I spent last weekend at the two-day Scarborough Science Fiction Festival and it was laser-blasting AWESOME. There were special guests like Virginia Hey of Farscape, Danny John Jules of Red Dwarf and Darth Vader himself, David Prowse. There were also rows upon rows of independent creative traders: authors, comic book artists, crafty types, collectors and podcasters all gathered in the Artists’ Alley to meet fellow fans and promote their creations. There were also amazing collections, like the puppets and models used in Gerry Anderson’s productions such as Thunderbirds and Stingray as well award-winning collections to see and official traders with everything from Star Wars vinyl to figurines for sale.
The venue, the Scarborough Spa, was a truly an inspired choice too. The Victorian theatre and entertainment centre is beautifully maintained, with soaring ceilings, well-stocked bars and a number of great rooms, including the Grand Hall where the Artists’ Alley was station which had a balcony and a stage on which the celebrity panels were held.
There was also the wonderful setting with the beach right outside, a great seaside front with amusements and cafes and the best fish and chips I’ve had in a long time.
All this was fantastic, but the best thing was the atmosphere. The people that attended were, to a one, friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and also keen, passionate and curious to discover new things. I had a table in the Artists’ Alley and took copies of my first SciFi novel, Zero, to sell. Lots and lots of people bought signed copies, as well as some of my exclusive badges and bookmarks. But the best part was getting to meet face-to-face fellow SciFi fanatics and discuss my book and find out what they thought from their first impressions. I’m very much looking forward to finding out what they make of the story as a whole, but some I know have started reading already and are so far enjoying, which is great!
What also excited me immensely was that a few people actually sought me out as they had heard of Zero! They’d either had Amazon recommend it to them, or friends or fans. This gave me such a buzz I grinned all weekend. It really showed me that I’m doing it right and that I’, slowly getting out there.
Another thing that was great was the chance to meet other writers that are further along their journey than me and are doing so well. I met Craig Hallam, steampunk and gothic author of several titles including The Adventures of Alan Shaw and Greaveburn. I picked up a copy of Graeveburn for myself and devoured half of it on the train journey home. It has the flavour of Gormenghast, but with more action and a much sleeker narrative style. The characters are engaging, the pace is great and the beautifully visualised setting is enough to draw in fantasy, SpecFic, steampunk and even SciFi fans alike. I highly recommend.
I also me C. G. Hatton, author of the SciFi Thriller Thieves Guild Series. I picked up her first book, Residual Belligerence for Kindle and have started already and this, too, is brilliant so far. Great pace and great characters, and a wonderful tone
and humour. That and the action has sucked me right in and I can’t wait to get to the rest of the story.
I will definitely back to Scarborough SciFi Festival for 2016. A huge thank you to the amazing organisers, Andy and Steve, for having me and for putting on such a great event. But above all thank you to all the festival goers that flocked out in their hundreds with their masks, lightsabers, cloaks and enthusiasm and really made the event come alive.
I’m now looking toward my next event, Yorkshire Cosplay Con, but also to the SciFi Festival in Scarborough next year!