cdave: (Default)
Case a:
I turned up early at the V&A for a Sandpit (Pervasive Gaming) evening. I wanted to have a look at the Echo Bazzar \ Fallen London game in particular. So did a lot of other people. And the main organiser was running 15 minutes late. The queue filled the balcony beside the Silver gallery, and all the way down the stairs to the sculpture corridor.

In order to beat the queue, they insisted the first few groups come in in groups of 10. I was with [livejournal.com profile] hawkida, [livejournal.com profile] viclet, Floo, and Archdeacon (nee StarShirt on this blog), so was halfway there. We grabbed the nearest 4 people to us and set off to solve a series of puzzles round the museum.

On the way we lost the Dutch Couple, who figured out that you could just play the game individually, and kept running another pair of Joinees, but that sort of thing isn't that unusual when you live in the same city.

The Small Word part was when went to the pub afterwards, and convinced the other pair to join us down the pub. It turns out that [livejournal.com profile] h4nchan hadn't been to a Sandpit before, but had been to Hitchcon, and recognized a few fannish names. So we swapped Social Network contact details. The first thing I spotted is that she was a fellow DFC subscriber! A rare breed :) The first thing she spotted was we just missed each other at Uni. She would probably have used some of the Jingle packages I put together for student radio station!

Case b:
I'm not under any illusion that all of the couple of thousand regular UK litcon goers know each other, but I really was shocked to find that Paul Cornell does not know the Fishlifters!

Case c:

Today, I joking tweeted that there was no Snow in St Albans (Since a lot of people tweeted about snowfall locations at the start of the year), and it turns out an old colleague had also had his London office shut, and had been moved to St Albans!
cdave: (Default)
... or If I Don't Write Something Now I Never Will.

This was a very different convention for me personally. I was definitely far more a participant than a consumer. Oh, and I actually got about 7 hours sleep, and only drank 3 pints, each night. Unheard of!

To begin with I was on 4 programme items. No wait. 5. Oh and that. 6 then. The 2 on comics went reasonable well I felt. The panellists largely had some overlapping experience, but some things that were new to each of us. And sufficient audience participation to show that they were involved with our discussions. For the two on the future of Eastercons, I largely sat back and listened to what the other people in the discussion were saying. Think I learned a lot, and hope I did manage to get my perspective across when I did speak.

The "Star Wars: A Small Hope" cabaret was great fun to do, and seemed to be well received. It did take a large chunk out of Saturday, as we only managed to start rehearsals a few hours before the show, and needed much repetition to get it tight. Hats off to [livejournal.com profile] adelhied for pulling together a top notch script and props collection in the weeks pre-con. [livejournal.com profile] fuzz57, [livejournal.com profile] frankiemouses you were magnificent. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] j_lj for lending us the lightsabers, one of which was found under the stage after he'd left the con. And to C for pinning me into a Leia dress without complaining :D
{ETA: And big thanks to the mighty tech crew for the Madonna headsets, and to the Cabaret organisers, and to our two sheet holding gophers, and the c ConCom, and everyone else who helped make Odyssey happen!}

The last other programmed item I was on was the Eastercon Bid Session. It was interesting. In short I'm now Head of Programme at Illustiorous, Eastercon 2011. Eep. The other news from that session is that Olympus 2012 will be the subsequent Eastercon.

The rest of the con was largely taken up with: Illustrious work (committee meetings, ticket sales, and programme idea discussions), Programme Ops / unofficial Ops Rover work, occasional gophering, dances, and seeing one or two programme items a day. Distressingly little left over for socialising, so I apologise if we didn't get to chat, or if I left after too little time.
cdave: (Default)
The start of a new year is usually a time for reflection, and resolutions, so I'll have a quick think out loud about internet based entrainment, and social networks, and how I use them.

Priorities )

With that in mind, my first resolution step is going to be to move all my personal emails into a folder called Inbox2, and try not to do anything else each morning until the Inbox is empty. And had a quick foray back into Inbox2 and make sure everything in there is eventually archived, or dealt with. Then to re-organise my bookmarks to remind me of that order.
cdave: (Default)
Last night I went to Forbidden Planet for the launch of Cory Doctorow's latest novel: Makers.

I was intending to buy the book and leave it pristine. Only rereading it once the serialisation on tor.com had finished. That plan lasted all of about 5 minutes. There's some good bits come up, some lovely character development, and at least one WTF? moment.

Speaking of WTF, that has to be the quietest book launch I've ever been to. I was shocked. I got there about 15 minutes into the hour, and there was only one person there. I spent a good few minutes fanboying (Cory recognised me from a previous signing! Eeh!) and SMOFing (Looks like he probably can't make it to Eastercon). And it was only as I was leaving that another person arrived.
cdave: (Default)
Awesome.

