selenay: (Default)
I'm working on a very long software release on a Sunday night, waiting for people to finish things, so this seems like a good time to write up my Worldcon experience. The rest of the trip will be a separate post :-)

As I said before, [personal profile] bookmonster was my roommate for just over a week and she was an excellent one. We had so much fun, she even put up with an accidental sugar-and-caffeine induced late night giggle-fest (pretty sure that Diet Coke was *not* diet), and we're plotting Dublin 2019 so I don't think I scared her too badly! We did a couple of days of sightseeing in Helsinki before the con, which was terrific fun despite the distinctly soggy nature of Monday's weather. Buying umbrellas on our first walk into the city centre was a good plan.

We spent Monday wandering through Helsinki, visiting a Lutheran cathedral, the harbour market (where we had excellent smoked salmon on rye for lunch followed by delicious pastries), riding the tram, seeing a gallery...despite Helsinki's tendency to close most things on Mondays, we did a *lot*. Supper was in an Italian restaurant we returned to a few days later. (It's just occurred to me this is where we ate on both rainy days - there's something about pasta/risotto and rain, I guess.)

And then bookmonster dragged me (kicking and screaming...er...giggling) to an Irish theme pub because how could we not and we got to sample the breath-taking expense of Finnish alcohol.

On Tuesday we met [twitter.com profile] embraceurfandom, who gave us an amazing tour of Helsinki's natural history museum. Everyone should get a tour from a trained biologist of the natural history museum they worked at! After that, we set out for a late-afternoon visit to the Russian Orthodox church, where bookmonster got to discover why I'd declared the Lutheran church very restrained. Talk about BLING! We had coffee and pie and relaxed on the steps below the Lutheran church, enjoying the sunshine, before trotting off to Zetor for supper with a bunch of friends and some tractors.

After that, it was CONVENTION TIME.

Bookmonster and I didn't have any panels we were interested in until 12pm, so we pottered down to the convention centre late morning and managed to miss the worst of the registration queue. It was incredibly smooth and quick - I think we were through in under two minutes. And I got into the first panel I wanted to see, so that was good. In fact, I don't think either of us ended up not seeing anything we'd really earmarked as "must sees", and we had very few times when we were unexpectedly not in panels because nothing we wanted was accessible. I think that's probably because we were both marking at least one back-up for any slot we wanted to fill, which is a trick learned from 9W and Loncon3.

There was definitely a crowding issue on day one, but that eased a bit afterwards as the con staff handled the ticket situation (very few tickets available on the door after day one) and got extra space arranged so panels could be moved to larger venues.

I had a fantastic time and I have to give the staff a lot of kudos for working so hard to keep the convention rolling and fun for everyone despite challenges. They really worked their socks off.

One con staffer in particular needs a shout-out and I wish I knew his name. On the first day, there was a presentation scheduled in the evening on bad book covers, which bookmonster and I both wanted to go to. We joined a big group outside the room...and after a while, it became apparent it had already begun. The room had filled up so fast that they'd closed the doors and started early. The con staffer who appeared on scene realised they'd massively underestimated the popularity of that item and, because it was day one and not all the rooms were in use yet, he decided to fix this. He asked the presenter if he'd be willing to do a rerun of the presentation. Then he led his merry (and ever increasing) train of con goers through the halls on a search for a suitably-sized room with AV equipment. It was a little Goldilocks-like, stopping in rooms and then moving on when they weren't quite big enough, until finally we settled on one that could hold us all. At a conservative estimate, there were over two hundred of us...for a panel they'd only expected a max of eighty to want. Wow.

The presenter looked slightly surprised by the huge number when he arrived, but he did a fantastic job of rerunning his presentation and it was AMAZING. The combination of his good humour and some astonishingly awful book covers was perfect. Thank you to everyone who made that happen!

Before this turns into a 5k word essay, I'll retreat into a system of highlights and so forth. I had a fantastic time at Worldcon, thanks to a wonderful convention and some excellent friends. Hopefully we'll all do it again in Dublin 2019!

Highlights

- The aforementioned bad book cover panel

- The short stories for novelists workshop by Mary Robinette Kowal. I didn't expect to get into this because I was on a waiting list, but Mary was lovely and allowed in everyone who could find a seat. It was totally worth it. I learned so much! I think I even learned how to improve a short story I've been fiddling with for a while and, more importantly, how to write better short stories. Things she said made so much sense, particularly about pacing and tension issues my critique partners always point out. I know why they're happening now so I can fix them! I think this may have been the most useful and productive panel I went to.

- Live Tea and Jeopardy recording. Who knew GRRM was such a fantastic sport? I'll post a link when the episode goes up, because it's hilarious.

- The imaginary book club. Four panellists each make up a book and then review/discuss it, with a Q&A session on each book. This was exactly as hilarious as it sounds :-D

- Authors and their cats. It followed an intense panel on high fantasy, so it was a perfect and beautifully restful session of authors talking about their cats, showing photos and highlights from twitter feeds, discussing why cats are so important in the authorial process...I loved it.

- Surviving the two panels I was on. I had a lovely little panel on shipping non-canon pairings and a terrifying panel in the biggest room on the site about beta reading with Real Published Authors (including Charlie Stross) on either side of me. Apparently I didn't sound little a total idiot and someone talked to me after about how lovely and validating it was to see a fanfic writer on that panel :-) I also picked up some great tips from Charlie Stross about beta reading that I want to try out (more on that another day).

- A panel on systems of magical healing that went to some dark places and birthed some plot bunnies for me.

- Babylon 5 vs Star Trek: Fight! A funny and thoughtful panel debating the merits of each show, the parallels and differences, with a vote that ended up with B5 winning (their team sold their case really well) and a promise from bookmonster to finally watch B5 (I'm holding you to that).

- Playing Exploding Kittens and discovering [twitter.com profile] selcaby is a total shark despite being a newbie to it.

- So much giggling and laughter and discussions of geek things with friends, I can't express how important that is to a good con experience.

Lowlights

- The overcrowding on day one was a bit trying on day one, but not enough to spoil anything.

- Um, that's it?

Conclusion

Worldcon75 was fantastic and it was hard to come out of the con space, which is the sign of a good con. I wasn't ready for it to end. At the end of a five day con, that's impressive. I remember being quite con-and-people-ed out at the end of Loncon3, but that wasn't how I felt this time.

Bookmonster and I did a bit of sightseeing in the morning the day after (a nice tour of the Rock Church, which was beautiful and peaceful and exactly what I needed as I came down from the con high) and then we flew back to London. It was nice to have that transition day before reality really hit and I think we were both glad we did our sightseeing before the con, because we were exhausted. There was a fair bit of napping on the plane back!

Worldcons aren't for everyone, but I've loved both the ones I've been to. Spending several days talking about nerd stuff, seeing other people get excited about the same things I am, is a fantastic experience. I've returned with new ideas, new plot bunnies, and new lists of things to read and watch. I got to meet people I've only talked to online before. I got to see old friends. It was everything I wanted it to be and that's really the best anyone can hope for out of a Worldcon.
selenay: (Default)
In less than a week(!!!) I'm catching a flight to London for the beginning of the Epic Wedding and Convention Tour TM, so I feel like it's time to note dates and maybe plan any meet-ups that might be possible. Thus, itinerary!

1 August - Flight to London leaves at just before midnight. Hopefully.
2 August - Flight arrives in London.
2 to 3 August - At parent's house, wedding prep.
4 to 5 August - MY SISTER HAS TWO WEDDINGS OMG.
6 August - Fly to Helsinki.
7 to 8 August - Sightseeing in Helsinki.
9 to 13 August - Worldcon in Helsinki.
14 August - Fly back to London.
15 August - SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP
16 August - Day trip to Cardiff for Doctor Who exhibition.
17 to 20 August - Pottering around my parents house/home town.
21 August - Fly back to Canada.

I'm currently noodling around a trip into London for books and cake-eating on August 18 (Friday). If anyone is free to meet up for lunch/cake/drinks/supper, let me know and we'll arrange it :-) I usually hit up Foyles for a few hours because I'm a nerd, so I'll be pretty centralish.

And anyone going to Helsinki Worldcon should raise their hands so we can figure out meeting for coffee or panels or whatever.

This trip is going to be EPIC.
selenay: (Default)
It's Friday and I am so relieved, because somehow it's been another week of paddling madly just to keep up.

I didn't even have time for a SHIELD post!

Tiny spoilers ahead: Cut for spoilers )

And I didn't have time for a proper Supergirl post either!

Tiny Supergirl spoilers: Cut for spoilers )

I started the edits on Huntress and I'm feeling more confident about it than I remember. Sure, it needs tidying up a fair bit and there's a soggy section in the middle that I have to fix, but structurally, it's not actually broken. It doesn't collapse the moment I poke at it even a tiny bit, and I'm quite proud of certain parts. I just need to fix the broken bits and then I can send it out to a couple of betas and see how many holes are left.

