We’re back from EasterCon, which was an excellent mix of meeting up with old friends and making new ones. My most excellent writer friends Kari Sperring and Juliet E. McKenna were instrumental in this year’s EasterCon, so I’m particularly happy that it was this year I finally got to *go*. All the other committee members I met were also wonderful people, and they did an absolutely fantastic job putting together a magnificently diverse and interesting program.
The past few years EasterCon’s had a commitment to gender parity on the panels, and I was actively aware every time I got up on a panel that I wasn’t the only woman on it. As it happens, the Irish conventions, P-Con and Octocon, are very very good about gender parity (not because they had a Plan, but just because of the general participants), so it wasn’t a new sensation, but since EasterCon is a much larger convention, it was wonderful to see that parity being pursued. Well done on that front!
Also, holy beans. As usual, I managed to go to exactly no panels I wasn’t *on*, but the ones I was on were some of the best panels I’ve ever gotten to participate in. Part of that was due to moderators who came prepared and actually did their jobs, on every single panel, making certain that everybody got a chance to talk and nobody completely hogged the spotlight. The rest of it was due to just utterly terrific topics and panelists who were engaged and enthusiastic about what they were there to discuss. Also! Because I am accustomed to tiny Irish conventions, it was noticeably different that the audience didn’t regard the panels quite so much as…conversations in which they were fully expected and indeed entitled to participate in. Which isn’t to say they didn’t participate, because when presented with the opportunity they did: good questions, good comments, good anecdotes. But there was far more sensation of “We’ve come to hear what you experts/professionals/panelists have to say on this topic,” rather than, “But more importantly, here’s what I have to say on it!” So (with no disrespect to the Irish conventions, because I love the informality and the give-and-take of those panels) that was a refreshing change as well.
We also may have…well. I think this image sums it up nicely:
It wasn’t entirely our fault, you see. One of the booksellers was doing a 4-for-3 sale, which meant one really had to buy either one book or four, right? And, well, c’mon. Let’s get real. Anyway, so we now have about eleven new books, the vast majority of which we got signed. And Ted got a steampunk pocket watch, and I got a red derby, and there was a piece in the art show that I really loved, and…well, dammit, we hadn’t bought ANY NEW ART since we moved to Ireland! So we bid on it! And we got it. And we’re JUSTIFIED in that! Also it wasn’t really that expensive, but I hadn’t expected to be packing around a sheet of glass on the way home. :)
We met so many splendid people. We were introduced to guest of honor Walter Jon Williams, and actually got to chat with him quite a bit. I was even on a panel with him! We met artist GOH Anne Sudworth, whose landscapes are unbelievably beautiful. We saw our friend Paul Cornell, whom we hadn’t seen in years, and our friends Bellinghman-and-woman picked us up from the airport, then Friday night brought us to a restaurant called Kashmir, which, OMG. The food was excellent but the naan in specific was worth of committing prosecutable crimes for. OMG. That naan. *swoons* Apparently Charles Stross went to school in Bradford and had on a previous occasion told the Bellinghpeople they should go to Kashmir–go downstairs at Kashmir–and after doing so, they have always gone back, ideally with friends. OMG. *swoons more*
Further to our delight, we got to spend quite a lot of time with Mike Shevdon, and we even got to seize Juliet and Kari for a few minutes and talk to them, even though they were utterly frantic with con-running. :)
We met author, actor & magician John Lenahan, who was part of Saturday evening’s entertainment and who was so very, very funny that I had a headache from laughing so hard. :) Mike Shevdon introduced us, and due to tongue-tangling by the time he was done introducing Ted to John it seemed that there was some question as to which of them was Ted and which was John. So everybody else in the circle of conversation introduced themselves as John, too. *laughs* In fact, we got one of his books signed to us as “To Catie, Ted, and John.” :) On Sunday we met up with him in the green room and he and I had a shouting match of an agreement about how painful FRANKENSTEIN was to read, while Walter Jon stood by protesting, “But you have to remember it was the first one. Nobody had ever done anything like it before…” It was great. :)
Saturday night also saw the one event against which nothing was scheduled: the Doctor Who premiere. So we got to watch the new episode with 300 of our closest friends, which was pretty fun stuff. Like going to a midnight showing of a film, because you know everybody who is there is *really* into it. :)
Oh yes. I signed one of Jim Butcher’s books during Saturday’s urban fantasy meet and greet, since I had none of my own to sign. “Jim’s a friend of mine!” I said cheerfully to the guy looking at the book. “Want me to sign that for you?” “Sure!” he said, and so I did: I am not Jim Butcher. :)
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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)