lady grace

Edge-Lit Report

On Saturday 14th July Jay & I headed off to Quad in Derby for Edge-Lit, a sf&f& horror convention.

Due to going on a roundabout route via Melton to drop Loki off at my sister's we arrived just after the event started. So we missed the What Makes a Good Short Story? panel & headed to the venue cafe for a much needed cuppa. After refreshment we got two tables into the dealers room & chatted to Victoria Hooper from Doghorn publishing.

We headed into the cinema screen two for the Christopher Fowler Guest of Honour talk. Once Chris realised no-one was coming to introduce him he ambled on to the stage and gave some readings before launching into a Q&A. He was very keen to interact with the small but attentive audience. It was fascinating to hear him talk about London and his methods of research, as in many ways London is a much of a character in his Bryant & May books as the detectives themselves are. His passion for his subjects and always wanting to write new things was infectious.

Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler

The Are we still afraid of monster panel? was good fun. With some insightful discussions from Simon Bestwick, Paul Kane, Emma Newman & Ian Culbard. Points included that all monsters are a way of expressing our primal fear of death or other fears. All monsters evolve over time to reflect the current worries of society.

Monsters Panel (Well Simon only turns into a monster if you get him ranting about the Tories...)
Monsters Panel

We wandered back to our car for sandwiches (budget being tight at the mo!), chatting to Ian Culbard as we went. Ian then went in search of his car & then appeared at our car window a few minutes in an amusing coincidence of finding himself parked next to us.

We then parked ourselves in the cafe for a while chatting to Pete Coleborn & Jan Edwards of Alchemy Press. Where we dissected the current state of genre TV and it became obvious I can quite happily enjoy a load of tosh TV compared to others. We rounded off our break with a long visit to the dealer's room to stock up on indie titles. Catching up with the always cheerful Roy Gray at the Interzone/BlackStatic stall, Andrew Hook & Sophie Essex (picking up their new magazine Fur Lined Ghetto), Helen & Martin at the BFS stall and Terry Martin of Murky Depths.

Magazine Swag
Edge Lit Magazine Swag

Book Swag
Edge Lit Book Swag

We had planned to go to the Geoff Ryman interview but he had to pull out. I understand Graham Joyce stepped in to save the day & I can highly recommend Graham's latest book Some Kind of Fairy Tale.

The final panel before dinner for us was the Ray Bradbury Retrospective with Mark Yon, Christopher Fowler, Emma Newman, Sarah Pinborough & Graham Joyce. I was one of those embarrassed people in the audience who admitted to never having read any Bradbury (as far as I can recall, but will remedy that soon). I loved hearing the stories of how each author discovered Bradbury and their favourite books. All had different reasons for liking him, but there was also some interesting and contentious discussion of his strengths/weaknesses and later career. It was agreed he was certainly an ideas man and an important influence.

We had, of course, bought raffle tickets as who can resist Pixie's charming bullying? We didn't win anything but the whole thing was hilarious thanks to hosts Lee Harris & Sarah Pinborough... you think that Sarah can't possibly top the last scandalous thing she said, but lubricated with red wine she managed it :-)

Infamous Raffle
Infamous Raffle

Dinner break gave us a chance to meet authors Emma Newman, Mike Shevdon & Anne Lyle for the first time. With them, Lee Harris & Victoria Hooper we headed to Jimmy's Round the World Buffet... where the choice of food was a little overwhelming! Much food was consumed, including ice cream cones and we got to see the Editor in Chief of Angry Robot Books absconding with pockets full of jelly beans.

Heading back to the venue we made it into the 9pm Influence of HP Lovecraft Panel with Simon Bestwick, Ian Culbard & Adrian Tchaikovsky (and some knowledgeable audience members). All the panel members knew their stuff leading to an interesting discussion of the influences on Lovecraft and his contemporaries that might have effected his outlook on life and writing.

Lovecraft Panel - but I don't think any of them are actually old ones...
Lovecraft Panel

We had then meant to head home but, ya know, ended up chatting in the bar for another hour due to all the enjoyable company.

There wasn't a huge attendance at the event but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and all the guests were very happy to chat and interact.
Thanks for that, Selina. Lovely, thorough account. Must admit that Christopher F. is an absolute gent (but you probably knew that already, right?) As a recent convert to the Bryant and May stories, I must admit I'm enjoying them very much.

As for the Bradbury, one of the nicest things said to me on the day by a number of people was that after the panel they wanted to go away and try or reread some Bradbury. Can't really ask for more than that! Obviously I'm pleased that people wanted to at least go away and try some, whether short story or novel.