There and not quite back again

ThomasBeing a short description of my journey to Nottingham one weekend in October in the year of 2015…

Jag får börja med att be om ursäkt. Det här blogginlägget blir både förvirrat (vilket ni nog börjar bli vana vid i och för sig) och på engelska. Jag är medveten om att detta är en svensk blogg, men då 100% av dem det på sätt och vis handlar om i första hand är engelsktalande känns det på något sätt som att det är mest rättvist att skriva på just engelska.

Ok, so there are two parallel plot lines here, and they kind of nicely intertwine.

Some time back I was chatting with UK author Steven Saville (who happens to live in Sweden) about the UK market and possibly writing in English. It turned into a long and very interesting discussion. Two especially interesting things came out of that chat. One was actually the idea for a new novel and the other was his suggestion for me to visit FantasyCon in Nottingham to get a first glimpse of the UK Fantasy/SF scene.

Most of the time you talk like that, nothing really come out of it. This time however, that was not to be the case.

Because the really cool thing is that both of those two things actually happened. I just finished my new script, based on the idea that Steven put in my head, and then, this weekend – i.e. just a week after – I travelled to FantasyCon in Nottingham to meet up with Steve and to visit a UK Con for the first time ever.

As I had been working way too much the weeks (months) before, my planning was extremely basic. I had tickets to Copenhagen and then to London. In the last minute I had, through Airbnb, found a place to sleep, and I kind of figured I should be able to get to Nottingham somehow if I could just make it to London.

It started off rather interestingly… I had picked the very first row on the flight from Linköping to Copenhagen, as I had very little time between flight – figuring that if I was close to the exit I could get off fast and catch my connecting flight…

Plan worked well until I boarded the plane, and realised the exit was at the back…

Ah well, at least I managed to get off really fast (passing all those slow people on the way out). Only to find I had to wait in a bus until everyone had left the plane.

Ah well, I actually made the second flight anyway, although it was a close call. Or would have been had we not been delayed by some passengers not showing up despite having checked in baggage…

Somewhat late I made it to St Pancras in London, bought a ticket and was told that if I run for it I would make the train to Nottingham. I ran, but didn’t make it.

Note to self: 2 minutes is too little time to catch a train at a station you don’t know. Especially if the platform is on another floor which you have no idea how to get to.

I did get past the gates to the platform just as they blew the whistle for the train to leave.

Fortunately my ticket was valid for the next train as well…

So I actually had time for some lunch. Which probably was a pretty good thing considering I had been up since 4.30 – which translates to 3.30 UK time.

Ok, so much about getting there – how was the con, you ask?

It was absolutely fantastic!

(Yes, I am aware you shouldn’t use exclamation marks in English)

There were loads of really interesting panels. Only I managed to miss all of them on Friday, and only managed to get t my first on Saturday at 2 – and then the fire alarm went. Why? Well, I got kind of stuck in the bar. So many fun people to talk to.

But in the end I managed to go to a few panels, one about agents, one about marketing and one about the future of the future. I also managed a few passes in the dealers room and picked up some interesting books that I really look forward to reading. Got some help from UK SF writer Ian Sales who pointed out stuff he thought I would like.

I ended up going home early on both Friday and Saturday, but I still managed to have a really good time – although I know a few people stayed up way longer than I did…

Was it worth it?

Well, I don’t know if I ever will get anything published in English, but that was not the purpose of the journey. The whole idea was to get an introduction to the UK Fantasy and SF community, and that I did. I also, desperately, needed a break from work – and I got that. And I made new friends. What can ever be better than that?

So to everyone I spoke to; a huge thanks for letting me be a part of it. I don’t remember the names of you all (I am lousy with names) but I will remember your kindness and friendliness forever. Some people deserve a special mention:

Heidi for when seeing someone sitting all alone just leaving your company and checking that I was ok. Really appreciated!

Steven of course for dragging me along, and ensuring I had a good time, despite being ill yourself for the majority of the time.

Ian for guiding me around and generally being the good guy.

Jim for making sure I wouldn’t be alone even after he con ended.

Penny for our cooperation in our initial quest for beer and for good conversation throughout the con

Fiona, who I didn’t meet until leaving the con, but with whom I ended up drinking beer with for six hours at the East Midlands Airport… It was great craic

Most fun thing:

A conversation where someone asked:

“But why did you write in Swedish?”

Someone else stepped in to explain:

“Because he is Swedish”

Person #1 again:

“Oh, I thought you were Irish”

All in all I learned a lot, made many new friends, and had a grand time. Will I go again next year? I don’t know, but very likely. Unless I go to another UK con. Or why not both? Would I recommend it to someone else? Yes, definitely!

So Now I am sitting here in a hotel room in Dublin writing this post, and realizing that out of what started as a fun, and not always serious, chat one day a year ago turned out into a trip I hadn’t thought I would ever do – that became way better than I would ever have imagined – and one script that just maybe might make it into a book…

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