Last night, Heffers in Cambridge had a science fiction and fantasy evening.I was very impressed. They had tables set out around the store, where the authors were mostly based, signing books and chatting to people and things. and then at the back of the store (where they have an awesome kids’ section – it has big colourful cubes to sit on and a kind of mini-stage and a big throne with lion heads on the arms and colourful patchwork fabric …) each author had 15 minutes to do talk/read from their latest books/take questions/generally do stuff. (Perhaps importantly, there was also a table of drinks – orange juice, wine, that sort of thing).
The whole thing was pretty well managed, and they kept everything running strictly to time without being pushy about it. The lineup (in the order they spoke) was:
- Ian Whates (who I missed, but later realised I recognised from Constitution in 2009)
- Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell (They did a neat double-act thing, and Chris Riddell drew a very cool picture in the 15 minutes)
- Philip Reeve (reminded me a little of Matt Smith’s Dr Who …)
- Alex Scarrow (who reads in a very dramatic way!)
- Peter F. Hamilton (who reads in a surprisingly non-dramatic way, although the short story he read was very good).
- Trudi Canavan (didn’t see)
- Moira Young (seemed very cool. Used to be an opera singer. I bought her book.)
- Jasper Kent (didn’t see)
- Steven Erikson (has spent 12 years writing the 10-book-series Malazan Book of the Fallen. Wow. He read a couple of poems from the series)
- China Mieville (read some of Embassytown, I think. Has a fantastic sense of humour, and was generally articulate and AWESOME and I bought one of his books too …)
It was pretty well attended too – not sure of numbers (I’m really bad at estimating numbers) but many enough that it felt successful and even when there were lots of people listening to the talks there were still a few others milling about with the other authors, and few enough that you could actually go and talk to just about anybody.
Here are pictures of the books I bought (and had signed! Yay! Yes, I had them signed for “Eudoxia”, which is not my real name, and yes, you can judge me if you like …)
All in all a very cool evening. So glad I went. 🙂