There was serious science fiction, silly fun, fandom, crafting, and beer galore. All that and yet it was very lightly programmed with at most two rooms and scheduled breaks to go and take advantage of the incredibly cheap food.

On a more personal note I think I can no longer call myself a neo fan. I recognised about 2/3 of the members names before the con, and actually managed to talk to quite a lot of people over the weekend I'd only really nodded in passing at before.

I didn't manage to see the pool that everyone seemed to be raving about, or much of the grounds and bunnies. However I don't think it's fair to blame that entirely on my naive desire to do the programme. It's more like the 7 hours so I spent cutting, folding, getting confused, refolding, getting gin, rerefolding, and gluing together the spectacular behemoth that was the papercraft Howl's Moving Castle.
cdave: (Default)
Anyone care to join me at a pervasive games night next Wednesday?

Last time I went to Sandpit, I ended up in a Mexican thumb war, so missed out on the pervasive outside round London stuff.

Wednesday 22 April 6:30 at the ICA. It'll cost £4 this time to be guaranteed a slot on one of the 3 biggest games of the night. I'll buy my ticket tonight.

Oh, and current to-be written posts:

Eastercon - Utterly utterly fabulous weekend. Don't think I made it to a single thing that was directly about SF. Oops. ToDo: Programming I did make it to and highlights. The in-depth report will go into a fanzine I appear to have announced I'll do by Plokta.con. [livejournal.com profile] bohemiancoast, Bill Burns, [livejournal.com profile] johncoxon, [livejournal.com profile] ceemage, agreed (in principle) to write something for it :D

Reading List. Two Novels. Two Fanzines. About 10 Comics.

Currently to-be written posts that are looking like they won't get done:

Webcomix Thing con-report.

Picocon con report.
cdave: (Anime)
I know I say I usually just wait until a draft post is out of data and abandon it. I was trying to get that last one posted before the exhibition closed, but failed. At least partially due to spending the last couple of evenings working on a costume for Sunday. Anyone going to the expo?

Speaking of which anyone fancy a grand cosplay ball? I've got my ticket.

Oh, and is anyone planning on going to Novacon and want to share a room?

Craig Gidney, (who ran the Tanith Lee novel discussion at Orbital) is in a spot of financial bother and his publisher is selling pre-orders of his book and giving the whole amount to him, not even covering costs.

One last sfnal thing: I see from issue #6 of Captain Britain & MI:13 the the Cabal have clearly been at work on [livejournal.com profile] paulcornell2 is it features a villain called [livejournal.com profile] drplokta.
cdave: (Brains)
<stream o'consciousness>
Bah, I'm so not going to have time to write up a ZombieCon report this week.

Hmm, maybe I should take time next week and do a proper one and offer it to some fanzines. Or finish up my write up of True Names and G.E.B., and the Cthulhu hat knitting pattern (including lessons learned, rather than the actual one), and the Fan Art for [livejournal.com profile] purplecthulhu's story, and print my own' zine. Hmm. Probably wouldn't happen.

Some other LJ posts on ZombieCon 1, 2, 3, and 4. Am I missing any?

I've got about 180 photos and 10 videos to sort through!

Still too busy to write detailed, what I've been up to things. ZombieCon last weekend. Last minute trip to south coast on Monday. A forgotten will-fix-PC-for-food / catch-up on Tuesday. Curry last night. Bosses birthday drinks tonight, probably followed by a trip to the Cock. A Pratchett signing on Saturday (I've given up on the idea of of going to Brighton). Games afternoon on Sunday.

Detailed ZombieCon timeline )

{Edit}
And another report
{Edit 2}
Forgot to add that the fire alarm sounded once each day, driving all us zombies out into the daylight.
Friday = Smoke machine
Saturday = Very steamy shower
Sunday's cause, unknown.
{Edit 3}
Con report from an infrequent conventioneer.
cdave: (Default)
Things that deserve a longer post, so I may come back to:
  • Great British Beer Festival
    • Hilarious failure of cueing system
    • Fullers serving chilled HSB. Gits.
    • Yummy gluten free ale
    • Much pig fat (pork scratchings) and burny jerky (chilly biltong)
    • Stone jug bought as walked past the stage, where there was an auction on.
    • Infamously rude waiters at Won Kei, brilliantly living up to reputation
      • Flinging cups around
      • Brining us food we didn't order
  • Shunt
    • Fantastic club in the vaults under London Bridge
    • Part art gallery, part skate park, part disco, part live gig, part kids craft workshop
    • Seats galore, pool table and pinball machines, late licence
    • £10 entry, £3 cans of beer. Not bad.
    • Simply amazing. Must go again.
  • Fandom Origin Stories
    • I've found a few, and have them bookmarked to blog on when I get a second.
    • but much praise to the [livejournal.com profile] fishlifter who found a 7 year old fanzine in the archive with a multitude of them. I'm looking forward to reading it a lot.
  • As we tell others about us.
I've also fallen behind a bit on my LJ reading. I'll catch up eventually.
cdave: (Default)
On Feminism:

At tonight's BSFA meeting Christopher Priest was talking on some of the differences between the Prestige film and his book. One of which I was going to ask him about but [livejournal.com profile] owlfish's friend got to first, and phrased better than me.

