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Xray the Enforcer

A Reckoning of the Damage: Loncon3 After Action Report (post your own!)

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My Loncon experience, in bullet points:


  • I made it to exactly one panel - the one that Xray moderated. If that and the Travel in Fantasy panel were slated consecutively instead of at the same time, I may have made it to two. So it goes. The program did look impressively diverse, but between the limited hours that we spent at ExCeL and my general indifference towards panel discussions, I certainly did not take advantage of all that was offered.
  • Sadly, I missed the art show entirely. I did manage to convince Barry to check out the art show and instructed him to guess the number of winged cats beforehand. He sent me a text on Sunday blaming me for indirectly subjecting him to dozens of paintings of kittens with dragons.
  • The day before we left NYC, I used roughly 8 compression bags in order to pack roughly 100 of the raven tree t-shirts into an old duffel bag. Seeing that 34 pound blue brick appear on the baggage retrieval belt at Heathrow was a relief. My first two trips to the ExCeL were dedicated primarily to distributing those shirts.
  • As frustrating as dealing with the catering company was at times before the con (largely because I had no experience with hosting a party in the open setting), they turned out to be very helpful during the con itself. It was also a delight to have them deliver all of our booze and supplies right to our tent rather than spend a day shopping and smuggling bags into a hotel room.
  • The one thing that didn't get delivered was the Old Fishfoot, a strong dark ale that Ginger Wolverine, Isis, Xray, and I brewed together in London last summer. Neal and I took the train down to Ginger Wolverine and Isis' apartment deep in south London, collected the cases, and made it back to the ExCeL on the most amazingly twisty cab ride ever. Our driver cut down tiny side streets to avoid major intersections and managed to hit roughly half the speed bumps in London on the way. It was cool to see all sorts of neighborhoods I wouldn't have run across otherwise, though Neal and I frequently looked at each other with expressions of "I have no idea where we are".
  • Saturday, we spent the afternoon on the Bermondsey Beer Mile and arrived at ExCeL just in time to see a furry hug a plushie. Later, I nearly made Barry's drink shoot out his nose when I reminded him of plankies. Most of Saturday evening was spent in the fan village, catching up with BWBers. This was my favorite thing about the fan village setup -- so much open space and seating for people to sit and have conversations without being squeezed in a hotel room and shouting over the party noise.
  • Sunday, Hereward's son declared me to be "Alright for a maths teacher." That night was the epic BWB karaoke of much epicness. I heard the Bob the Builder theme song for the first time ever and still have it in my head. I witnessed fenryng singing along to ABBA. There were proper representations from the Welsh and Swedish contingents. And the group effort on "Run to the Hills" destroyed all comers.
  • Monday, I got a number of surprised reactions from people who didn't know that Xray and I were flying home on different days (only way to use miles for a free seat), spent a brief while in the dealer's room, and had a relaxed lunch on the boulevard with a LugaJetBoyGirl, Barry, Luzi, Mountain Goat, Werthead, Theda, Luke, and Denvek, who asked me about the jellied eels story. Barry explained that traditionally, there's supposed to be a shot of liquor on top of the eels, which made people eat them right up. Not sure that would have prevented the eels late night revenge on me earlier in the week.
  • Tuesday, I took my second long cab ride from Ginger Wolverine and Isis' apartment due to United Airlines cancelling my noon flight and moving me to a 7 am flight that took me home via Oslo. So I got to see the streets of London completely empty at 4 am and briefly breathed Norwegian air on my way back to NYC.

All in all, a good time. Thanks to everyone who helped out with party setup and cleanup. Special thanks to fellow bartenders LugaJetBoyGirl, Skylark, Xray, and maid of woodlynne. Thanks to Mich for the coffee and to Neal for helping with the retrieval of the homebrew. Good to see old friends and meet new ones.



How about we do this all again sometime?


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My con started with a ten hour shift on Wednesday and an eleven hour shift on Thursday (with a half hour break in the latter case), complete with a mild dose of con crud picked up at Nine Worlds the previous weekend, and continued into a nine hour shift on Friday. This did not put me in the best of shape for enjoying the rest of the con, partying, etc., etc. I was sorry to miss the party (other than briefly hugging Xray) but given my state of frustration/exhaustion, probably for the best. I'm glad you all enjoyed it and that the village setup worked out in the end.



