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GUEST BLOG After Eastercon

Arthur C Clarke Award administrator and guest blogger Tom Hunter reports from last weekend's Eastercon

Odyssey 2010 , otherwise known as Eastercon . One of the largest, longest running, and many say the best, genre gatherings in the UK.

Personally I found it strangely fitting that this year’s convention (2-5 April) took place amidst the Ballardian terminal spaces and hotel strips of Heathrow airport – a suitably fitting science fictional launch pad for a Con with international, if not interstellar, ambitions for its guests.

Speaking of interstellar, I could just as well be referring to the line-up of guests of honour, authors, experts and the delightful motley of fandom that made the event.

I'm on a word count here, so I’ll resist the urge to name drop (much) but do have a look here and see for yourself.

I do have to tip the hat to the Guests of Honour Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Liz Williams and Mike Carey though. Being a GoH is surely equal parts honour and ordeal, as our hard-working stars gave ceaseless talks, signings and panel appearances while the rest of us were free to while away the hours in the bar. A famous Eastercon tradition and prime networking site for old pros and budding new talents by the way.

Highlights for me included the presentation ceremony for this year’s BSFA Awards . With China Miéville’s The City & The City winning Best Novel plus receiving a Hugo nomination on the same night, speculation was naturally rife that he might just sweep the genre awards this year . Naturally, I couldn’t possibly comment.

Other personal favourites included talks by the Guardian’s Bad Science writer Ben Goldacre, and a fascinating overview of the changing themes of space fiction from author and astronomer Alastair Reynolds.

It’s impossible for one person to experience the entirety of an event like this, but the increasing proliferation of Twitter use did create a delightfully multi-channel immersion into the event and extended the reach of the conversation out to those parts of SF fandom unable to physically represent over the weekend. Check out the #Easteron hashtag for an overview.

Strange though to make so many new friends then utterly fail to actually meet up with so many of them.

Clue: next time I’ll be in the bar again.

See you there?

Tom Hunter is administrator of the Arthur C Clarke Award, and you can read more of his thoughts on in the coming weeks. The official website of Eastercon 2010 can be found here .