42 things to keep in mind concerning mancunicon 2016 in case you find yourself traveling back in time to save humanity from hyperintelligent shades of blue or something else equally silly

  1. You don’t need to go to the opening ceremony. It is fun seeing everyone introduced, though. And feeling like you’re there at the start of something. Like now. With this list.
  2. Don’t wait to go to that panel you’re really excited about or possibly features your partner. Go to it. Now. I don’t care if it’s not until tomorrow.
  3. There are many things to learn at the TRANSCENDING THE GENRE AND OTHER POLITE INSULTS, such as, among other things: stickers are cool and worthy of discussion; astronauts equal SF; the closer SF gets to dreamy, the closer it gets to being considered literature; it’s possible SF is less a genre than a mode or a way of thinking; Flaubert’s main rule for novels? NO HEROES OR MONSTERS; books begin with a question.
  4. Whiskey or wine is best. For all you may think that you want to try the cider it will only end in sadness.
  5. Remember to examine anything you think might be a ghost with your glasses on. Trust me.
  6. The panel on Comma Press will be cool because you will learn that Comma Press exists and is connected to that whole MUNDANE SF thing what involves Geoff Ryman. Geoff Ryman continues to be very tall.
  7. Niall Harrison is an excellent person to whom to direct questions. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of things. If you get a chance you should read a lot of Ian McDonald before attending the con, so that you also seem to know stuff.
  8. Miss Fisher’s Mysteries. Watch it. If nothing else so you understand what people are talking about on that panel FABULOUS HATS, FAST CARS, & FEMINISM. Also. Consider whether or not the heightened reality of Miss Fisher which might attract SF people, might also be what attracts such people to Jane Austen.
  9. There are too many amazing things to read. Luckily THE YEAR GONE/THE YEAR AHEAD panel will tell you what’s most important. You should read this post by EG Cosh after the con. It will help you remember.
  10. It’s still too many, but that’s okay. At least, you won’t get bored before you die. Well. Unless.
  11. When in doubt write it down. Fuck it. Write it all down.
  12. Particularly everything Sarah Pinborough says. Well. Except that. You probably didn’t need to know that.
  13. Do not worry about moderating.


    I know it is the first panel you’ve ever been on and you’re moderating it and Sarah Pinborough, a guest of honor, is on there, along with Martin Wisse, Glyn Morgan, and Martin Petto, all seemingly rather smart and experienced con-going SF people. I know your stomach will cramp. I know you’ll feel sick. I know that you will never not be scared and nervous, really, about these sorts of things. You still get scared sometimes to talk to strangers or even friends. I know it seems crazy to be this nervous over something that doesn’t have sharp teeth or eyes on the inside of their hands. Its okay. You have learned how to deal with this before. Smile. Remind yourself everyone is afraid. We’re all pretending. Besides. It might be fun. It will be, in fact. All you have to do is ask questions, anyway. These people will take care of the rest. They are smart. And hilarious. Plus you have that panel on grief and death to look forward to, so that’ll be fun.

  14. I don’t know why people think when you say does anyone have any questions that what you’re really saying is are there any comments and suggestions. But they do.
  15. Don’t worry about speaking up about this. It will work out okay.



  17. You know that woman that haunts your dreams? The faded one in the white dress standing in the window of the photograph hanging over your hotel bed. She is actually a large flower pot sitting on a balcony. See earlier point on wearing your glasses.
  18. Some smart things people will say during the panel: IF YOU DON’T SCREAM YOU’LL LAUGH. Sarah Pinborough-“If you give people the light, they’ll follow you further into the dark.”; Charlie Stross – “Sometimes going for a profound sense of unease is better than going for horror.”
  19. Some things people will recommend during this panel – Inside #9, League of Gentlemen, Dr. Strangelove, Shaun of the Dead.
  20. Is concrush a word? Let’s go ahead and say yes. Try to limit concrushes to less than five.
  21. Before the FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD panel, you should probably eat. But you won’t. You’ll probably think it’s a good idea to go in hungry so that you can really LIVE THE MOMENT. Well. Whatever. Do what you want. Just keep in mind that when people are saying smart things about the rituals of food or how SF is a literature of the mind, perhaps, more than the body, you will be thinking about how good a papadom would be about now.
  22. Did you know Babylon 5 has a cookbook? It does. So does Moomin. You will find this out at the FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD panel. You will learn other things, too, such as: the best writing about sex and food is about what’s happening in the character’s head; food is memory; stew gets a bit of a bad rap; Chaz has a turtle that roams free about the house; people remember the things they’re interested in, and, at one time, tea was thought to be very, very bad as it encouraged women to get together and gossip.
  23. Actually, the only gluten free option at Dogs n’ Dough is a hot dog without the bun.
  24. Luckily there’s an Indian restaurant nearby. It’s delicious. And there’s papadom! You might want to ask for that bread and rice again, though.
  25. Hey. You. Yes, you. You don’t need so many notes for that panel you’re on called THE DEEPER THE GRIEF, THE CLOSER TO LIFE, with Neil Williams, Alison Sinclair, Sarah Pinborough, and Kev McVeigh (m). Already know you that which you need. You’re an orphan remember? Well. Recently an orphan. Does that still count? I think that still counts.
  26. Besides. If you’re too attached to what you already think, or want to say, how will you be able to respond in the moment?
  27. For example referencing Babylon 5. That show is awesome. You should totally reference it more often.
  28. Remember to write down what Sarah Pinborough references after saying that your reference to Babylon 5 had sufficiently lowered the bar such that she could reference that other thing you can’t remember.
  29. Or you could ask EG. And she will remind you later.
  30. It was the Face of Bo.
  31. The thing that you will want to take away from THE DEEPER THE GRIEF…is that when you get people together to talk about death mostly what people talk about is how it feels to be alive. It isn’t scary. It’s funny. Sometimes sad. Occasionally true. I don’t know that you need to tell everyone you’re an orphan in your introduction, but go ahead. I can see it delights you.
  32. Terry Pratchett did us a great kindness in the character of Death. It allowed us to be less afraid. Death was warm. Death was funny. Death was real. GK Chesterton has this thing about how fairy tales are more than true not because they tell us dragons are real, but because they tell us dragons can be defeated. The thing I love about Death in Terry Pratchett, and in Sandman, is that those stories don’t just tell us death is real, they tell us that Death is someone we can have a relationship with.
  33. I realize sometimes that this list loses its place in time. That is for the sake of realism.
  34. Other things you will learn on the grief panel: we all lose parts of ourselves; you don’t know people not really but sometimes when they die people bring you pieces of them that you’ve never seen and it can be scary and it can be amazing. Just like with still alive people. Just like with cons.
  35. Part of traveling through time is that you can say things like this: Everyone here is going to die. But not today.
  36. Also. Sarah Pinborough does not care about your touching story concerning The Force Awakens. You might want to rethink mentioning it. But, then again. Go ahead. It’s hilarious.


  37. Enjoy your wake with Sarah and Kev after the grief panel. It is a weird sad funny giddy moment. It’s also Sarah’s birthday. Pay attention to everything everyone says. Even you.


  38. I could write more. But this was it for me. The grief. The wake. The stories. Laughs. That was my closing ceremony. That was the best goodbye.
  39. Until next time, of course. When you hopefully see these people again.
  40. Try not to die.
  41. Don’t be afraid.

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