Sunday, 26 September 2010

Games Day UK 2010

I'm freshly returned from Games Workshop's annual main event, Games Day. I'm exhausted as only other convention goers know and I must now head over to some dive bar in Camden Town for a friends leaving party as he's heading off for warmer climes. What a day.

First off a small confession, I spent a boatload of money. This means that food is going to be scarce in the coming month but I laugh in the face of hardship...particularly when it's self-inflicted. My upcoming fast aside, it was a great day for a number of reasons which if you'll stick around, I'll now share with you.

Firstly, shiny new toys; but if the truth be told shiny new toys are buyable all year round and when added to the teeth-grindingly-frustrating queueing snafu's it means that next year I'll be ordering my stuff online and spending less time in queues that moveth not. Well done Forgeworld for putting office weenies in charge of an immensely busy retail stand while experienced retail staff were rolling posters...not your finest hour.

Secondly, I used to work for Games Workshop so it was a rare chance to catch up, face to face, with a couple of friends with whom I used to work and together foam at the mouth about all the exciting new things that the hobby is a rate guaranteed to bankrupt me before I learn anything approaching self control.

However, it was a real and truly rare pleasure to meet with all of my favourite authors in one place. For anyone new to this blog, I write book reviews and conduct author interviews for a really great website, BSC; the books I review are mostly, though not all, from Black Library's dark and dust coated halls and seeing as how Black Library is Games Workshop's publishing arm all of the authors whose books I've reviewed were there. Including awesome newcomer Aaron Dembski Bowden with whom I recently did an interview.

But here's the cool thing, I had expected to have to introduce myself to all of them. Bear in mind, this is the internet, I'd never met any of these people. Our 'relationships' were entirely confined to email and yet...each and every one of them recognised me instantly! The astonishing weirdness of being recognised by people whose work I've admired is hard to describe. There was only one person to whom I needed to introduce myself as I'd expected, Dan Abnett.

This was entirely as it should be.

I've been inspired by this man's writing for a very very long time and for this reason I've yet to review one of his books. I was afraid that my words would be nothing more than the frothy ravings of a fanboy and therefore of little use to anyone else. However, I recently decided it was time to bite the bullet and talk about my experience of one of his books in what is commonly called a 'review'. I believe objectivity to be a myth, my reviews are simply a record of my reading experience...

Anyhoo, not having done a review of his work and having only spoken through email he was unlikely to have come across my scratchings online and so I had to say hi and explain who I was. I've got to tell you all, the sheer warmth and down-to-earth nature of this man really moved me. This feeling was already engendered while I was queueing elsewhere and watching him speak to people lining up to get his autograph, each one was greeted warmly and the greeting then mirrored by his wife, another extraordinary writing talent by the name of Nik Vincent, who was equally warm and unassuming. If there were any two writers more able to rest on their laurels it's Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent, but the only thing on show was humility.

I had a chance to chat to them both later as Mr. Abnett and I discussed the options for my upcoming interview with him and was again struck by how helpful and generous he was. Alright, time to stop frothing but it's so nice to meet a hero and have him/her be all you hoped and more.

And here's another really cool thing, this was one of a number of amazing chats with authors whose work I've reviewed and their gift, admired. Mark Newton, who in his day job works for Black Library and in the cold watches of the night is better known as Mark Charan Newton, fantasy author extraordinaire. He was a real pleasure to talk to, quiet and unassuming and yet very clearly a talent to be reckoned with. I'm currently reading his second novel City of Ruin with a review to follow and hopefully soon after with an eInterview for BSC review. All in all I've got a busy few months ahead with reviews and interviews galore...I know that's only two interviews I've mentioned but there are a few more on the cards which I'm going to keep to myself for now.

I'm not going to recall the details of every conversation with all the authors I had the privilege of speaking to today, though Chris Wraight was a real gentleman and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation; plus I had the chance to chat with Andy Hoare about Deathwatch and pick his brain for some insights I can use when running a game...I said I wasn't going to recount them all so I'll stop there.

The other little joy of the day was finding myself surrounded by people who share many of my more geek like passions, little chats together while queueing, passing comments while looking at the same cabinet filled with shiny new toy soldiers for all of us man-children.

Having the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, to meet face to face with some personal heroes all while fellow geeks thronged around us. What a day, I'm almost worried I won't be able to sleep tonight...

...I'll likely be unconscious before my head hits the pillow :)

1 comment:

  1. Ah, that sounds like an excellent experience.

    I know what you mean about steering away from reviewing Dan's books; I always get really nervous when I'm reviewing one of the bands or artists that I'm a huge fan of. I become acutely aware of how much I'm gushing about how good it is. For me, this equates to Frank Turner, and similarly I found him startlingly down to earth and likeable.

    Look forward to the interview!


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