Tag Archives: WorldCon

A shout-out from Montreal

This is sort of a halfway report… as I’m drafting this, it’s now officially Saturday, but barely. Given that, I’ll keep it short. Here are a few of the highlights from the convention so far:

First – thanks to Montreal, and to Canadians from all over for hosting a very friendly convention. This has been a pleasant place to be. Second, this is not normal life in a connected always-on world where conversations are tweeted and texted and take place on devices that look like Star Trek communicators. Instead, the roaming charges have got most of us carrying dead devices in our pockets and roaming the halls looking for people. I suppose that’s not entirely bad, but it feels strange.

Its been a very busy convention and the panels have been full. Nonetheless, I managed to capture a shot of Connie Willis, Amelia Beamer, Robert Silverberg, and Sheila Williams on the dealers-room floor near the Locus booth. Notice how they all color-coordinate well with their badge ribbons and with each other.

Connie Willis, Amelia Beamer, Robert Silverberg and Shiela Williams

One of the most interesting panels so far covered new astronomy (Keppler is beginning to report results, there are more extra-solar planets being discovered regularly, Venus has a new white spot). Yes, I’m a bit of a geek.

Just to prove my inner geek was in full force, I also went to a panel about three-dimensional printers. Yes, that’s the baby version of what may become the universal replicator from so many science fiction stories and movies. The new vocabulary word from this panel was “Voxel” which is “Volume Pixel.” The presenter, Tom Easton, likened the maturity of 3D printer technology now to where PC’s were in the 1990’s. If he’s right, we’re in for an interesting ride. As opposed to the information economy, it’s the design economy. We have been creating things in the no-space of the electronic world, but we will be able to re-create the physical world, perhaps over and over and over. And all this in a world culture where we don’t have the ethical underpinnings to get rid of computer viruses and spam. I may make this the topic of my next column here at Futurismic.

The party for the Analog and Asimov’s magazines got shut down for being too noisy. So I guess even with the graying of fandom, we can still get in a ton of trouble. But I did get a cake picture worth sharing:

James Patrick Kelly's cake

This decidedly alien piece of confectionary art was an evil plot dreamed up by Sheila Williams, the editor at Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, to reward James Patrick Kelly for having a story in every June issue of Asimov’s for twenty-five years. Now that’s a feat. The cake and the stories.

The cake is much bigger than it looks here. Yes, it tasted good. No, I didn’t have seconds.

There are a few more pictures of a day at the convention on the web.

Screw WorldCon; I wish I’d been at DefCon

So, the great and the good of science fiction and fantasy literature are all off to Montreal for this year’s WorldCon, and I’m not bitter and twisted in the slightest… after all, I can keep up to date on the gossip and action from innumerable sources, not least of which is the remarkably fully-featured ConReporter blog. Today’s Tomorrows columnist Brenda Cooper has promised us a con report on her return, too.

But as I think I’ve mentioned before, fandom really needs to up its game as far as convention badges are concerned, because the geeks and hackers at DefCon get badges that look like this:

DefCon 2009 delegate badge

C’mon, admit it: that whips the hell out of a laminated card on a lanyard. It also has hardware built into it that allows it to network with all the other cards from the same series (and plenty of other funky techno-gimcrackery, too).

And while I’d quite enjoy a long weekend of sitting around in a moderately posh hotel and nattering about (or even to) my favourite authors and critics, there’s a lot to learn at DefCon as well. Someone demonstrated an entirely mechanical hack of a supposedly unpickable electromechanical lock [via BoingBoing], and a gang of ATM skimmer-scammers unwittingly bit off way more than they could chew by planting a bogus ATM at the convention venue [via SlashDot].

Who knows – maybe someone managed to work out what the Conficker worm is actually for, and why it appears to have been abandoned to self-replicating autonomy by its creators [also via SlashDot]?

More seriously, though, I really wish I was going to Montreal for the weekend; one of the joys of fandom as a community is the sense of being part of a network of people who are passionate about the same stuff as you, but the downside is that you rarely get to see all those friends and colleagues in the flesh.

If you’re going to WorldCon, be sure to have yourself a damn good time… and raise a beer or two for me, OK?

Vicarious WorldCon!

Wishing you were hobnobbing with the great and the good of science fiction at Denvention this weekend? Yeah, me too.

But the wonderful world of the blogosphere means you can experience it at a few removes… among the many people blogging from the scene is Futurismic‘s very own Edward Willett, so pop on over to Hassenpfeffer to see what he’s been up to.

He’s got a photoset going on Flickr, too – I guess missing out on the mammoth queues is one plus point to being stuck at home:

Queuing at Denvention3

Of course, it’s quite possible to find experiencing Worldcons through the medium of blogging to be rather dull and tedious… your mileage may vary. 😉

[Image courtesy Edward Willett – all rights reserved]