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Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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Worldcon Day 3

No photos today as I was given custody of the big camera - so they'll be uploaded either when I get free wifi access or get home.

We had a fairly late start (as the first panels that had our interest started at 11am - and we were reluctant to emerge into the world of the living anyway.)

Melbourne had thrown off it's sunny demeanour and got back to being, well, Melbourne. So it was pissing down when we went for the tram. The first tram stopped and the driver gestured to us to climb on -

- No thanks, you're not going where we want to go.

More gesturing

- No, really, we're going past Spencer St

- No, I'll take you a few stops down where there's a shelter and you can wait for your tram there.

We were so inured to Sydney public transport it had taken precious seconds of standing in the rain to realise he was offering to take us to shelter. Stunned by the exposure to such public spirit, we got on the tram and got off at Flinder St - under shelter.

It was then that I realised I really need to make sure I have my pass to the Con with me. You know what it's like, you're throwing hopefully not too random stuff into a bag and then you realise that you've left the most important thing out.

So I rummaged through my bag and discovered that, yes, I had put the pass in there. murasaki_1966 then remembered that her pass - was back in the hotel. So we split up. I went on to Worldcon and murasaki_1966 rushed back to the apartment.

First panel of the day was one ferkster and I didn't have high hopes for (as we both felt obligated to go) but turned out to be one of the most interesting panels so far: Science Fiction and the Theatre

[photos to come]

The panel was Narelle Harris, Alison Croggon and Rob Shearman - moderated by Bob Kuhn - and it was a too short examination of how theatre uses science fiction and how the form itself is inherently science fiction (i.e. uses the same mental muscles). There was we agreed to and, for a change, all the panelists were listening to each oother and responding to each other's points. It was a fascinating panel and much welcomed after the relatively disappointing Comedy in SF panel.

Then we went to the James Bond panel (basically because I couldn't think of what I wanted to attend and ferkster is a huge Bond nerd.)

The panel was Adrienne Foster, Tee Morris (who we'd previously seen on the comedy panel) and catsparx (who, unbeknownst to her, had been made moderator.)

[photos to come]

I'd forgotten (as had catsparx) the intensity of some fans' relationship with James Bond. One suspects that it has a greater priority than their relationship with reality (as that would be the only other major relationship in their lives.)

catsparx was firm but fair, struggling to keep the panel (and the audience) on topic (which was the enduring popularity of Bond and not whether George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton is the worse Bond, or whether Bond is a time lord or Batman or... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Fortunately catsparx's prior experience in dealing with drug-fucked morons came to the fore and she was able to steer the panel to a satisfactory close.

Lunch at the "nearby" food court and we returned in time for Kim Stanley Robinson's guest of honour speech. Which, to my surprise, made the ABC news (thanks to Gary Kemble.)

The line of the speech though (and widely retweeted) was "Economics is the astrology of our time." murasaki_1966 was delighted to hear that come from someone else's mouth for a change.

Then "Crisis on Infinite Publishers" with alanbaxter, James Bacon and Paul Cornell which was interesting discussion about the purported collapse of the comic market but didn't pull its' head out of superhero comics butt enough to notice what was happening with manga (though that did emerge later on.) Still, the panel was working from hard data and I took the opportunity to apologise to Paul Cornell for helping to kill off Captain Britain and MI13 by waiting for the trade.

Paul Cornell then invited everyone to attend a Con version of the BBC Radio game show "Just a Minute" so we went down stairs (or, this being the Melbourne Convention Centre, two banks of escalators) to join the audience. And ran into Fraser and Melissa on the way.

The Plenary Hall, which it was scheduled for, was locked.

Meanwhile, more and more people were filling the foyer and Paul Cornell was getting more and more frazzled (a state he would appear to be normally unacquainted with) as a replacement room was found to have guest of honour holding forth.

More and more people were arriving in the foyer and swarming back and forth as the centre tried to keep pace with Paul Cornell's instructions. Finally the right room was unlocked and we trooped in.

So, for those unfamiliar with the game, "Just a Minute" is a game where each of the contestants is given a subject which they have to talk about for one minute. However they can be challenged on three bases: Hesitation (there's a noticeable gap, or an "um" or "ah"), Repetition (they use the same word twice - that's not either a preposition or in the subject) and Deviation (they start talking about something else, although this was rather liberally interpreted as the game went on.) If a challenge is upheld, the challenger has to finish in the remaining time and scores a point, if the challenge is unsuccessful, the challengee, gets a point.

It's basically a game designed to show brilliant minds in a state of panic.

So, Paul Cornell was the host, his wife Caroline was the score keeper, and Patrick Neilsen Hayden, Jennifer Fallon, John Scalzi, Ellen Kushner, Cat Valente and China Mieville were the contestants.

It was on like King Kong - Scalzi and Mieville were the most competitive (Scalzi was raking the points in and Mieville was desperate to see him lose, or crush his skull between his hands or some such.) Everyone had their own moment to shine but Scalzi very much dominated proceedings.

Example: the topic was "Fantasy or Science Fiction - which is better?" and Scalzi has 15 seconds or so to go. He spent those few precious seconds weighing up between the two: "Fantasy... Science Fiction? Fantasy... Science Fiction?" (unchallengeable as repetition as they were words in the subject.)

I hope somewhere there's a recording of it as it was definitely the highlight of the con so far.

[photos to follow]

We went out for a room party and returned in time for the Masquerade.

Nick Stathopolous and dalekboy were compering and, well,

We have now done a Worldcon Masquerade.

And apart from some late night shenanigans, that was World Con Day 3 for me.