Eastercon – versations.
You would be hard pressed to miss that fact that yes I am Fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
At some level the gene which tends you towards an interest in Computers and engineering tends towards a predilection for reading science fiction and fantasy. So its only natural for me to want to get to Eastercon 2008 ( aka Orbital 2008 ) which this year was located at Heathrow. With tickets booked and gadgets charged I headed down to the event for one of the four days on which it ran and heres my comments on the event.
Arrival and registration was slick enough and demonstrated that this event was a big deal with over 1000 people attending and the hotel and surrounding hotels booked to capacity to accommodate the needs of the fan and the geeky. The usual swag bag of adverts, guides, readmes and a freebie Mug. I seem to remember a Cthulhu Plushie being part of the sign up process but the Membership team were quick to denounce my imagination on this topic.
The venue was geographically challenged with many corridors, stairs and rooms distributed across the hotel requiring and almost savant ability to remember where you are on the map I recorded one qik video to demonstrate the vast Walkiness of the event.
Central to the venue located on the ground floor and certainly the point of reference for all future navigation was the Dealer room. Wherein much opportunity to divide Fans from their finance was created with a plethora of book stalls and others stalls in support of future conventions.
Forbidden Planet ( dot Com ) whose Mistress of Marketing Danie Ware ( @danacea to those that twitter ) was successfully utilising a blanq Monqee to gather the interest of Authors and artists of the event for the purposes of charity.
When not attending the desire to distribute wealth I got the chance to drop into a few sessions running at the event of which included.
Im Sorry I havent a Robot
Which featured a DVD recording of a session from the previous year in which panellists took part in a “Im Sorry I have not a Clue” style quiz. Unfortunately the audio quality was not that which I could hear so I skipped out early and headed ( trekked ) over to another session.
Dr Who Saviour or Trickster God
Where in the panelists Nickey Barnard, Piers Beckley, Paul Cornell, Kathy Sands and Calapine discussed the mythical references to the Dr and the political similarities of the Daleks and the Cybermen. No one touch the sonic screw driver as the ultimate dues ex machina of the series.
During Lunch I was overhearing a conversation between Neil Gaiman and Patrick Neilsen Hayden regarding EBooks and I intervened ( politely I might add ) to ask how authors such as Neil Gaiman envisaged book signings in a future that includes Ebooks . Patrick certainly was all over the answer on this one and my one regret was not clearing him to broadcast that for me on Qik. The answers received lead me to wonder if we should be talking to more authors and publishers and ask them about the future of book signings in a Kindle world.
Looking around the event there was a clear lack of 20 something and teen age Fans . The convention featured quite a few families and several sessions were focussed on entertaining and occupying a young childs time. There was a Day care room available as well. I am clearly getting older and the young fans are growing fewer.
There were however plenty of Fans dressed as their favourite characters and icons and yes I found myself a Con Klingon.
Having only spent one day at the event I barely scratched the surface of all the conversations but this was clearly a 1.0 Conference and not an Unconference. Whilst conversations occurred in the Corridors I did not get the feeling that some spontaneous opportunity for creativity and audience involvement would occur.
Will I go back ? Absolutely! and with a commitment to make more time for the event by staying overnight if only to reduce the cost and problems of public transport.
Thanks for reading.