I was in Liverpool on Friday and I had just walked past the Adelphi on my way back to Lime Street when I spotted what looked like a comics shop and "sci-fi" collectables shop and I thought "I don't remember that being there from the Liverpool Eastercons. Should I go in? I don't know when the next train back to Preston is. I might miss it. Oh, what the heck, if life gives you a comics shop, go in it." There were a lot of comics in the shop, although no non-comic-related books that I could find. I suspect there must have been some somewhere surely. The main thing that struck me was the shop was full of schoolchildren. OK, about half a dozen mid-teenagers, boys and girls, in school uniforms. And I thought that was me thirty years. OK, there was no comics shop in Preston and I was more interested in RPGs and written sf, but the very fact that there are still 15-year olds doing what I did/would have done at 15 gave me hope for humanity. And to think that if you were a 15 year-old male sf fan you might able to meet girls who were interested in sf!
I bought a copy of the new-style Interzone as I felt I ought to buy something and it was by far the most plausible thing that I could find aligned to my own current interests. But I got something much valuable from the shop: a renewed faith in the future. And I didn't miss my train.