In no particular order:
-Cheese is considered a gel or a paste and, as such, is not allowed in a cabin luggage. It would be nice if a. They actually advertised this elsewhere than after your luggage got stuck at security, and b. they didn’t make you wait ten minutes while they search someone else’s luggage to tell you this. It would have spared me some careening through the airport trying to get the luggage checked in, in time to make my flight (for the record: I had to plead a bit with Air France, but I managed to check it in about 3 minutes before check-in closed). If I were feeling optimistic, I’d go for c. they should make it easier to check in your luggage with its “illegal” items (of which they are now so many I feel like giving up), at the very least by making it easy to go back to the check-in counters (I had to basically go out the airport and come back again), or even (God forbid) have a checkin counter at security. But, you know, that would be cheating.
-Jetse de Vries throws a mean launch party (but I already knew that). The Shine launch party was filled with good alcohol, good food (the aforementioned cheese), and plenty of awesome people. Got a chance to chat to some UK-based friends, as well as to Ellen Datlow (who was over for Worldcon), and a number of other contributors to the anthology: Gareth L. Powell, Eva Maria Chapman, and Alastair Reynolds (well, strictly speaking, I caught Alastair in the dealers’ room on Monday morning, but it still counts).
-It was good to see people again (in particular to be rooming with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who is in the process of being co-opted into the convention circuit). Also had many great conversations about immigration, identity, and Asian immigration in particular with a number of people throughout the con (somewhat depressing that countries seemed to become more and more closed to foreigners from the “wrong” parts of the world, but overall it gave me a lot of food for thought)
-Went to a few panels, but not many. I survived my own (the one about Writing in a Foreign Language, which was very interesting, as we had a group of people with very different experiences of English), and I think I made it to two others (one about Clarke, and one about whether there was a time limit on SF novels). Spent way too much time schmoozing and drinking and talking, as usual 🙂
-I am not a night person. Was up early most mornings (8:00am-ish), tried to talk past 1:00am in the evening–and ended up going for what I assumed was a short nap Sunday evening at 8:00pm. Yeah, right. Woke up at 11:30pm and wandered down to find the con winding down. Grr.
-The dealer’s room is starting to be dangerous for me–but not for the reasons you’d think. Going to three Eastercons means I’m starting to know a lot of people, and as a result it was hard for me to wander down the aisles quietly (also, I’m a surprisingly chatty person in the company of like-minded people).
-Goodies. What I love about this eastercon team (same one that put together Eastercon 2008, both most impressive cons in terms of organisation) is that they give a mug in the goodies bag, which is awesome. I also got an extra mug courtesy of Carl Rafala of Immersion Press, who had printed out personalised mugs for all the authors in his forthcoming The Immersion Book of Science Fiction. And in the way of books, I got myself a copy of Ian McDonald’s King of Morning, Queen of Day (great urban fantasy), Mary Gentle’s Golden Witchbreed, Eric Brown’s Helix, Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv’s The Tel-Aviv Dossier (courtesy of the Chizine team), and Daniel Fox’s Jade Man’s Skin, the follow up to the great Chinese/Taiwanese-flavoured fantasy Dragon in Chains.
Well, looks like that’s all I have in the way of con reporting. Eastercon is still one of my fave cons: it’s big but not too big, it’s handy to get to (no transatlantic flights), it’s always very nicely run, and lots of awesome people are there.
So, until Birmingham…
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Good to see you again. You looked as if you were enjoying yourself.
I would have liked to have been at the English as a Foreign Language panel. I was down to moderate it at one time, but it clashed with the writers’ workshop which I was also involved with. (I’d have been the token monoglot on the panel. My French is very rusty, but I was in the past able to have a conversation in the language, and also once followed a (Danish) film via French subtitles. Otherwise I have bits of tourist German and Polish.)
I read King of Morning, Queen of Day in the mid 1990s and it blew me away. I really ought to read more Ian McDonald novels… (I don’t have my copy any more – I loaned it to someone I’m no longer in touch with and never got it back.)
Good to see you again, too! (though way more briefly than I’d have liked, alas…)
If you can/could have a conversation in French, you’re way above monoglot (a lot of people, especially but not exclusively English speakers, are real monoglots, which scares me).
King of Morning, Queen of Day blew me away, too. It’s an awesome book, and it’s motivated me more than ever to look up Desolation Road.
Thanks. Some French-language things are easier to follow than others. That Danish film (Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Gertrud, by the way) was shown in a print from a French archive, with French subtitles and an English earphone commentary. I found I could follow the film via the subtitles, so put the earphones away.
On the other hand, the late Eric Rohmer is one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, but considering how important dialogue (and nuances of meaning in dialogue) is to his work, I wouldn’t begin to attempt watching one of his film without subtitles. Unfortunately the two of his films I haven’t seen have never been released outside France and the French DVDs don’t even have French subtitles!
Someone I know had a French friend see La Haine in London, and the film is so full of street slang that she had to rely on the English subtitles to understand much of the dialogue!
Oh, and thanks for the cheese!