Saturday, 22 April 2017

Innominate - EasterCon Saturday

On Saturday, we were Jedi. I wore the Jedi librarian costume I wore last year - with the addition of two little pins to keep the bands on my shoulders, which worked really well. I was forever fiddling with them to keep them up last year!

And here is the Young Man as a Grey Jedi.

So the first panel we went to had to be the Women of Star Wars, which started slowly and finished in a rush as they found there was more than enough to talk about for an hour!
We had plenty of time to look at the art show and dealers' room, followed by a Kaffeeklatsch with Aliette de Bodard. She was one of the guests of honour last year, which led me to buy The House of Shattered Wings, and earlier in the day I had treated myself to The House of Binding Thorns - more Fallen Angels, and a Vietnamese dragon kingdom below the River Seine.
After that was the BSFA Award ceremony (I spent some time on Friday running round trying to find the box for votes, and ended up leaving my voting form in Ops, because that was where the votes were going to be counted).
The best novel was Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson. Best short story was Liberty Bird by Jaine Fenn. Best non-fiction work was Geoff Ryman's 100 African Writers in SFF, which he wrote for, and best artwork was the cover for Central Station by Sarah Anne Langton.

And then the big screens in Kings, the biggest hall, were set up for Doctor Who - which was awesome! I loved Bill, and the way she became a Companion, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

And to finish the evening off, we went to the filk session. The Young Man came away inspired to write lyrics! I brought along a song book I'd bought at WorldCon 87 - one of the other filkers in the room sang one of his own songs, Hoopiness, which happened to be in my book (The Drunken Rabble Project), so I got him to sign it for me. Later, I sang Welsh History 101b (failed), and when I looked up from the page, it was straight at the name badge of the writer of the song! So I got him to sign the book, too. It was that or sink through the floor with embarrassment! One of the other singers in the room was a girl called Shadow, who sang one of her own songs based on the Mercedes Lackey Vandemar series (which I have fond memories of). We'd seen her earlier in the Kaffeeklatsch, when she was really quiet and shy, so it was a bit of a surprise to hear such a lovely voice.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Innominate - EasterCon 2017 - Thursday and Friday

Remember the good old 1980s? I thought I did - I went to the Metropole Hotel at Birmingham International airport several times for Star Trek Conventions.
It's all changed, of course. I remember walking across to the hotel from the station, but this time we were very happy to take the courtesy bus, because I didn't recognise anything! There's a whole new building next to the lake called Resort World - where we found a nice place to eat and sample interesting beers from round the world called World Bar. The Young Man was especially pleased to find some Icelandic Einstock beer.
Since we'd arrived early, we volunteered to help with the setting up. In the end, there wasn't much for us to do beyond moving some panels about, setting chairs out, and cheering the Thunderbird-esque machine which trundled into the middle of the dealers' room so that Tech could run cables across the ceiling with skyhooks. We also spent some time chatting to a very interesting couple who seemed to know everything there was to know about running conventions - so it was lovely to see them accepting the Doc Weir Award for fans who work hard behind the scenes, at the Closing Ceremony on Monday.

On Friday, our first costumes of the weekend were Steampunk Victorian adventurers. As Miss Amelia Harper, I'd just come out of the desert where I'd been digging a lost city with Gertrude Bell, and the Young Man was Cutter Conway, world traveller - and willing to indulge in various shady dealings for the right price.
The first panel we went to was From LGBT to QUILTBAG, talking about all the different varieties of gender and sexuality, and how they can be incorporated in SF and Fantasy, so that stories are more realistically diverse.
The history of comics was next, with Jack Kirby at 100 - I hadn't realised just how wide his influence was.
The panel on Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission was well attended, and the lady running it, Joanne Hall, who works for Kristell Ink as acquisitions editor, gave a lot of sensible advice.

Then it was time for The Explosive Opening Ceremony, at which the guests of honour were introduced. These were Colin Harris, fan and scientist, Pat Cadigan, writer, and Judith Clute, artist.
And then Dr Emma King took over for the explosive part. She workfor the Royal Institution in an educational capacity which seems to involve blowing a lot of things up!
Here's a photo taken by David Lascelles, where she had three children on stage as volunteers, who had to put an asprin into a film canister with some water, and then run like mad to the other side of the stage before it blew up!

I had taken a short piece of writing to read out at the Open Mic - but the room had problems with the lights, and nobody could find the person who was supposed to be organising it, so we headed off to the fan lounge to eat before the stalls closed at 8pm. We ate very well over the weekend, and there was a constantly changing variety of food on offer - we never did get round to the Jamaican goat curry, though the Thai green curry was very nice. And we were also in the right place for the last event of our evening - a Literary Beer with Russell Smith:

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Women in Science Dorothy Vaughan

Dorothy Vaughan was the second of the three leads in the film Hidden Figures - the one who wanted the supervisor's job, and taught all the other women in the Colored Computers section to use FORTRAN so that they could use the new IBM computer and not lose their jobs doing the manual calculations for NASA.
She joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Lab in 1943, for what she thought would be a temporary job for the duration of the Second World War. She had previously been a maths teacher. She became the first black supervisor of the West Area Computers, and an expert in FORTRAN, though not quite as it happened in the film.