Saturday and Sunday showed improvement but by Monday my ankle (recovering from a sprain - the short version: I fell off a pavement coming out of Lord's) gave up entirely when I retired to panels after shutting the info desk - it had been almost better before Worldcon started but got steadily worse during the weekend: the shock of no longer having to do stuff was a little too much for it. I wound up being mostly carried to the dead dog, getting as drunk as possible on two glasses of wine, and going home.


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I flew in to London on Wednesday and spent a couple of hours wandering the city before making my way back out to the hostel before 3 pm. I got myself settled in there, made sure I knew which bus to catch, then made my way down to the Excel to have a look round.



Which meant I got registered and got my badge then, when all was still quiet.



I hung around and chatted with a few people for a while before retiring back to the hostel.



Day One: Thursday



Started for me with "Holy Moly the registration queue! Glad I don't have to deal with that!"



I went to a "What Scientists Read" talk that was quite interesting and I should have paid more attention to, the Opening Ceremony, which started out fun and balanced out okay by the end, then The Scifi and fantasy fandom as self-help panel with a background of rain, thunder and lightning.



George and Connie enthralled a room full of people who did not yet know about fire regulations. Thank you to Paul Cornell for being an excellent moderator.



Then I had a couple of more panels, and the Retro Hugos, before I found the BwB at the bandstand, where we enjoyed some music and Peadar's midnight ghost story. I like Peadar.



Friday: Day Two



Friday morning was the day I discovered that the hostel was full of Loncon people, including BwB, as I saw Luke and Luga crossing the road just after I got on the bus.



I started Friday with Ian Stewart talking about the Science of Discworld books - Basically the story of how they came about.



Then George's excellent reading, Lyanna-


we found out he was indeed a Westeros virgin since he claimed he found the site once, read something that said "R+L=J" which he thought was outrageous madness and couldn't possibly make any sense and then never came back. We giggled.

But I thought everyone figured that out halfway through A Game of Thrones?



I got Scott Lynch to sign my Republic of Thieves, and had a look round the dealer's room, emerging with Robin Hobb books and BMO.



Panel highlights of Friday were the Saturday Morning Cartoons and Fantasy Economics Panels.



Then of course, the Brotherhood party in the evening. Everyone both looking and being very nice! I went wandering to see what else was going on at some point, so wound up sitting behind the round table group and not really paying very close attention to what was going on. I may have dodged a bullet there. I remember being asked my opinion on Jaime Lannister's attractiveness with/without hair.



I began to notice my right ankle hurting me too which was to become an issue in following days. Stay tuned.



3 Day: Saturday



Decided against strolling with the stars, because of my ankle - which was a bit better than when I'd gone to sleep, but there's more to come in the saga of the ankle.



I hung around and read Robin Hobb for a bit.



The queue for George's signing began to form. I went upstairs, where I skipped the Hugo discussion panel in favour of Sex in SF and F. And Lyanna, the book was called The Pirate's Secret Baby (I thought it was the Sexy Pirate's secret baby)



The line for George's signing was a bit too crazy for me to be bothered, but I stuck around queue watching so I could be near the head of the queue for Joe Abercrombie. So now I have a copy of Dangerous Women signed by Joe but not George. And I should have brought Red Country.



I also was in the feminism panel but it didn't occur to me til afterwards just how basic the discussion had been. (Almost literally just "sexism is a thing" and "feminism is about equality, should be inclusive.") Although I don't remember this part -


And the Swedish panelist claimed Sweden is free of sexism.

- I remember something about Sweden was said?



I then went to a Cornetto trilogy panel at which were a few other BwBers, but then, the panel I'd planned going to at 6 being full, I arrived into:






The Panel of DOOM


Then at 6 pm we actually had a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire panel. Yay, we thought and wandered in, a bunch of us, finally a decent discussion. "Coming of Age in Game of Thrones" with a special note that spoilers would be forthcoming for all five books. What can possibly go wrong, right?


It turned out quickly that the panelists did not have a clue. It started out with one of the panelists going on about how Dany was a force for order as she went and "sorted out that other continent" and "killed all those slavers". karaddin ended up having me on one side and brook on the other theater whispering "no no no no" and shaking our heads. Half way or so in one of the panelists got spoilt to the ending of "Dance of Dragons" which she hadn't read!



