Saturday, June 21, 2008

Science Fiction Convention Wales

Academi's first SF/F/Horror Convention called 'Space, Time, Machine and Monster' took place today in The University of Glamorgan, Treforest and a very successful con it turned out to be.

The first lecture my wife and I attended was Jasper Fforde's Jayne Eyre, Vampires and Time Travel which was a great laugh and very well done. Jasper certainly knows how to captivate an audience. An hour seemed to fly by and although there were questions allowed at the end I
didn't get around to asking mine as we had to move on. However, I did manage to grab him as he went by and got him to sign a copy of his 'The Big Over Easy'.

Had about ten minutes to wander around the various tables where writers, books, publishers and others of the writing fraternity were hanging out. Bought a couple of books and signed a few of my 'Flames of Herakleitos' and then it was time to make our way to the next hall where Rhys Hughes was giving a presentation on OuLiPo.

OuLiPo -
(pronounced oo-lee-PO) stands for "Ouvroir de littérature potentielle", which translates roughly as "workshop of potential literature". Phew, this is one method of writing which I think would be too demanding for me. I like to write poetry which has its restraints but OuLiPo is another thing altogether. Imagine trying to write a novel that has no words with the letter 'e' in it! (As done by Georges Perec in his 300 page novel La disparition).

Rhys's lecture was very well put together and gave a great insight into a method of writing that I had little knowledge of. Managed to get Rhys to sign my copy of 'The Postmodern Mariner' and 'Doorways' (an anthology edited by Steve Lockley for the event) I also had it signed by Steve himself, Paul Lewis and Tim Lebbon. I'd have liked to have tracked down the others but time was running out, it was time for lunch!

The final lecture we attended was by Steve Lockley who read aloud the 1902 short horror story by W.W.Jacobs called 'The Monkey's Paw', strangely enough I had never read this so didn't know what to expect. However, as the tale unfurled I realised how many other stories have been written, since this ground-breaking one, that follow in its footsteps. Later we discussed the tale and an interesting debate ensued, once again time seemed to go quickly and soon we were back in the foyer again where it was time for a photo shoot. Here are some of the snaps, unfortunately I only got one of Rhys and he had to close his eyes didn't he!

So, all in all a very good first con by Academi. I hope it is the beginning of a regular occasion.

Geoff Nelder, award winner author and the British Managing Editor of the excellent magazine 'Escape Velocity' (note my book on his table! I wonder if he bought a copy? Hehe)

Jasper Fforde and me (this is a spot the difference - can you?)

Rhys (exhausted after his lecture)

Steve Lockley and me

Some of the visitors

Tim Lebbon

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams

And that's all folks!


Anonymous said...

Dear Robert Lock,

Having read your poems posted to Billy Mills’ blog in The Guardian, I am writing to invite you to take part in Poetry Life and Times. Published every two months, it
was founded eight years ago in England and continues promoting poets and visual artists.

It will be a pleasure to be able to publish some of your poems, together with a short bio, a picture and any links you deem fit.

Our web page is

Best wishes,

Robin Ouzman Hislop, Editor
and Amparo Arrospide, co-editor

Bob Lock said...

Hello Amparo and Robin,
Many thanks for your invite. I have tried contacting you at the valance22 email address but had an automated reply. I have looked through your website but am unable to find your email address to contact you personally. Drop me a line if you wish, at: