I am now back home having had an enjoyable time at my first Picocon. This is a university convention held at Imperial College in Kensington, not far from the Albert Hall. If it were not for the fact that it is is London it would doubtless be a fairly small event, perhaps similar to the ironically much smaller Microcon, which takes place in Exeter in 2 weeks time. However, being in London, Picocon is able to attract a wide range of locally based authors and fans, which makes it a much bigger event. It is split site, in that the main panel sessions take place in a lecture theatre a short walk from the student union building where the
bar rest of the con is, so it is hard to gauge numbers, but it is certainly over 200.
I got to hang out with Paul Cornell, Paul McAuley and Mike Shevdon, and also said hi to Juliet McKenna, Kari Sperring, Pat Cadigan, Jaine Fenn, Farah Mendlesohn, Graham Sleight and many others. Thanks in particular are due to Mike for finding a great pub for lunch (even if they were rather stingy on the chips) and to Terry Martin of Murky Depths for looking after my bags and putting copies of Dark Spires on his dealer table. By the way, the graphic novel edition of the Richard Calder & Leonardo Giron story, Dead Girls, is utterly gorgeous. It is expensive, but it’s a signed, limited edition. If you see Terry at a con, ask to see it.
I missed Kari’s GoH talk, but Paul did a great session on the moons of the outer planets, packed with gorgeous Cassini photographs, and Juliet held forth in her usual fascinating way on why a fantasy author needs to know a lot of science. It is apparently traditional at Picocon to drop various dodgy pieces of SFnal merchandise into liquid nitrogen and they destroy them. The students, being students, love this so much that they stood out in the rain to watch it being done. When I left they had just started a fish-fighting tournament, which is like sword-fighting, only with fish. I have no idea why, but they are students which hopefully explains everything.
And oldish fellow called Langford gave me a piece of paper which he said was something called a “fanzine”. It was interesting, but I’m not sure that the idea will catch on.