At this point, the BWB were alternating between shaking our heads, face-palming and furiously posting on the BWB- facebook threads with "WHAT ON EARTH I CAN'T EVEN!!" while the panelists plodded on with such gems as:



"Tommen is not important, he is not a POV character" and "Sansa is much improved in the show, she was just not that well written and so very boring and passive in the books.", "Arya is off in Braavos having a good time", "The most obvious coming of age stories are Jaime and Tyrion", "Do we even know how old Jaime is?" and when one of the BWB asked what their thoughts on Shireen Baratheon was (after some initial shuffling of "who is Shireen again?") "Do we even know where Shireen is"?



I swear to you, we had a chorus going with "She is at the Wall" and at this point, quite a few of the other people in the room had caught on to the fact that we probably knew more than the panelists, and that we at the very least strongly disagreed with the panelists.



We also were treated to some random theories that the panelists clearly thought were awesome and So Very New (Wouldn't it be awesome to warg a dragon??? OMG that is so cool, how did you think of that??) plus one totally out there theory of Dorne supporting Myrcella which made me suspect they hadn't actually read AFFC, just said that they had since you know, that kind of plot? Has already been covered. Unless they thought that it would work on the second try. It made absolutely no sense.



The pinnacle was probably still when someone asked about young Aegon Targaryen and what they thought of him. One burst out "I think he will die!" while a second one looked confused and asked "Is that a Dunk and Egg story?" Then they went on to tell us to buy their newly published books. Worst. Panel. Ever. Any of us on the boards could have done a much better job. Seriously, it was painful.






I really can't do any better at describing it.


Fortunately, the panel following it, with Joe Abercrombie, Peter Brett, Juliet McKenna and a couple of others, was very interesting, discussing monarachies and not-monarchies in their works.


On Saturday night there were Irish parties, and BwB rants, and MUSIC and things and then I left ...


and the adventure of getting back to the hostel with only the plan of catching a night bus and a vague idea of where I should go. Truly this was an epic quest. Which meant it involved a lot of walking. And then the discovery that most of that walking was a total waste of time.


Hurt ankle would not let me forget this.


:Sun4day Day


Day of Pain.


Determined not to miss out I hobbled around the Excel:


To the Irish panel where some guy annoyed me by asking "we've only been talking about fantasy, if Dublin get 2019 will it be a Fantasy convention?"


But this did lead to a mention of an archive of 1950s scifi in the Irish language, which was nice! If you don't know Dave Lally, he's a very knowledgable old Irish fan, who's been heavily involved in the ESFS (i.e. the European Sci-Fi Society) and he was just in the audience!


Missing Scott Lynch's reading, talking briefly to Joe Abercrombie and missing his reading too.


Going to Robin Hobb's interview. Cool Lady!


The book covers panel, which wasn't exactly as advertised, but still a good panel in which we got to look at some nice art.


Then the Diana Wynne Jones fans' meet and greet at which I felt slightly out of place.


It was at this point I tried to do something about my ankle. I'd been to the first aid station Saturday morning and she'd just told me where to get some painkillers, I returned there and this time got a rubber glove and some ice from the coffee place to make an icepack. No joke.


I went to the Hugos, and that was alright although I wasn't feeling great.


At the karaoke afterwards I mostly lurked in the back and tried to rest my foot, but the therapeutic power of song helped me feel better for a while, so thanks for that guys!



Mon 5: Dayday


Successfully got to the Excel, caught the end of Pebble's guerrilla panel, and Robin Hobb's reading, got Robin Hobb to sign books for me (Super Lady!) and then lounged around on couches upstairs, not feeling up for panels, til I went and got a bit to eat, and then seeing as how the Robin Hobb Assassin panel was full, I spent the afternoon resting and recuperating, til I went to the closing ceremony. I didn't pay much attention.


Then I went for an evening meal with the remaining BwBers and the dead dog and all was good!


Tuesday Morning had one last little drama. I went down to the Excel. Chanced to meet Pebble. Got one last good bye hug.


Then suddenly remembered I didn't have my big LonCon3 tote bag with all my con loot in it. reported to the bus driver in case I'd left in on the bus but turned out to simply be back at the hostel, was quickly retrieved and I was back on my way.


To London City airport, and Dublin, and then home.


Bring on Friday and Shamrokon!


Thanks to everyone - Peadar, and Pebbles, and Theda and Luke, and Targh and Mountain Goat and everyone else.


Toblerones consumed (alone and shared) - 3.






The BwB is a very special group of awesome people that I don't think other fandoms have in quite the same way, and I was very heartened to see newcomers and some of the younger board members getting in on the act and representing as well. Best weekend I've had in a long, long, long time.





Well said, Wert!


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Then went back to the hostel for a bit to get ready for the 80S NIGHT DANCE. Was super excited and got to the room to find out it was...VERY, VERY brightly lit (usually, I can't see myself when I'm dancing, here; you could see EVERYTHING and EVERYONE)

There did seem to be lots of weird stuff going on with the lighting in the Excel, it sounds like the 80s dance had the same full-on lighting as the Anubis Gates play I went to. I also heard that some of the panel rooms which had been split into two rooms had linked sets of controls so sometimes when people in one room decided to turn the lights down it would also happen to the people next door, I saw that happen a couple of times although I heard there were worse examples where neighbouring rooms would change the lights repeatedly every couple of minutes.

Me and luke made a VALIANT effort to prove to everyone that Wales does exist by screaming (o my end anyway, v sorry about that, I'm not a good singer but I'm a very enthusiastic one) Tom Jones' Delilah which was just about the Welshest song on the karaoke list, but to no avail! I am sure we convinced no one!!!

I think the flaw in your plan is that we don't doubt Tom Jones exists, or even the Welsh, it's just Wales itself we're not too sure about.

My con started with a ten hour shift on Wednesday and an eleven hour shift on Thursday (with a half hour break in the latter case), complete with a mild dose of con crud picked up at Nine Worlds the previous weekend, and continued into a nine hour shift on Friday. This did not put me in the best of shape for enjoying the rest of the con, partying, etc., etc. I was sorry to miss the party (other than briefly hugging Xray) but given my state of frustration/exhaustion, probably for the best. I'm glad you all enjoyed it and that the village setup worked out in the end.

The amount of work you and others put in to help people enjoy their WorldCon was impressive, but it was a shame we didn't get to see more of you.

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I arrived on Wednesday evening, met Dave, and got checked into the hotel, but by the time we'd got everything sorted out it was past 9:30, so we decided not to trek to the other side of the Excel to meet those BwBers who were in the Fox. This meant that the first person to see both of us together was Neal when we ran into him in the breakfast room on Thursday morning - he didn't seem particularly shocked, unlike some later reactions. We then headed over to registration - we'd decided that since it opened at 9:30 we would be there for 9, which proved to be a wise decision as the queue was still only on the ground floor and we got through in 10 minutes. After helping Wolfgang and MG hang some fabric from the stairs in the fan village, and Jo providing the first (but by no means last) twin-related freakout of the con, I headed off to a panel about worldbuilding. This turned out to be rather boring and so I left after half an hour, which allowed me to get a decent place in the queue for the Rothfuss signing. Slick hung out with me for a while despite not having any books of his own to sign, occasionally moving from the signing queue to the registration queue to say hi to various BwBers we saw going past. After that, it was the George and Connie show, which others have already detailed.



Thursday dinner involved far too many people turning up at the Lebanese restaurant that MG had suggested, so half of us went off to the western Fox instead, and confused the staff by sitting in the fancy area but ordering from the bar menu. After that, back to the fan village for parties, with a brief diversion to the ISIHAC game (challenge for you all - which famous novel might be suggested by the following: "a parsley contraption? a doohickey with sage?")*. From there, it was back to the fan village, and introductions mixed with drinking (I believe this was where I first met Luke, Theda, brook and karaddin, among others).



Friday began with George's reading in the huge auditorium, following which williamjm and I joined the queue for the Scott Lynch signing - despite being in roughly the same place as for Rothfuss, it took three times as long, because Scott was chatting to everyone and writing personal inscriptions; he obviously hasn't yet succumbed to the big author pressure of getting as many people through as possible in the shortest possible time. Afternoon was dealers room wandering and a couple of panels, dinner back at the Fox, and then our party, with all the fun things previously mentioned: Iron Throne! Orchestra guy! Homebrew! Brook's map-dress! We also persuaded several of the con noobs to add their names to the banner, before winding down around 1:30.



The rest of the con will have to follow when I have more time, but that was the first two days.



*To quote Seanan McGuire,

Oh god, it's the Time Machine


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I'm glad to see everyone seems to have had a great time. I'm sad I had to sit out this year but I'm buying my tickets for next Summer's WorldCon soon!



Hopefully all travelers get home timely and safely.



Also, Xray was on a panel? I hope that was a good experience! Sad to have missed that especially


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Also, Xray was on a panel? I hope that was a good experience! Sad to have missed that especially

"Illustrating the Worlds of George R. R. Martin". She was the moderator, and John Picacio, Raya Golden, and Martina Pilcerova were the other panelists. Lots of awesome artwork displayed on the wall while she and the artists talked about it.

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Panels:


Zero, zilch, nada, negatory.



Hugo Ceremony:


Yep.



Shifts:


One, as the Thursday night Party Maven (early shift). Generally, an easy job, but brutal on the knees and calves.



Parties:


Yes. Many. Kudos to the XTeam and all their helpers, of course.



Food:


Best. Beef Wellington. Evah. (At Roast, in Borough Market.)


Otherwise, mostly meh, except for the pre-DeadDog dinner at Zero Sette and pre-con Chinese w/the MIMO gang.



People: Lots, but I'm not gonna try and make a list.


There were a few I wanted to see and somehow missed (most notably Natalie and the Squidge), plus many new folks to add to my BWB stack.


And there were many who couldn't be there, all of whom were missed, and not just by me.



Sleep:


Insufficient.



Travel:


Surprisingly seamless, except for the hour-long passport queue on arrival at Heathrow.


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Con report, continued



Saturday started late, and after a leisurely breakfast I went to the Wheel of Time panel, moderated by Wert. A good panel, with some very interesting reveals (Harriet is responsible for the death of Bela!) and funny stories (when she first decided Brandon Sanderson would be the continuer, she got his number from directory enquiries and phoned him up, only to discover there are two Brandon Sandersons in Provo, Utah, and she'd got the wrong one). After that, it was the Joe Abercrombie signing, and then after some wandering round the dealers room and hanging out with various people, I had to decide which of X-Ray's and Luga's duelling panels I would go to. I decided on Luga's Travel in Fantasy panel, partly because Scott Lynch was also on it, and it turned out to be very enjoyable (for those who were there: wibbly-wobbly barfy-warfy). In the evening, back to the fan village for more parties. Some mysterious hooded figures appeared with signs telling us not to look at or think about the dog park, and following Min's explanation of who they were I have now started listening to Welcome to Night Vale. I also beat Mormont at darts, however after that I was feeling knackered so I bailed out before the Hardbitten Fleabottom Swingtime Band's performance.



Sunday: attempted to get into the Lynch and Abercrombie readings, failed due to the ridiculously small room. Instead, I beat Wert at darts. In the afternoon, I went to the panel about humour in fantasy (titled "So grim. Much serious. Wow."), and then the blogging panel with Wert, Aidan, and various other bloggers. Wert recounted the whole Stanek shenaningans, among other things. Dinner was back in the Fox, where Turlough confused various Americans by getting them to try to pronounce various Irish names (e.g. Siobhan, Meadbh, Sadhbh). Note: Dave was not present at this dinner - this is important for later.



Sunday evening: Hugo awards, which the presenters managed to keep moving at a good speed this year. Everything I voted for won, which was unusual. It was good to see David and Dan collect the award for GoT, and also seeing Corey Doctorow collect the Graphic Story award on behalf of xkcd in full cape-and-goggles blogosphere regalia. However, this was merely a prelude to the epicness of karaoke. Remember I mentioned earlier Dave wasn't with me at dinner that day? Turlough walked in to the karaoke, saw both of us together, and spent at least thirty seconds frozen, just looking between us and pointing. His brain was seriously broken. However, the singing seemed to fix it, especially when he joined Triff in Total Eclipse of the Heart. Dave and I Proclaimed, which seemed to go down well, and we later both did solo performances as well - Wonderwall for him, and I Am The One And Only for me (dedicated to everyone who mixed us up over the course of the weekend). Most of the other performances have already been mentioned - Baitac sang La Bamba, Ran and Linda are Big in Japan, X-Ray et al sent us running for the hills, etc.



Monday morning I went to the Hobb and Rothfuss readings, and then later went to the Assassins panel, which I sneaked out of early in order to get my train home.


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Otherwise, mostly meh, except for the pre-DeadDog dinner at Zero Sette and pre-con Chinese w/the MIMO gang.

Oh man, those MIMO stickers. I got asked so many times if my name was MIMO.

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- Planned to arrive on Saturday morning, around 7 am at London City Airport. But the plane only had one working motor, so they transferred us on a later plane to London Heathrow. Took me 2 hours to reach Loncon by public transport from there, and I missed the 9 am 'Stroll with the Stars' AND the 10 and 11 am panels I had planned to see. So, not a very good start.



+ Managed to meet up with my Hobbling friends (Robin Hobb fans) on Saturday and Sunday, and I went to a few interesting panels. :)



- Only managed to meet one BWBer (Aoife), for half an hour on Sunday after the Robin Hobb interview, as her text messages she wrote back to me didn't get through. And the board's website wasn't accessible by phone as some app demanded to be downloaded all the time for 'better visibility' (ha!) and wouldn't let me click past it. Then it declared that it wouldn't work on a windows phone anyway and wouldn't let me browse the board for meetup info. Grr.



+ Didn't miss my plane back on Sunday, despite going to Robin Hobb's signing.



So, all in all, a good experience, but if you can't be there for the whole con, it's really frustrating that you can't find out the times at least of the most important events well in advance, so that you have a chance to book a flight and hotel room. The most important events being the signings at least of the main authors, and the big BWB party. Pretty please. With a cherry on top. I missed the BWB party and had to risk missing my plane back because I couldn't guess that Robin Hobb's signing would only be on the Sunday from 5-6 pm.

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We arrived in London a couple of days before the Con but were staying in Earls Court and doing touristy stuff like The Globe theatre and drinking our way through Oxford. The most important thing to say about that part of the visit was I will never ever again book a hotel in London without checking if it has a lift, lugging our bags up 3 flights of stairs is not an experience I am keen to repeat.



We arrived at the excel centre on Thursday morning and were lucky enough to be greeted by Lyanna while checking into our hotel who recognised us because I post too many photos on facebook. This was to happen many times over the next few days which was wonderful because between the fact that we both walk around in an oblivious bubble and suffer from terminal shyness would probably have combined to prevent us from actually talking to anyone at all otherwise.



Once we headed in to register we were confronted with the giant scary queue of death! At one point I thought we weren't going to make it to any panels at all that day but, credit to those working the registration desks they were getting through people quickly and it didn't take anywhere near as long as I'd initially feared.



Once registered we headed off to our first panel, an academic one on 'reconceiving representation in theory and practice' which was both interesting and I suspect going way over my head. We found ourselves seated next to a very animated other Aussie which amused me, there is just no getting away from bloody Australians :P



On our way from that panel to meet Sian for the queer meetup we ran into Susie who recognised us as she passed us on the escalators. We found Sian and sat around chatting for an hour before heading off to a panel on queerbaiting, collecting Luke on the way. Afterwards I had too many ciders on virtually no food so I remember very little of everything that followed except I met lots of boarders and, judging by my hangover the next morning, drank too much.



The next day we started early with a YA panel on the exceptional girl warrior (all the YA themed panels we saw were excellent, well done to the organisers for putting that all together) and then met more BWB people at Georges reading before heading off for lunch and another academic panel on 'horror gender and the monstrous' (a tough choice for me as I really wanted to learn how to make a dwarf mammoth) with Sian which was great, apparently all three of us had strong opinions about the subject matter of one of the three different talks (different one each) so much discussion was had. Afterwards we split up to head back to our hotels and nap before the BWB party that night.



