Friday, September 17, 2010

More about Aussiecon 4

Here at the SF Strangelove household, the three travelers are still recovering from jet lag and sleep deprivation from the 14-hour return flight on a Qantas Airbus A380 from Sydney to Los Angeles. The airline seats in steerage (aka Economy), which at first seemed moderately comfortable, transformed over time into medieval torture devices. Between the three of us there may have been one successful if brief catnap.

While we accomplished many tourist goals while traveling to four cities in Australia and New Zealand, the main event was Aussiecon 4, aka Worldcon, aka the World Science Fiction Convention, held September 2 through 6, 2010, in Melbourne, Australia.

As Cheryl Morgan noted (follow here), the convention facility was the best ever for a Worldcon. It was modern (almost new), compact, and highly accessible. On the other hand, it did not have drinking fountains and the convention committee did not provide water coolers or bottled water, making for a rather parched convention. Otherwise the convention went quite well as far as I could see. The dealer’s room seemed small to me. Over at the Galactic Suburbia podcast (follow here) the dealer’s room was described as large by Australian standards. Perhaps it’s just my USA-biased perception. There were books that are rare and hard to obtain in the USA, making it full of delights for me and a challenge to come in under the weight limit for airline baggage.

In addition to the blog posts (all two of them) that I was able to write while the convention was underway, I did use Twitter (@strangelove4sf) during the Hugo Awards (#hugos) and at other times during the convention. Here is a sampling:
KSR: "I can say to you flatly the book of mine that I am most proud is The Years of Rice and Salt." #worldcon #aus412:53 AM Sep 4th via web
KSR: "My original notion of Mars: That would be a good place to backpack." #worldcon #aus4 12:51 AM Sep 4th via web
KSR: "The people living in cardboard shacks do not complain about the boredom of Utopia. They are willing to give it a try." #worldcon #aus4 12:50 AM Sep 4th via web
When SF becomes literature panel: Simon Spanton says publishing is the thin neck in hourglass between writer and reader #worldcon #aus4 7:36 PM Sep 3rd via web
GRR Martin Game of Thrones panel: No film clip, no stills, no snap shots, no real news. Just George talking. Still enjoyable #worldcon #aus4 12:03 AM Sep 3rd via web
The three quotes from Kim Stanley Robinson (KSR) came from the question and answer period at the end of his Guest of Honor Speech.  Robinson gave generously of his time at Aussiecon 4, appearing on several panels and giving three talks: Time and the Novel, Climate Change and Utopia, and his Guest of Honor Speech. I attended several of these and they were easily the highlights of the convention programming for me.

The George R.R. Martin-related tweet above refers to a talk he gave about the upcoming 10-episode series based on A Game of Thrones, the first book in Martin’s massive and unfinished A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. Martin explained that HBO was not willing for him to show any images from the TV series other than the brief teaser that already has been released. Martin gave a rambling talk about the history of how the TV series entered development, who is involved, and his thoughts on various aspects of the adaptation. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour.

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