After I've done the post-beta clean-up, then I guess I have to decide what I'm doing with it. I'd still like to try for an agent, but it's an f/f fantasy romance, and one of the things I've noticed is that f/f romance of any kind is a tough sell to editors outside the small lesbian presses, which might be why so many authors go indie. So will my book get rejected by agents no matter what the writing is like, just because it's going to be hard to place?

Going indie has its appeal, for sure, but I don't know whether that's the wimp's way out. And going to the small lesbian presses also has appeal, except they're mainly US-based and they all seem to want me to edit into American-ised spelling and word usage before even sending an MS out, and UGH no.

So I'll do what I always do when I try to think about this stuff, and stick my head in the sand for now :-) The book isn't in any state to go anywhere yet, why am I thinking about this stuff already?

I booked my tickets for Helsinki this week, so it's official: I'm going to Worldcon 75 after my sister's wedding. I even looked at a map to figure out where Finland is and...look, I am bad at geography. I'd mentally put it somewhere near Denmark.

It's next to Russia.

Finland: it's further away than you think!
selenay: (Default)
As anyone following me on Twitter or Tumblr would have noticed, last month I went to England for my first Worldcon: Loncon3. And then I failed to write about it UNTIL NOW.

This is mostly because it was huge and overwhelming and awesome, and it's taken me this long to digest it and get homesick for it. I got to fulfill a long-term dream and actually watch the Hugos live. I met Seanan McGuire. I found out that Connie Willis and George RR Martin and utterly hilarious if you put them on a panel together.

Plus, I got to visit with lots of old friends and hopefully make some new ones.

I suppose this should really be put in something approaching chronological order, shouldn't it?

Cut for length )

In conclusion, I had a brilliant time. Excellent. Would do again. It was my first time working on operations, and I loved every minute of it. Even the hectic ones. I'd definitely do that again...which is good, because I've already been volunteered onto the team for Nine Worlds. Heh.

I can't speak to other peoples' experience of Loncon, but for me, it was excellent. I expected something fustier and filled with intolerant old dinosaurs, even though we'd been trying not to do that, and what I found was bright, fun, vibrant, and filled with great people and new ideas. A large part of this, I suspect, is because of how I chose to do the con.

Most of the panels I went to were not the kind that attracted that old dinosaur element: diversity, representation, urban fantasy, transformational works. I had a big group of friends there, and I met some new people. All of them are lovely. It felt like a world away from the Eastercon I attended a few years ago. I'd love to do another Worldcon, but only if it's like that. Sasquan doesn't sound like my kind of Worldcon. I might see if Dublin 2019 happens, and whether I can swing doing that one.

It probably helped that I didn't do it coming off Nine Worlds, which is a very, very different kind of con. I didn't have 9W to compare to and, for me, Loncon3 was one of the best cons I've been to. My opinion on some things might change after seeing 9W next year, but we'll see.

The other factor that might have helped, was being on the ops team and seeing the staff side of things for months beforehand. I knew how much work we'd put into the code of conduct and the team supporting it. I knew how many knots we'd tied ourselves in trying to make the con safe and welcoming to everyone. And I think we largely succeeded, which makes me feel incredibly proud to have been a part of it.

In short, roll on a Worldcon run by the next horrible, liberal, diversity-conscious, BLOODY FANTASTIC team to stick their necks out and try to take it on. Helsinki 2017. Dublin 2019. Let's make those happen.
selenay: (donna 1)
Hello Internet! Why yes, it has been forever since I last updated this thing.

Cut for babble amount life milestones )

Anyway, everything is so different now and I couldn't be happier.

The last few weeks have been quiet due to a lot of reading and watching stuff. I've got so much to say about it all so I shall try to get something up on here about it over the weekend.

Suffice to say, since the beginning of 2012 I have read 10 books, watched a season and a bit of Deep Space 9, watched season 2 of Buffy, watched half a season of Castle and assorted other bits and bobs. It's been so much fun!

And in the most important bit of news yet, I'm now a supporting member of Worldcon 2012 and a Friend of Worldcon 2014. It looks like I'm going to Worldcon in 2014 :-D Let the countdown and insane bouncing begin!

ETA: Correct the years, I'm a supporting member of this year's Worldcon :-D

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