Cheryl Morgan is an editor, reviewer and fan. She has won Hugo awards for Best Fanzine and Best Fan Writer. She currently runs Salon Futura, a critical magazine, SF Awards Watch, and the new SF&F Translation Awards, among other projects.
Like most genre readers, I started on books (and comics and TV) at a very early age. I have no idea what my first genre novel might have been. I can, however, date my introduction to the genre fiction community.
I was working in a small, pioneering microcomputer company at the time, and we had a new senior programmer join us. His name was Martin, and when he discovered that I played role-playing games he suggested that I might like to join him and his friend Dave at a science fiction convention. This is how I met Dave Langford, and Martin Hoare, the guy who picks up Hugos for Dave at non-UK Worldcons.
The convention they lured me to was the 1984 Eastercon in Brighton. I got to talk to John Brunner and Julian May, which impressed me a lot. I also caught up with a school friend of my brother who was starting out as a writer. His name was Kim Newman, and he had just co-written a book with a young journalist called Neil Gaiman.
I tell this story, not to drop names, but to allow me to point out that, despite all of the many life changes we have been through since, these people have remained good friends. That’s how the community works. So if you have never been to a convention, give it a try. You never know who the people you meet might turn out to be 25 years later.