A Look At BristolCON11

Okay, so its been a few days and the dust is now settling on what was a fantastic weekend. So I thought it was time to post something about the BristolCON convention I attended and exhibited at this past weekend.

BristolCON(insert your year of choice here) has become one of my favourite conventions to attend and exhibit at. BristolCON is the final convention of each year in a (ever growing) list of expos and conventions that I frequent, and although I very much enjoy the others, there is something a bit special about BristolCON that I really look forward to. The feeling is a bit like the one you get when you go home to visit your family after a long time away. It is friendly, inviting and fun with a great vibe and awesome guests. Not only that, you get a goodie bag too. What more could you want?

My Art On Display

This years BristolCON(11) was no exception, it was a brilliant event and everyone appeared to be having a great time, even if they all did show up at the same time!

This year was a little different for me as I was not only attending and exhibiting art but also taking part on one of the panels, a very new experience for me indeed. Bundling into the panel room with about two minutes to spare before we began to discuss our topic, 'When did science become the bad guy?' I felt a little concerned and almost a little relieved as I looked about the room and noted that it was almost empty. I found out later that there was a bit of a 'bottle neck' at the entrance to the convention as it seems that everyone decided to show up at the same time. This meant that the first panels were a bit thin on the ground to begin with, to then fill up very quickly!

Murky Depths in the Dealer Room

This worked out for me though, it meant that I was quite relaxed and caught up in the panel by the time there was enough people in the room to embarrass myself in front of, and so it didn't bother me so much. The panel went well, I'm not sure how (I'll have to listen to a podcast of the panel if one becomes available in the future) but we started on the decline of education and understanding of science in our modern society and ended on the zombie apocalypse!

That is not to say that we were invaded by the undead, although one or two of the guys watching the panel may have glazed over and given that impression at one point. No, will we or will we not have one? That was the question, and I think the vote swung towards a yes, and it might be fun if we did too. Certainly my vote went for a yes and that it may in fact be the next evolutionary step for mankind.

Setting up the Dealer Room

Next I was off to watch a few of the panels myself, all very informative and fun, just as they should be. My pick though was the very last one and that was the interview of Jim Burns by Alastair Reynolds. Alastair Reynolds is a great Sci-Fi writer and I have enjoyed many of his novels. However, Jim Burns has been one of my, if not the, art heroes for as long as I can remember, and so I was very much looking forward to this one.

Jim Burns interview by Alastair Reynolds

The interview was was brilliant, I sat through the whole thing with a childish grin on my face, the guy really is a legend in his own life time.

Having spent some time with Jim (I got to call him that) the evening before the convention and throughout the event itself was nothing short of amazing, and because he is such a down-to-Earth guy I managed to stick to my goal and not act like a nerdy fanboy.


I say that.

I did have a moment towards the end of the convention when I asked Jim to sign one of his books for me and I shook his hand and thanked him for all the years of inspiration he had given me. I felt a bit like David Tennant in the Doctor Who special 'Time Crash' when he got to meet his Doctor (Peter Davidson) in the Tardis and tell him, '...You're my Doctor...'. It was all very emotional, for me at least.

The day itself was great fun, I got to catch up with some friends and make some new ones, chat A LOT about science fiction and fantasy (which is always good), and pick up a few things like books, comics and some toys for my kids (no, really they are for my kids).

The Dealer Room Filling Up

I think my one regret has to be that I didn't get around to sketching anything! I was so caught up in chatting to people, wondering around and watching/taking part in panels that I just couldn't make the time. On the up shot, one or two artists that far out shine my own work were more than happy to give it a go. Oh well, maybe next year I'll pull my finger out and get something sorted and do something.

Talking of next year!

Yes! I am going to be there. I will be sticking my name down for next year, BristolCON12 if you hadn't guessed, very soon (and before space runs out). Several guests have already been announced for next year already, and I must admit I'm already getting a little bit excited about it too.

To finish, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who took part in making this event so flipping fantastic, especially the Bristol Science Fiction and Fantasy Society who work so hard to bring us this event every year. Thanks to you all, it was brilliant and I can't wait until 2012s! (That is of course unless the Mayans were right and next year is the end of the world and we all go out in a zombie apocalypse – which I might add was predicted as the next step in human evolution by myself and the panel at this years BristolCON).

Time to go! One of Jim Burn's Amazing Works of Art Being Packed Away.


  1. Good recap! I totally agree that BristolCon is one of the best events ever. :-) It's become so important for me to attend, that I even moved my next year's holiday to attend 2012 Con. Can't wait for more details! But team is already hard at work arranging everything.

  2. Yeah, I really love BristolCON, it is such a great day out. I'm already planning next year!


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