It was the Capital Sci-Fi Con at the weekend in Edinburgh, the fan-run, not-for-profit comics and science fiction convention returning to the city, this time in the city’s Corn Exchange, and boy was it busy when I went along on Saturday afternoon. In fact it wasn’t the best start for me – the queue, even in early afternoon, was out the door and round the corner of the block, and given it was raining away on a cold winter’s day, that’s not a pleasant prospect, standing still in the rain and slowly shuffling forwards. But the con organisers spotted this sudden bottleneck, put some extra folks on ticket duty and got us in quite quickly when they saw the problem, apologising to everyone for the (as it turned out with the extra staff) short wait. Kudos to the staff for keeping an eye on things and sorting problems when spotted!
Inside and, as I said, boy was it busy. The main concourse of the Corn Exchange was filled with people coming and going from the different wings of the building which were home to the various elements of the con, such as the large hall which housed the various dealers, writers, artists and guests (including Sylvester McCoy, no stranger to Edinburgh, of course), and other rooms and halls of differing sizes, with a decent space put aside for the panel discussions, nice spots reserved for cosplayers to pose in for photos, and there were numerous prop and set replicas to enjoy (and also often used for more photo opportunities). The place was absolutely buzzing with visitors of all ages, who seemed to be having a great time (including a lot of kids and youngsters, always good to see), and many folks were in costumes, ranging from a wee lad I saw with home-made, painted cardboard Captain America shield to some seriously professional-looking costumes.
There were some fabulous models and marionettes on display from various Gerry Anderson shows such as Space 1999 (I still love the Eagle spaceship design), Thunderbirds (the Tracy Brothers lined up like a miniature boy band!) and the indestructible Captain Scarlet.
I had a chat with a few folks as I wandered around, but it was awfully busy so I didn’t get to do as much of that as I normally do, but at least among those chats I got to talk for a few moments to one of the most notable writers in Brit comics, the Dreddfather himself, John Wagner, which was a pleasure. Most of the creators and stall holders I spoke to, including some from our own Forbidden Planet Edinburgh store, reported brisk business with such bustling crowds. Certainly looks like the Capital Sci-Fi Con folks pulled off another hit, with a seriously busy but very happy crowd going from event to stall, sometimes stepping carefully over a cosplayer slumped into a corner to cool down (hot, busy, sweaty!) and rehydrate before jumping back into the fray, usually with a pretty happy expression on their faces.
The Capital crew also raise thousands of pounds for charity at the con and other appearances (they were out at local cinemas in costume for the new Star Wars movie for photo opps and fund raising) – I have no idea how much they will have raised this time, but I’m sure it was a good amount (seriously, all respect to the guys, they really do raise a lot of money at the con and throughout the year). Nice to see folks enjoying sci-fi and comics fun and also helping raise money for worthy causes at the same time. No wonder there was such a nice atmosphere…