Saturday, August 08, 2009

WorldCon - Day 3

Typical late start to the day: brunch at a place around the corner
called Eggspectations. The food was good (pretty hard to screw-up eggs
& toast & sausages) and inexpensive.

At the convention centre by 1-ish, so I figured I'd check out the
dealers' room again. They'd finished the display with the "Faux Giant
Steam Robot" from the "Murdoch Mysteries" TV series (I always knew
that show was going to flirt with steampunk one of these days!) so I
grabbed a few shots. There were a few more dealers around today and
the ones I'd seen Thursday had more on display, so I did some more
browsing with the intent to buy. I ended up picking up another back
issue of On Spec (Spring '98), Tesseracts 13 (this year's installlment
in the Canadian SF anthology series - not on the shelves yet), and a
cool 1-inch lapel pin shaped like the new Galactica. The bonus was a
free copy of Rich Horton's "Science Fiction: The Best of the Year -
2006 Edition". Someone (I'm guessing the publisher) put out a couple
of boxes of copies on the freebie table at the far end, so I got one
(not going to pass up a free book when it's an SF anthology - even if
it is a couple of years old).

It wasn't a total success though. I'd wanted to buy a copy of Robert J
Sawyer's new Canadian SF anthology "Distant Early Warnings" (or
something to that effect) that I'd seen the other day, but it was sold
out by the time zi arrived today. I also missed out on a new post-
cyberpunk anthology. Oh well, I'll just have to wait until they hit
the shelves at the bookstore in a little while.

On the costume front, there were a few different ones today: more
steampunk types, the usual assortment of anime styles, medieval/
Renaissance enthusiasts, a few Jedi, Browncoats, and one girl who was
just smokin' in a classic 60's style Star Trek women's Starfleet
uniform. Later in the day, Rorschach made an appearance, complete with
can of beans (he even went into a restaurant to borrow a fork). I was
glad to have caught a picture of that guy (too bad I missed Ms Trek

The day's sessions got off to a great start with a panel doing a post-
mortem on BSG. Really the panelists and the audience were focussing on
the final episode and where it failed, as opposed to evaluating the
entire series, but there was a lot of very thought-provoking
discussion from all involved. One scene that was discussed at length
was the decision to cast the fleet into the sun, with many people
agreeing it represented anti-intellectualism (one panelist remarked it
meant they were throwing away not only their technology, but their
accumulated knowledge/history/wisdom as a way to solve their recurring
genocide problem, but he then noted that "nobody ever solved anything
by being stupid"), one suggesting it may have been like Cortez burning
his ships, and even a couple saying they agreed with the choice. The
discussion also included the treatment of Starbuck, Hera's
significance and a range of other aspects of the finale. This was what
a session should be. I left feeling refreshed and energized.

From there it was on to a session about culture and geography, which
unfortunately turned out to be pretty boring. I left about 10-15
minutes early.

Then I went on to a Kaffeeklatsch with author Robert Charles Wilson. I
lucked into this one: when I arrived, I checked with the Kaffeeklatsch
registration desk to see if I could join Wilson's roundtable tomorrow
(when it was originally scheduled). But they'd rescheduled for today
and I was happy to find there were still z couple of spaces open.
There ended up being about 10 of us around the table with Wilson. He's
a nice guy and everyone had a great time asking questions and tossing
around issues like addressing alien conciousness (or the lack thereof
in "Spin" & "Axis") and how to express the truly alien nature of an
alien mind. He spoke about his 3 influences behind his latest novel,
"Julian Comstock": the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, the 19th
century children's adventure novels of Oliver Optic, and his desire to
write a funny novel about a person becomming a writer. My regret was
that I couldn't ask a couple of other questions about that book
because no-one else at thd table had read it yet and the questions
would have contained serious spoilers. Speaking of spoilers, while
Wilson mentioned he was working on "Vortex", the third novel in, as
Wilson put it, "The Spin Cycle", and while he said it would tie the
series up answer many questions, he was very, very carful to not drop
any spoilers at all about it (except perhaps for the merest hing that
perhaps the boy from "Axis" may play a role in providing some further
connection or communication or understanding between humans and the
Hypotheticals. All in all, a very enjoyable chat.

Supper was at the authentic Quebec cuisine place Forchette et
Forquette down on the concourse. The food was good but the service was
too slow for most tables (although once the waiter finally came around
to take my order, I certainly couldn't complain about the speed of the
meal - I must have gotten lucky).

Afterwards it was up to the Masquerade. Rorschach made a formal
appearance as an entry on stage. There were also some good entries
from someone dressed ad Amazonian Wonder Woman, a woman dressed as an
operatic performer with a Cylon helmet on, a Klingon version of Batman
(you had to be there, but it was a scream), and a stereotypical
scantilly-clad videogame heroin giving a lecture to game designers
about the need for better armor. The best though, was a pair that came
on as the moon (his head, with a black cloak beneath) and The Great
Pumpkin riding out of the pumpkin patch - at which point the other guy
(moon) opened his cloak to reveal Linus and Charlie Brown and the rest
of the gang sewn to the inside of the cloak. Clever, well constructed
and brilliantly executed. Not sure who won (I bailed when the judges
left to deliberate), and it doesn't much matter, it was just an
entertaining way to spend an evening.

When the Masquerade wrapped up, most of the crowd adjourned to the
rooftop. A big moon was hovering near an old art deco skyscraper and
there was an absolutely stunning fireworks display put on for half an
hour by the South African team (for the city's fireworks competition -
and during the big Francofolies annual celebration). With all the SF
movie soundtracks playing over the radio to accompny thd display, many
in the con crowd wondered if the music had been chosen with the
knowledge that WorldCon was taking place. Unlikely. Great show though.

Now it's off to bed.

Sent from my iPhone

No comments: