Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab



Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Convention: London Film And Comic Con 2014


Just to say before I start - faces have been blurred out where possible, unless the image was taken with permission. Regardless, anyone who spots themselves in an image is welcome to leave a comment or use the contact form at the bottom to email me, if they don't want the photo left up. Okay? Cool.






Background

I'd never been to LFCC before but I've wanted to go for some time. I think I first heard of it two years ago, when I was actually paying attention to the Game Of Thrones hype. I thought - wow, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) is going to be so close to my house!




Research

It must be said - the LFCC website is AWFUL. Finding the information you need is painstaking, sometimes you even need to leave the site and go to the forum to find out VITAL things, like who is where on what day, and that there are FIVE queues which will waste your whole day if you turn up at 8am but join the wrong one.

By my calculation, many people predicted a much, much busier event because of Stan Lee, so I factored in extra time;



  • Doors open at 9am for early entry, so -
  • Need to be there at about 7am, so -
  • Need to leave at about 6, sooo -
  • Need to get UP at about 5am !!




  • Outside the venue between 7am and 8am - queue we're in (right) is Pay On The Door, the queue on the left I think is Gold and Silver tickets.

    Queuing

    I've had this feeling for dread every since a few days ago, when I saw that the convention will have not two but FIVE queues;

    As it so happened, my friend and I got there early, a little before 7am, so the gates weren't even open yet (never experienced that before!), and when they opened, everybody followed each other in queue order to line up outside of the venue. But nobody was posted there to tell you if that was actually the right queue so thankfully, as I was with a friend, I left her to hold our place while I dipped out to check. Thank God - we needed to be in the queue further down. We hastily rushed over - within half an hour of us getting in line, the queue was already stretching around Brompton Hall and out of sight! We waited for two hours and did some catching up - hadn't seen her in a year! - and now and then someone would walk down the queue with tickets they didn't want, asking if anybody else wanted them, which made me think, ‘aww, how kind’. But my friend gave this suspicious look and then said skeptically, “Sounds legit.” which made me laugh so much.

    I was worried about how long it would take once the doors were open but it was actually quite efficient, because getting there that bit earlier put us nearer the front, and we didn't wait too long. Though i wish i'd been organised enough to get the tickets online beforehand! We just walked into the foyer and queued up outside one of these;

    About 6 payment queues.

    - which was cool as lots of people were taking payments at once. The card machines weren't the fastest in the world but hey, NOT complaining, that meant more cash for inside. £8 for standard and £15 for Early Entry, but from past conventions I felt that an Early ticket was required to fully enjoy it. Thankfully my hunch was proved true; my friend was even thanking me at 12 o’clock when it was so jam packed we couldn't move - but I will get to that soon, read on...


    Experience Once Inside

    Well, you tell me. At half past nine, the venue looked like this:



    At half past eleven, the venue looked like THIS.


    Unfortunately, this is to be expected at a popular event; that nobody can move. That is why my friend was thanking me, even though I couldn't prepare her for this! This is exactly what happened at MCM, only I wasn't smart enough to get an Early ticket so that was my experience the whole time. This picture is pointing towards the entrance/exit, where it was the most packed because when we were leaving, people were still queuing to get in! We were sandwiched together at points around LFCC, waiting for a moment where we could dive off in a direction we weren't originally heading in, just to get out of it.

    This was the queue to buy main stage and autograph tickets inside the venue.



    These are three of my books I decided to bring; unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Darren Shan, and Sally Green is at LFCC on the Sunday. So my shoulders ache for nothing?! >:-(
    [teehee.]


    Highlights!! Signings!!
    --> Joe Abercrombie

    While we were queuing I kept sternly reminding my friend that we had to catch Joe Abercrombie and ten o’clock. Ten o’clock, I said. When we checked the time as we browsed the stalls, it was 9.25am. The next time we checked, 9.55.

    Panicking, we asked a crew member how to get to stage B.

    Now, LFCC did this really shitty thing of having a schedule showing when the talks were, saying Stage A, Stage B, Stage C, etc. But the map only said Stage A and C. The crew member, poor guy, not realising, sent us to the 'small stage', which was actually C. It was a long while before we realised that stage B was also called the Books Stage, and by the time we finally found it, Joe Abercrombie had just finished reading an extract of Half A King. I was absolutely gutted. I mean, I've already read it but that is ABSOLUTELY not the point.


    Still, I got up and I asked two questions! Shitting myelf, yeah, but as Brian Tracy says, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' And it’s true! I kind of had to... not think. At all. Or I would’ve lost my nerve. So I asked about Shadikshirram (LOVE HER!) and also about the whole Mother War, Father Peace thing I mentioned in this week's Fantasy Food For Thought. Somebody asked this really great question about challenges writing for young adults instead of adults, which I thought was great becasue I am STILL working out why or if there is a difference at all. Anyhoo, got it signed, job done, will keep my copy for ever, lol. I need my own library.




    They're already up on my wall - and beyond gorgeous.

    --> Destiny Blue

    GREAT NEWS! I had no idea she would be here (although I had a feeling it was her I spotted while queuing up) but I finally got to buy a print from the lovely and talented artist Destiny Blue. I wrote about this on my other blog, so I’ll cut a long story short. I’d not taken the chance at MCM, being packed as it was, and I'd missed her at Hyper Japan on the Friday, so I was just over the moon to get two signed prints; Imprint and Smokey Eyes. It wa great because I got to say hi and she was very friendly c:


    I wanted to get my hands on the one I keep calling Labyrinth but is actually called Lose Yourself In Me, but she didn't have it this time! Aw. Im sure there will be other opportunities. I’m glad I took advantage of this one!



    Incredible Cosplayers!

    I was smart this time and asked more people for pictures! My favourites, of course.

    Link. Love this one.

    STAR WARS!

    Slender Man?!

    Why do I ALWAYS forget the name of this thing? My friend kept reminding me (then it was her turn to be stern) but man, I just don't know.





    Stuff To Do

    In Earl’s Court 2...
    • comics
    • figurines
    • posters
    • t-shirts
    • badges
    • BOOKS =]
    • sweets
    • art prints
    • authentic katanas O_O
    • DVDS
    • talks
    • kawaii stationary
    • AAAAAAAAND more comics.


    There were lots of stands doing photoshoots and signings at desks, and these required a separate ticket.

    At the Ya Lit Con stage - the first ever UK YA Lit Convention -  my friend wanted to see Malorie Blackman so badly, but it turned out you had to get a ticket for that. I suddenly wondered if you’d needed a ticket for Joe Abercrombie too and thought ‘whoops.’ Although, i hadn't seen any signs anywhere about it... I hope I didn't just cut in!

    And of course, there was STAN LEE! But he was in Earls Court 1 and we didn't go there because we decided it wasn't worth it. It seems like ticketed events were happening in there and we;'d spent our money anyhow.




    Goodies

    So, GOODIES! the best bit! ;3



    The first thing I bought, when I’d been in the venue for five minutes, was a Hylian (I keep saying Hyrulian. For shame.) shield keyring from The Legend Of Zelda, £5. I saw it, I wanted it - and that was where the story ended, because it was soo cute and a perfect addition to my life and who doesn't need more useless memorabilia?



    The Sentinel Mage blurb

    Uprising blurb

    We stopped at the 2000 AD stand, mainly because the two assistants there were so pleasant and chirpy to talk to. Aside from, the comics, which I’ve decided to lay low on right now, there were books - that is, fantasy books - so naturally I just HAD to go and buy two, didn’t I? *sigh*

    I'm hugely looking forward to them though; one was already in my Amazon Wishlist, The Sentinel Mage. Also they had this deal on where everything was rounded down to the nearest multiple of five, so 9.99 to £5, 12.99 to £10, £18.99 hardbacks to £15, which was a great deal.



    Synopsis is inside!

    Then we stopped by the stall of the author Harry G. Sherwin promoting his book – The Seven Kingdoms; The Darkling Lands, which looks great – by the way, I've decided to post blurb pictures this one time so check ‘em out, check ‘em ouuut.


