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Odyssey Eastercon – After The Hurly-Burly part 2

Of course, the memories are already starting to blur a bit round the edges but some standout moments remain, ike the steampunk weaponry in the Art Exhibition. Gotta love that blunderbuss and the ray gun, gorgeous assemblages redolent of Victorian-Edwardian technologies (creations of the talented Herr Doktor). I didn’t attend the Steampunk Ball but did see some of the costumes, like the chap with the multi-barrelled handweapon, and the rather snazzy ocular device complete with leather headstraps.

Another highlight was Nick Lowe winning the BSFA non-fiction award for his Interzone movie reviews – he was clearly stunned at winning, but it was well-deserved and long overdue. Surely now some publisher will offer the guy a contract to publish a collection of his reviews. I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

I couldn’t help noticing that the short story award went to Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia for ‘The Beloved Time Of Their Lives’, an exquisite, poignant, witty time/love/time travel story. The novel award went to China Mieville for ‘The City And The City’, while the artwork award went to Stephane Martiniere for his illustration for Ian McDonald’s ‘Desolation Road’.

It is a common misperception that published writers are a privileged lot who swan around supping from all the delights that civilisation has to offer: that may be true for the superstars, the Rowlings etc, but the great majority of professional writers must grapple with finances that often don’t go quite far enough. So when one’s publisher lets it be known that a slap-up meal is on the agenda you don’t hang about. Thus, by the mighty agency of Orbit supremo, Darren Nash, a number of us did repair to the Achari restaurant on Sipson Road for a feast of surpassing excellence. Really, I cannot praise the Achari highly enough – very pleasant surroundings, and an extensive menu from which we sampled examples fit to make a prince boggle in surprise. The openers and starters were fantastic, and generous in portion size so be aware of that when ordering the main course. Highly recommended.

All in all, Odyssey was a well-run, multistream, multi-genre, multifarious convention with a great many fascinating panels and discussions and events (and I really must get to more of them next time). The dealers’ room was well-stocked with a variety of books, mags, jewellery and all manner of crafted artefacts, as well as clothing, dvds, cds, etc etc. Yet as I’ve said before, I really dont like the Radisson hotel – by the Sunday I had grown to hate with a passion those marble stairs leading up from the lobby to the atrium and the mezzanine, not to mention the fact that there were no loos on the ground floor within easy reach of the Polo lounge. This is not to imply that somehow, in the throes of my aforementioned imbibification trials that I got lost in the corridors. No, not at all. Although you are free to infer what you will 😉

And so to next year, when we will be at the Hilton Metropole near the NEC, in Birmingham, a city I have only ever passed through. So that should be a new experience, then!