31st October to (counts on fingers) 3rd November is when mild-mannered bespectacled Fantasycon tears off its shirt and reveals the bare nipples of World Fantasy Convention 2013, and if we’re thinking bare nipples in the UK, we must of course be talking of Brighton. I am at this, as a very minor footnote to a very large ensemble cast, and shall be skulking about in the background and taking up space in the bar while magnificent grandees of the world fantasy scene parade past in elaborate gold-filigree’d hats (1). Always the bridesmaid…

Anyway, enough of such maudlin nonsense. This is what I’ve signed up for.

Firstly, attendees get, I think, a free anthology of fantasy fiction under the title of Unexpected Journeys (2) put together by the able Juliet Mckenna, which includes one from me entitled The Groppler’s Harvest. What, you ask, is a Groppler? Perhaps, Adrian, you mean the Star Trek bit part from Encounter at Farpoint. No, I reply, I do not, but perhaps I should have googled the term to discover whether it was already a genre thing. Anyway. my Groppler is very different. It has a harvest and everything. Although lacking in the giant space jellyfish department.

8pm Thursday 31st Oct Gemmel awards and Legends launch – I can honestly say, of the Legends anthology, that it is a damn good “state of the nation” heroic fantasy anthology. Some very fine names have turned out to honour the name of David Gemmel, and this is the sort of fantasy anthology that I remember devouring as a fantasy reader way back, but that you don’t seem to get so often these days. Such fantasy luminaries as Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Juliet McKenna and Anne & Stan Nicholls are in it, along with one from Ian Whates, the editor. We’re launching it alongside the Gemmel Awards, for which I will be redoubling my skulking and lurking. My Legends story is a Shadows of the Apt piece called “Sword and Circle” about the mystic society of warriors that Tisamon belongs to,

12pm Friday 1st November Alchemy Press book launch – The good folks at Alchemy have three anthologies being released, I think, but my concern is with their Urban Mythic volume, which I’m in. My story here is Family Business, a pleasant little story of fallen gods, murder and London. Also being touted by Alchemy are Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac, and The Alchemy Book of Pulp Heroes 2.

8-10pm Friday – Mass Signing – or maybe not. Who can say. The alarming blurb I’ve been sent for this one states “Only Guests of Honour and those writers we expect long lines for will have pre-reserved places… Others wishing to participate will need to find an empty chair and sit down.” So… that does seem to generate an alarming amount of whatthef*ckery on an initial reading. I guess the, er… the big names will have places at the top table and the rest of us will… fight for elbow room? Sit like a gang of beggars at a bazaar and hold out beseeching pens to the heedless crowd? Or maybe they’ll play music, and when it stops the non-bestselling authors will have to frantically scramble for a seat. I’m probably not getting it, but, er… not entirely sure about how this is meant to work. Should I bring my sword? Is signing space strictly on a Dead Man’s Dust-jacket basis? Can I take Joe Abercrombie on, mano-a-mano? Probably not: he’s very light on his feet. So not sure if I will actually be mass signing anything, but it’s on, anyway. If you’re queuing for the GoH and someone tugs at your cuff and waves a second-hand copy of The Sea Watch pleadingly at you, that’ll be me.

10am Saturday 2nd Best of all Possible Worlds panel. God save me, why do I always get the first-thing-in-the-morning jobs? I’m not complaining. Panels have been rationed. I’m glad to have it. I will be staggering in for this and discussing world-building, because it’s probably the only subject I can talk about intelligently after a heavy night such as I’m very much intending to have on the Friday. I know I have Hal Duncan as a comrade in adversity, but no idea who else. If you don’t know Mr Duncan, by the way, his Vellum and Ink are some of the most ground-breaking and ambitious weird fiction I’ve ever come across.

2pm Saturday *** late entry *** – The Time Traveller’s Almanac signing Not 100% on this one, but it looks as though WFC will get exclusive first release of Ann & Jeff Vandermeer’s phenomenal Time Traveller’s Almanac, and that there will be a signing slot around this time. This book is the penultimate word in time travel anthologies (5), with stories from Douglas Adams, Isaac Asmiov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, George RR Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Moorcock, HG Wells and, well, a whole load of folks, including me. It’s quite a humbling line-up to be in. Also, it is the most beautiful book I have ever had the privilege to be in. And enormous, frikking enormous.

5pm SaturdayReading Slot Yes! I will be reading a thing. Please come along. It’s phenomenally dispiriting when nobody shows. At least I’m not opposite Sir Terry or something like that. I intend to read some from “Sword and Circle”, the one from the Gemmel anthology, because it’s punchy and new, and is also Shadows of the Apt, so covers all bases. Possibly something short and risible also depending on time.

10am Sunday 3rd Tales of Eve launch – Fox Spirit are having a little launch of their collection of the same name, in which is my story “Fragile Creations”. And yes, I say this all the time about my stuff, but this is really one of my best stories, a weird and twisted little tale of arrogance and artifice (3). Come along and grab a copy.

And that’s me at the con. If you’re going, and you want to chat, or a book signed, or if you, weary traveller from a distant land, wish to buy a poor starving author a pint of cider (4), then please wander over.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, I have recently undertaken the official Weirdest Interview Ever with the delightful Emma Newman, as part of her Tea and Jeopardy webseries. My episode is here and the whole series is well worth a listen – catch such names as Paul Cornell, Frances Hardinge and the aforementioned Mr Abercrombie in conversation, and in peril!

(1) No, I am not GoH, nor was meant to be / am an attendant author, who will do / to pad a panel, sign a book or two… (with apologies to TS Eliot)

(2) A title of particular poignancy for any overseas visitors who have to untangle the Gordian knot that is any UK public transport heading anywhere near Brighton.

(3) Arrogance and Artifice: not one of Jane Austen’s better works.

(4) If you’re really ahead of the game, it’s Magners or Bulmers of pretty much any variety, for me. No ice, ideally, but beggars, choosers, you know.

(5) It should have been the last word but, you know, time travel…

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