World Con – Dublin
So I went to Dublin for the World Science Fiction Convention 15-19 Aug. A natural choice for me as I could visit my wife’s family in Galway and I have a new book to pimp. My long-time crit pal Patrice Sarath came over with her family, and we endeavoured to show them the best bits of the west in 4 days before going up to Dublin.
This was my third World Con after Glasgow 2005 and London 2014 so I felt I knew what to expect and hoped my artificial hearing would cope. I got scheduled to appear on two panels as well so all looked good. We got to our hotel near Connolly Station early on Thursday afternoon and checked in to the Con by about 4pm. I was impressed with the very modern convention centre and the quick registration (compared to London). This favourable impression was rather dented by our failure to get into panels as they were full. I am used to being able to go from one panel into the next in the 10 minutes scheduled for changeover except for a very few (often featuring Guests of Honour), but this was not the case at Dublin – if you didn’t queue, you didn’t get in except for the most niche of panels and the late evening ones (and the ones I was on, though this is possibly coincidence). When I did get in I was pleased to find I could hear the panellists well most of the time.
You may think, based on previous cons, that after failing to get into panels I spent a lot of time in the bar, but you would be wrong. There are two reasons for this; firstly with the pound at near parity with the euro, it was expensive. 6 € a pint is too damn much. Secondly, despite the prices it was noisy, and my artificial hearing doesn’t handle background noise well. The best bit of a con are the conversations you have with people in the bar, but I can’t do that unless I’ve got a quiet corner. Sorry folks, I wanted to talk to more people but I would have been constantly asking you to repeat what you said. Despite this I did have some good converations with people. I also spoke to my agent and told him about the manuscript I’ve recently completed. He was encouraging, though he is finding it very difficult to place debut novels. He also said that peak grimdark is past and editors are looking for more traditional epic fantasy. Good news for me as the new work is more trad epic, but is several drafts away from being fit to send to him.
The most impressive thing I saw was the full contact medieval combat with both longsword and short sword. Next time I write a fight scene I must remember how difficult it is to protect your lower legs. I didn’t get to talk to any of the big name authors who were there, though I did see Steven Ericksen in a corridor. Nor get I get to see much of Dublin apart from a walk around on Saturday evening looking for restaurant. Must put that right sometime soon.