Picocon was excellent. It’s one of those small-but-perfectly-formed one-day cons, in this case with added student silliness (may contain fish). This year’s programme was live-streamed via periscope, and my talk is now out there for posterity (or however long these things last). May I also recommend the talks from the other three Guests of Honour, Al Robertson, Paul McAuley and Justina Robson – Justina’s, on AI, was so awesome the Q&A afterwards turned into a whole panel.
I saw many old friends at the con – apologies if this includes you and I was too busy to chat – but had to keep quiet about my Big News, though as it’s now official I’m going on about it all over the web. Just in case you don’t know, I’ve had a story shortlisted for this year’s BSFA awards. I am delighted by this, as I’ve been going to Eastercon (where the awards ceremony is held) for decades, have attended many such ceremonies and have also been a member of the BSFA.
The story, ‘Liberty Bird’, had one of those simple ‘what if?’ seeds, which came to me as I was chugging around Lake Coniston on a restored Victorian steam launch. The tour showed us where Donald Campbell came to his spectacular end whilst trying to break the water speed record, and told us how no one was quite sure what made him take that last, lethal run with insufficient fuel. I decided to explore why someone might do such a thing, only with space yachts. Several years, and a detailed dissection via Milford later, Ian Whates was kind enough to publish the story in NewCon Press’s Now We Are Ten anthology. And now … shortlisted. Yes, I am chuffed.