+ we met lots of old friends! Both from Cambridge and from Boston. Lovely to catch up with you all.
+ considering "old friends" in the form of books. I attended several of the Banks panels and was reminded how inventive they are and how I half-remember the ones I read a long time ago. Now I'm keen to go back to them. Likewise from the videogames panels.
+ Other interesting things: British Interplanetary Society; Chris Foss doing a talk on his career in the 60s and 70s which contained a lot of "swinging London" stories. I chatted to him briefly at his signing stall. He had a stack of hardcover art books each of which was getting a fresh hand-drawn sketch inside the front cover, selling at £200. They were sold out.
+ the con seems to have been disaster-free. Not snag-free, but as far as I can tell no big problems affecting a lot of people nor nasty incidents reported on social media. (Someone will no doubt correct me on this, or point out that it will have drowned in discussion of Ferguson)
+ Speaking of which, the Hugo results were good for the John Scalzi Insect Army and bad for Vox Day, which is entertaining.
+ Positive opening discussions with a couple of publishers for Laura, especially the lovely people at Inspired Quill.
+- There was so much stuff on it was impossible to do everything; sometimes I felt I'd missed out on the interesting things other people had been to. Sometimes this was a result of overcrowded programme rooms.
- while we had a good time, it felt like it required a constant input of effort to do so and sometimes felt like an uphill struggle*. It felt difficult to meet new people, outside of the dedicated newbies event.
* there are few things more British than the phrase "we've come all this way and we're going to have a good time if it kills us", usually leading to eating fish and chips in the car in the rain.
- ExCel is massive. Its food court is of course overpriced, and some of the programme rooms has sound leakage problems.
- the crowd was mostly older and mostly American. Sometimes this gave me the feeling of having been swept up by someone else's tour group. Related to the "finding it hard to strike up conversation with strangers here" thing.
- (not con's fault) we booked too late to get a good hotel, and were therefore in a Travelodge on the wrong side of the river. Dinstinctly two-star experience, and the night we stayed out late cost us a lot in taxi fare.