Monday, August 11, 2014

The British Invasion! ...Or, the Invasion of Britain... or maybe something else

Loncon 3 hasn't even started yet, but my wife and I arrived in London this morning (this afternoon? this waaaaaaaay too smegging late in the overnight? I can't tell anymore after 30+ hours of no sleep) and already connish things are afoot.

I devoted a good portion of the flight over from Vancouver (disappointed that everyone around me closed their windows overnight, so I couldn't see the Supermoon over the Arctic Ocean) watching movies, and, naturally, it turned into a mini-sf fest. The 2014 reboot of Robocop was a tame, unintelligent, feeble shadow of Paul Verhoeven's original masterpiece. 300 - Rise of an Empire was also lame, lacking the relationships that gave its predecessor (a very little) depth, and leaving nothing but sweaty muscle-gore porn. John Favreau's Chef, on the other hand, is not remotely science fiction-y or fantastic, and yet it is a thoroughly fantastic film that I was almost tempted to watch again immediately — and probably should have, given the poor showing by the 'Cop and the not-really-300.

After a long, but surprisingly easy Tube ride from Heathrow to the Docklands complex, we started to notice other travelers coming along in ones, and twos, and fours, who had that air about them of people anticipating a good science fiction convention, and we knew we were among our people. Had a nice chat with a woman from Philadelphia who couldn't wait to start volunteering — seriously, she couldn't wait: she ignored the ranks of hotels and dragged her suitcases straight over to the convention centre so she could start helping with the set-up right away. Now that's the kind of passion that really makes a con kick ass! It bodes well for other gatherings too — seems she's a dedicated volunteer with a couple of the con committees in different US cities, and is touring around trying to bring Worldcon to Washington, DC, and, at some point, Kansas, I think. A real nice lady, and someone who's dedicated to getting things done and making sure others have a lot of fun. I don't know if I'd go to a Worldcon in either of those cities, but I wish her luck.

We finished the day with a refreshing walk along the old dock beside the Excel centre, and met up with our friends Geordie & Maryanne (also Lower Mainlanders who've come out for Loncon) for a ride on the United Arab Emirates gondola, and supper at the O2. Lots of great conversation (frequently touching of sf and everyone's plans for the con) over a satisfying meal, followed by some goofing around on the Greenwich Mean Time pavement lines. ("I'm standing on this side of the line, so I'm in the future!" "No, you're not.") 

All in all, chatting with and hanging out with other con-goers has made today feel kind of like a pre-con event (with the movies being kind of, but not really, a bonus), almost like when college kids get together for drinks before heading out to a party where they will imbibe — more drinks! Buzzed on geekery before the con even begins. Not a bad place to be.

Okay, Loncon 3, London was calling and we came. Time to show us what you've got. Well, in a couple of days, anyway.

But not now. Now is the time for sleep. I'm so exhausted typing this, to quote the great British poets, Queen: "I think I'm a banana tree."

Must sign off now, as wife will be getting me up early tomorrow to go and look at someone's family jewels.

The Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, that is.

More news as it happens...

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