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July 28, 2014

Making Light at Loncon 3
Posted by Patrick at 02:25 PM * 243 comments

Both Nielsen Haydens and Abi Sutherland! Opinions! Moderation! Speech acts!

All of our events will be in the ExCel Centre. I have taken the liberty of condensing the official panel descriptions. The full program guide is here.

Thursday, 14 August

1:30 - 3:00 PM, London Suite 2
Diggy Diggy Hole!: Minecraft and Gaming Communities
(What it says on the tin. The game is one thing, but the intense communities it’s spawned are another.)
Esther MacCallum-Stewart [m], Abi Sutherland, Mark Slater, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson

4:30 - 6:00 PM, Capital Suite 9
Ideology versus Politics in Science Fiction
(And how most SF hasn’t got a clue how either of them work.)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden [m], Martin McGrath, Laurie Penny, Kim Stanley Robinson, John Courtenay Greenwood

Friday, 15 August

10:00 - 11:00 AM, Capital Suite 1
Don’t Tell Me What To Think: Ambiguity in SF and Fantasy
(Ambiguity: it’s a thing.)
David Hebblethwaite [m], Nina Allan, Scott Edelman, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Ellen Klages

10:00 - 11:00 AM, Capital Suite 9
The Deeper the Roots, the Stronger the Tree
(Pre-genre authors whose work featured little or no fantastic content, but who SF&F people read and obsess about anyway. Dumas, Doyle, Austen, etc.)
Abi Sutherland [m], Zen Cho, Mary Robinette Kowal, Keri Sperring, Delia Sherman

12:00 - 1:30 PM, Capital Suite S
Settling the Alien World
(Worldbuilding in real time.)
Marek Kukala [m], Robert Reed, Tobias Buckell, Amy Thompson, Abi Sutherland, Laurence Suhner

3:00 - 4:00 PM, Art Show
Art show docent tour
(May require advance signup.)
Led by Teresa Nielsen Hayden

4:30 - 6:00 PM, Capital Suite 3
The Role of Fandom in Contemporary Culture
(Or, how the entire world turned into fandom while you were distracted.)
Chris Gerwel [m], Jean Lorrah, Emily January, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Laurie Penny

4:30 - 6:00 PM, Capital Suite 2
Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Next Generation
(You may have heard that there’s a lot of good stuff happening here lately. You heard right.)
Amal El-Mohtar [m], Abigail Nussbaum, Abi Sutherland, Andrew Ferguson

Saturday, 16 August

10:00 - 11:00 AM, London Suite 4
(Will definitely require advance signup.)
Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Haytden

4:30 - 6:00 PM, Capital Suite 14
What Is I?
(Consciousness: it’s a thing.)
Ken MacLeod [m], Russell Blackford, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Martin Poulter, Ashley Pollard

Monday, 18 August

10:00 - 11:00 AM, Capital Suite 8
All the Traps of Earth
(Culture, the “natural” world, and how their relationship’s been handled in SF&F.)
Sam Scheiner [m], Glenda Larke, Amy Thomson, Anne Charnock, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

1:30 - 3:00 PM, Capital Suite 16
Codes of Conduct
(At science fiction conventions. Sure to be a dull panel, because nobody has any opinions about the subject.)
Crystal Huff [m], Michael Lee, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, B. Diane Martin, Patrick McMurray

Comments on Making Light at Loncon 3:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 03:13 PM:

Please note that I have never appeared on, much less moderated, a con panel before. Which is to say, I am nervous and would be just fine with reassurances and/or friendly faces in the crowd.

Also, we really must figure out how we'll Gather Light while there. Probably pick a nearby pub. Suggestions welcome!

#2 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:12 PM:

I want a tele-membership.... :-(

#3 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:20 PM:

abi (1): If I can moderate a panel, you can moderate a panel. I won't be at Loncon (::sniff::), but I'll be rooting for you from home.

#4 ::: Brother Guy ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:22 PM:

Abi (1), you will be a natural, and the room will be crowded with your friends. Indeed, given that the panel you are moderating is at 10 am, it may be that the only people in the room will be your friends!

I look forward to it.

#5 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:26 PM:

abi@1: I'm sorry I won't be there -- not just to be a friendly face (would it count as a friendly face if we haven't yet met face-to-face?), but because the panels sound great, and I'm sure you'll be great on yours.

As I said in the open thread, I'll be waving good wishes in the general direction of Loncon from other parts of the UK during the con; and, waving across time, from London the previous week.

(And, as I also said in that thread, anyone interested in a week-before-Loncon gathering of light, please say so.)

#6 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:44 PM:

That sounds like a fantastic schedule. So very jealous.

abi, you'll do fine. You'll be in a room full of people who are specifically there to hear what you and the panelists have to say about a subject you're all knowledgeable about. And I think you've got a good sense of when the conversation's starting to go wrong and how to steer it back on track.

#7 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:55 PM:

abi @ 1... My face won't be in the audience, but I *know* you'll do a great job so stop being silly with your worries.

#8 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 05:31 PM:

I know what you mean, Serge, and I appreciate the sentiment...but when I'm feeling uncertain of myself, being called "silly" tends to increase, rather than decrease, that uncertainty.

#9 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 05:51 PM:

I'm writing this from the departure gate at Trudeau airport, on my way to Heathrow. I'm not going to get to the convention quite this ahead of schedule - I'm getting to the ExCel Centre via Harrogate and Glasgow - but I'm increasingly excited about all the things that are showing up, including these panels. That first one - Minecraft-community specific, or online-game-communities-in-general-with-Minecraft-as-example? I work community for an MMO, so this is definitely relevant to my interests.

#10 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:11 PM:

abi @1: I was picked to moderate my first (and only so far) panel. The audience took over. But it was still a fun panel. I think being prepared helps; I was somewhat prepared. And once it starts, you'll probably be too busy to be nervous.

As for the Gathering of Light, I hope that a time and meeting place are selected before the 13th, since I'll be offline and (without phone) from then on.

#11 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:20 PM:

abi, I won't be there to be a friendly face in the crowd, but I'm sending good thoughts for lots and lots of friendly faces and good will in the audience. It sounds like a very interesting panel. I understand how being competent in one arena doesn't automatically translate into feeling competent in another. Hope it will be a good experience.

#12 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:20 PM:

***Envy*** (of those of you who will be there, not of being on the panels, that is.)

I'm pretty significantly introverted myself. Nonetheless, I have found being on a panel or giving a public talk about something I'm interested in - even to a large audience - is much easier and in many ways less anxiety-provoking than, say, socializing informally with a party full of people I don't know that well. * **

To give a public talk to an audience, you simply start talking about something you feel passionately about, and words come out, and there you are!

In a panel or group, it's even easier, because other people say something Interesting or something WRONG, and you will immediately think of all kinds of things you want to say on that topic, and then you're set when it comes to your turn again. (If nobody on your panel has the common courtesy to be ALL WORNG, then you can always agree with something somebody said, and see what you can add to it.)

Pro-tip 1: Simply speak as if you were holding forth to a few interested friends about this topic, only slightly louder. Be excited!

Pro-tip 2: If you're worried about getting started or remembering what you want to say about the topic, prepare one or two 3 x 5 cards per panel with each one having a few short phrases or sentence fragments on topics/points you'd like to mention. If you feel momentarily stuck, look at the card, find your reminder, and then look away from the card and start talking about it. By not memorizing whole sentences you want to say, and just having a memory-jogger, you're forced to find your phrasing for it on the spot, and that gets you started talking, rather than reciting. *** (OTOH, you may get to the end of the allotted time and find that you never remembered to look at your card. That's OK too.)

* As it happens, I was just talking about that Saturday night, at a party, to some people who I didn't know all that well. It was OK.

** Fluorospherians should consider themselves excepted; I don't imagine I'd have any difficulty finding conversation topics with any of you.

*** Reciting isn't talking and doesn't help with talking, IME.

#13 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:39 PM:

Not to worry. Panel moderation is like serving afternoon tea in good company: "We are all going to have a lovely time and make excellent conversation and take turns and be on our best behavior, because I say so. More cake?"

It's nothing you don't do all the time.

A useful trick: people who are introducing themselves tend to run as short or as long as the first person who does it, so begin by introducing yourself, and make it short and snappy.

Stunt moderation under difficult circumstances -- i.e., the kind that generates all the stories -- has a single underlying principle: don't be afraid to temporarily halt the panel/break the fourth wall/go meta. If you have a participant whose behavior can't be accommodated within the context of the panel, you cope by stepping outside it.

#14 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:41 PM:

Abi:The one thing to remember as moderator is that if you are forced to disemvowel someone, do remember to teem vowel them before they leave the room.
(You'll do fine.)

#15 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:42 PM:

abi, #1: I got my first moderator slot on a con panel about 2 years ago, and it was much less scary than I had feared it would be. Basically, the things you have to think about are: (1) make sure that every panelist gets a fair share of speaking time (aka don't let the one motor-mouth, and it seems like there's always one, take it over); (2) take questions and comments from the audience, if it's that kind of panel; (3) get it shut down on time so the room can be cleared for the next panel. Channel your Inner Guy and be willing to interrupt someone who's rambling on if you have to.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I found that my experience in wrangling a chaos-filk circle transferred well. :-)

It might be useful to write down some ideas or questions that you'd like to bring up during the course of the panel. You may not get to them all, but having them there to jog you if you hit a blank spot can be reassuring.

I will not be at LonCon, alas. So you guys have a terrific time for me!

#16 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:49 PM:

...and have a notepad handy to jot down thoughts on the fly, so you don't have to remember and pay attention, at the same time.

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:50 PM:

Clifton: and if you find yourself on a panel with absolutely nothing to say, just do reaction shots. You'll come off as intelligent, well-informed, and polite.

#18 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 07:01 PM:

Everyone's advise here looks stellar. I alas, have no additional advice to offer, despite having moderated a panel last year. Mine was the archetypal example of "what if you gave a panel and nobody came?"


#19 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 08:01 PM:

abi @ 8... My apologies, and no, you are not silly, but, to quote Cliff Robertson in "Brainstorm", you will knock their socks off.

#20 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 08:28 PM:

Debbie Notkin and I, years ago, did Moderator Training Workshops at several West Coast conventions. One thing that has not yet been mentioned: as Moderator, it's also your job to handle questions from the audience. If the audience is small, or the questions few, this is quite easy. If, on the other hand, the topic is controversial and the audience very engaged, it can be very tricky. Some points to remember:

1. Questions are not extended debate, unless you think the questioner belongs on the panel (and it's uncommon, but not impossible, to recruit an audience member if they are really good on the subject). One short follow-on from the questioner is usually okay, with the accent on "short." If there are not a lot of people with questions, it can be okay to take a second question from the same person, but be sparing with this.

2. Establishing a queue of the order in which you'll take the next 3 or 4 questions is Good Form. This can be done with names, eye contact, or pointing and saying "You, then you, then you." And don't go much beyond three: say, "And then we'll move over to the other side of the audience" if you have a dozen waving hands. Establish when you'll be checking in again.

3. Many, if not most, moderators and panelists prefer taking questions after the panelists have had a chance to speak. Setting up ground rules on this, at the beginning of the panel, can be very helpful (particularly if you know this is going to be a controversial topic or you have someone Famous on the panel). This is as simple as saying "We've got a big topic for the panelists to cover, so we're going to hold questions until the last 15 minutes." Most people will go along if they know what the rules are. There are enough panels where questions start 10 minutes in that the rules aren't at all obvious to everyone.

There are other simple rules of conversation management that you already have a great deal of information about, abi. From my experience of you, and of moderating convention panels: I believe you have the skills to do an excellent job, and the personality and ability to bring things back onto track if that needs to happen.

tl;dr: manage questions with appropriate respect for all sides. You can do this. Wish I'd be there to watch!

#21 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 08:52 PM:

I think I might know what you mean, but can you expand a little on "reaction shots"?

Do you mean offering your personal reactions and thoughts on the other panelists' comments - "I think Mr. Vader's comments on the immorality of the Jedi Knights' role in maintaining slavery within the Republic were original and profoundly thought-provoking. However, I'd really like to hear Mr. Kenobi expand his comments on the need to work within the existing political structure to effect change."

Or is there more to your meaning than that?

#22 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 09:03 PM:

A couple of years back, for some reason I wound up on the local con's panel about Space Opera, with such luminaries of that subgenre as Daniel Abraham, Melinda Snodgrass and Walter Jon Williams. I apparently did well enough that some folks in the audience thought I was an author.

#23 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 11:22 PM:

I moderated a panel one time as an emergency fill-in. I was told I had an "unusual" moderatorial style. I didn't ask questions; I just outlined a topic and passed the mic. It helped greatly that the people on the panel were all experienced panelists with no substantial areas of disagreement with one another.

#24 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 04:59 AM:

I'm not 100% sure where I end up yet, but I've volunteered and will be working tech, quite likely as a troubleshooter.

Which means that if the room goes dark I'm the one who'll be Making Light.

#25 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:40 AM:

abi @ #1:

I have advice, but I have NO idea if it's useful for anyone but me, really.

I have two views on public speaking. The first is that I really dislike it. The second is that I actually like it.

I hold both of those views at the same time, but over the years, the second viewpoint increases and the second decreases. Doesn't stop the flutter just before I "go on stage", but at least it is now down to "the flutter starts just before and goes away when I say 'Hi'".

The last longish bout of "public speaking" I did was 10 hours (5 tech talks of about 2h duration, timed for 45 minutes of talking and 1h15m of Q&A), in 4 days, at the beginning of May. Eagle-eyed fluorospherians with good memory may recall the "comments mentioning being in Sweden" followed by "comments mentioning being in Amsterdam". Ayup.

I am pretty sure, as far as I can be, from a pure-text medium that you will do just fine. Especially as a moderator.

#26 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:43 AM:

And of course I managed to forget. I will be there. I haven't managed to get as far as deciding what I will try to prioritize in terms of "attending", but that'll shake itself out before the Con is over (and if it doesn't, it ceases to become relevant).

I'll also be at Shamrokon the week after (with a short break, doing two tech talks at work's Dublin office, because that is apparently what I amuse myself with while on holiday).

#27 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 08:19 AM:

abi: I'll be there! I've scarcely looked at the programme yet - haven't had time. I'm really hoping I won't be missing TOO much if I can't be there on the Saturday morning (I have a parkrun to manage).

RUNNERS: Anyone who is going to be around and wants to go to a parkrun (free, friendly, 5K timed run, 9 o'clock Saturday morning, lots of locations) let me know and I'll look up how best you can get to one.

We definitely need to start talking about Gatherings.

dotless ı @5: I could make it to such a gathering, probably. I live on the outskirts of London.

I'll be commuting in to Loncon. Must look up late night buses.

#28 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:04 AM:

I hope I'm not too far off topic, asking this here. I know that months ago, there were discussion about voting for the Hugos. I'm just finishing up my ballot, and I wonder about the effect of not voting in some categories, or not ranking all the candidates. I don't listen to podcasts, so I don't feel qualified to vote. If too few people vote, might there not be an award? Should I make a stab at voting anyway?

More important, if I really don't want a given work to have any chance of getting a Hugo, is it better to put them below "No Award" or omit them entirely? I've read the voting rules, but I'm still unclear.

#29 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:58 AM:

Magenta, that's a good question. In fact, if fewer than 25% of total number of Hugo voters (in all categories) actually vote in a particular category, "No Award" wins.

This rule has never actually been triggered, but there's a lot of concern that it might zap one or more categories this year.

Note that we're talking 25% of the total number of people who actually vote, not 25% of the people eligible to vote.

As to your other question, I believe it's most effective to simply omit the choices that you rank below "No Award."

#30 ::: PhilPalmer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 12:12 PM:

(Pre-genre authors whose work featured little or no fantastic content, but who SF&F people read and obsess about anyway. Dumas, Doyle, Austen, etc.)

That would be Roddy Doyle?

#31 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 12:15 PM:

PhilPalmer @30

I would guess Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame.

#32 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 12:52 PM:

Magenta, to amplify Patrick, people who understand these things (they make my shiny head spin) say that if you vote for something below No Award, when No Award is eliminated (as it generally is on the first ballot) they'll be counted as votes at the next level up. If you don't mark them at all they're never counted as votes. So the best way to vote AGAINST something is not to mark it at all.

#33 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Naomi, #31: I suspect that this was a snarky and opaque allusion to the fact that "Conan" is apparently not the author's middle name, but part of his last name, "Conan Doyle" being one of those double-barreled British names that a lot of Americans get wrong. (Including me, if I don't think about it.)

#34 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 01:21 PM:

Lee @ 33


#35 ::: PhilPalmer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 03:05 PM:


No, it was a snarky comment to the effect that the work of the Arthur Conan Doyle of the Professor Challenger stories could not by any stretch of the imagination be said to have featured little or no fantastic content.

#36 ::: Phlop ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 03:59 PM:

In the hope of unspinning Xopher's head - does it help to think of No Award as the equivalent to a nomination? So that if you place that nice Mr No Award at no.3, and that nasty Mr Seriously, You Wrote That? at no.4, you're still ranking Mr S,YRT? somewhere on your ballot.

Or does that just make you head spin in the opposite direction?

#37 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 05:15 PM:

From the Wikipedia article about Arthur Conan Doyle:

Although Doyle is often referred to as "Conan Doyle", it is unclear whether this is a compound surname. His baptism entry in the register of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, gives "Arthur Ignatius Conan" as his Christian names, and simply "Doyle" as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather. The cataloguers of the British Library and the Library of Congress treat "Doyle" alone as his surname.
Steven Doyle, editor of the Baker Street Journal, has written, "Conan was Arthur's middle name. Shortly after he graduated from high school he began using Conan as a sort of surname. But technically his last name is simply 'Doyle'." When knighted he was gazetted as Doyle, not under the compound Conan Doyle. Nevertheless, the actual use of a compound surname is demonstrated by the fact that Doyle's second wife was known as "Jean Conan Doyle" rather than "Jean Doyle".
[Wikipedia also notes that his father's last name was simply Doyle, and his mother's maiden name was Foley.]

I would be the last person to suggest that anybody's double-barrelled unhyphenated surname is anything other than what they say it is, but it does appear that Arthur Conan Doyle was less than consistent about it.

For comparison, we were married under an odd quirk of California law (since eliminated) that allowed us to avoid paying about $100 in fees, but which in consequence meant we didn't get a proper marriage certificate either. For a long time this didn't actually prevent us from getting official ID showing our adopted "Nielsen Hayden" surname--getting it fixed on our Social Security cards was easy, and we were even able to get passports in that name in 1985. But in 1995 it turned out that the US had tightened the rules for what name can appear on your passport, so we actually had to get a court-ordered name change, which cost a couple of grand in legal and court fees. In other words, it does seem that we have fought harder for "Nielsen Hayden" than Arthur Conan Doyle fought for "Conan Doyle".

#38 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 05:23 PM:

I will be there on the Thursday and the Monday and am very much looking forward to your panel. I'm not in any way a familiar face, but I promise to try to be a friendly one!

My only public speaking experience is best man's speeches, which have been nerve-wracking before but then awesome during and after (for me - the audience seemed appreciative, but who knows?). So my advice would apparently be over-prepare, be nervous, and then enjoy the heck out of it. Your mileage may vary :D

I'm in London for the run up to the con, but sadly missing the weekend (family commitments).

#39 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 06:13 PM:

Speaking of Arthur Conan Doyle... I used to think that Mary Robinette Kowal was Mary Robinette-Kowal, but she really is Mary-Robinette Kowal.

#40 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 06:48 PM:

Open Thread:
Articles on my dad (not Wikipedia).

#41 ::: Carol Kimball goofed here ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:27 PM:

#40 should have been on the Open Thread. Please delete my two posts here?

#42 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 09:35 PM:

Patrick, Xopher, thanks! I have a much clearer idea of what to do.

#43 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 11:05 PM:

"Note that we're talking 25% of the total number of people who actually vote, not 25% of the people eligible to vote."

Oh good. That worries me when it comes to the lesser-known categories (such as "editor", sorry; even splitting categories between the two of us means we miss some.) We got as many as we could, though.

Please have lots of fun in London. Even with that last panel, where nobody's going to comment.

#44 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 06:08 AM:

Kaffeeklatsch and literary beer signups (this is a FAQ for L3 at the moment): You sign up at the information desk, the day before the Kaffeeklatsch or literary beer. 9:30 am signup for ones that start 10am-1pm; 2pm signup for ones starting 2pm or later. One signup on one sheet per person queueing -- that can be a proxy signup for another person. But you can't sign yourself and another person up.

#46 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 11:22 AM:

At least one Sherlock Holmes story ('The Creeping Man') is arguably SF.

And regarding Hugo voting, presumably we don't have to vote in every category, provided we spread ourselves fairly. I've been panicking a bit recently when realising that I didn't have time to do everything. I've covered all the fiction categories, Graphic Story, Best Related, Fan Writer and the art categories (these last being easy to do quickly), and I never intended to vote on dramatic presentations or podcasts. I will look through the Long Form editor lists and see if anything strikes me, though I feel that, even with a list, you really have to have read a lot of SF over the past year to be able to judge that fairly. But it seems to me that I would also have to read quite a lot to judge the Short Form editor or magazine categories, and I don't have the time for it now.

#47 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 11:35 AM:

Abi @1: Programme put you on a well-concieved panel with brilliant, experienced panelists. It looks lovely.

Tom Whitmore's advice @20 is excellent. I would add something very basic which is that you should find out ahead of time from your panelists what they want to talk about specifically, so you can then ask them to talk about those things.

Only once have I moderated a panel where it was real work. I had to keep a local personality from talking endlessly while the guest of honor sat there politely saying nothing. So I fed the guest of honor lots of questions. The local personality settled down. It was fine. Afterwards the guest of honor thanked me, which was nice. But it did not require any special skill on my part, just doing my job.

#48 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 11:56 AM:

At the risk of repeating what others have provided as first-time panel moderator advice:

Have a list of leading questions to keep the conversation going and on track. It can help to consult with the panelists by e-mail in advance (if possible) to discuss formats and directions and topics.

Evaluate expected panelist behavior on the basis of past experience (or the experience of friends you trust). Try to have a sense of whether you're going to need to rein someone in or give someone extra encouragement to participate.

As others have said, don't be afraid to be heavy-handed in managing speaking time and turn-taking (both on the panel and in taking questions). There are few things more miserable for a panelist than to have to sit through a fellow panelist monologing for more than half the panel time and waiting vainly for the moderator to do something about it. (I was once a panelist in one of these where -- after about 15 minutes of a married couple on the panel indulging in a back-and-forth conversation that locked out all the other participants -- I picked up a book and started ostentatiously reading until one of them noticed. Yes, it was rude, but it got the point across and they had the sense to be abashed. But the moderator should have stepped in long before.)

Sub-topic of the above: if you have an excessive talker -- the sort of jumps in on all the open-ended questions first and/or goes on and one -- direct your questions and prompts to specific panelists.

This may sound like I'm focusing on all the negative possibilities, but the thing is: a set of excellent, engaged, socially-ept panelists need almost no moderation and you can just let them take it away. It's the problem children who can turn a great panel concept into a trainwreck.

#49 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 12:22 PM:

I am, I am told, going to be on one panel (or am I), though my name doesn't appear in the listing, yet I have an email.

All the stuff about moderation, I'm reading it as a guide to what a good panellist should avoid.

And if you're curious about furry fandom, don't expect me to illuminate things. The stories I write, and the setting I use, is firmly in the inter-war period, starting with Berry & Co and a touch of Bertie Wooster, a sprinkling of Bulldog Drummond, and lots of airships and aeroplanes. As for the combination of Mission Impossible with the Marx Brothers, that was not me, honest.

And some things are quite different. Extra chains of Pacific islands can do that to you.

Maybe I shall have something to say about the way that science fiction fandom couldn't have started at any other time in history.

Meanwhile, they are planting some 800,000 ceramic poppies around the Tower of London, setting a blood-red sea in the moat. A hundred years ago there was some sort of war, you see...

#50 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 02:01 PM:

Meanwhile, I'm feeling guilty that I've not managed to do much reading and thus feel unqualified to vote, even though I really, really wanted to.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 04:34 PM:

I very much appreciate the advice on moderating the panel. It's true that it's a smart topic with some very good people on it. And I do have some experience keeping conversations either on-track or amusing (or, often, both).

I'm partly nervous just because I don't do a lot of congoing (geography and schedule being what they are), and the last time I did go to one (World Fantasy in Brighton), I had a miserable, isolated, socially-anxious time for much of it. I am assured that Worldcon Will Be Different, and I believe those assurances. And yet I am having anxiety dreams and assorted random tenseness.

Em @9:
It will be Minecraft-specific, though post-Minecraft games that have had similar effects may come up.

#52 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 04:41 PM:

I had a miserable, isolated, socially-anxious time for much of it.

It can never be as bad again. You've learned from it and know what to anticipate. You're doing homework to protect yourself as well as fulfill your obligations.

And you are a stronger, faster-on-your-feet person than you were then. I've seen growth and progress on many fronts from here in that time frame, and you started pretty far up even then.

#53 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 04:59 PM:

[sympathy] I have those times too.

#54 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 05:48 PM:

dcb@50, you've still got time to read all the short stories and look at all the pro and fan art and vote for those categories; it'll take you an hour or two at most.

#55 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 06:01 PM:

Bill Stewart: Yes, but given the 25% rule, one may well feel that one should not vote in any category unless one votes in a lot.

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2014, 05:09 AM:

I have now reviewed my Hugo ballots, before the deadline for electronic voting.

I can remember when we didn't have electronic voting. I suspect that the ballot counting will be fairly fast: how many paper votes do they need to process?

So the short time needed to do the final preparation of the awards maybe isn't as short as we think

#57 ::: Simon W ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Loncon will be my first SF con, but it's in my current home city, so it'd be silly not to go and experience what an SF con is like, and although I'm a bit apprehensive about not really knowing anyone there to say hi to, there looks to be plenty of interesting programming to keep me occupied.

I'm pretty much 100% a lurker on the blog (I'm also a bit shy when it comes to internet commenting...), but it'd be lovely to put a few faces to names at the conference.

Now, I need to get back to finishing off my Hugo voting form (13 year old me would be bewildered and excited about the chance to vote in the Hugos, but older me is mostly annoyed that I haven't found enough reading time to be a fully informed voter...).

#58 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2014, 05:59 PM:

Simon W @57: My first SF con was a Worldcon as well - Intersection in Glasgow in 1995 (and I just realised that was 19 years ago!). I didn't know anyone there, but I still had a great time.

And a pleasant couple of days at BucConeer in '98 on my way to a conference in Wisconsin. The really fun bit was arriving in Baltimore blithely assuming I'd find accommodation somewhere. Just as the volunteer on the help desk was explaining how unlikely this was, a woman walked up to state that her group were looking for one more person to share their suite... Timing! :-)

#59 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2014, 06:46 PM:

Simon @57

Not all the names here can be easily linked to names in the program guide, but it is a good bet that anyone here will have something interesting to say.

Prowl the fan village.

Volunteer helpers are welcomed. even newcomers, but don't commit to too many hours.

It's a British con, so you have the chance to stay nearly sober.

It's a very long weekend, so don't forget to look after yourself.

As somebody nearly local, you have the chance to visit the area and report before the con. I'm thinking there might be places where Google Earth and Streetview are showing construction work which has now finished. I'm thinking of the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street as an example, but I am not likely to go down that way.

#60 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2014, 06:49 PM:

General Note:

I realised I hadn't responded to my final program schedule notice. Whoops. I am sure there will be updates to the program guide, both webpage and the App forms.

#61 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 11:34 AM:

Simon W @57: I will second the recommendation to do some volunteering, but not too much. I am planning on helping with Move-In and Move-Out, which I like. It's a change of pace and it still leaves me free to see the program.

#62 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 01:08 PM:

Dave Bell @59: It's a British con, so you have the chance to stay nearly sober. I remember an Eastercon in Manchester. The hotel owners had been told, but not believed, the amount of beer - particularly real ales* - and cider** which would be drunk. They ran out***. They were also pleasantly surprised that the amazing volume of alcohol imbibed did NOT translate into fights or vomiting in corners.

*Translation: if you want non-lager (what Americans call craft beer) over here, ask for real ale. If that's not available, you might be able to get bitter, and Guinness or another mass-produced stout might be an option. I have to say that my experience of large convention centres doesn't leave me much hope there WILL be decently drinkable beer available.

** What Americans call hard cider. NOTE: if you ask for cider, you WILL get an alcoholic drink.

*** There was some Woodpecker left. :-(

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 02:26 PM:

That also happened at Seacon in 1979. (I was there.)

#64 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:15 PM:

dcb @62: I have to say that my experience of large convention centres doesn't leave me much hope there WILL be decently drinkable beer available.

Quoting from the Loncon pages: [...] this is a British convention so you can rest assured that we’re thinking about good local beer. And cider. And wine and spirits and soft drinks too[...]

#65 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:49 PM:

When people talk about interconnectedness I'm always reminded of the fleas. It goes something like:

Big suppliers have little suppliers,
In their accounts to furnish 'em,
And little suppliers have lesser suppliers,
and so, ad infinitum.

#66 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 03:50 PM:

Gah, wrong thread.

#67 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 05:29 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @64: That's a relief! With one thing and another, I've not had time to read through the website.

#68 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 05:47 PM:

dcb, #58: If you went thru the dealer room at BucConeer, you might have seen me and my partner. This was long before I had the jewelry business; I was helping him behind the table at the Pegasus booth (lots and lots of T-shirts). It was the first time I'd ever been behind a dealer table for more than, "Hey Lee, can you watch things for a minute while I run to the restroom?", and let me tell you, it was a baptism by fire. :-)

#69 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 06:10 PM:

dcb@ #58

I think Intersection was the Glasgow convention where this moose (and various other pyromaniacs) did the firework display. (Funded by one of the publishers.)

If so, the site (which has since been built over) was best described as "a warehouse in a shallow grave" and was really difficult to dig holes in.

#70 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2014, 06:12 PM:

Lee @68: Probably. Almost certainly.

Meanwhile, I've just discovered that an old friend I've not seen for about 20 years is coming to Loncon! And we should get the chance to catch up properly beforehand.

#71 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 01:23 AM:

Cadbury Moose @69: I remember those fireworks! The River Clyde is not that wide; the fireworks were rather excitingly close.

#72 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 04:41 AM:

Serge @39: I had the good fortune of first encountering her many, many years ago on a forum where her username was "MaryRobinette" and she had her full name in her signature, which kind-of gave it away. Had I not, I suspect I would have made the same mistake.

#73 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 05:31 AM:

TomB @#71

The Clyde is wider than you think, but the one wonderful advantage of having a river between the display and the audience is that debris doesn't ricochet off water.

It's even more exciting when you're actually underneath the display and the debris is falling all around you. (We were all far too busy to watch the effects though.)

#74 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 08:12 AM:

dcb @67: Well, I suspect not having real ale available would be a huge scandal...

#75 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 09:47 AM:

abi #51: Totally wish I could be there for it. Will it be recorded and released afterwards?

#76 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 01:02 PM:

dcb @62, venues for Tolkien Society events often run out of beer. Oxford colleges do this quite a lot. And the nearest pub to the 2005 conference ran out ... three separate times, I think.

#77 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 03:47 PM:

Cadbury Moose @69: (Just saw this post). I honestly don't remember any fireworks display. Must have missed it, I guess.

Roy G. Ovrebo @74, Andrew Wells @76: I'm a card-carrying member of CAMRA. I get fed up of going to conferences held at large hotel chains and finding that they have six different mass-produced lagers (all chilled) and not a single real ale, even bottled. I can understand not having it on hand pumps if there's not a huge demand, but bottles do last. Back in the Autumn I was at one where they did have some bottles of real ale, but kept it refrigerated. I took to asking for one to be taken out of the fridge, about 30-60 minutes before I wanted it.

#78 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 03:52 PM:

dcb @77, on holiday in Orkney in April, I arrived after many hours' travelling. Went into the first restaurant I saw, ordered a local bottled beer with my dinner; and was delighted to be offered the choice between chilled and room temperature.

#79 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 04:11 PM:

dcb @62

There are one or two fans who drink more than is wise, but my experience of British fans is that the impressive personal consumption is well spread over the weekend. It's not some binge over two or three hours in a bar.

There's still some advantage in most British conventions being small enough to use a hotel as a venue, though the licensing system is more flexible these days. And I know of one or two hotels with frequent experience of a con. Trouble was, sometimes the new events manager didn't believe his staff. It was almost a tradition for the con committee to maintain an emergency team with CAMRA guides, the phone numbers of local breweries, and a transit van with a sober driver.

As an historical example, perhaps a third of a century ago, NACODS, one of the coal mining unions had a very good reputation. They were the senior miners in charge of safety down the mine. There were sometimes political differences between NACODS and the NUM (National Union of Miners). NACODS members routinely crossed picket lines, to do maintenance work on the mines and keep them fit you re-open at the end of a strike. The NUM leaders seemed to be crazy on this particular issue.

NACODS got invited back to venues. There were training courses for Accountants, keeping up to date on tax law, which made the Bullingdon Club look sober and respectable.

I remember hearing that fandom had a rather good reputation in the events hosting business, but the Worldcon is at a whole different level of event.

Let's leave the ExCel staff tired but happy.

#80 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 04:42 PM:

Re the Gathering of Light at LonCon3, I suppose somebody should make a list of those planning to attend, since that's what we've done before. Just to start somewhere:


#81 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 05:04 PM:

While I may be a bit limited in distance from the convention site, I shall arrive some time on the 14th and depart rather early on the following Tuesday. One program item, Saturday 6pm as a participant, but I think that's rather too close to big stuff for a timing problem. If need be, I can call a cab (the Hailo app is on my phone), hopefully a share.

#82 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Dave Bell@79: "There are one or two fans who drink more than is wise, but my experience of British fans is that the impressive personal consumption is well spread over the weekend. It's not some binge over two or three hours in a bar." Exactly. Impressive total alcohol consumption, lots of people relaxed, some merry, very few actually drunk.

#83 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 05:57 PM:

Lenore/jonesnori and I will be at LonCon (doing Access). Whether we can attend the GoL depends on many factors, of course.

#84 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2014, 08:05 PM:

So far the list of possibles for the GoL is

Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue

The next step, after the list is made, is to pick a time that, hopefully, is ok for everybody. I personally favor meal times but am flexible. Probably we can meet up somewhere near the ExCeL entrance before proceeding to the venue. OK?

#85 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 03:12 AM:

While I remember, I mentioned the Hailo app. If you have a mobile phone and a contract with a data connection, Hailo lets you call a black cab.

The Hailo website

It's fairly new. It is controversial. But it may be a big help for somebody from out of town. And I did learn from them that all London black cabs are wheelchair-friendly. There is a minimum fee on the service. There are other public transport options.

As I said, I have it on my smartphone. I may never use it, but it is there. And it is almost like living in a science-fiction world.

#86 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 09:29 AM:

iamnothing @84: And me!

#87 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 09:38 AM:

iamnothing @84: I'll also be at Loncon 3.

#88 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 10:17 AM:

I know I'm not a long-time regular or frequent commenter, but I'll be at Loncon and would very much like to go to a Gathering of Light. You all strike me as super people.

#89 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 11:36 AM:

iamnothing @84 *de-lurks, waves hello* I'll be at Loncon as well and would also very much like to go to a GoL.

This is my first con since I was a little kid and I'll be contributing to two panels as well, so I am both excited and nervous. I've been reading all the great advice on this thread for moderators as a bit of a how-to on being a pleasant and effective panelist as well. Any other tips on being a good panelist would be gratefully appreciated.

#90 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Victoria @89: On being a good panelist, I just thought of a variant on the old recommendation about saying anything.

Is it kind?
Is it useful?
Is it necessary?
If it's not at least two of those, don't say it.

The panelist's version:

Is it amusing?
Is it relevant?
Is it interesting?
If it's not at least two of those, save it for later.

This undoubtedly needs some tweaking, and I present it here for the tweakification that the Fluorosphere is so good at providing.

#91 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 02:12 PM:

Please count me in!

#92 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 02:13 PM:

The list so far:
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter

#93 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 02:53 PM:

Dave Bell @79: There are one or two fans who drink more than is wise

I resemble that remark. But I'm getting too old for it, and I reckon I won't have the time anyway.

Iamnothing, please add me to the GOL list. I'll be there if it doesn't crash totally with my volunteering.

#94 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 03:05 PM:

I learned kind, necessary, and true, but the principle is sound.

#95 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 03:28 PM:

Count me in for LonCon!!

Crazy(and trying very hard to not let herself hemorrhage spoons by volunteering to organize a demo/workshop of what little she knows about Oriental brush calligraphy... though she will have a selection of materials with her for practice purposes)Soph

#96 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 04:14 PM:

iamnothing, thank you for starting the list. I've just poked Patrick to see if we canget some idea when he and Teresa are available to do this; my theory is that where is much easier to decide on the fly than when.

#97 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 04:32 PM:

The updated list:
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter
Roy G. Ovrebo

#98 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 05:30 PM:

I will also be there for a couple of days, and would be very happy to meet folks if a/the Gathering coincides with one of them.

#99 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 07:01 PM:

This moose also intends to be present.

#100 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2014, 09:04 PM:

I wish I might.

#101 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 01:44 AM:

mostly-lurking hedgehog would also like to ... participate ... in the gol. but not arriving till Friday pm.

chris onna bus.

#102 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 03:35 AM:

Another two for LonCon - me and green_knight!

#103 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 08:14 AM:

iamnothing @ #97;

As I think I've said on previous open thread(s), I'll be there and unless there's a conflict of schedule, I'd attend a Gathering of Light.

#104 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 02:20 PM:

The updated list:
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter
Roy G. Ovrebo
Cadbury Moose
Gray Woodland
Ingvar M

#105 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 04:26 PM:

It's a bit too much for my tired old body, but I thought I'd review some touristy stuff that's possible. I did some of this when the Eastercon was in Docklands, nearly twenty years ago. A lot has changed.

The actual ExCel site is on the northern branch of the DLR, which ends at Beckton. Go back towards Canning Town, and take the DLR to Woolwich Arsenal. There's the Royal Artillery Museum there, if you're into such things.

There are several transport choices. Woolwich Arsenal Pier will give you a route up-river, some pretty classic views of London. Or there is the Woolwich Ferry, a little to the West, and catch a 473 bus back to the ExCel.

Going up-river by water, you pass the Thames Barrier, and then the river curves, the Millenium Dome comes into site, and the trip pauses at North Greenwich Pier. Here you can transfer to he Emirates cable car, cross the river, and then it's a short walk to DLR Royal Victoria and back to the ExCel.

There's a reason in the fares structure to avoid Woolwich Arsenal DLR, it's the one DLR station in that travel zone.

Back at North Greenwich Pier, you can continues to Greenwich Pier, which gives you the Cutty Sark and, in this anniversary year of the Longitude Act, the Royal Observatory. There's Cutty Sark DLR and a line under the river, through Canary Wharf, and can take you back to the ExCel or in to Tower Gateway DLR and Bank DLR.

Or you can travel by water under Tower Bridge to Millenium Tower Pier. This gives you a good view of HMS Belfast, which is a museum, and of the Tower of London, which is a Royal Palace that you can visit.

This time I may make the effort to visit. The queues are intimidating. The moat is being filled with ceramic poppies in commemoration of the British War Dead of the Great War.

A little further up-river is the Globe Theatre, adjacent to Bankside Pier.

The Palace of Westminster, the UK retirement home for Scurrilous Rogues, is passed on the last leg to Millbank Pier. Or there is the London Eye, if it is not being used to defeat an alien invasion.

I've concentrated on the water, because this is what I used, all those years ago. And London is a City of the River.

I shall mention the foot tunnels at Greenwich and Woolwich. I used the Greenwich foot tunnel, as the DLR didn't cross the river. The Woolwich tunnel is next to the ferry.

Most of London's Public Transport runs frequently, ten minutes or quarter of an hour. The river services run hourly.

So much has changed since I traveled the river that my experience doesn't tell you anything useful. But it is a different view of London.

#106 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2014, 09:37 PM:

Optimal time for us for a GoL would be any evening ("evening" defined as "after dinner") except Sunday, because we can easily double-time the various parties we've RSVP'd. Is this practical for others, or should we rethink?

#107 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 12:54 AM:

Dave Bell @105, Xopher and I and a couple of friends are hoping to see the exhibit at the Tower on Tuesday the 12th. Lines, huh? Urgh.

#108 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 04:35 AM:

Tuesday the 12th, I'm planning on seeing Julius Caesar at the Globe Theatre. It's a 2 PM show. Groundling tickets are only £5. As you know, Bob, it is the feast of Lupercal. You will want to see Caesar and rejoice in his triumph.

#109 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 06:13 AM:


dotless ı @5: I could make it to such a gathering, probably. I live on the outskirts of London.

Since you're the only person who's responded so far, it's up to you whether you think it's worth schlepping in. If so, we're most free Wednesday and Thursday this week (modulo small-child-related schedule limitations). If not, no worries; we're keeping ourselves occupied.

Technically we'll still be in London on the 12th when I see more people will be around, but our schedule at that point is packed with last-minute-before-we-leave visits with friends that couldn't be scheduled earlier, so I'm guessing we'll just wave in everyone's direction, and wish everyone a wonderful Worldcon.

#110 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 09:49 AM:

TomB, I won't be in London that soon, but I am tempted to go. I am not sure whether I should try. My current health is a bid down. I shall do some thinking.

#111 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 02:11 PM:

A couple (well three) other happenings around London that were mentioned in the Loncon progress reports:

- if the real ale at the con (5 different types will be made available I'm told) isn't enough, there's the Great British Beer Festival at the Olympia 12-16 August.
- the Royal Observatory at Greenwich has a steampunk exhibit, and the National Maritime Museum has a Longitude exhibit. Not far from Excel on the DLR network.
- the Underground will be running steam trains on the Metropolitan line on the weekend 16-17 August. Do note that this is the other end of London from the Excel though.

(Travelling around London is actually easy and can be quite cheap. I reckon on getting an Oyster card and loading it with a one-week Travelcard for the stretch between my hotel and the Excel, plus some pay as you go money.)

#112 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 03:43 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @111: I'll be at GBBF Wednesday (13th) evening with some friends. We'll probably be near the Foreign Beer Bar if anyone wants to find us: look for a small woman (5ft 2, me) with short dark hair (bit longer at the back) together with a very tall guy (6ft 5, my husband) with long hair and an impressive Van Dyke.

#113 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 03:48 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo@111

An oyster card is by far the best idea if you're planning to do much public transport hopping - you lose out £3 to get the card itself, and have to top it up, but then it automagically pays the cheapest applicable fare when you travel (you tap in and out on tube journeys, which are variable based on zone, but just in on buses, which are fixed) and tops out when it hits day travelcard price. Oyster works on all public transport. TFL are the transit authority and their website has all the info, including which stations have good disabled access.

It's also worth knowing which stations it's easier to walk between - I've been told the tube journey between Leicester Square and Covent Garden is the most expensive trip on earth, per metre, but it's less than a 5 minute walk.

Those who haven't visited recently may not be aware that you can no longer pay the driver when you hop on a bus - you need to have an oyster card, contactless credit card, or have bought a day travelcard (there are machines in all tube stations but not at all or even most bus stops).

#114 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 04:05 PM:

Five pounds now for an Oyster card.

Note: even if the barriers are open or non-existent, it's ESSENTIAL to place your Oyster card on the reader on your way into and out of the station or they will sting you for the highest possible fare. On the bus, you just use it as you get on, not when you get off (and on the Tramlink, of anyone gets out that far).

#115 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2014, 06:43 PM:

Oyster Cards: Online sales are UK Delivery only, but you can get them sent to your hotel. Or buy them at the station and other places

There are discounts available with the Visitor Oyster Card, but there was nothing I thought significant.

It's getting late enough for delivery that I would be inclined to buy a card on arrival. And that would have to be at the Underground station.

I'm not sure if the Travelcard option was the best choice for me, but it gives me a lot more flexibility.

#116 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 12:09 PM:


GBBF: if you're approached by a 6' ginger-bearded chap in standard-issue IT uniform (open collared shirt and slacks) who's interested in saying "hi" but suffers a dearth of conversational gambits, don't panic - it's probably me.

#117 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 04:48 PM:

I will be there.

#118 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 05:11 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @106: No-one has said anything so it's probably ok in general, but I'm not clear on when dinner is (I assume you're booked up during those times). In my case there are some evening events I'd _prefer_ not to miss, such as the symphony concert.

#119 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 05:21 PM:

iamothing @118:

It seems to me that, if we are to avoid the symphony (Friday evening) and Sunday evening, we're down to either Thursday or Saturday.

Both of them clash with occasions and mess with availability. Nothing will be perfect. My preference would be slightly for Thursday, because that way I'll know more faces for the rest of the con, but either works for me (as does Saturday).


#120 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 05:38 PM:

abi @119: Hopefully, there's a time slot when everybody can attend at least part of it (with enough of the others still/already at the venue). My preference is also for Thursday, but I think at least one person won't be there until Friday.

The updated list:
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter
Roy G. Ovrebo
Cadbury Moose
Gray Woodland
Ingvar M
Andrew M
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

#121 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2014, 06:24 PM:

Russ @116: Okay! :-)

#122 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2014, 12:25 AM:

I can't wait to meet the ones of you I haven't met and see the ones I have!

If I (or you) don't make the GoL, I'll be at the Access table a lot.

#123 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2014, 03:21 AM:

dotless ı @109: Apologies. Got caught up in stuff - have to get my running book manuscript back to the publisher by the end of this week. Doesn't look like we'll meet up after all.

#124 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2014, 04:28 AM:

Whatever happens with the GoL, I still want to meet Flouorospherians in person. Pursuant to that, from Thursday afternoon (not morning, sorry), I will have stickers based on the favicon of this here site with me. Lurker or commenter, if you see that I'm not in the middle of something, come say hi and I'll give you one.

I'll be dressed sometimes as myself and sometimes as Éowyn. I may be in the company of kids dressed sometimes as themselves and sometimes as a member of the Night's Watch and Merida.

#125 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2014, 08:32 AM:

I might show up to any GoL that might happen as a very-long-term ML lurker and friend of Ingvar M's. (Or might not. Starting my congoing experience with Loncon seems... well, perhaps insane. I might burn out from the sheer population density!)

#126 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2014, 02:59 PM:

Dave Bell@49: Meanwhile, they are planting some 800,000 ceramic poppies around the Tower of London, setting a blood-red sea in the moat. A hundred years ago there was some sort of war, you see...

We went to see this yesterday, and found it disturbingly effective. My vision kept shifting between "a flood of pretty shining ceramic flowers" and "every one of those is someone's corpse."

They are apparently taking advance orders for sale of the poppies, for delivery sometime after the installation goes away.

dcb@123: I'm sorry it didn't work out, but I certainly understand. Good luck with the manuscript.

#127 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 12:08 AM:

abi @124: I'll be dressed sometimes as myself and sometimes as Éowyn. I may be in the company of kids dressed sometimes as themselves and sometimes as a member of the Night's Watch and Merida.

If one doesn't already know you, how does one tell the difference? =:o)

#128 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 01:52 AM:


My preference is also for Thursday, but I think at least one person won't be there until Friday.

That would be me, because of my awesome organisational skills (which I think are in a cardboard box in Hell). But if I can't make a GoL on Thursday I'll find people on F/S/S/M.

#129 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 10:22 AM:

Can we get any other strong preferences between Thursday and Saturday?

In the absence of other ideas, or much knowledge of the venue, I would suggest we appoint some central location to meet, say at about 7:30 on the Designated Evening, and decide which of the local bar-type places to go at that time. I can then tweet and/or post on ML where we will be, and anyone not with us can consult that information. I'll also undertake to make sure Patrick and Teresa are aware of the location.

#130 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 10:40 AM:

Why am I reminded of the fact that the Viking's goddess of Love went around in a chariot pulled by cats?

#131 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 11:56 AM:

Thursday, please. I'm committed to attending the Masquerade on Saturday.

#132 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 12:25 PM:

I can't make any promises for Thursday night. I expect the travelling to tire me, and then there are the retro-Hugos announced, and the swing dance. though I won't dance.)

Oh, what the heck, just to get in the mood, try this.

Oh, you expected this?

#133 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 12:48 PM:

Thursday somewhat over Saturday.

#134 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 01:07 PM:

Unless there's a clash with the couple of evening things I'm on, I should be able to make most times.

Oh, and in terms of touristing, I'm doing a fannish walking tour on the Wednesday before and Tuesday after the con, for those that might be interested:

Walking Tour

#135 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 01:40 PM:

No particular preference.

#136 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2014, 01:56 PM:

abi @124: Forgot to say: I think the stickers idea is great - thank you!

#137 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 07:51 AM:

Russ @116: My husband reminds me there are several foreign beer bars. Try looking for us near the American Beers first...

#138 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 10:39 AM:

abi @129: There's really no reason why there should be only one Gathering. Why not do both Thurs and Sat, and have people attend which one they can? Some people will miss each one, which activates the Fear of Missing Something (FOMS) button -- but the flexibility means more people will manage one-or-the-other.

More than a couple of meetings does dilute the experience, but I think the ML commentariat is large enough to manage two.

#139 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 11:42 AM:

I shall be slipping my copy of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen into my luggage.

#140 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 09:37 PM:

OK, British members of the Fluorosphere, I need some AKICIML on a couple of things.

I use an alcohol-free "restoring" mouthwash that is also anti-dry mouth. (I have dry mouth since my...since becoming hemiglossic. Is anything remotely like that available in the UK, or should I bring it from home?*)

I also use fragrance-free shaving cream. Is that available? (That I'm not sure I can bring even in a checked's in a pressurized can.)

Do these things have different names in the UK? What should I ask for? And are they sold in grocery stores or at the chemist's?

*I've realized I have to check a bag. Haven't taken this long a trip in over 20 years.

#141 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 10:40 PM:

Xopher, I took a trip to London last winter, and as I recall there was no problem with pressurized cans in the checked luggage (a family member's shaving cream got through fine). I also spent quite a bit of time in UK drugstores, buying all sorts of things--the names were a bit odd, but when I described what I needed, they usually had something that was about the same. In a pinch--try the airport drugstore? There was certainly one at Heathrow, to check out on arrival, and some US airports have "notions and drugs" shops after you have passed through security. Check to see if the airport you are flying out of does, by calling the airport?

#142 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2014, 10:48 PM:

Aha! The UK drugstore chain is called Boots, and they have a website. Is this the sort of thing you were looking for? dry mouth mouthwash Have a great trip!

#143 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 06:46 AM:

Xopher @140: As Mary Frances says, Boots is probably the best place to find those sorts of things. Another fairly large chain is Superdrug. Other chemists would also stock them but might have a smaller range, ditto large supermarkets.

Sometimes the same trade names are available over here, sometimes not!

I wonder if they'll provide an American/British English glossary again like they did at Intersection?

#144 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 08:44 AM:

The nearest Boots is at 15 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, and very close to Canary Wharf DLR.

Custom House Pharmacy is on Freemason's Road, a couple of hundred metres from the NW corner of the Excel

The Asda store near Beckton DLR also has a pharmacy.

British usage, pharmacy includes prescriptions, but has a full range of lesser medications. Some need to be sold by a pharmacist, but don't need a prescription.

Asda is a supermarket chain, usually with a full range of goods. They often have a cluster of associated stores, a bit more specialised. They have an Opticians at Beckton, and the George clothing range.

Boots is a chain store, but still significant in the pharmacy business. Asda would sell "ordinary" shaving foam, big-brand and maybe own-brand. On what I recall, Boots would have a wider choice.

They probably have a lot more info at the con. But Google Streetview shows a Post Office, a chippie, and a Dry Cleaners on Freemason's Road, but the pics are a couple of years old. It has the feel of a typical cluster of local shops, running a couple of blocks.

Stratford DLR looks good for various British banks and is close to an area shopping centre.

If it rains like this, next weekend, I am going to get soaked. Who gave that hurricane a membership?

#145 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 09:12 AM:

Dave Bell @144: If it rains like this, next weekend, I am going to get soaked. Who gave that hurricane a membership? Back in 1995, prior to Intersection, we'd been having a really hot, sunny summer. On my drive up to Glasgow, I stopped for a few hours in the Lake District, walked from Ambleside over Loughrigg to Grasmere, swam in the lake (in my shorts and T-shirt), walked to Rydal water, swam there as well, walked back round to Ambleside, was fully dry by the time I got back into the car to continue the journey. By the time Worldcon started just a day or two later it was wet and windy. I clearly remember both the joy of swimming in the lakes and the difficulty of getting the just-arrived Americans to believe that we'd been having lovely weather!

(A couple of weeks ago my husband and I managed a day in the Lakes and repeated that walk (except I only swam in Rydal Water because we didn't descend all the way to Grasmere). My clothes were not -quite- dry when we got back in the car, but close enough.)

#146 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 09:33 AM:

The latest list (with notes, assuming an evening GoL):
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter
TomB - not Saturday
Roy G. Ovrebo
Cadbury Moose
hedgehog - not Thursday
Gray Woodland
Ingvar M
Andrew M
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Nix ?

(2nd try)

#147 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 03:38 PM:

Xopher: I keep a varied stock of these things on hand, generally, and in my dedicated travel kit, for just such eventualities.

Not sure where you'd find them in your part of the world (I imagine it's short days for ordering online), but my local hardware store carries them. Is there a lab supply store in your area? See also a snooty upscale sporting goods store? (That's the department where McGuckin's displays them.)

#148 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2014, 08:42 PM:

Thanks, everyone! Looks like I can anticipate being able to get such things locally. Beats schleppin' 'em!

#149 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 03:35 AM:

I have decided not to bother with a visit to the Globe Theatre. I wouldn't be able to cope with standing through a performance, and seats are running out.

It is still something that I will consider when I am in better health.

#150 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 03:53 AM:

I should be getting to the ExCel by late afternoon Thursday. I shall probably have an early Pepys, but I expect to be around for the Retro-Hugo ceremony. Some of the timing may depend on the weather.

I have a tablet with a mobile-phone account, a little awkward for voice but good for text messages. It would be foolish to reveal the number here, but I shall have to arrange to pass it around.

#151 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 03:55 AM:

abi @129: I am hoping for a decision soon regarding which day, so that I can update my schedule and print it. Whichever way, we can pick a meetup spot at least. For example, last year we met near the voodoo board (I don't know if there will be one this year). I will be offline for the duration of the con + travel, so I will need to be at the meetup.

Now back to sleep.

#152 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 04:07 AM:

I think we will go for the Thursday, with the possibility of a second gathering on the Saturday. (I don't know that I'll be able to attend on Saturday; we'll see.)

We can meet at the voodoo board if there's going to be one, but I don't know if there is. Does anyone? I'll ask on Twitter and see.

I hear there will be free wifi at the con. We'll see how it performs under stress.

#153 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 06:21 AM:

OK, I've just been on Twitter with the Loncon people, and asked for a suggestion for a good place to meet.

We will meet at the giant tree in the hospitality hall. It's apparently going to be difficult to miss.

#154 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 12:53 PM:

Jacque, #147: Travel containers? Target and Walgreens both stock them, as well as travel-sized samples of a lot of common toiletry items (though, alas, not usually the unscented variety). I would add a caveat against the "handy dispenser top" variety, though -- sometimes they leak. Go for the ones with solid screw-on tops.

#155 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 01:05 PM:

And is the tree called Groot?

I have a preference for the Great Tree Steve. but that's not in these parts.

#156 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 02:52 PM:

Worry dept. I beg the indulgence of the house. I have an existing reservation for a hotel a few miles away from ExCeL (5 nights starting the 14th). I have until 11:59 pm London time today to cancel or change it. I've agreed to split a room at the Ibis for the 1st 4 nights, but the person hasn't confirmed this and it's been 20 hours. Meanwhile, there's a possibility of splitting a room at the Aloft 5 nights. I'm getting very jittery trying to decide what I should do.

#157 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 04:57 PM:

I shall be there, too. Apologies for the late notice; I've been everywhere in Europe, the last eight weeks.

Place: under the Great Tree, Thursday. But what time?

#160 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 05:40 PM:

Problem resolved. I'm now waiting for my nerves to calm down.

Meanwhile, the latest list, for Thursday 7:30 pm at the big tree in the hospitality hall:
Dave Bell
Xopher Halftongue
Steve Halter
Roy G. Ovrebo
Cadbury Moose
hedgehog - non-attending
Gray Woodland
Ingvar M
Andrew M
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Nix ?
Dave Luckett

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 05:46 PM:

Note that if your name does not appear on iamnothing @160's list, you are still totally welcome to meet at the big tree, or come to wherever we go (details to be posted on this thread and tweeted from my @evilrooster account).

Likewise, if there wants to be a second meetup on Saturday, that's also cool.

(iamnothing, thank you for tracking names. And I'm glad the lodging issue is resolved.)

#162 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 08:25 PM:

B. and I will be at the Worldcon Sunday, telepresently, thanks to the ConCom, several generous and helpful friends, and the laws of Moore and Nielsen.

We'll be moving about embodied|empresenced as a beam. I've already done one practice run and it is quite sfnal to be suddenly in an empty office building thousands of miles away, wandering about searching for a window to look out over the Thames, and seeing one's robotic reflection.

#163 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2014, 09:38 PM:

Kathryn, #162: Whoa, SFnal indeed. I love living in the future!

#164 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 06:20 AM:

Kathryn @162


Thanks to all those who have made this possible.

#165 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 06:45 AM:

I think I can be at the big tree. Might be doing some touristing in the day, but can be back by then.

(so hard when one want's to do the con, and crawl all over the city/country)

#166 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 07:36 AM:

Looks like, now that I have my travel schedule in hand, and a series of agreements with dear hubby, that I'll be able to make the Thursday GoT.

If there's also a Saturday GoT, that's a delicious extra.

Crazy(and beginning to also pull together her kit for the journey...)Soph

PS of interest to people who like Chinese landscape paintings and related topics - the British Museum has what looks to be a a rather yummy exhibition focussing on the Yangzi River. I'm planning on trying to slip out between interesting panels but the schedule is making that deliciously difficult. Still, I may just have to bag something on my wish-list in favor of it.

Once I have a plan, I'll try to yell about it here and other quarters to see who might like to join an expedition with me to this exhibit.

#167 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 09:28 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @162: Wow! That really -is- living the future. I'll look out for your remote-body on Sunday.

Really looking forward to meeting so many of you.

#168 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Just because I'm excited: my train is ten minutes away from King's Cross (again. I've been sort of crisscrossing the UK this month). Whoohoo! I look forward to meeting you all in person.

#169 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 12:32 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @162: via  Beam  Beam

Cool! I want to do that! When will this service be available to J. Random Members?

crazysoph: They're doing Game of Thrones on Thursday? Cool! Let the beheadings begin!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

#170 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 12:44 PM:

Lenore and I may or may not be at the GoL on Thursday, depending on whether we have the closing shift at the Access desk that day (we close when Registration does, or 8:00). If we don't, or we do and it's practical to be half an hour late, we'll be there.

In other news, I was worried about my mouthwash when I ought to have been worried about my rubbing alcohol. Apparently isopropyl rubbing alcohol isn't sold as such in the UK, for some reason I haven't been able to discover. I find that denatured ethanol (called "surgical spirits" here) leaves an unpleasant residue on my skin, so that's out.

