Eastercon 2014

Sup friends! Loooong time no post! And I’m sorry about that, but you know when you leave something, and then leave it a little longer, and then a little longer, and then BOOM, you’re too awkward to put a post on your OWN blog.

Well, a week and change later few months later, I’m posting my con report from this year’s Eastercon!

For those of you that don’t know, Eastercon is a sci-fi convention held annually over the Easter weekend. My first was in 2003, and I have now been to 9, all with my family. I haven’t missed one since 2008, IIRC! This year’s was held in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Glasgow and it was called Satellite 4.

In short: I had an excellent time!

For a longer recap, hit the read more 🙂

My Mum and I travelled up to Glasgow on the Friday morning via train (First Class, doncha know!), and as always, the Northumbrian coastline was a stunning delight to travel along! If you ever get the chance to upgrade to First Class (and it’s not always that much more expensive than standard!) then I recommend it! It was very pleasant! We got into Glasgow nice and early and caught a cab to the con hotel. Since we’d gotten there early, we registered and waited for the program to start – first by sitting outside the hotel and admiring the Clyde (I got sunburnt! It was THAT sunshiney!) and then crossing the river to the Glasgow Science Centre and grabbing some lunch and free wifi in their cafe.

At 3pm the program got itself going and I went to the following things:

  • Possible Words – a talk by three members of the Historical Thesaurus Project, which was absolutely fascinating and a lot of fun! I like the way they split up the time – the first 3rd was an overview and history of the project itself, the second 3rd was the way this can be applied to writing and good ways to either be historically accurate, or at least sound arcane, and the final 3rd was mainly about the project going forwards and what goals they have to update the software. Their website is here, and you should definitely give it a look!
  • The Voyager Programme – this was a talk by Robert Law, it was about the history of the Voyager project, the development and building of it and it took us through some of the amazing achievements of the Voyager programme, especially within our own solar system. I know that Voyager is in the news because of its position at the heliopause, but I had never really known about the programmes discoveries and accomplishments within our solar system, so this was really interesting!
  • Medieval Dragons – another talk! This time by Edward James. I’m pretty much all about dragons, so this exploration of dragons as depicted in medieval art (and occasionally literature) was something else I found super interesting! A lot of the dragons we know about come from depictions in religious artifacts, and it was said there’s a different significance attached to secular depictions of dragons, but still, this was super interesting! Another thing to add to the never ending pile of “things I want to know more about”.

And programme wise, that was the end of Friday! I was really very tired, so after a bit of hanging around, we all headed off to the Travelodge we were staying at.

 

So, Saturday we all got up nice and early, raided the nearby Tesco Metro and ended up back at the Crowne Plaza just in time for the programme to start!

  • Timekeeping on Mars – another talk, this time about how timekeeping evolved on Earth and how, if we ever do colonise Mars, we might have a local time system set up there. It all sounds quite complicated and the sort of thing that will take a lot of getting used to. This was a great way to start the day!
  • I actually went up to the green room at this point, to get prepared for my second ever panel! It was filled with lots of lovely chatting and drawing tentacles on someone I’d just met. So excellent, really.
  • More Than A Million Fanworks – the panel I was on! It was a discussion (I think, if memory serves me right) of the diversity of fanworks – not just the different types of fanfic, but the different expressions of fannish activity. This was a panel with Kate Keen, Tanya Brown, Marcus Rowland, Ludi Val and me~ It was a hugely fun panel! It was a very positive atmosphere and we covered tons of topics. I really enjoyed it, probably because all of my fellow panellists were amazing and lovely~ ❤
  • Growing The Clute Garden – this was a craft session, where you chose a word invented (popularised?) by John Clute and then made a flower for it! I chose adumbrated, and made this:part of one of the crafty panels, where I made a bitchin flower!adumbrated(So the top is me making it at Eastercon, the bottom is the finished product [which is the wrong way up! It should have been, in my artistic vision, turned 90 degrees to the left] as it was displayed at Loncon3)
  • The Way Things Might Have Been – a panel on alt history, IIRC. TBH I’m only half sure that this was the actual panel which I attended? I know my Dad was on one about writing alternative histories, and looking at the program, I believe this was that programme item, but I’m not sure. It was an interesting panel, but I would have liked to have heard more about how a writer approaches the problem of writing characters whose voices are either silent or incredibly difficult to find (fr ex: women, poor people).

After that, since it’s been so long, I genuinely don’t remember if I went to any more programme items. I think, IIRC, I wasn’t feeling too great, so I opted for dinner and an early night, haha.

 

So to Sunday! Mum and I did attempt to get up nice and early, but I think we failed a little bit…

  • Easter Service – I’m ashamed to say, Mum and I turned up late! But we got there, and that’s the main thing! It was, as always, a lovely service!
  • Our Bee Factory – a talk by a married couple about their bee keeping. It was quite informal, but I think that was a nice tone to take on an early Sunday morning! Fascinating to learn more about bee behaviour and the mechanics of looking after your own hives.
  • Changing Climate: Adapt, React or Mitigate? – a talk by a panel of people about how our climate is changing and what we can do to cope with these changes in environment. I don’t remember many of the specifics, unfortunately. I do remember a climate sceptic speaking up and asking why, exactly, there weren’t any sceptics on the panel (because if we’re not discussing whether climate change is a thing, there’s no need for someone to derail the conversation at every point? just because you have an opinion on the wider subject, it doesn’t mean that opinion MUST be heard when talking about quite specific ideas. You aren’t as relevant as you think!).
  • The George Hay Lecture – I had originally been in a different panel, but it wasn’t what I expected, so I switched into this one! And I’m very glad that I did! It was a lecture about the ways in which humans are, or can become, superhuman. A really fascinating look, particularly in regards to drugs and genetic modification.
  • Pigeons of London – another craft session where we made things for LonCon3! This was lots of fun, and I made a very attractive pigeon!
  • lonconpigeon3 lonconpigeon2 lonconpigeon1

Aren’t you impressed? And anyway, I think that was the last  programme item I went to for Sunday! I think we all went to dinner at Frankie & Benny’s, in preparation for Monday 🙂

  • Networks And Small Worlds – ok, so I admit. I don’t know anywhere near enough about maths or networks to articulate the things I heard in this talk D= But! It was interesting, and gave me a better idea of the way networks and connection points can be used in, for example, traffic problems in York. So that’s useful!
  • Exoplanets – a lovely, relaxed talk that basically meandered through some of the exoplanets that have been discovered. It was interesting, but not too heavy duty, which I think was the perfect way to end a con! 🙂

 

Looking back on Eastercon now, one of the main things that sticks out in my mind  is how relaxed Eastercon felt. I think this might be partly to do with the fact that it seemed to be smaller than the past few London based Eastercons, so there was simply more space for people. The Crowne Plaza is relatively easy to get round (for me, an able bodied person and for my Dad, who has to use a stick to walk any great distance) and the location by the Clyde meant it was a pleasant 20 minute or so walk by the river to get back to our Travelodge. It was also on the route for the Glasgow City Tour Bus, which was a great way to see more of the city without worrying about getting lost!

I very much enjoyed myself! I do hope we get a few more Eastercons up here in the Grim North!

I leave you with a photo of the Crowne Plaza being attacked by a giant spider:

20140420_191802

 

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