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August 14, 2014

Gatherings of Light: Worldcon and Amsterdam
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:13 AM *

This post is intended to index and expand on the currently planned Gatherings of Light. I’ll be editing it as more information becomes available/more decisions are made.

Please note, by the way, that lurkers are expressly welcome to come to these gatherings! You may be urged to de-lurk, but only because we will probably turn out to like you, and want to hear more from you. And you’re totally allowed to say “commenting is just not my thing”, or “I’ll think about that” and stay in lurkerdom.

  1. Thursday 14 August, Worldcon, 7:30 PM, meeting at the tree in the Fan Village
    We will meet and decide on a place to go from there, departing at about 8:00. actually, we’ve kidnapped a table by the tree. Come to the fan lounge.I will then post the location here, and anyone available later is welcome to join us. (special thanks to iamnothing for getting this ball rolling)
  2. Saturday 16 August, Worldcon, 7:30 PM (tentative)
    There may be a second gathering on Saturday evening. This is not yet certain. Discussions about whether this should go ahead in this thread or the Making Light at Worldcon thread. Updates here if we make a decision.
  3. Sunday 31 August, Amsterdam, 1 PM, Proeflokaal de Prael
    For the Continental crowd, a gathering before Patrick and Teresa hop the pond. The location is a tasting room/pub attached to a local brewery, right near Centraal Station. Please comment in this thread if you’re coming so I can update them with numbers.
Comments on Gatherings of Light: Worldcon and Amsterdam:
#1 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:46 AM:

Count me in for Amsterdam!

#2 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 05:11 AM:

I am on the train to London.

#3 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 07:44 AM:

I'll be there Thursday night.

#4 ::: em ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:30 PM:

I am at the tree wearing a brown t-shirt but do not know what anyone looks like. Halp!

#5 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Amsterdam as well as Thursday. Em:look for a bearded bloke,overweight and with glasses... wait.

#6 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:42 PM:

Martin Wisse @ #5:


#7 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 02:47 PM:

Martin Wisse @5, ah, "Generic Male Fan (subtype A)". (I'm a Generic Female Fan (subtype A): somewhat overweight, glasses, long straight hair.

Wish I was there in London; I'm counting on lots of con reports from all of your guys who could make it!

#8 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Currently in the Fox pub next to the Premier Inn by the con centre which does bogstandard pub grub but is full of sensitive fannish types already.

#9 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:07 PM:

That would be the fox @ Connaught.

#10 ::: em ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:22 PM:

I found many.

#11 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:37 PM:

Hi, where is the gathering? Martin, are you saying that's where the GoL is? Which end of ExCel is that?

#12 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:39 PM:

I am, alas, not going to be there. I had hoped to find time and cash to attend this weekend, but this time around it was time that was against me (last time the Worldcon was in the UK I had time in abundance but it was cash that was the problem... perhaps next time I can arrange to have _both_ available?).

#13 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:46 PM:

Xopher: gathering is still in fan village afaik. But walk out at the Prince Regent side and you see the Premier Inn, which the pub is next to.

#14 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Xopher @ #11:

We have no idea if this is the right location. The place we are at is east of the convention centre (roughly behind the Ramada hotel). Me and Martin have basically been camping, waiting for an official destination. We're pretty much just inside the door.

#15 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:12 PM:

Damn. We went there and walked around looking, but of course neither of us has met either of you, and we thought you were saying where the gathering was! I can't call abi because I only have UK service.

#16 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:13 PM:

Just returned from the (first) GoL - the tables have been filling/emptying/filling. Was sorry to not have met Xopher, but figure there's still time...

Sorry I had to leave so early - Dave Luckett was telling me cool things about Roman dining (and recreating recipes) and the Brakspear I had been imbibing just caught up with me. Darn! But I was still glad to start some name/face connections processes!

Crazy(and then, in my good-bye for the night round, I got momentarily snagged by Terry Karney's very kind offer of an extra spindle and wool/fiber for indulging in some drop-spindling - as if I didn't already have enough crafty things to do in my bags! *self-depricating laugh*)Soph

#17 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:27 PM:

CrazySoph, is it still in the fan village?

Also, I'm in the general orbit of the Accessibility Table mostly, though I run errands.

#18 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:29 PM:

Xopher, I don't know what time it is there, but Abi said the meeting place was by the Tree. Apparently it warrants a capital T. 7:30 pm London time.

