Dragonmeet 2011 for me actually started a few hundred yards from High Street Kensington tube station, in a coffee shop, in the company of James Wallis and Tim Dedopulos, where we briefly discussed [CONTENT REMOVED] before heading up to Kensington Town Hall in time for James to interview Ian Livingstone about everything from the foundation of Games Workshop and the early days of Fighting Fantasy, to the future of RPGs and the what OBE actually stands for*.
Ian is a great speaker and James a highly knowledgeable interviewer, and, as a consequence, the allocated hour flew by. What was particularly nice was that I got a mention, as did Tin Man Games Gamebook Adventures. The Tin Man's flesh interface Neil Rennison was there this year as well, and apparently Mr Livingstone himself dropped by the Gamebook Adventures stand early in the day.
During the course of the seminar, Andrew Kenrick (the current editor of White Dwarf, Games Workshop's hobby magazine) asked Ian Livingstone (former editor of White Dwarf) a question, which was slightly surreal. Ian also revealed that he has written a new Fighting Fantasy gamebook which will be published as close to the actual 30th anniversary of the publication of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain as possible, next year. However, he wouldn't say what it was called, so watch this space...
Fighting Fantasy at Dragonmeet
From left to right - Graham Bottley (Mr Advanced Fighting Fantasy), Jamie Fry (the new Warlock), Ian Livingstone OBE (the most important man in the British games industry), and me
It turns out that Dragonmeet is one of those cons where everywhere I turn there are people I know/have worked with/am working with, and so to begin with it took a while to get anyway, as I stopped to shake hands, chat, be introduced to other people, who will now join the list of those people who, when I arrive at a con, will be everywhere I turn...
After listening to Ian and James's seminar, I made the most of the chance to catch up with various people, took a turn on the Gamebook Adventures stand, and then, before I knew it, it was my turn to be on a panel.
Apparently I am a giant of the gamebook genre.
(Certainly looks like it judging by this photograph!)
Sarah Newton, Iain Lowson and myself were the 'Fiction and the Games Industry' panel. I'd seen(?) Sarah and Iain speak on a panel at the UK Games Expo back in June, and it was a pleasure to join them on this occasion. Not having an MC we were left to our own devices, but fortunately Sarah had done her homework and come up with a few questions to get the ball rolling before we opened it up to the floor. It felt like the panel went very well, from my point of view at least, and the audience were very appreciative. It was a particular pleasure that at the end one member of the audience took the time to thank me for my Pax Britannia books!
Sarah Newton with her novel Mindjammer
and Yours Truly with The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus
Then it was back upstairs into the main hall for more chats, stints on the stand, and perusing the games that were for sale. I did quite well, coming away with just the two large, hardback tomes this time.
During the day I caught up (briefly) with Angus Abranson - Dragonmeet's organiser and who, it was announced last week, is leaving Cubicle 7 (creators of the Doctor Who RPG, amongst other things) - Fighting Fantasy's new Warlock (a.k.a. Jamie Fry), Graham Bottley of Arion Games, Paul Baldowski (demo-game runner extraordinaire), and Sarah Newton, who was selling her first novel Mindjammer at the Cubicle 7 stand (along with my more recent Pax Britannia titles). I obviously also got to meet Iain Lowson - having only Skyped and Twittered with him before -which was a pleasure, and not just because he presented me with a copy of his stunning self-penned RPG Dark Harvest: The Legacy of Frankenstein.
Iain Lowson (author of Dark Harvest) meets Neil Rennison (of Tin Man Games) and Jamie Fry (Fighting Fantasy's new Warlock)
Having left Dragonmeet, I spent the evening in the company of Neil Rennison talking about future plans for the Gamebook Adventures series, which was all rather exciting. But more about that another time...
So it just remains for me to thank Angus for organising such a great con, and having me as a special guest, and Neil for inviting me in the first place. (I also just want to thank Wilf for his kind comments with regard to me helping to keep Fighting Fantasy alive.)
Until next time...
* Turns out, according to Ian, to mean 'Oldest Bloke at Eidos'. (And in case you're wondering, he's 62 next birthday.)