I spent last weekend in Derby, attending the excellent Alt.Fiction, a slickly run and enjoyable cross-genre event with a nice mixture of SF, fantasy, crime and horror writers (and readers) present. As much a workshop as a convention in the usual sense, it was terrifically good fun and well situated in the heart of Derby, within easy range of restaurants and reasonably priced hotels. My thanks to Alex Davies for the invitation, and to the other guests and attendees for making everything so pleasant.
I delivered a guest of honour talk on the saturday afternoon. Before I got going, Cheryl Morgan presented me with this, which she had kindly ferried home from Stockholm:
This is the European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame award for best writer, and I'm delighted to be the recipient in 2011, following on from my colleague and friend Stephen Baxter last year. When Cheryl emailed me from Stockholm to say the award was mine, I was doubly delighted because I hadn't even realised I was up for it. It's the kind of thing that makes you want to rub your hands and say "excellent" in a Mr Burns style.
The significance of the pony is that these wooden statuettes are a Stockholm speciality; mine has been transmogrified with a spacesuit and helmet. I understand that the other awards given out that night were similarly wacky.
I am immensely grateful to the ESFS for the award, to Cheryl for bringing it home, and to the organisers, guests and attendees of Alt.Fiction for an excellent time.