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Mancunicon 2016

So, now my head is showered (Norn Irish for I needed a few days to recover and chill out), it's time to blog about an awesome weekend at Mancunicon.

Mancunicon was my third convention and my second as a panellist. Luckily, a few people from the sffchronicles - my genre home-from-home - past and current were going, so I wasn't on my own, and I was looking forward to meeting up.

Ha! A few people to meet.... I came home hoarse. I barely got a foot forward for the first day, catching up with people I know on line but had yet to meet. With my name - I was the only Zebedee in the building - I'm easily identified! In fact, the few hours when I forgot my badge on Saturday and became 'Jim' for the morning where the only quiet ones.

Which was all fab. I came to meet people and meet them I did. (Mostly. James Worrad still remains a an enigmatic Con-rumour. A larger than life one, albeit.) From published writers, to self-published, genre-fans to organisers, I had great craic catching up with everyone.

With such a busy weekend, where to start? Okay: the panels and events. I enjoyed various including a great (if occasionally colloquially worded) interview with Ian McDonald by the always entertaining Peadar O'Guilin, an interesting panel on Twisting the Story headed by Gillian Redfern and a lively one on self publishing moderated by P P Corcoran.

I also took part in two panels, one on catastrophe and salvage, one on space opera. Both were fun and embedded in me (after Titancon last year when moderation was so smoothly effective it barely seemed to happen) the importance of ensuring parity of voice in such panels.Those panels I attended and took part in, I found the more diverse the voices heard and the more structured the moderation the better the panel.

And then the people. The Dublin 2019 team where I finally got my supporting membership (have you got yours?), those from Titancon, the publishers, the writers from all parts of the genre, self published, trad, small and large presses. (The nice thing about being a hybrid author is how many people I've had the chance to meet.)

So, the downsides? The venue, for me, had issues. Some rooms were too small for their purpose (room 7, I'm looking at you). There were few chill-out places were an escape could be made from strong overhead lights and crowds (which for a con which had a panel advising on anti-anxiety and cons seeemed a sitter). I found the lack of a comfortable, cosy, bar space a disappointment. Also, the convention food was very poor with the burgers, in particular, gaining an early notoriety to avoid at any cost.

But those are niggles. Overall, it was a great con with thought provoking panels and a great opportunity to geek-out. Huge congrats to Pat Murray and the team.


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