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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'.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Event: Fantasy In The Court 2014, & Some Numbers Sh** I Need To Talk To You About Right Now.

I'll be honest, I'm so tired I really don't want to do this. But I did promise myself and my blog that's I'd review all events I went to this year, at LEAST this year. So I'll make it a quick 'un.

A quick Update before I begin.

A Fantasy Writer's Blog has been an unholy mess. I've been coping really badly with some personal (mental) issues; going through phases of a fourteen-hour sleep one night/day, then a four-hour sleep the next, dealing with work and possible (unlikely) redundancy, sorting out university and the extra complication of whether I am well enough to go back this year, thinking about my novel and not working on it, and so on. You have a life - you get the gist. So my list of priorities has altered and this blog has won a lower spot.

I never got round to finishing the formatting for the last two book posts which is why it all looks like crap. As for replying to comments, I can only hope I'll get round to that eventually. I'm trying not to add in the stress of knowing that at least seven more posts need to be done by the next fortnight - end of August tops, and they're already half-done. Not counting reviews for books I have yet to read. So, I ask that readers bear with me, and I hope things will be straightened out soon.

Cheers. xx

Fantasy In The Court 2014

My sister and I got there an hour early and spent the WHOLE hour deciding on which books to get. It was an extremely difficult choice as those books were bestsellers for a reason. The book The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August kept falling off the shelf and half-attacking us (haha) so many times that my sister and the lady next to her started to get freaked out. As it happens, that book is about time travel. After an hour of looking at blurbs, I finally (reluctantly) wandered up to the checkout and bought my four books, which totalled £58.97. I'm going to have to grow my own fruit or something if I want to eat this month.

But still, the goldsboro staff gave us special tote bags (They gave me two cause I had hefty hardbacks) and a free book called The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero! So that put a kitty-grin on my face.

As it happens, I took this pen with me.
[Blogger's Note: I still haven't gotten over the hyper-ecstatic joy/remorse over buying eighty-five fantasy books from eBay (will do a post about that soon, no doubt it shall be called; Why I Will Not Be Buying Books For The Next Four Years), and I haven't read what I bought at LFCC yet. Now another five books have been added to the fray, and I assume I'll buy four more at the fantasy event tomorrow to support the bookshop/authors. Haha, I expect this blog will burst.]

What was a small, quiet bookstore was even smaller and jam-packed when seven o'clock came round. Most of the 'storm' of fantasy fans went outside with their glasses of wine (because of my nerves, I refrained). We just had to get our umbrella's out when it rained.

One gripe - I wish the name tags were bigger, bolder, and in capital letters. I had to put on my glasses, which I hardly ever do these days, to actually see who I was approaching and thus avoid that awkward, awkward discourse. I hadn't realised that my sister didn't have her glasses, so she was relying on me to tell her who was who. I think I did a poor job, I'm afraid, I was too busy smiling awkwardly and shifting my feet in discomfort.

I don't think I have ever been a people-person, but I knew I'd hate myself if I missed this golden opportunity to mingle with like-minds. Still, I was concerned at how many times I caught somebody's eye and realising how sombre and worried I looked, so I tried keeping a relaxed smile on my face; soon my sister told me I was 'grimacing' and said to to 'stop grimacing strangely'. I've never actually heard that word used verbally, as in, outside of books, so I felt appropriately insulted. It was quite hard to stop 'grimacing' though because I was so nervous and very out of my comfort zone.

All the authors we spoke to were lovely, really easy to talk to, with great advice to share with us. I must say - I did meet an author whose book I am struggling to read right now but she was just so lovely and I really want to keep trying! My sister said it's like the music industry, when you meet an artist and they're so nice and pretty you want to support them even though they can't sing. I cracked up laughing because it wasn't the analogy I would've gone for, but I could see how it would be true.

It was a really nice and relaxed evening, I would say. I'm unsure if it's my 'thing', but because of my condition it's hard to tell if it's really me thinking that or just the damaged self-esteem part of me that says I suck at everything, even at talking to another human being. It wasn't until I left that I realised my sister and I were pretty much the only black people there, and I'm not sure why I even noticed it because it wasn't like it mattered. Eventually we decided to go, and at that precise moment London bowed us out with a shower of rain. Typical.

Fantasy In The Court is definitely an event I would recommend because of the opportunity to really talk to the authors (and even some members of the publishing houses), which can be hard to do at a signing with like a hundred people behind you.

And that wasn't even the wonkiest picture I took. Just couldn't be arsed to set it up better.

The Haul:
In the end, my sister and I decided to buy what we wanted but not two of the same, so we could read each other's. She bought The Oversight (Charlie Fletcher) which I have wanted for ages, and also The City by Stella Gemmell, which I reeeally wanted to buy for myself because even though my review pitched it as a 3/5, there are too many exceptional aspects of the book to not get a signed copy. *sigh* And who doesn't have a signed copy? Me. (e_e)

  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North (have also wanted this for ages)
  • The Boy With The Porcelain Blade - Den Patrick (heard nothing but praise)
  • The Shadow Throne - Django Wexler (amaaazing premise)
  • The Supernatural Enhancements - Edgar Cantero (gift :3 )
  • The Dark Blood - A.J. Smith (again, killer premise.)
Interesting fact - every book I chose starts with 'The'. (O_O)
*makes spooky fingers*  OOOOOOOOO..... 

Some Crazy, CRAZY Numbers

Case Study 1 ] Bought four signed books today at £58.97. Got that?

I bought eighty-nine (relatively older, Tor classics and whatnot) fantasy (with the odd sci-fi) books from an eBay wholesaler for £35. WIIILD.

Case Study 2 ] Here's one more. This is about shoes, Okay?

I am a size nine, which means it can generally be hard to find durable shoes if you don't know where to look. I was having some shoe trouble (shoes falling apart, letting the rain in, too tight at the toe and all that) and decided to go for a pair of lace-up ankle boots I bought from New Look to wear this evening. They were a roomy size 8, and £28. The boots I already own I can't wear because they are too tight. They are size nine. They are from Office, and worth £60, but I got them for £10 because they were window display shoes.
  • Shoes 1 - expensive, one size below normal, fit great with a liiittle pinch at the toe after a few hours.
  • Shoes 2 - cheap but WORTH a lot more, my normal size, but too tight.

I CAN'T GUYS. I CAN'T HANDLE THIS. I'm going to bed.

What's Next?


And then Grim Gathering tomorrow, which I chose over Gollancz fest. Dunno why. Seemed cooler. To read about other upcoming August Fantasy Events, click the preceding linky.

Ashana Lian .

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