    My free book!


    Then we drifted past the stand for Loncon 3 which I mentioned before, and they had a stand that declared FREE BOOKS! So even though I’m carrying four on holiday, and I’d already bought three today, I just had to go over. That’s when I picked up Cold Steel.





    COOKIES!! Awesome, awesome cookies! These were by the Gibbons Girls Bakery, 3 for £5, which I suppose is pricey but they were so cute, and they tasted great. I had to take a picture of them quick because I had a feeling they wouldn’t last long – or if they did, they wouldn't look good.


    Pen from the Something Kawaii shop.

    Isn’t this the most ADORABLE thing you’ve ever seen? I LOVE it! It makes my cat emoticon come to life!

    :3

    The fact that this £2 pen is so slim make my finger look so fat in this picture XD


    From Badge Leopard, I think. And I had fun with the Picture In A Picture function on my camera!

    Badges, badges badges, £1 each, irresistible. I don’t know why I buy badges, I don’t really know what to do with them. But they were Legend of Zelda, so “choice” and “free will” wasn’t really an option.



    And finally, the Destiny Blue art prints I mentioned above, one for £10 or two for £16, so naturally I bought two – and that, my friends, was when my money ran out. I kind of said it with a laugh and a sigh until I realised that meant I’d spent fifty pounds and paled. Ha, joking – but if I wasn't black and could've paled, I probably would’ve.

    After that was when I saw this amazing-looking comic that I think was called Siege, about earth supplying aliens with human bodies to make cyborgs and they in return supply humans with alien technology like guns and the like. As someone who sees fairly little of my culture portrayed as the protagonist of comics, I as interest to see what it could offer. My friend offer to buy if for me, but I was already alarmed at having spent 50 quid so I'll probably read hers instead and hopefully have a new obsession! (It’s still Lord Of The Rings right now. And I asked almost every stall we went to if they had Lord Of The Rings memorabilia! Still love it! Cannot wait for the final Hobbit movie.)



    Inside the foyer of Earls Court two at 12 noon.

    Leaving

    Like I said, we left at 12 noon with people still queuing outside.

    Queue outside Earls Court 1/Brompton Hall at 12.

    Queue outside Earls Court 1/Brompton Hall at 12 noon.


    Aftermath

    To be honest, when I came back I had to do THIS. This post has taken HOURS to get together, taking the pictures, blurring them, tagging them, uploading them all (I should really lower the quality to make the file smaller but... high quality looks so mint!) and then writing all of this, just for YOU, loyal reader, for YOU. *waits expectantly for groveling thank yous* And then? Well, then I have to PACK.

    Tomorrow, I have to get up at the crack of dawn again to take a train and then a coach and then  to fly out to my Cyprus holiday! Much needed and (I hope!) well-earned!! I can’t wait to sit and write my book and do jack-all. It's grey outside my window but 36 degrees in North Cyprus!

    So as you may have guessed, there will be no posts for a week and none on the Saturday I come back, when I usually do the fantasy book for that week. There is one scheduled for Thursday but I won’t say what it is. It is a little different from what I usually do so... yeah, enjoy.




    Image: eco.co.uk


    What's Next?

    HYPER JAPAN!!!
    (25-27 July)



    Click to read specifically about London Super Comic Con
    Click to read about my past MCM experience


    If you went to LFCC, what did you love or hate about it? If planning to go, what are you looking forward to? And if you’re not planning to go, WHY THE HELL NOT?!


      

    Ashana Lian .


    2 comments:

    1. Amazing post! You did so much better than me, I took barely any photos BUT I did spend a TON of money! I don't even want to see how much I spent, it would probably make me cry. Definitely agree that the website is absolutely rubbish when trying to find out any real information. Is kind of a nightmare once you get inside! It was so packed and hot that first day, so happy it was quieter on the second!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thanks a bunch! To be honest, that was mainly because the previous 3/4-ish conventions I've been to, I took little or no photos so I'm overcompensating for it now. Yeeeah, LFCC did get packed after 11am, which was frustrating at times, but at least the actual Con was good. I hope you had a good time!

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