Since I cannot spend the entire con worrying about this, I'm going to make one more trip to the chemist's, and see if they have alcohol wipes. If not, I'll use some commercial antiperspirant or deodorant, since I also can't be stinky all con. Just have to deal with the smell and itchiness (but of course I haven't used a commercial antiperspirant in a long time, and they may have improved).

Meanwhile, I found an own-brand dry-mouth mouthwash at Boots. I did not find one that combines that with enamel strengthening, but then I didn't find any with that property at all. Methinks it may be a claim that's not allowed in the UK. But I'll be able to moisten my mouth before bed!

And I found fragrance-free, dye-free shaving cream at the same Boot's (I should have just looked for the white cap, which apparently means the same thing here as back home, though back home I haven't seen it on shaving cream), though now that I think of it I'm in the habit of splashing rubbing alcohol on my head after shaving it, so I may not shave after all. I get very tired of stubble, though. Perhaps I'll brave it.

#171 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 12:49 PM:

Xopher, we will be going somewhere in the near vicinity of the main con-space and plonking ourselves down. Then I'll be posting the location on this thread and tweeting it, so that late-comers like you, Patrick, and Teresa can find us.

Which is to say, I don't think the closing shift will be an obstacle to you coming. Which makes me happy; I'm looking forward to seeing you again. It's been too long.

#172 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 12:56 PM:

abi, it's quite mutual! I am also looking forward to meeting (at some point, not necessarily the GoL) your family, about whom I have heard so much and who sound like cool people I ought to know.

#173 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 02:26 PM:

Jacque @169,
We're able to do this because a friend in London both has one and has a "sure, let's see what happens" attitude. We will also be in Coeur D'Alene that Sunday*.

I'd predict that by 2019 these will be a commonly uncommented sight at cons. 2014 and 2015 will be experimental**, 2015-2016 will bring demand (and wider competition in the telepresence space***) and a set of cultural norms****, and by 2017-2018 rentals will be available.

* I'm fascinated by the sense of hereness the new devices give, less the old "I'm looking through a window at" and more "I'm wandering around at." How you interact with a person changes- you might move a webcam during a meeting, but it'd be very rude to just pick up and move a telepresent person.
** we've already learned quite a lot that could help the next people who wish to attend a con this way.
*** the good+ quality telepresence devices currently look about 10x more expensive than electric scooters and other mobility rentals (very quick check, I'm seeing about $1000+ to buy and $40+/day to rent scooters-- is this about right?). This (and their business model) makes them feasible/reasonable for business conventions, but not yet for cons.
**** more on this next week

#174 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 02:57 PM:

The timing for the GoL is a bit awkward because of the Retro Hugo ceremony

At the moment it is a toss-up whether I shall be there or not. The advantage of the GoL is that if I am travel-wearied I shall not feel committed to staying until the event concludes.

Heck, I might skip the Hugo Ceremony as well.

#175 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 04:04 PM:

When exactly will the Hugos be webcast?

#176 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2014, 05:18 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @173: My hope is that rental of the device comes in enough cheaper than airfare + hotel to be a practical alternative. I imagine the membership would be the same as attending, as a user would still be "using" hotel space.

I'll be fascinated to see how this plays out. I imagine for some purposes, just running the in-house video feed to the user directly will be a superior experience (e.g., Hugos and masquerade). I wonder how useful they will be in noisy conversational circumstances; I predict that eventually they will be equipped with aimable parabolic mics. Will they (or do they already) have aimable cameras? (Interestingly, a crucial feature I find myself using a lot when playing with Google Street View is the ability to look up.)

Also: what behaviors will evolve to, frex, attract attention when it's one's turn to speak?

If there are a bunch of them rolling around, will they get "dressed up" (as with "Sheldon's" Green Lantern t-shirt) so you can tell "people" apart? They're short (looks like 3-4 feet tall, designed to address people sitting at a conference table); it'll be interesting to see how that affects conversational dynamics.

One function that will be new at Registration is afixing badges to these things. (And what will they be called? I'm sure a clever name will evolve for them.) Or maybe the con (or the hotel) will just lay in a stock of them, and they will be "dressed" by the user with a distinctive "frame" around their image on the screen? (Which makes them not recognizable from behind, of course.)

Will multiple members go in on sharing a single device? ("Hey! It's my turn to drive!") Handy if member A wants to go to programming but member B wants to stay up all night going to parties and filking. (I imagine the rental will be by the device-hour, so this might not offer much advantage.)

Will they be allowed into the art show, what with the traditional prohibition on photography?

And then, of course, there's Scalzi's anticipated issues with restaurants and such.

#177 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 01:53 AM:

@ Jacque #169

crazysoph: They're doing Game of Thrones on Thursday? Cool! Let the beheadings begin!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)


And,... yeah. I don't know why I'd typed a T instead of an L, but I'm guessing it was a similar shapes thing that slipped inside what is usually a much better guard.

Crazy(and still calling that thing a brain fart, rather than a "senior moment", *hawk-spit*)Soph

#178 ::: Phlop ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 03:18 AM:

I'll be at Loncon, though in proper lurker style I may well stay quietly in the background - or I may manage to repeat my World Fantasy Con feat of saying hello to Abi.

#179 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 06:00 AM:

So why does Lenore wish she'd brought her UK to US power adapter to LonCon? Well,

  1. There are only three (3) three-prong outlets in our Aloft room,
  2. One of them has a squid (like a plug strip but with extension-cord-style outlet ends) plugged into it (via a US to UK adapter),
  3. Said squid currently has only two things (of five possible) plugged into it.
With the UK to US adapter, she could plug her UK cell phone's power adapter into the squid, instead of having to use an entire wall outlet for it.

The sad thing is, we probably won't remember this the next time we cross the Atlantic.

#180 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 06:04 AM:

Internal Server Error poke. *poke, poke*

#181 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 08:39 AM:

FX: Moose packs UK to US power adapter for Xopher to give to Lenore.

All hail our squidly power-adapting overlords!

#182 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 09:06 AM:

Phlop @178:

I really appreciated that conversation. Please do say hi again. I'll give you a sticker. :-)

#183 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 10:21 AM:

Coming late to this thread, and I'm mostly a lurker, but I'd like to attend the meetup too.

It'll be my first Worldcon. Really interested to see what the folk arriving early have been getting up to. Today is an ordinary work day for me; I'll be getting the bus to London early tomorrow morning.

#184 ::: Vickstar who was Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 10:58 AM:

De-lurking again to ask a question for @abi or a moderator. I post so infrequently that I've only just realized (and I'm very apologetic for the etiquette blunder) but there appears to be another Victoria on ML. Many apologies to the other Victoria, I didn't mean to cause identity confusion! Is there a way of changing my past comments to another name as well? (Vickstar would be fine, I should be able to remember that). Or shall I just be another name moving forward?

I am looking forward to Loncon and hopefully being brave enough to de-lurk in person for the GoL.

#185 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 01:26 PM:

Jacque writes in #176:

If there are a bunch of them rolling around, will they get "dressed up" (as with "Sheldon's" Green Lantern t-shirt) so you can tell "people" apart?

We don't have to wait for this custom to evolve in the future.

If there are suitably creative people at Loncon, with access to suitable materials, the Kathrynbot could be costumed right now!

Is it too late to enter the Masquerade?

Wish I could help, but I will be sitting out the Worldcon in Illinois, botless.

As for distinguishing people, no doubt a feature using Bluetooth or something similar will superpose the name "Kathryn from Sunnyvale" when your Google Glass gaze falls upon the robot. If control shifts to Brad, the text will presumably be updated.

#186 ::: Andrew Woode ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Hi, I am another long-term reader and very occasional poster who would be interested in attending. My first Worldcon as well...

#187 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 02:04 PM:

I'm checked in now. I am guessing that the "hospitality hall" is what is known in the guide as the Fan Village. In the map on page 29 of the pocket programme I see a green circle labeled Tree next to the Bar & Cafe.

#188 ::: Phlop ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 02:25 PM:

Abi, I'm sorry it didn't last longer. I assumed (rather wrongly, it appears) you'd be in your element, and I didn't want to intrude. Will definitely come and say hello. Ooo, stickers!

#189 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 03:29 PM:


I did look, but realise I've been counting your distinctive characteristic as "tall husband with a van dyke", and haven't seen one of those all evening. Were you wearing a hat?

Maybe run into you tomorrow :)

#190 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:10 AM:

Bill Higgins @195
We have thought of some costumes, but the masquerade is beyond us, alas.

B. and I will likely do our first runaround (t)here in London Thursday, pending working through various tech issues and the 7 hour time difference.
If you see the two/three* of us say hi.

* almost always at least two, one or two empresenced, plus our awesome friend who has brought the Beam and empowered us to run this experiment

#191 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 08:27 AM:

Duly checked in to a hotel (I know myself, if I was doing the run from home, I probably would miss most of the Con). Seems I may have a conflicting arrangement tonight (the people of the world of the Disc are meeting up in Shoreditch and since it has been oh so long since I saw them, I thought I would make an appearance).

I might be able to split time slightly and attend both, though. If there's a Saturday GoL, I will be at that one, no matter if I manage to get to the one tonight.

Now, take personal electronics and cross to the other side of the tracks, to get badged up and maybe find abi (at the con, with stickers).

#192 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:10 PM:

Have a great time, those of you who are there! Between the discussion here and the discussion on the Futurian thread, I find myself mildly envious of the con-goers for the first time in a long time.

#193 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 01:26 PM:

There'd be some symmetry to having Kathryn's robot avatar at a GoL in London; I first met Abi via a laptop videoconference at a GoL party Kathryn and Teresa ran in Denver, and Xopher and a few others have occasionally tele-attended dinner in Oakland that way.

(Sorry if this is a duplicate; Mozilla's acting strangely.)

#194 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 02:26 PM:

Does anyone know where we should go to watch the Hugos thru the web tomorrow?

#195 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 06:18 PM:

Bill Stewart@193: ha! And I remember how futuristic it felt then.

Brad is currently attending parties. I'm giving a talk shortly so might only get to tomorrow's early morning parties this afternoon.

Hmmm. I'm thinking we need a new doubly-presenced future tense

#196 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 04:03 AM:

Abi:You did a fine job as moderator at "The Deeper the Roots, the Stronger the Tree." Good panel discussion direction and you defused the Antigua incident very smoothly. Great start to panel moderation!

