This weekend, while most people were tucking into Easter feasts and hunting for brightly-painted eggs, 1400 science fiction and fantasy fans descended on the Radisson Edwardian hotel near Heathrow Airport to attend Olympus 2012 (also known as Eastercon) – the UK’s annual SF convention.
This was my first ever con and I was totally blown away by how much fun it was. I met a ton of new friends, had drinks in the bar with authors that I admire, and listened to some funny, informative panels. One hilarious one was ‘How Pseudo do you like your Medieval?’, where guest of honour George R.R. Martin talked about the value of accuracy and doing your research even if you’re writing a fantasy setting. There was also a lot of talk about the rise of non-Western fantasy, which was particularly great to hear for me as the author of a fantasy novel with Asian and Middle-Eastern roots.
I also had the opportunity to participate on a panel myself – which was both exciting and terrifying! The topic of discussion was: ‘How Not to Suppress Women’s Writing’ – a really interesting debate, especially for me as a female writer of fantasy for young adults and a commissioning editor of SF. I am a firm believer that we have a lot to be excited about when it comes to women writing in ‘genre’ fields. Especially in the young adult sphere, there are so many fantastic female authors writing science fiction – just look at new and upcoming authors like Lissa Price (Starters) and Emma Pass (Acid). Even more encouraging is that this boom in YA science fiction means that more young men and women are reading speculative works, which will hopefully kick start a lifelong love of the genre (at least, that’s how it worked for me, and I bet almost all the attendees of Eastercon!) The panel was very lively, and although we couldn’t completely set the world to rights in one hour, I managed to overcome my nerves and have an absolute blast.
Eastercon runs every Easter long weekend. Next year it will be held in Bradford, UK from March 29-April 1, 2013.
Amy McCulloch is the author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, coming Spring 2013 from RHCP. Visit her on her blog: http://amymcculloch.wordpress.com or say hi on twitter @amymcculloch