Perhaps if you called out "calling all Flourospherians"? Or maybe just "Abi???"

Hope this helps.

#19 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:30 PM:

Oh. It's gotta be well after 7:30 there, unless London is in the middle of the Atlantic.

Sorry. Didn't mean to be hlepy.

#20 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:42 PM:

Yeah, I think I missed it.

#21 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:43 PM:

Xopher, you might want to check your nym.

#22 ::: Xopher Halftongue does not see spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:49 PM:

Oh crap. How'd that happen?

#23 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 04:51 PM:

Annnd fixed.

#24 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 05:18 PM:

Andy and I will come to Amsterdam.

#25 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2014, 10:15 PM:

This is only peripherally related to LonCon in that it is related to conventions in general (I put it here because the open thread has reached the edge of the solar system by now): One of my currrent favorite bloggers, Chauncey deVega, has used up his convention money taking care of his mother and would like help getting to the Chcago Coms convention. You can read about it here.

#26 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 04:18 AM:

And I found them eventually. Missed CrazySoph though. But did get to sing my "Lux Laeva Tenebrae" to abi.

#27 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 05:56 AM:

The tree didn't even make a good campfire, and it set off the fire alarm.

#28 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2014, 09:15 AM:

Dave Bell @27, oh, dear....

Is there a story here, or is that just a joke?

Cassy <curious>

#29 ::: Wolf Baginski ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 02:53 AM:

Don't believe everything Dave posts from a Worldcon. He knows all the tricks: dramatic irony, pathos, puns, parody, litotes, and... satire.

He also uses cut-and-paste.

#30 ::: Simon W ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 09:01 AM:

I had a lovely time at the GoL on Thursday. As I was wearing my Man or Astroman t-shirt, Tom B and I had a discussion about the greatness of SF B-movie inflected surf guitar music, however I've managed to forget all the bands he recommended I try listening to, so if he (or anyone else) has some band names, I'm all ears.

And if the idea of SF surf guitar sounds good to anyone, YouTube is your oyster.

#31 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 09:31 AM:

I'm up for a brief thing on Saturday (ie today) at 19:30; I'm meeting some other old internet friends at 20, but could definitely have a pint beforehand, for instance.

#32 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 09:34 AM:

Further, I (like Terry K) wear a kilt; I also have a rainbow mohawk (now somewhat faded, alas).

#33 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 01:06 PM:

I too am up for a gol or like event this evening.

#34 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Many: likewise. I will look very similar to Thursday, but not having gone elsewhere, I will be there from the start, unless something prevents me.

#35 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 01:31 PM:

That means this moose has an hour to get back to the hotel, collect Wrigley (who wants to attend the GoL) and drop off the accumulated loot. (A micro-drone, having failed saving throw vs Shiny!)

#36 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 04:30 PM:

me, iamnothing, Ingvar, DCB, cd, royborego ?sp, met and made light.

#37 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvalek ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2014, 07:08 PM:

Brad and I are this very minute working the Ops table in the fan village.

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 01:02 AM:

The background noise in the Fan Village was more than I could cope with. And I got an odd look when I cashed in my programme participant ticket for a glass of milk.

#39 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2014, 09:44 PM:

@37: Isn't that hard without, you know, hands?

#40 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 10:42 AM:

Sorry to have missed you all, but London wasn't really plausible. I'll be at Sasquan barring a breakdown (since I agreed a few weeks ago to do floorplanning more-or-less as I did for San Antonio) and hope to see at least some of you there, even if it's not nearly as international a gathering.

#41 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 01:13 PM:

Thoughts on my first Worldcon
(in no particular order, or making much sense)

So, Loncon3 was my first Worldcon, mainly for the reason that it really is much easier to go to these large events if they are a half hour commute from your home in central London.

