This was my first time attending Octocon as a guest, and I enjoyed every moment. Every panel was compelling, and every panelist I shared the table with brought great insight to the topics at hand. I'm working on a post-con report for Writing.ie, due for next week, so I'll save a lot of the nitty gritty for that. Suffice to say for now that if Octocon ever want me to be a guest again, I'd be happy to do it.
I was on 7 panels over the weekend, and I've found that the busy schedule definitely suits me. I felt utterly energised every day and was genuinely sorry when my last panel ended. My only regrets of the weekend are the number of great panels I wanted to sit in on that clashed with other commitments, and not having more time to chat with old and new friends.
I can't stress enough how wonderful events like this are for any author. You'll never get the same opportunity to mingle and exchange ideas with your peers and your readers all at once anywhere else.
Here's a run-down of some highlights:
- The staff and other attendees being so accepting of Jen and I having the girls with us, and helpful in keeping them entertained.
- Selling a bunch of books to attendees. There's nothing like seeing a stack of books shrink to boost your morale.
- People I didn't know coming up to me and asking me to sign books. One had even brought his copy of Lady Raven with him for me to sign. There were only copies of The Memory Wars available to buy at the trade stand, so this was a wonderful surprise.
- Discovering that JRR Tolkien believed Ireland to be fundamentally evil. Nice chap...
- Sharing panels with some of my favourite people in the Irish SFF scene, and finding more awesome people to add to that list.
- Having the whole panel on Practical Magic disagree with my opening point, which led to some great discussion on the nature and history of magic, and the problematic side of decreeing one kind of magic is "light" and another is "dark."
And as a final note, thank you to Gar Kavanagh, who has now stepped down as Octocon chair. It was him who first suggested I volunteer to join panels for Octocon 2012. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my career and I'll always be grateful to him for that. He's done sterling work as chair for the last several years.
I can't believe I have to wait a whole year for the next one. I need to go to more cons...