioso

 

The Venue

 

The Quad in Derby is a good size venue and the turn out for a convention in its infancy was pretty good. Everyone I spoke to was having a great time and there was a very relaxed atmosphere. I think congratulations are in order for the team behind all the organisation. From a punters point of view everything went very smoothly. Roll on 2013!

 

Verdict

 

EDGE-Lit: Small but perfectly formed

 

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