On Making Light
How nice it was to meet some of you on Thursday night.
So many thanks go to my dear friend abi for introducing my gently to a few of you, and for generally shepherding me around the con!
Especially how nice it was to meet Patrick and Teresa for the first time for a quick whiskey. Guys, I owe you some Scotch whisky recommendations. Patrick: you should definitely get a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail. You like big dirty whiskies, and the combination of the usual peat monster but here with spades of sherry casking as well creates a truly massive dram. Teresa you are harder, as I got less of a sense of your taste, but if you like Macallan with all its sherry goodness I’m going to tentatively recommend to you the glorious sherry notes of Glendronach 18yo Allardice.
Try not to drink it all at once: it’s tempting but not good for either your liver or your wallet. (Neither of these bottles are good for your wallet any which way, but boy are they worth it.) Enjoy Paris and Amsterdam.
Xopher you are charming, and no doubt karma heavy after all your work on the access stand. I will tell no one (oops…) that, for some bizarre reason reading you on here I had assumed you were a woman. You are not. I am an idiot.
I will try to post here more.

On being on a panel
I was a little nervous at being cast onto a panel with a psychology academic and famous novelist with over 20 novels to his name in my first day at a convention for 22 years. What on earth was I thinking of? What an earth was abi thinking of when she suggested it? OMG there are seventy people in this room! On the other hand, my job means I am not unused to standing in front of large demanding audiences. Some observations about how to make it much easier if you are ever asked to do this.
- Never for a moment entertain the thought once you are at the front that you don’t belong there. You do, or you wouldn’t have been asked. Even if you know absolutely nothing. But if you think, and then act, as though you don’t belong, you won’t. (TNH told me this, and the more I think about it, the better advice it is).
- Having said that, be prepared. You are not Iain Banks who could extemporise to hilarious effect for hours. But then, even Iain was often talking about things and experiences he knew and had thought about deeply. The panels I went to at Worldcon that didn’t work were ones where the panellists plainly hadn’t done their homework and which degenerated into a list of books, TV shows or whatever. (“oh yeah I remember this book I’ve got…”)
- What exactly is your homework? My panel was on UK children’s TV and its linkage with SF&F. Yes, the preparation did involve trawling YouTube and the BFI website for half remembered titbits. (The first episode of Blake’s 7 involves a political revolutionary being discredited by a fascist state with accusations of paedophilia while all those attempting to exonerate him are brutally murdered. It was shown directly after kids TV at 6pm!). But my preparation also included, once the evidence was assembled, in formulating some themes and ideas. Some of them were controversial, or tendentious, but that doesn’t matter: coming up with 10 screwball interesting ideas for other people to shoot down will make you the highlight of the panel. Having thought about them first makes your job much easier.
- Make sure that whatever notes you have fit onto ONE sheet of paper. Nobody wants to watch you um and er through multiple notes.

On the Hugos
I am still struggling to get through Ancilliary Justice: but given that it has now won pretty much everything I will push on to the end. I would have liked it if Dr Who had nabbed the DP Short Form Oscar in its 50th year, however I have to say that Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere really was the best thing on the slate. Beyond that I will just point out that, in the land of controversy, the largest Hugo voting cadre of all time delivered a very clear decision on who it regarded as the best writers, artists etc. That decision just happened to be overwhelmingly and incontrovertibly for a great big bunch of women, queers and assorted other untermenschen. This gives me some small amount of pleasure and also hope for the continuing relevance of our genre.

On fandom
It’s been a long time since I really engaged seriously with fandom (since university in 1993 in fact) so this event occasioned a couple of a reactions on my part: a sense of “coming home” to “my people” but also a fair sense of culture shock because I move in very different professional circles these days – and I spend a LOT of my time at work.
Science fiction fans are an odd lot aren’t we. My usual environment is moving in the world of City finance, which is filled, much like Wall Street, with very highly driven, competitive individuals. The successful ones are also highly charming and very politically analytical: effectively some distance down the psychopath scale in my view. This makes them highly effective corporate units: capable of disposing of ill fitting or malfunctioning units dispassionately. Indeed an awful lot of us equally don’t mind being disposed of in much the same fashion. It’s just business. It helps of course that there is a lot of money floating around to oil the wheels.
Science fiction fans by contrast are terrible sweeties. We mostly live at a different end of the social scale, in a world of slight autism, OCD or insecurity. We also bump into each other much more. Being at the con was a bit like being trapped in a giant IT department. I have to say, for the most part, this is a very relaxing place to be: though difficult for those starting out as it was apparent that initiating social interactions did not come naturally for many attendees! It’s a self fulfilling prophecy too: I could feel my usual social confidence being washed away at times by the sea of awkwardness. Jo Walton wrote an excellent guide for first timers in one of the con daily news sheets here
The one thing that both groups have in common, and why it has been such a rewarding weekend of jumping the tracks, is that both groups are very intelligent indeed. Which does at least keep my mind busy.