On our way back into the excel we ran into Mormont, Katie, Malt, Christine and others (my memory sucks!) and headed to the Fox for dinner and ranting about the days business meeting. We waited around after the others had left for Sian and Luke to arrive before rushing back to attend the panel on 'Beyond Bechdel' which karaddin reviewed in the feminism thread in gen chat. After that it was time to head to the party and take photos on the Iron Throne, the entire party was great (huge thank you to X-Ray and Mr X for all their work!) but the feminist round table was the highlight of the night. When fake-orchestra guy kept asking for 'the admin' we considered directing him to X-Ray as a form of blood-sport but she seemed too busy so we all missed out on that :P



We managed to fit in an absolutely insane amount of panels the next day so I won't list them all but the highlights were 'Moving Shelves' with adult writers who have written YA, '"Your 'realistic' fantasy is a washed out colourless emptiness compared to the Rabelaisian reality" Discuss' (which wins title of the Con imo) and two which have been mentioned elsewhere - the somewhat wishy-washy 'feminism and sexism in fandom' and THE PANEL OF DOOM which I don't think I have much to say about that hasn't already been said... as awful as it was I think it was the highlight of my convention and I was almost expecting us to get kicked out because by the end half the audience seemed to be openly mocking them. Following that we skipped out on our last planned panel to head to the bar where much further mocking occurred before heading back to the hotel to get changed and nap before 80's dance night... which we never made because the 'nap' turned into passing out until the next morning.



Sunday was another heavy con schedule day, we started the morning with 'My Beautiful Dystopia' (with Peadar) which was another excellent YA panel, then I hit up the trade floor for some shopping while Nat attended 'Feminism and the Magic Girl', then 'Sex and Desire in Literature' (the 'academic sex' panel which has convinced me it is time for a full reread of Hobb's farseer books), 'The gendered AI' (which I left early to grab caffeine, lunch and do more shopping as I started falling asleep in the panel), Gender and Sexuality in YA literature (yet another really fantastic YA panel which added still more books to my reading list) and then our final panel of the con 'A Rubber Chicken on a Pulley - Celebrating Text and Point and Click Adventures' which despite disappointing me by containing NO Monkey Island fans despite the title ended things on a suitably light note and had me happily remembering games I'd grown up playing and long forgotten. Nat's attempt to troll the panel by bringing up Gone Home was sadly not fruitful though :(.



After that we met up with Sian and went out for curry (my first curry since hitting London which I never would have believed if you'd told me that!) and then back to the hotel to quickly change before Karaoke. Much has already been said about the various efforts there, I enjoyed every single one of them however was slightly disappointed that by the time I convinced karaddin to attempt a freestyle version of 'stagger lee' we had run out of time and so we were all spared a final song about mass murder. The group version of Bohemian Rhapsody was a suitably epic way to end the night however so it's hard to complain :).



The next morning we did some quick goodbyes (very quick I REALLY hate saying goodbye!) before we had to rush off and buy new luggage (I broke mine) and Docs (yay!) and then we went and got ourselves slightly lost looking for Brick Lane and curry (which we eventually found, I've decided curry spruikers are a much better idea than regular spruikers and would welcome the concept of a curry street to Sydney!). Tuesday we finally headed out to the tower where we took lots of photos, introduced ourselves to some ravens and squeed over the steampunk dragon, I think I could easily have spent twice as much time there again there was so much to see but we had to get ourselves back to the hotel to collect our bags and try to get ourselves across London to the airport before peak hour hit.



All up in was just about everything I could have hoped for in a first con experience (only 'just about' because of those who couldn't make it) and I only wish I'd had more time to meet and chat with everyone - hoping for Helsinki 2017!!



Number of Panels attended - a whopping 18 for Nat (plus 1 activity and 1 reading), 16 for me.


Number of boarders who recognised us from facebook photos and pounced - 5


Amount of Cider consumed - roughly my body weight


Kilos added to my luggage on the way home - 5 (oops!)



Various other highlights


ES's accent/voice - I wish I'd had more time to chat with her just for this reason alone


Watching Theda remain blissfully ignorant of the various people obviously crushing on her :P


Recognising Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear not because of their faces but by the fact they both have such fabulous hair


The existence of the feminist round table, I know I mentioned it in the recap but it really was a highlight, the real life troll just topped it off!


Adding several other names to my official forum crush list (and possibly more once I finally sort out just who everyone is on here!) :P


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Various other highlights

ES's accent/voice - I wish I'd had more time to chat with her just for this reason alone

Y'all have made me feel so much better about my accent...I was so self-conscious about it. :love: I love you people!

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Continuing from the close of Thursday...