IIRC in the book, things are going very badly wrong for one of the Magicians, and his female assistant decides to help him by going to find out what his rival is up to.
Whereas in the film, things go slightly wrong, and the Magician tells her to go find out what's going on, so off she goes.

Priest felt that this was a weak motivation, but hadn't seen that it removed the power of the decision from the women. In fact due to this sort of thing the film fails to pass the Bechdel test, as at no point do two women talk to each other about anything other than men.


On Writing Techniques:

As it says in my profile I usually have at least 4 half written posts on the go at any one time. So the idea of someone completing a novel, let alone multiple ones, always intrigues me. I often ask authors about how they write novels.

One author (whose name temporarily escapes me) said that he works out the structure with post it notes, which he can shuffle around until he has the scaffolding on which to hang the story on.

On the other end of the scale was Diana Wynne Jones, who said when visualises a scene in the middle of the novel, and tries to write towards it, and is then surprised by whatever comes next. In fact she has to abandon many draft novels as it they don't turn into stories worth telling.

I asked Christopher Priest how he handles it, since his novels are often convoluted to put it simply. With events preceding causes, and causes being unclear, and ambiguous. I assumed he must have to do some heavy plotting before hand to get it all together. In fact he referred to his own work to a tesseract, or an Escher drawing. With impossibilities, and ambiguities being inherent in it. Saying that each one is just written in an organic manor, welcoming mistakes, and incorporating them into the flow.

On Fandom Origin Stories:

Fandom/BSFA origin stories interest me at the moment. Have done for a while. I keep meaning to write mine up. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • I spent Sunday trying to sell the concept of Fandom to comic and film fans.
  • I read Farah's Origin story recently and am fascinated by the differences, and similarities with my own.
  • I was chatting about the work that goes into a World Con, and realised that the lead times can be longer than the entire life of essentially fannish organisations!
  • I have a set of notes I jotted down from a conversation with Jonathan Cowie on how to recruit new fans, that I keep meaning to have a better look at.


So Christopher Priest's Origin story is really amazing. He had an anthology Penguin Science Fiction anthology edited by Brian Aldis and the introduction mentioned that he was president of the BSFA.

He thought nothing of it until he saw a review in newspaper which gave a typically offhand dismissive comment on SF. The next day the published a letter from Brian Aldis correcting the reviewers remarks, which included his address. So Christopher Priest wrote to him, and asked if the BSFA was for published authors only, or if fans could join. Brian Aldis wrote back, and Christopher Priest has been a member ever since.

I may start collecting these properly for a fanzine.
cdave: (Default)
I've been "breaking into fandom" in super slow motion for about three years now. Mostly due to other time constraints. FIJAGDH. But partially due to learning the language etc.

One of the books I remember reading from my local library as a teenager was Surfing on the Internet : a nethead's adventure on-line. Published in 1995 it was at little out of date even then. One of the random bits of advice between the chapters on MUDs and cybersex, was the advice to lurk for a while before posting to newsgroups, lest you attack a flame war.
(That and "You can surf the net, work, socialise, and sleep. Pick three. Caffeine can substitute for sleep.")

However fanzine's (and student radio shows thinking on it) have a different attitude[1], encouraging contributions and Letters of Comment.

So, having received my first fanzine in the post (rather than by hand), I'm at a bit of a loss as to the un-written rules. I've not had time this month to scrape my thoughts together coherently enough to say what I want to in a letter. So I've just handed them a doodle. Now: can I post it on here? Should I wait until after the next issue to see what they've done with it? Should I have signed it? If so with my initials, as "normally" do with the few worthwhile (admittedly very few) doodles I do, or sign it as cdave, seeing as how most fans who know me, don't know my surname?

And should I post them the LoC when done? I know I value physical letters far more than emails, but then I don't have to re-type them.

I'm sure these things aren't important, but I do think about them.

[1] Now at least. Hearing some of the discussions about old fanzine's and the "kill the f*cker" (metaphorically) game against the noobs is quite odd against today's fandom.
cdave: (Default)
As I left the 'ton last night the bar maid who was putting the chairs on the tables handed me a brown A4 envelope. Regrettably it wasn't a bung for me to throw my next squash match, but was addressed to John P of Welling, with a ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha stamp on the back.

Should I take this to the BSFA AGM tomorrow or just post it at lunch time?

{edit}{redact}
Anyone know anything about "{C5}"?

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