sun in the sky you know how I feel

I’ve been getting a constant stream of birthday greetings from people via Facebook and Twitter today, and it’s lovely. Thank you all! People might grumble about social media, but it has its good uses too.

I’m just about recovered from my two-week trip with back-to-back convention in the UK. World Horror Convention was probably the highlight because it was a well-run convention, and I met loads of new people at the event since the horror/dark fantasy crowd aren’t well represented at the likes of Eastercon (which focuses more on SF and Fantasy). It’s pretty much confirmed that I’ll have to start attending Fantasy Con in England, and I’ve already joined the British Fantasy Society.

Still, I very much enjoyed Eastercon because of the sheer number of attendees, which means you are more likely to meet friends at the turn of every corner. The three panels I moderated were interesting, in different ways. The first one on taking sf to the radio was fascinating because writing for radio is something I’ve been investigating for a while. I ended up attending a couple of other panels on audio drama, which I enjoyed, and I’d love to see more programming at future conventions on this subject.

The social media panel was packed to the doors, the panellists were lively and articulate, so I had to moderate a little more keenly than usual, but I enjoyed the vibe in the room and it was a good-humoured panel.

Finally, the late night web comics and small press panel was attended by a hardcore group of fans, and thanks to James Bacon, and the photocopying skills of Crazy Dave, we even had a handout of recommended web sites and comics the panel had assembled during a prior email conversation. Due to a terrible cock-up on the part of the organisers Dave also thought he was moderator, which lead to an unfortunate crossed wire half-way through the panel. Still, we survived, even though I felt embarrassed when I discovered what happened after the panel.

A huge convention like Eastercon requires a tremendous amount of organisation, and I have respect for any team that can pull it off. Generally, everything went smoothly, but there were some peculiar decisions in the programming – I’m not sure why “German for Beginners” is an apt panel for a science fiction convention. Perhaps I’m missing some vital piece of information. Plus, the Steampunk ball on Sunday night meant the place was full of people wearing terribly cool and natty outfits. The hats alone were fabulous. Kudos to any fan movement that brings such style into the convention scene.

Finally, a couple of other items. Many thanks to Ellen Datlow for the four honourable mentions (for 3 stories and 1 poem) I received during her reading for her Best Horror of the Year, Volume two. It’s nice to know someone likes your work.

Also, my poem, “The Solace of Dark Places”, is now live on Goblin Fruit (one of my favourite poetry markets).

I did an audio recording of me reading the poem, which is also available. I’m discovering that I really enjoy audio work. I was on “Arts Brew” again today – discussing documentaries and verbatim theatre – and it was fun, per usual.


  • Foxhunter

    I should’ve paid closer attention to your return. Glad to see you back. Hope all is well and I look forward to more postings.

  • David Bishop

    Belated thanks for your lovely moderation of the TV to audio panel at Eastercon! If I put 2 and 2 together, I’d have quizzed you about the Campaign for Real Fear after…

    • Maura

      David, you and your fellow contributors on the panel were excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. I’m listening to a lot more audio drama now too. Score all round!Plus, news about the Campaign for Real Fear tomorrow (er, later today).

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