I actually forgot that on Thursday evening, after Searcys, we did rest up from our cab ride and then decided to just drop by the party hall. Mostly that meant I had the pleasure of running into DaveAx, and spent a good amount of time chatting with him before we went in. I'm sure we saw some BwBers in there, though I forget the specifics -- we were knackered.

Friday was, of course, the day of the reading. Up bright and early, had breakfast, browsed the board and such for awhile, then went down around 10:30AM expecting an enormous queue for George's reading...

And, no, not really! Just a handful of people, and then a knot of very familiar figures from the BwB. Good times were had in the line, trading stories, catching up, watching a showdown regarding just who was at the start of the line... And then we were in. It was a good sized crowd that eventually got there -- a real queue did form, just took awhile -- and George came out to read from the material he wrote for The World of Ice and Fire. It was a bit weird to be in the audience for something I've read already, to say the least. George also answered some questions. Extensive reports and discussion can be found here.

After that... after that, I considered going to the Art and Science of Armor panel but decided to check out the dealer's room instead, while Linda took in the a panel on jewellry making. I visited the HarperCollins Voyager table and learned that they were getting the UK cover for The World of Ice and Fire at 2 o'clock. I also mentioned having missed the chance to say hello to Joe Abercrombie, at which point I was invited to pop over to the event where some fans got to join Abercrombie for some drinks at 3 PM. After Linda was done with her panel, we went back, got ourselves photoed and tweeted about with the cover, and then meandered off to say hi to Joe. He was as charming in person as he's always been on the forum, and we chatted briefly about the awesomeness of the Literature sub-forum and its members, and why we seem to get so many fantasists dropping by to chat there. He quipped that we must be drowning in books to review, and I noted that that was not, in fact, the case -- at which point he got Natasha from Voyager to get us a proof of Half the World, the sequel to Half a King, which he signed. I praised the sharp design of it -- it just has a quote from the text on the cover, with the title on the spine -- and wish that actual books could be so bold (the real HtW cover looks just fine, mind you).

We wandered off, did more browsing -- think we looked through the art show -- and eventually headed for the Fantasy and Medievalism panel, which featured Robin Hobb, but that proved to be something of a disappointment. Hobb seemed to feel like she had very little to contribute, as the other panellists got very focused on misconceptions of the Middle Ages, rather than really talking about fantasy literature. There was almost nothing about genre, basically. The moderator went along with the others and very little of the panel's description was discussed. The first of a couple of disappointing panels... The other being (after a meal) the Imaginging Fantasylands panel, subtitled The Status Quo Does Not Worldbuilding. Moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj, with Kate Elliott, Tobias Buckell, and Ellen Kushner among the participants, it started off well -- Buckell's particularly interesting -- but then it just ... drifted far afield as it became very much about racial self-identification and the like rather than about literature. We ducked out after 30 minutes, and spent awhile gnashing our teeth. I was thinking of taking in the Liveship Economics panel, but... somehow we didn't do it. Did anyone get to it? Anyone see notes posted anywhere? Rather curious about it.

I'm not sure what we did, in fact, in lieu. Maybe we went back to the hotel to get some rest, change, and then headed to the party.

The BwB party was, of course, as awesome as any party could be in the party hall -- it was a very, very different vibe from the two previous Worldcons we attended, where parties were in the hotel rooms and much of the fun was exploring the halls, finding out of the way parties and figuring out what they were about and/or what they had on offer. I can't say I warmed up to the parties at Loncon as such, though they did have the benefit of having lots of sitting space and enough room for people to chat. The BwB tent -- besides some heroic banner decorations, of course -- also had a copy of the Iron Throne, the same (we suspect) that had been placed outside of the Gherkin for the previous day's party. It was good catching up with folks... and we met a few fans who recognized us from Thronecast, which was interesting (in the course of the con we would each sign a couple of autographs, and take a number of pictures with fans who asked; I was amused to later one encounter mentioned on a blog at Scientific American, as the fan also happens to be a zoologist. The neatest "fan" encounter was during the party when we wandered to the fan activity tent, where Paul Cornell was acting as doorman... and HE recognized us from Thronecast. That was strange and cool both.)

And so... I guess Saturday and Sunday are next, but this has gone on long enough.

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Y'all have made me feel so much better about my accent...I was so self-conscious about it. :love: I love you people!

The boyfriend and I love your accent. It's partly why we sat near you at dinner on Thursday :p

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