#197 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 04:31 AM:

The Antigua incident was trivial, and clarified after the panel.

Winning quote from the panel, a group effort:

Kari Sperring [discussing feminism projected back into the steampunk era]: "But they are still wearing corsets."
Mary Robinette Kowal: "Yes, but the corsets show. They're basically wearing their underwear on the outside."
Zen Cho: "Like Superman!"

(laughter all round

#198 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 05:04 AM:

Yes, that was a great sequence.

#199 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 07:39 AM:

What was that about Antigua? And will abi tell us more about that panel she moderated?

#200 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 07:48 AM:


Tune in tomorrow to hear more on "As the Panel Turns"...


#202 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 10:37 AM:

Serge@199:As Abi mentioned, it was a minor exchange between panelists. I thought it could have gone worse if Abi hadn't rapidly handled it--and she did so. The panel then proceeded to much more fun exchanges like the one above.

#203 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 10:53 AM:

In other words Abi did what Abi does best.

#205 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 10:41 PM:

So is robot avatar-spotting a thing yet?

#206 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 11:10 PM:

Neat! Yes, I'm next to Hannu.

#207 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 04:30 AM:

Kathryn: What does the sign on "your" "back" say?

#208 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 06:54 AM:

It's been great fun meeting so many of you so far! :)

#209 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 08:02 AM:

Enjoyed meeting several of you!

My cousin Kate has just found out that she's been accepted to Cambridge to read History at Caius. I'm carrying around a congratulations card which I am asking various interesting people to sign - if you spot me (5'4", round, short dark brown hair, sunglasses on top of head, carrying a blue/black tartanish Reebok backpack and currently wearing a blue T-shirt) and would like to be one of the multitude of strangers to congratulate my cousin, please feel free! I've got a backup card if the current one (which features guinea pigs) fills up.

#210 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 11:47 AM:

HLN: A certain contributor from this parish has netted herself a hall costume award, for her own-made phoenix-crown (hat-tip for inspiration from Elise Matthesen) and eclectic ensemble of Chinese/Japanese influenced clothing items in (mostly) non-Asiatic fabrics. And a lo-o-o-ong white/silver wig. And without glasses, thanks to the technologies used for single-use contact lenses... so, no wonder she was pestering any number of folks, walking up, waving boldly and such.

Crazy(but still? Sco-o-o-o-o-ore! *more happy dancing*)Soph

#211 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 12:07 PM:

crazysoph @210, no journalism involving costumes can be considered complete without a link to a photo of the costume in question.

Just sayin'....

Cassy <please?>

#212 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 01:22 PM:

crazysoph (210): Congratulations on the award! And I second the request for photo(s).

#213 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 03:28 PM:

Yeah, pics or it didn't happen. (Kidding)

I've met several people, some of whom were inordinately excited to meet me (I eat this stuff up (though it can be a bit embarrassing when it's actually happening), and they get over it really quickly). It's really cool, and if I weren't feeling really fried (being the Chief Minion of Access is surprisingly tiring—or maybe not so surprising, since it entails running from floor to floor getting signs made, putting signs up, taking signs down and putting them up in a different way, writing additional information on signs to clarify/partially negate the information on them, making food runs when the Area Head must. eat. and will not leave the desk, etc.), I would try to list them all, but I'm bound to leave some of them out and hurt someone's feelings. So let me just say that if I met you for the first time at LonCon3, SQUEEE! I'm just as excited to have met you as you are to have met me.

(One of the aforementioned people who was inordinately, etc. was a young woman who wound up providing terrific help to Access, and I'm very very glad I met her.)

#214 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 03:36 PM:

Yay CrazySoph! It was, indeed, a very wonderful outfit, and I am delighted that you got an award for it!

(The kids and I were also delighted to receive awards. There was squeeing.)

#215 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 03:49 PM:

abi (214): Congrats to you and the kids for your well-deserved awards!

#216 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 05:53 PM:

Many congratulations all 'round! I didn't see the masquerade, but by all accounts it was awesome. :)

- Em, who is now on her second card-for-Kate, and now has signatures from many excellent folks.

#217 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 06:46 PM:

Oh! Oh! And I ran into* telepresent Brad and Kathryn as we were walking out of the Hugos and back to our hotel! It's a long, long way from attending that Gathering of Light on Skype a few years ago...

(And then I waved Martin and the kids off; they're driving to the Chunnel, taking the train under the water, and heading north to Amsterdam; it was the only way to both go to the Hugos tonight and school tomorrow morning. I haz a sad nao.)

* OK, actually, they ran into me, because I stood still and encouraged them to do it. Just so we could say they had.

#218 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 09:34 PM:

Anybody else going to Spokane?

#219 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 09:50 PM:

Em @209: What, did someone say guinea pigs?

#220 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 09:51 PM:

Serge @ 218

I have my attending membership and have pencilled in the vacation time! (And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be counted as a Real Live Published SFF Author, despite the apparent stigma of being published by a lesbian press.)

In the small world department, I posted a squee about the Hugo Award results on my FB page and my cousin -- who as far as I know isn't particularly fannish -- indicated a personal acquaintance with the Skiffy & Fanty folks.

#221 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 10:02 PM:

Serge, #218: We plan to be there, barring catastrophe.

#222 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 10:21 PM:

Heather Rose jones... Lee... good.

#223 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 12:44 AM:

Serge @218 -- I'm definitely planning to go. I'm even working on it....

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 09:25 AM:

Tom... Glad to hear.

#225 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 12:06 PM:

As requested. ;)

I may try for a better picture of the crown on its own - even though the costume was also a lot of work, I'm especially proud of the crown. Alas, just haven't slowed down enough to take a decent shot...

Crazy(and thanking everyone for their forbearance!)Soph

#226 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 12:52 PM:

*phew* I've found a defenseless electrical outlet here in the Fan Village, and did an impromptu recording of the crown on its own:

If anyone I recognize comes within an ass' bray, I'm going to see if I can't get him/her/it to sit here and guard my recharging laptop, while I get both of us drinks!

Crazy(and hoping this is at least more entertaining than "Do my homework!" ;) )Soph

#227 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 01:15 PM:

crazysoph (225/6): Beautiful! Thanks for the pictures.

#228 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 02:20 PM:

Russ @189: Just saw this. Sorry we didn't meet. No, I wasn't wearing a hat. Although one of the people with us might have been.

It's been great to meet people, at the GoL of Thursday, the smaller gathering on Saturday and various round and about the con.

Xopher, from what I saw, you did a great job on Access.

@196 et sequelae: Agree abi did a fine job as moderator. And yes, that sequence was great!

Serge Broom @199: It was about the pronunciation of "Antigua".

Congrats to CrazySoph, abi and kids for your awards! I really enjoyed the costumes.

Em @209: Congrats to Kate. ACabridge is a great place!

Presently enjoying "Before the Dawn" fantasy rock musical.

#229 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 02:28 PM:

dcb @ 228... The pronounciation of 'Antigua'?

You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to?

#230 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 04:26 PM:

I'm more likely to say "an-tee-gwa" than say "to-may-to", but I'll be happy to be corrected by someone more familiar with the island than I am.

#231 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 06:27 PM:

If it's not "an-tee-gwa", what is it?

#232 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 06:35 PM:

Jacque @231, I've also heard "ant-teeg-you-ah", but that's rare.

#233 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 07:07 PM:

Residents of the Caribbean island pronounce it An TEE ga.

#235 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 11:37 PM:

Fragano: Ah, sort of parallel to the Quebecois pronunciation (I think?) of Quebec...?

#236 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 06:32 AM:

Serge Broom @ 299: Exactly. Jacque @ 231/Cassy B. @232: It appears to be another US/UK thing, as Abi indicated to the panel - and then someone came up with the pronunciation used by its residents, as indicated by Fragano @233. Anyway, Abi did a great job and everything proceeded nicely.

I had a FANTASTIC time yesterday late afternoon/evening: first I attended a three-hour filk rock musical, "Before the Dawn" the development of which started with a single guitar riff in 1985 - the year before I met two of the people most involved. I've not seen them since Glasgow Worldcon (Intersection) in 1995 and in the mean time they've grown their own drummer (and very good he was too). Chatted to a friend who, prior to this con, I'd not seen since 1993, then bumped into Xopher and Lenore, chatted some more, then Abi came along... We commandeered a table and some chairs in the Fan Village, gathered two or three more people, drank cider being provided by the Helsinki in 2017 crew, and had a pleasant time until I had to leave or risk missing the last train home. A lovely way to finish the con.

Abi: hope you got up and got to Paris okay!

#237 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 06:52 AM:

Grr. I just went to look at the fan art from the Hugo voters package (because the bit I saw from the winner when at the Hugos was lovely and I wanted to look some more) and discovered that I never downloaded it! And some other sections (fancast, fan writer, new writer). Frustrating.

#238 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 08:06 AM:

And somehow this got lost from me @236: And as a final touch, on the way home (carrying, among other things, a whiteboard/blackboard easel) I briefly bumped into Russ - particularly good after we'd totally failed to meet at the beer festival on Wednesday evening.

#239 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 01:29 PM:

Jacque #235

Not if you're thinking of Kwee-beck. kuh-beck if speaking English, kay-beck if speaking French :)

#240 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 04:59 PM:

Em: Actually, I'm thinking "Keh-beck," per Jon Singer. :-)

#241 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2014, 07:49 PM:

dcb 228: Xopher, from what I saw, you did a great job on Access.

Thanks. I know what you meant here, but it's important for others to realize that I was only the Minion in Chief for Access, which was being run with great energy and dedication by Lenore Jones (jonesnori of this parish) and Vanessa May. Julia Jones did so much work that she was field-promoted to Staff.

I am only an egg.

#242 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2014, 09:48 PM:


#243 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2014, 09:14 AM:

On the pronunciation of 'Quebec': No wonder people had so much trouble with the name when I lived on Quebec Road! I've always pronounced it 'kwa-BECK', and I leaned really hard on the 'w' when giving my address so that people would hear it right. Only to get the response, "How do you spell that? C-o-r- ?"

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