BristolCon 2023

Another year, and other small but (mostly) perfectly formed BristolCon.

This year should have been spectacular, because I’d been offered the book launch slot for the new Juliet McKenna novel, The Green Man’s Quarry. However, circumstances conspired to thwart this. Firstly the diary gremlins attacked Juliet. A family event that she absolutely had to attended turned up on the Saturday. She kindly offered to drive over to Bristol for the Friday night only, and the convention offered to put on a launch event then. The diary clashes also affected me, in that the Chengdu Worldcon moved its dates to clash with BristolCon. That meant that I spent the Saturday evening updating the Hugo Awards website. It kept me away from the karaoke, which I’m sure everyone else was very grateful for.

The gods, however, were not done with us. I was vaguely aware that terrible weather was forecast for Scotland that weekend. The drive from South Wales was largely uneventful, though it did piss it own between Port Talbot and Bridgend. I did notice signs about an M4 closure around Swindon and hoped it was minor. No such luck. There had been a major accident that closed both carriageways. Also parts of Swindon station were underwater and around 75% of trains from London to Bristol were being cancelled. Rail issues were also affecting travel from Exeter and Birmingham.

There’s nothing you can do about this sort of thing. The book launch was very sparsely attended, as was the open mic event that followed it. Shrug.

The weather was better on Saturday, but some people had clearly given up on trying to get to the convention. Footfall in the Dealers’ Room was low. So low that I had a lot of chocolate and cupcakes left at the end of the day. But, thanks to Juliet having a new book out, sales were only just below last year. BristolCon is the only con where it is remotely economic for me to have a dealer table, and I continue to be grateful for that.

I did one panel. It was about AI, and I was able to recycle a lot of what I had learned on the similar panel at Pemmicon. Programming appeared to be well attended.

Next year the guests of honour will be Peter F Hamilton and Joanne Harris. If you have not been to BristolCon before, that sounds like a perfect excuse to try it out.