Saturday, 18 April 2015
One of the disadvantages of writing up a report a couple of weeks after the event is that one has lost the immediacy of the experience; perhaps a better way to re-frame this would be to say that one trades immediacy for reflection, and there has been a lot to reflect on in the world of fandom over the last two weeks.
So I remember that we arrived Friday at the hotel, and futilely drove around the Park Inn Hotel car park in search of a parking space. Having to ask the car park attendant for directions to the overflow car park first. I mention this as we had driven in and been directed by the attendant to drive through, and park. It would have been nice had he directed us to the alternate car park in the first place. Anyway we ending up with trail of cars following us, because the car park attendant told them to follow the little red car, which turned out to be our friends Gary & Linda, and that is how memories are made.
The other thing I remember about arriving is how I reacted to the convention space.
I found myself feeling very light head, as if I was floating, and realized I was having a mild adrenaline reaction, provoked no doubt by all the excitement of being there. Or perhaps from the disorientating layout of the convention that was effectively divided into two parts. What it did mean that we got a lot of walking done during the convention traipsing up and down the connecting corridor, which was a bit narrow for the density of the traffic.
After the faff of unpacking we went to our first event, which was The Hitchhikers Guide to Human Spaceflight. No photo I'm afraid. Kate Arkless Gray, aka Space Kate did a light weight presentation on her experiences following NASA as a reporter. Probably not pitched quite high enough for an Eastercon full of SF fans, but she was bright, cheerful and amusing, which was a good start to the convention. The chairs were uncomfortable, and this discomfort would catch up with me by the end of Saturday. Cue forbidding music with violins screeching.
After that we wondered off, or at least I assume so, because quite frankly I can't remember what we did next. However, we were back in the main hall an hour later to see The Ultimate Urban Fantasy panel. Again no picture. However it was the first panel with Jim Butcher on it. I've not read any of his books, because none of my friends have said, "You must read this Ashley as it's right up your street." Probably because people would assume it wasn't. Still he impressed me, very switched on, and as a result I went and bought the first book in the Dresden Files after the convention, as I recounted here.
After this we went to see The Difference Engine Imaged and Imagined, which was probably the conventions best kept secret as far as panels went; with the usual caveats that what I like and find interesting may not be what you like like and or find interesting. Sydney Padue did a presentation on her upcoming graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage and showed how she went back to the original source material and constructed 3D images of the engines, which took advantage of modern computer graphics to animate the mechanical process. Fascinating stuff, and I imagine we'll get a copy of the graphic novel as and when we see it at our local Forbidden Planet.
Then we went off to explore the culinary delights of the self-service menu at the restaurant, which all things considered was rather jolly good. We saw friends, I forget who now, but we talked to them, and afterwards we went to the bar, where we met Francis Hardinge who we first encountered at PicoCon. She was very nice to me, and perhaps when she's next visiting Shepherds Bush we'll get to meet up for coffee.
So the day ended with us drinking some nice wine, and settling down to unwind as the day drew to a close.