gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,

Magic Casements

I will do two posts on Magic Casements, to prolong the agony. This one is on Magic Casements proper, and the other is going to be my memory of what I said on my panel. It seems a nice idea for me to actually know what I say for a change. Alas, I have no record of the jokes. I kept an eye on the audience and when I found a topic that sparked interest, I made a bad joke. One day I will take lessons and learn how to make a good joke.

chrisbarnes did an awesome job as director of Magic Casements. The panels were well run and well balanced and all thoughtful. I wished I could have got to every single one, but it was also the place to be to meet *everyone* so I was continually being diverted to have fascinating conversations in odd corners. For people-watchers, I can give you a list of most people I chatted with, but it would be dreadfully long. I can't tell you what we spoke about, because I can talk and my friends can talk and between us we can all talk an awful lot. Although I admit, it turns out that I talk more than yasminke. Please contain your laughter.

I finally got to put a couple of faces and personalities to names. I notice that one of them has snuck into my flist, which is cool. I have wondered who jack_ryder was for a long time. How could I not have met anyone with such a large presence? I had heard of him a bunch of times. And now I have met him, I have to be polite to him because he reads my blog.

Magic Casements is a bit hard to describe as an event. Have you noticed people on other blogs saying what a great time they had and how wonderfully it was organised, but don't actually explain what it is? Well, we all had a great time and it *was* wonderfuly organised. It was more than that, though. It has a distinct character.

It is not an SF con, but because there are regular con-goers there, it has that friendliness and comfortable feeling. It is technically a writers' festival, but it lacks any sort of pretentiousness or presumption. The writers don't bignote themslves or Make Pronouncements on Literature. They do talk very seriously about writing technique and about what it means to be a spec fic writer. The horror writers talked about other horror writers, but also discussed what it takes to make horror function, for instance. But on the very serious reviewer panel Terry Dowling and Van Ikin mocked themselves and each other.

Wherever I went I ran into the Director of the Writers' Centre, which meant I went to a booklaunch unexpectedly (I had planned to sit on the lawn with the Purplezoners - I joined them for the tail end of lunchtime) and to the short story competition. I normally avoid the short story competition, but I was extremely glad that Irina looked at me and said "Gillian, you are coming, aren't you?" There were some rather nice short-shorts, and the winner turned out to be stevecav. And his story is gorgeous. Very clever.

You don't need to know that I stirred every horror writer I met? It almost goes without saying. Leigh Blackmore was very polite about it. Rob Hood stirred back. And Kaaron Warren is going to get even.
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