Posted by: Nick Walters | November 8, 2010

BristolCon 2010

BristolCon was on Saturday and I have only just recovered!

It was only the second ever BristolCon, but it certainly seems to be making its mark. 150 guests this year – over 3 times as many as last year – and a very full day, stretching over 12 hours from 10am to 10pm and beyond!

Although I’m nowhere near their league, it was an honour for me to share a panel on Future Science with Alastair Reynolds and Paul Cornell. I think I held my own, though I mainly blathered on about the uses and dangers of teleports and how “we were promised jetpacks” doesn’t really hold water (jet engines are hardly future tech, think of the carbon footprint etc). Alistair and Paul led the discussion on how difficult it is to write SF set in the future when we have no idea way of knowing next paradigm shift in science will be and how that would affect humanity. Heavy stuff!

Apart from that my other duties were to man the art room desk for a few hours and host the pub quiz in the evening, which went down rather well I think, despite my renditions of various Smiths lyrics and the Blake’s 7 theme tune between rounds, and my dreadful jokes (sample: What’s worse than finding a maggot in your apple? Nuclear war).

Of the panels  I saw, the most memorable was Eugene Byrne’s talk on Bristol as a fantastical cityscape. I know a fair bit about this subject, but I learned a whole lot of new stuff and took copious notes. Eugene ended the talk with a map for walking tour of the city centre –  the map is here and is well worth checking out.

Paul Cornell’s Guest of Honour talk was as engaging and hilarious as ever – his descriptions of the characters in Knight and Squire, especially the Morris Men, made me laugh so much I almost had an asthma attack. Paul is oft described is “the nicest man in SF” and – despite his protestations to the contrary – he really is, and more than that, to me he is an inspiration and a role model, and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that (not that he probably reads this blog!). He said during his talk that he often feels star struck meeting famous people, and that’s exactly the way I feel about meeting him, even after having known him for over ten years! You should have seen me at the Iain M. Banks signing last Tuesday – I was a blubbering wreck!

Joe Abercrombie was the other guest of honour, and came across as an affable and enthusiastic chap, though I never got the chance to say Hello to him I enjoyed his talk though to be honest will probably not get round to reading his work as fantasy is not my bag. Probably my loss! Joe also took part in a panel on how to write fight scenes, in which John Meaney and Juliet McKenna demonstrated their martial arts moves on him. It was an unusual and interesting diversion from the usual panel set-up and provided a light-hearted (though not for Joe!) close to the main panels of the day, leading nicely into an acoustic folk set from Talis Kimberley in the bar, very mellow and relaxing.  Then it was my chance to perform in the aforementioned pub quiz – give me a microphone and I tart about shamelessly. The evening ended – where else?! – in the hotel bar, hence my day of recovery.

There will be a BristolCon next year, and it’ll be bigger and better and hopefully again with three times more people than this year, it’ll become the premier SF convention the South West!



  1. Great post! Yup, BristolCon was fabulous, and enjoyed your contribution about jetpacks 🙂

  2. Thanks!

    Nuts to jetpacks!

    And nuts to being uploaded – you first, Mr Cornell!

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