Day 3 of Worldcon had a bit of a different theme, programme-wise. Badass ladies dominated my day, in various ways, shapes and forms. Oh, and there was a particular reading that stood out… What was that about, again…
I only went to two panels on Saturday that I can recall (I really, really should have taken better notes on the day), but both were well worth it. First up there was “Invisible work: mothers and caregivers in SFF” with Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Rivers Solomon and moderated by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Now, I’m not a mother or a caregiver, but I wanted to go to this panel because I’ve become very aware of the general attitude of sidelining or outright erasure that does a disservice to matriarchs (and women in general, but that’s possibly another topic) in fiction. It was really interesting to listen to these panelists discuss those attitudes so plainly, and represent/promote books and stories that not only feature these kinds of characters but tell THEIR stories, instead of shoving them into the background (or into early graves).
In a similar vein, I also enjoyed the “Send in the crones: older women in SFF” panel, with Sam Hawke (moderator), Lauren Roy, Ali Baker, Devin Madson and Julie C. Day. I’m less familiar with these writers, though I did make a point to (finally) buy Sam’s book City of Lies before I left the con! A definite personal highlight of this panel was hearing Jen Williams get a shout-out for Vintage de Grazon, who is without a doubt a badass older lady! As for the rest of the panelists, I suspect I’ll be looking into their work very soon…
The other panel I went to was just for fun, and was 100% joy: Authors and their Pets, with Mary Robinette Kowal, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Elizabeth Bear and Melissa Caruso. Who wouldn’t want to sit down for an hour, look at pictures of adorable cats and dogs (and a horse) and listen to their humans tell stories about them? That’s right. No one.
I also (sort of) attended a workshop that day – and I talked a bit about this on Twitter, after a few folks asked about it – that was sadly a let-down: Fan art you can drink. This workshop was being run by a couple of fans of The Expanse who took their fan enthusiasm and turned it into character-themed cocktails, which was pretty much the whole reason I wanted to go to their workshop. The Expanse plus cocktail-making lessons? Sounds really good, right?
… The idea did sound good. The workshop execution, however, was a bit shambolic. The workshop organisers had to co-ordinate with the con staff to get it running, and from what I understand that’s where it began to go off the rails. I signed up with a couple of friends and we gathered outside the allocated room about ten minutes early, only for everyone who’d signed up to end up queueing outside the room for half an hour AFTER the workshop had been scheduled to begin. According to the programme, it should have run from 4.30pm until 5.50pm. Due to setup issues delaying it, we didn’t get into the room until 5pm. We then sat waiting for a presentation to be set up, which took another 15 minutes. At that point, one of the workshop hosts informed us that, since they’d run late and there was nothing scheduled in that room after their workshop, they’d be there later than planned. There was a presentation to give before the actual cocktail-making would begin. That seemed fair enough. I’d expected maybe a short speech to explain what they did and what they’d be doing in the workshop. I wasn’t ready for 30 minutes of PowerPoint on the various types of drinks they worked with and explanations of what went into each drink they’d created for each character and why they chose those ingredients, etc. I have absolutely nothing against having passion for your work and wanting to share the enthusiasm, but half of this stuff could have been googled later when I wasn’t trying to keep to a schedule. There was definitely some fat in there that could have been trimmed, and I don’t think anyone would have missed it.
By the time we’d been expecting the workshop to end, they were still talking. The presentation ended with maybe five minutes of allocated schedule time left, at which point one of the hosts asked us if anyone urgently had to leave. About half the people in the room, us included, put their hands up.
This was, from where I was sitting, not a very well managed workshop. Don’t get me wrong, I might have been happy to stay if things had run on time, and if that time had been better managed. But dinner is important, you know.
By this point one of the friends I’d gone in with had already left, being disgruntled after having to help another attendee get her money back (yes, they charged us for the workshop costs, which is fair; but passing off a 20-euro charge as “a small fee” is a bit misleading). Said friend then had to chase down the person who’d collected the money from attendees and then apparently disappeared. She found him in the Ops room, sitting around with our money in his pocket. Not a good look. That look did not improve when we went down there to do the same and got not one word out of him, apology or otherwise, even while he was handing our money back. The con staff member we initially spoke to did apologise for the trouble, but it shouldn’t have been left to him to do so. I still don’t know if this person was on the con staff or with the workshop organisers, but let’s just say I left with nothing polite to say about him.
I’m still trying really hard not to rant about this, so I’m going to move on! Let’s talk about some readings, shall we?
First up was Marie Brennan, who read her Tor.com short story “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review“, which I loved because a) it’s a Lady Trent story, and b) because it’s bloody hilarious. If you’re familiar with her Lady Trent books and haven’t read this yet, check it out at the link – I don’t think it’s terribly spoilery for the books, but it’s best read if you’re familiar with them already.
Next up was one scheduled event I had immediately ticked when I went through the programme app looking for events to attend, and had no intention whatsoever of passing over for something else: Scott Lynch reading an excerpt from the upcoming Thorn of Emberlain. This book is my Winds of Winter, you guys. I am so deeply in love with the Gentleman Bastard series, and I don’t care how long it takes for the fourth book to come into the world and land on my shelf. I want it, I’ve got to have it, I will wait however long I must.
I won’t say anything too spoilery about the excerpt that was read, but … well, if you’ve ever wondered how funny it would be to read about Locke and Jean getting stuck up a tree, this book will answer that question.
I don’t have enough space here for sufficient fangirl flailing, honestly. So let’s move on!
Day 2 of Noodlecon kept up our budding tradition of gathering new passengers on our nerdy train! Saturday was burger day, and we added @TheMiddleShelf1 and @GracOnline to our merry band. (To the staff of Rocket’s: we’re terribly sorry for all the confusion caused by three different orders for the same group…)
To wrap up our Saturday, it was time for another concert, and I can confirm that the Library Bards are made of pure silly, nerdy joy, and that joy is contagious. It takes something pretty special to get me to sing in public when I’m not drunk, even if I’m only sitting in the audience and everyone else is doing it too. During this concert, I 100% Did Not Care how it looked; I had to sing along. I figure that’s the best possible recommendation I can give these guys, and I’m so happy to give it. They’re awesome.
On that giddy note, I shall sign off for today! Tomorrow, we discuss that glorious colossus, the Hugo Awards ceremony…