Conventions are one of my favourite things about science fiction and fantasy fandom. The chance to hear and talk about sf+f with like minded people is great. And with Derby within day trip distance, one of my regular ones is Edge Lit.
The Epic Panel
I didn’t go to many panels this Edge Lit. I enjoy the panels as conversation starters, but I get easily distracted and end up staying in the bar.
The one I went to was on epic fantasy.
The panel’s starting question was about why epic fantasy is so popular at the moment. But there’s a reason why I say “starting” question. The titles of panels are seldom their whole focus. Instead, they provide a theme and a starting point for the panelists to work from. What’s interesting is what they do with it.
This particular panel featured RJ Barker, Lucy Hounsom, Stan Nicholls, Anna Stephens, and Gav Thorpe in the chair. They talked about how epic fantasy lets them write the stories they want to tell, about how various media are making it more popular, about the bad cliches that can be a problem, and all sorts of other things around what epic fantasy is. It was a wide-ranging and fascinating discussion that ended with some good recommendations for books.
This is the joy of panels. It’s hearing smart, lively people talk about interesting stuff. The panel titles might get a bit repetitive, but it’s the panelists that bring them alive.
The Event Running Workshop
Alex Davis, who runs Edge Lit, ran a workshop on running events. It’s certainly something he’s got experience on, making it a valuable addition to the convention. I’ve been toying with the idea of running some sf+f evenings in Leeds, so I went along to learn about the practicalities.
I know Alex puts a lot of effort into these events. Hearing him talk about it only made me more aware of that. So kudos to him for keeping the convention going. Whether I act on what I learned remains to be seen…
All the Books
I have too many books on my to-read pile already. Every convention I go to, I plan not to add any more. Every convention, that plan fails.
My main purchase this time was Laura Mauro’s Naming the Bones. I heard her read from this at the book launch and it caught my attention. A horror story that starts with a terrorist attack and ends up in the tunnels under London is something new for me, but with familiar elements I’m fascinated by. I’m looking forward to reading it, though probably not when I want to be able to sleep.
And then there was the raffle. I bought five tickets. Three of mine got drawn from the massive bowl. Slightly embarrassed, I asked them to draw again and let someone else have my prize the third time. Because like I said, I have too many books. But hey, I won!
In summary, Edge Lit 6 was everything I expected, in a good way. Books, panels, conversations, more books. Plenty of inspiration for what to read and write.
Needless to say, I’ll be back in the winter for Sledge Lit.