So days 3, 4 and 5 of world con. I’ve been struggling to write this after returning from Dublin and the reasons for this are manifold. Firstly I hit the wall last Sunday. So many day of being exceedingly social meant I literally ran out of cope. I retired to my room in halls and ate snacks whilst binging on She-Ra was just about all I could manage. Secondly once I got home I was wiped for days. I’m only now just about thinking coherently again. Thirdly I had an interview and that was using my reserves got the job btw.
So somewhat later than I anticipated here is my round up from the later days of world con.
I missed all the morning programming due to the sheer difficulty of getting moving and the desire to finally make it up to the point to peruse the art show. However, I made up for it once I got there. Starting with Naomi Novik’s reading. She reads well and this was a very busy reading. I enjoyed what I listened to, she is very funny and I’m definitely bumping Uprooted up Mount TBR.
The next panel was Is the Musical a Work of Fantasy. This panel was moderated by Neil Williamson and he was joined by Ruth Frances Long, Gabriella Gomez, Marguerite Smith and Christopher Braithwaite. This panel was excellent. I’m firmly in the camp that anything that happens in a theatre space is fantasy anyway but it was interesting to hear diverging viewpoints. Because yes it depends how you are defining fantasy and whether you differentiate between fantasy and ‘the fantastic’. I nerded so hard in this panel. Discussions on why musicals on film don’t always work as well and believe me if you are interested in this I can bore you about it for days! Especially in regards to the CATS trailer.
My final panel of the day was Audio Dramas and Radio plays. Which disappointed if I’m honest. I’m not sure what I expected but the discussion felt very surface. And whilst there were interesting elements to the panel. There were audience members who were more knowledgeable than some panel members.
Saturday evening was spent in the con bar chatting merrily away to lots of folks before taking the tram back to halls and trying to find the Nassau street entrance to Trinity.
Sunday’s panels were The Monster’s Perspective which featured Emma Newman, Pat Cadigan who rocked her notability scooter and even crashed it into the wall. With Peter Morwood and Oisin McGann and moderated by Janet O’Sullivan was an excellent discussion of what monsters are and how it can be flipped and what the new monsters are in this day and age.
Followed by Born Sexy Yesterday. This was a great discussion of that trope and it was picked apart quite well. Fifth Element, Firefly, Dollhouse, Mannequin you don’t get the same vibes from innocent men. Fascinating discussion and I’m even more icked by Joss Whedon than I was before…
My final panel that day was the audio acting bug, which was a panel partly about audio acting and partly about narration. Moderated by Ellen Kushner, featured Emma Newman, RB Watkinson, James Patrick Kelly, and Gabrielle de Cuir. This was a fascinating insight into the work that goes into audio work and as someone who is just starting on that audio journey with my podcast it felt timely and certainly I know I need to work on my own technique and I felt I picked up tips that would help.
Last day standing. Monday was bittersweet as all my friends were saying goodbye and departing. However, it meant that convention centre was clearing and I was able to get into three readings I wanted to see and a panel on The Good Place.
I went to Jeanette Ng’s reading. This was post Hugo’s and her magnificent speech calling out Joseph Campbell for the fascist that he was. She entered the room to a huge round of applause and it was lovely hearing her read. She also recited part of Mulan in Cantonese. I already knew she was an incredible writer I would now fight for her.
Second reading was Laura Lam, whose work I have supported for a long time. Seriously if you haven’t please go and seek out her novels. The Micah Grey Trilogy and the short stories that support the world are fantastic and having an intersex protagonist who is bi is such a unique point of view. Laura has also written the Pacifica Novels Shattered Minds and False Hearts. She’s definitely a writer I think deserves to be read more widely. She read from the upcoming Seven Devils which she co-wrote with Elizabeth May I am very much here for that novel.
The Good Place Panel was a tiny bit of a let down. All of the focus was on Eleanor and Michael and Janet. Tahani, Chidi and Jason were marginalised. This was from a white panel and I’ve not sure if the panel needs to examine their own bias here. Not least getting Tahani’s name wrong repeatedly and this is from people who are claiming to be fans. Likewise the dismissing the importance of Moral Ethics when there is a tonne of moral ethics in the show. Disappointing.
I met Adrian Tchaikovsky for a on the fly podcast recording. To be released soon.
The final event was a very overwhelmed reading from Emma Newman who was convinced that there would be her bestie and possibly two other people in attendance. Naturally there was a full room and as always Emma’s reading was spot on.
And that was my world con.
I had a blast. It was fun and tiring and hard and I surprised myself everyday. I was not prepared for the old guard traditionalists who were friendly enough to me, but then I’m not very threatening but I heard there were rumblings about the youngsters with their pronouns and their colourful hair. At times it felt like sci fi fandom had intruded on their family reunion and they were not always comfortable with that.
I’m so glad the Hugos were won by women who were wonderful and defiant and determined to make people cry.
Since I’ve been home I’ve been feeling quite salty. I’ve been calling out more bad behaviour when I’ve seen it. I’m only going to get saltier – I realise that I mostly interact with a bubble of very cool folks who want to be inclusive. I have to be a better ally when I can.
Tuesday I travelled home but I’m sure you all want to see what I did when I went to see the Book of Kells and the Library at Trinity College. There are no pictures of the book of Kells as this is forbidden. Also seeing the book of Kells is a lot like going to see the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. Its very hard getting anywhere near the installation.