something for the weekend

Another Thursday, another piece of micro-fiction in under 140 characters:

The rooms of this great house are as familiar as the chambers of my dead heart. I walk in echoes, stir dust, and pine for the key’s rattle.

Last week was busy, but very enjoyable.

The question and answer session on “Writing Horror” last Thursday with Kim Newman, for the benefit of IPSG members, went well. I provided Kim with enough prompts to keep the discussion of the history and development of horror cinema going for well over an hour (not that Kim needed much encouragement), and the members’ queries kept us there for another hour. The audience was fuelled by coffee, wine, and an interest in the genre, so it was a fun evening.

For the rest of the weekend I had a fabulous time at the science fiction convention, P-Con. This year there were two rooms of comparable size for panel discussions, and the extra space gave the convention much needed breathing room. The weather turned surprisingly bitter that weekend, and one of the rooms was a bit nippy for the Saturday morning session, but we survived and the heat from the fireplace eventually added a cosy element to the proceedings.

I enjoyed all the panels I was on, and attended. Like a lot of Irish cons P-Con has a laid-back, affable vibe, and the guests all seemed pleased with how it was run.

Mostly, I had a blast catching up with friends. Yet, the time passed quickly, and by the end of the convention there were people with whom I didn’t get to spend enough time. However, many of them will be attending Eastercon in Bradford quite soon, so I hope to remedy that.

On Sunday afternoon there was a session devoted to the memory of Frank Darcy, who ran the convention so admirably in previous years, and passed away last summer. I couldn’t even choke out a couple of words to salute him, as I was too upset. My thanks and admiration to those who communicated how much Frank meant to them. I’m so pleased that Peter McClean and Frank’s family did such a solid job in running the convention this year. Especially that they maintained his ethos of creating an open, friendly space for people to meet and exchange ideas.

Finally, Paul Cornell was a fantastic Guest of Honour: amiable, humorous, and knowledgeable; a prince among guests. Many of the previous Guests of Honour were in attendance at the convention, and it’s a testament to the growing popularity of this event that so many of them plan to return next year — when Ian (M.) Banks will be Guest of Honour. I aim to come back too.

During the panel at P-Con on the future of speculative fiction magazines Cheryl Morgan mentioned that a new web site devoted to promoting Semiprozines, and saving its Hugo category, was imminent.

I’m happy to report that Semiprozine.org has been launched. Its remit is to provide information about the diversity of publications available to readers and writers, and to encourage people to vote to retain the Best Semiprozine Hugo category at the next Worldcon.

I hope readers and writers will discover new venues, and that editors will submit the details of their publications to the web site. Most importantly, I hope people will vote at Worldcon to retain the Semiprozine Hugo category, and in future years will nominate a wider, more representative, selection of ‘zines.