Eastercon 2014: Satellite4

This past weekend I went to a con that, for once, didn’t involve a plane ride! It was just down the road in Glasgow and only required a short train journey. This was only my second convention since my books came out (I didn’t go to many last year), and the first one where I was on the programming.

It was a good con, with plenty of old friends and a few new ones.

On Friday I took an early train in and hung around, saying hello. The only programming bit I went to was the ceilidh workshop. I ate my first burrito in…a long time, as there’s not much Mexican food in Aberdeen. After seeing my friends I was staying with, I went back to the hotel for the ceilidh! There was much dancing with my dashing date for the evening, Andrew Reid.

Action shot with Jenny in the foreground. Photo courtesy of Juliet.
Action shot with Jenny in the foreground. Photo courtesy of Juliet.

If you’re not familiar with a ceilidh, it’s basically Scottish square dancing. I first discovered it at my friend Rhona’s wedding last month and really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of skipping and twirling, basically, and it’s completely fine if you don’t really know what you’re doing, as long as you laugh about it. Me and Andrew danced nearly every dance. It was a blast.

The next day, with slightly sore legs from all the skipping, I had a leisurely meal with my friend Grant before heading back to the con. I had my first-ever panel at three, which was on future representation with Stephanie Saulter, Ian Whates, Donna Bond, and moderated by Fran Dowd. I had worried that I wouldn’t have much to say, despite writing 5 pages of notes beforehand, but as we got going it turns out I had LOTS to say. We touched on race, the conservatism of SF and yet how it can be progressive, atyptical anatomies, LGBT content, disability, fan fiction, how Hollywood can often de-diversify SF books, and much more. It was a really good panel and every single seat was filled, so that was excellent.

panel1
Photocred: Juliet Mushens
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Photocred: Donna Bond

Afterwards, Juliet and Den taught a swing dance, and that night there was a bit of dancing, but not near as much as the previous night, which was probably for the best for my feet. Saturday night also was a Cards Against Humanity outing, thanks to Tracy, a fellow ex-pat American. Quite a few of my friends had never played before, but as they’re all depraved it went over quite well. 😉

The Hugo nominations were announced, and I’m happy that my friends Wes Chu and Foz Meadows are on them (for the Campbell and Best Fan Writer, respectively), and Lee Harris of AR got a Best Editor nod, too, as well as many other good works and writers. Basically, huge congratulations to everyone except for the man whose name rhymes with Fox Ray, because he’s a racist rape apologist and the fact he’s on the ballot makes me sad (here are some posts if you’re not familiar with the background). There’s also some controversy over Wheel of Time being considered, since it’s such a longspanning series.

Sunday the late nights, bad food, and dehydration of the Hottest Hotel Ever began to take their toll and I was pretty exhausted. It was more hanging about the con, and one of the highlights of the day was making sock puppets with Sophie Calder and Lisa. It was like being back in Kindergarden. I was really proud of my sock puppet, which I named Let Them Sock Cake.

sockpuppets2
Immensely proud of the hat I made.
sockpuppets
We don’t look all that amused here, but I promise it was super fun.

In the evening, I went to the panel called Good Practice in Editing and Reviewing, which had Gollancz editor Marcus Gipps, freelance editor and writer Ruth Booth, another author/reviewer Jack Deighton, and my agent, Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group. It was a good panel looking at different viewpoints, and Gollancz editor Gillian Readfearn was an excellent moderator.

editingandreviewing

That evening we went out to the Bier Halle, which is a must-visit if you like beer and pizza and find yourself in Glasgow. So tasty! Monday was a brief visit and then a trip back to Aberdeen. Unfortunately, in the evening I started feeling pretty poorly and still feel very under the weather today.

The obligatory shout outs: I ended up mainly hanging out with: my agent, Juliet Mushens, Den Patrick, Andrew Reid, Rob Haines, Jenny Haines, Lisa, Emma Maree Urquhart, Tracy Berg, Marcus Gipps, Gillian Redfearn, and Sophie Calder. It was also nice to see some other familiar faces from twitter, such as Ann Smyth, Lor Graham, Ellie Hutchinson, Gianni Ceccarelli, Cam Johnston and more. I always feel nervous doing these shout outs because I know I’ll inevitably forget someone and feel like an idiot. Also, I’m too lazy to link all the names to their Twitter feeds, sorry.

The other cons I’ll be going to this year are: Nine Worlds, Loncon, and Fantasycon. Can’t wait!

Eastercon 2012

Eastercon 2012 will go down in my books as one of my favourite conventions, hands down. The weekend passed in a blur of laughter, geeky jokes, some panels, and lots of drinking in the bar. Hopefully, it’ll also be the only con where I have to walk around with a cane as well–I sprained my ankle badly a few days ago.

I knew the weekend would be good when my book sister and Strange Chemistry stablemate, Kim Curran, showed up at the airport with a sign saying “LAURA LAM – AUTHOR.” When you meet an online friend in person for the first time, there is always that niggling fear that your chemistry only works online, that you’ll meet in person and just sort of go “so…” and stare at the ceiling. Not so with Kim. We chatted about everything under the sun and it was ace.

Friday, Kim bravely ventured into the con on her own to ready herself for her first and only panel, and I hobbled into central London to meet my agent. Here was another case where I was a bit nervous that we wouldn’t get along as well in person, but it turns out that fear was unfounded and we got along swimmingly. Hurray!

I ventured back to the con and realised via Twitter that my editor, Amanda Rutter, was only a train ahead of me, so she waited for me at Terminal 1 and we took the bus up to the hotel together. We said our hellos to friends, and then Kim and I unveiled our secret, which was fun. Underneath our jackets and cardigans we were wearing Strange Chemistry t-shirts we’d had made, and we’d gotten one for Amanda as well. So we have a uniform.

Due to my sore ankle, I ended up camping out in the bar for most of the weekend with my foot up on a table. That’s my excuse, anyway, and I’m sticking to it. I went to two panels–“How not to suppress womens’ writing” and “YA Dystopia.” I also went to the George R. R. Martin interview, the BFSA awards (which I won’t go into…), and Tom Pollock’s reading (where he single-handedly made every author feel like their oratory skills were sorely lacking), and Adam Christopher’s reading (who, while he didn’t screech like a train, still did an excellent job). But mainly I was just hanging out with dear friends, and making some new ones.

I’m going to echo Adam Christopher’s quote of Paul Cornell–you do feel “cozy in the genre.” The genre seems to have its fair share of spats and trod toes, but overall it’s people having fun, dreaming up worlds and sharing our favourites. Even George R.R. Martin, who’s hugely successful, was able to just sit in the bar and chat with people, and hopefully no one was too weird to him (me included!). As always, I wish I’d been better about taking photos while I was there. It would have been nice to have a photo with me and Juliet, and photos of me, Kim, and Amanda in our t-shirts, and some candid photos of people laughing in the bar. I could make a little album for us to look back on in the future.

And here’s my obligatory “photo on the Iron Throne.”

Some shout-outs: Kim Curran, Adam Christopher, Amanda Rutter, Lee Harris, Anne LyleAdrian Faulkner, Emma Newman, Tom Pollock, Nick Harkaway, Tom Hunter, Nic Clarke, Niall Harrison, Janet Edwards, Rob Haines, Jenny SargentMichele HoweAmy McCulloch, Natasha Tanczos, Francis Knight (mwah, sweetie), Adele Kirby, and many more. I’m sure I forgot people, but I think I got everyone I nattered with the most.

Now I have post-con comedown. Hurry up, August, and ChiCon!