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Worldcon Trip - Gathering

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 22:17

I don't seem to have taken any pictures yesterday -- need to remember to do that today. The convention officially opened, though I had something else opposite the opening ceremonies so I can't report on them. There is evidently a certain amount of "victims of their own success" going on with much higher at-con membership sales than expected, so the popular events and panels are jam packed. So maybe I wouldn't have gotten in to the opening ceremonies anyway. The main "large panel" space has four breakout rooms, and originally the largest panels were going to be in a the combined A/B section, but for the one thing I attended there -- the Tea & Jeopardy podcast live interview with George R R Martin -- they'd opened up the entire A/B/C/D combined space. (Back before the convention, the podcast had arranged for podcast Patreon supporters to sign up for special reserved seating, which I did, but when I got there it was clear that any plans of that sort had gone out the window. Or at least none of the crowd control folks knew anything about it.) The convention has put out announcements that they're scrambling to arrange for more function space with the convention center, and they've had to close down one-day memberships. I've heard bits of grumbling about basically not being able to attend anything back-to-back both because of traffic flow issues and the need to queue up well in advance to get into anything. It will be interesting to see if things settle out or escalate.

I didn't have any programming yesterday, and no must-do events other than the initial File770 social meetup and the Escape Artists meet-up (Escape Artists runs a series of fiction podcasts, including Podcastle.org which has bought two of my "Merchinogi" short stories.) The layout of the convention center is great for sitting down in one of the cafe areas and watching people go by (or wandering by people hanging out in the cafe areas), which is how I immediately ran into Irina Rempt (also on my list to visit after the con) and her friend Eleanor, then later once again bumped into Praisegod Barebones & The-Girl-from-Ankyra (with whom I'd had coffee the day before) at which we exchanged gifts (I brought a stack of chapbooks of "The Mazarinette and the Musketeer" for gifts), and others who are slipping my mind. Briefly bumped into Kari Sperring (whose schedule didn't work out for an after-con visit) and dropped by the Accessibility Point to wave hi to a couple friends who were staffing it.

As noted, I did got to the Tea & Jeopardy live recording, which worked very well as a stage presentation (including the singing chickens...who were simply too shy to come out from behind the curtain). Good audience participation schtick too. Then I went to a panel on "The Medieval Mind and Fantasy Literature" looking at contrasts between actual medieval history and culture, and the version that tends to show up in fantasy. (Generally good, though marred slightly by one of the panelists have a problem with taking 100 words to present a 5-word thought.)

In the mean time, thanks to the wonders of social media, I'd responded to a dinner-fishing post from Catherine Lundoff and her wife Jana with a suggestion to merge in my existing dinner plans with Sarah Goslee and husband Thorvaldr (I'm going to mix names from different spheres based on what I can remember most easily), to which Catherine had added Paul Weimer, Charlie Stross, and oh-crap-I'm-blanking-on-Charlie's-partner's-name-sorry! Dietary specifications landed us in a tiny vegan Vietnamese place where our moderate-sized party took up half the tables. Lovely conversation that wasn't all politics (though politics featured significantly), nor all about writing (though writing featured significantly), with most of us continuing on to a brew pub that it turns out was just a block away from my hotel.

This morning's hotel breakfast landed me with a group I'd seen yesterday, where I valiantly struggled to hold up my end of a discussion of current SFF television and movies. And now, in addition to writing this up, I'm reviewing my notes for my morning panel on historic fantasy (for which the moderator has sent out a somewhat over-structured outline for the discussion, but I'm sure it will go fine). Other than that, the fixed items on my schedule are three more social meet-ups (two of which conflict, so I may have to triage, since one is at the convention center and the other downtown for a loose dinner group). And beyond that, whatever programming I can squeeze myself into. See you on the flip side!

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