Eastercon blog 4

April 25th 2011

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The final day of Eastercon. I think a lot of folk had already gone, or were going only. There was certainly the sense that fewer people were visible, and the number of wheeled suitcases disappearing out of the door leant an air of “is a fourth day of programming really needed?” It’s a difficult call – last year’s Eastercon seemed a little busier throughout the Monday, but the membership was higher than this year, and being London-based, perhaps people were prepared to hang around for longer. I stayed till the Tuesday in 2010, but this year I was off on the 16:38 from Birmingham International.

After the obligatory hotel fried breakfast, I packed my stuff up, checked out and put my case in storage (a huge ballroom with one very lonely member of staff on duty – who I remembered to thank) and did a bit of wandering. Inevitably, I ended up in the Dealers’ room, where I had a good browse without the intention of buying anything: my bags were pretty full as they were, and you know…

Then I spotted a big pile of Target Dr Who books on one corner of a table. I used to read them as a kid, and had dug them out recently so the Boy could try them for size. There were some duplicates – I’d already got The Day of the Daleks, and a couple of the others – but I thought I’d grab a few to add to the collection. When the bookseller said, “Take them all for a fiver.” I hesitated for a nanosecond before cracking open the wallet. I haven’t even checked them against my existing books yet, but I spent a very happy hour with a sandwich at lunchtime reading “The Seeds of Doom”, which when televised (Tom Baker as the Doctor with Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith) scared me rigid.

Before all thoughts of Whoish delights, however, was my final panel: Nuke it from orbit – how to organise a planetary invasion. I was on with Mike Cobley, Charlie Stross and John Harrow, with Nik moderating. I’m afraid the Belgians came off very badly, and the conversations did keep turning back to stuff the British Empire had done already. Sorry world. However, I did try to inject a little humanity into the proceedings when I suggested that dropping massive space rocks on the natives to force their surrender might cause at least some putative astronauts to have second thoughts. Far better, I opined, to offer them peace, prosperity and a future full of promise: few governments could stand against that sort of invasion. I for one, etc…

Lunch, with the good Doctor followed, then I listened in to the Space Opera panel – fascinating stuff, and made me wish I’d looked in on other panels with David Weber. He’s worth listening to.

Then the mundane bit of trains and platforms and travelling. I was home by 9pm.

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