The Shadeward Saga Launches (Fantasticon Report)
And so we’re back from Fantasticon! There’s a pile of laundry the size of the north face of the Eiger, our NERF guns are jammed and some of us are nursing bruised knuckles – but we’re home safe and sound. Huge thanks to Dan and Gabi who worked tirelessly to make all this happen – ably supported by a cast of dozens of the communities finest – you all know who you are. 🙂
What an amazing weekend. Yes, it was fantastic, there’s no other word for it. All the usual fun and games you associate with a convention packed out with such an amazing community, stars of screen, stage and audiobooks, computer gaming from the good ol’ days of 16-bit, through to the latest rigs for playing Elite: Dangerous and onto the full spaceship simulation of Artemis.
Great to see some amazing and inspiring cosplayers, many in costumes they had made themselves. Others featured iconic characters from film and games.
It was a great honour for me to finally meet up with Toby Longworth (Star Wars, Hitchhikers and Dr. Who) who did the amazing voice work for the audiobook version of Elite: Reclamation.
Simon Fisher-Becker’s one man show “My Dalek has a puncture” was fabulous and very inspiring. My son, Mark, who likewise has dyslexia, was particularly moved by it all.
It was great to meet up with Commanders DaddyHoggy and Selezen (John and Dave) for the first time at the same time.We’ve known each other online since 2006, but this was the first time we’d managed to meet in person together. All Elite players from 1984.
Also great to see folk from Frontier; the incomparable Michael Brookes (who bought his own AT-AT for guard dog duties) with community favourites Ed Lewis and Zac Antonaci. Gents, it was a pleasure, and thanks for coming along. Thanks to Zac in particular for expressing how excited he was to see the community beginning to craft their own fiction and stories based on the game and the books. (Shout out to the Children of Raxxla, The Phoenix Group and Loren’s Legion!)
Also apologies to Zac – he was assaulted by a Dalek driven by my one of my sons!
I got to meet Sean and Harry (from the Phoenix group – check out their fan-fiction with Salomé from Elite: Reclamation!) – both working before, throughout and after to keep the ‘con moving.
Many new books were out and I got to meet some great new authors including John Scorcher, who should have won a ‘best waistcoat’ award at the very least. Fabulous to see so much creativity…
You know I like to showcase my readings a little. This year was no different, but you can thank my wife for the highlight of the reading – as it was her idea. “Why don’t we act out the fight scene?” “You sure? OK then!”
Two months of hard practice under the eagle eyes of our Sensei Jim Dempster brought together a real, but fully choreographed fight. As a family we’re learning Aikido, and this was a taster of ‘Jö’ work, 5 foot poles employed as deadly weapons. My wife Anita took on the role of a militaristic priestess who defends a girl from the slums against two young sons of guards (our sons – Mark and Joshua) – and thus the story starts… (Jump to 10:30 for the fight!)
Huge thanks to Lisa Bosman who took on the role of Kiri and to my family for being prepared to put in all the hard work to make this happen. It worked superbly! Thanks also to Lucy Peryer and Steven Norton for filming it all on ‘real’ cameras – including a go-pro strapped to Mark – can’t wait to see what that looks like! 🙂
Then I was signing books – a lot of books. I lost count fairly quickly – apologies if I missed anyone. Lovely to chat about the stories. If I hadn’t realised how popular Kahina/Salomé was amongst the fans of Elite: Dangerous before… I do now! Almost every question about my Elite book featured her in some way. And on that note…
Michael Brookes took to the QA panel to announce that Frontier are, once again, looking to licence a variety of works – including new books. I can lay any fears to rest that I will be looking to join in once we understand how its all going to work – we should have more details in the next few months. I hope to bring my own contribution to highlighting the amazing Horizons expansion, look at ways to include the activities of the player factions (some of which we’ve seen in the Elite: Reclamation fan fiction) and give Kahina (at the very least) another outing in the universe of Elite: Dangerous.
So as we say goodbye to Fantasticon 2015, a new horizon opens up. It does seem that in 2016 we’re, at last, going to write on, Commanders!