On Kim Stanley Robinson
Our convention was littered with great KSR moments. My friend Graham, watching him on a panel with four highly respected and lauded climate change experts was hugely amused by the fact that at least one of them was massively star struck by sitting next to him. I get that: I did find myself physically shaking when meeting him, as his books have had a towering intellectual and emotional impact. My non-SFnal husband (Guy) went to one panel he was on and came away very impressed by his immense literary knowledge in mainstream literature, and far more inclined to actually read the copy of Red Mars that I gave him a decade ago. KSR couldn’t be more graceful and charming in the flesh: even when you ask him for a strange autograph (the autograph reads “Guy. Read my goddamn book! Best Stan”). In short, KSR rocks.

This has gone on far too long, and is no doubt full of typos.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 01:18 PM:

James, my very dear James, you have munged your link to Jo's guide. Please refer to the "HTML Tags" section above the comment box for how to format a link, or post it plain and I will go back and fix the comment for you in due time.

And I loved having you there, and I adore having you here on Making Light, and I thought you were wonderful on the panel before I had to run off and do logistics due to Patrick and Teresa's traffic situation.

#43 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 02:04 PM:

That will teach me to draft my post in a Microsoft product, which has helpfully taken my carefully formatted link and shoved it up its arse.

Let's try again: Jo's article can be found here

#44 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 04:45 PM:

James, #43: For future reference, you can tell whether or not the link is b0rken at preview -- if it shows up in blue, it's fine, but if it shows up in the same yellowish-grey color as the link text in #41, you need to fix something before posting.

#45 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 05:16 PM:

Thanks Lee: I'm a bit leery of actually clicking on the link in case I end up losing the post/double posting/who knows what. That's a very useful tip

#46 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 06:06 PM:

I put links in all the time (pasting the HTML tag that shows up right above this window) and commonly preview it without problems.

The double-posting gnomes evidently get their jollies from something else.

#47 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2014, 07:48 PM:

James Harvey@45, in many browsers, right-click and "open in new tab/window" will work on most web applications, and is almost always non-destructive even if it could sometimes lead to double-posts.

#48 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 11:01 AM:

I am home, weary, and safe.

And, OMG, the real world keeps going crazy.

A certain Real English Song

(Don't look, Ethel.)

#49 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2014, 05:04 PM:

Sorry I missed the GOL, being at the Retro-Hugos, though I did manage to meet a few of you beforehand.

I thought the fan lounge worked particularly well. Beforehand I has been very suspicious of the idea of lots of parties happening in one space, but in fact it was very successful, because they were not really so much parties as queues. You queued up; on reaching the front of the queue you were given something nice; you could talk to people about whatever they were promoting. It was not necessary to be terribly social, but it was still involving. Which is good.

#50 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2014, 05:49 PM:

Wow, am I ever behind! (Actually I'm mostly belly but my behind is significant.) Trying to catch up but I'll miss a few things.

James 41 Xopher you are charming, and no doubt karma heavy after all your work on the access stand.

I found you entirely charming as well. As for karma, I'm saving up my points for a reincarnation as a tall, slim, athletic guy who hates pasta, bread, and cheese even as a child.

I will tell no one (oops…) that, for some bizarre reason reading you on here I had assumed you were a woman.

I'll keep your secret.

You are not.

I agree.

I am an idiot.

I disagree. You're not the first and probably won't be the last. And for me to take offense at this would imply that something was wrong with being a woman, wouldn't it? So no worries. Now, if you'd assumed I was a woman after meeting me, that might be more distressing!

I will try to post here more.

I enthusiastically support this resolution!

#51 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2014, 01:05 AM:

Writing here to express the hope that the GoL on the 31st will extend into the late-afternoon/dinnertime region: I have another engagement (one that is of historical importance to Dear Hubby, that is going to a place his dad resided in during a bout of tuberculosis, and touring the building and grounds) but have arranged to be able to join up, if things go that long.

Abi, I think I still have your mobile phone, so I can send text messages if the creek doesn't rise...

Crazy(and feeling very happy to have had the chance to meet so many folks at the Worldcon, yippy! hooray! still doing the happy-dance)Soph

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