Some final thoughts on LonCon3

It is still very weird to me, that I have finally met so many people in person whom I have known or encountered on the internet… and having the conversations in person feel like a completely natural extension of our previous conversations. A mental/intellectual/emotional comfort level translated really smoothly into a physical comfort level: I was hugging people left, right, and centre, because it felt perfectly appropriate. (If it wasn’t, I apologise.)

To be fair, by Sunday my general level of excitement/apprehension/overstimulation/lack-of-sleep turned into a sort of semi-drunken giddiness, without need for any alcohol. So my grasp of the appropriate may have suffered accordingly.

I should mention that I was able to attend the convention because of the generous support of the Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid towards my flights, as an Irish person up for a science fiction award and thus Promoting Science Fiction And Ireland. Think kindly of them: they did me a damned decent favour.

There have been a couple of posts floating around about the “generation gap” between LonCon3 and Nine Worlds, and drawing various different conclusions over which was “better.” For me, I was only at Nine Worlds for one day, and for that day very sleep-deprived, but my observations suggest that there were just more people at LonCon3 overall. I mean, sure, a majority were probably in the 40-60 age bracket, because that’s a demographic group with high odds of disposable income, independent mobility, and spare time, with a long tail off to the octogenarians and a more scattered spread of people from 0 years to 40 years – but that’s pretty much par for the course when you’re talking about doing anything. I saw an awful lot of family groups and quite a few college-aged people, and it was far more diverse than I’d been expecting – my previous experience being with attending a couple of Irish conventions, at which I mostly had far less fun that I have had at academic conferences, Worldcon in Glasgow 2005 (which I almost abandoned in tears because of existential alienation) and World Fantasy in Calgary in 2008 (which I attended as an experiment in trying to figure out how the professional writing/editing world worked when it was talking to itself, and which did drive me to tears of alienated loneliness).

Which is not to say it was a magnificent triumph of social justice and diversity. Just that clearly a lot of people did a shitload of work to reach out, and failed while trying to do better, rather than failing by not trying. This is my impression, anyway.

(And mad props to Programming, for the sheer amount of work that went into having a programme with so many different things going on. The Programme Guide terrified me with All The Things it contained, but also was pretty exciting.)

There’s one difference between the two London conventions that stands out to me, though. What startled me about Nine Worlds was the impression of affluence I got from the majority of people I saw, panellists aside – rightly or wrongly: maybe people were just wearing their Sunday best, I don’t know. But at LonCon3, I felt more comfortable because a lot of the people I encountered were either there to work or because it was their One Big Chance to meet everyone they knew and/or admired from their work.

(And a few Rich Old Entitled White Americans, but shit, you get those playing tourist all over Dublin all the time anyway.)

I’m a working-class sod with middle-class pretensions. The smell of Money makes me uneasy. And LonCon3 had less ritzy surroundings (seriously, the Radisson is always going to stink of the rentier classes, leaching the lifeblood of the working people) and it seemed more people who were there to Do A Thing, rather than Be Entertained.

(This distinction probably explains why I’ve always been more comfortable at academic conferences, where everyone is usually there to Do A Thing.)

Anyway. I don’t have an argument. I had fun. Have a cat picture.

Vladimir says hello.

Vladimir says hello.

Book Acquistions While On Holiday

At Nine Worlds, freebie:

Gwenda Bond, The Woken Gods, Strange Chemistry.

At Nine Worlds, from Roz Kaveney, review copy:

Roz Kaveney, Resurrections, Plus One Press.

In Cambridge, from Kari Sperring:

Sharon Penman, The Sunne in Splendour, Pan.

At LonCon3, library freebie:

Kate Wilhelm, SF Gateway Gollancz Omnibus.
Frank Herbert, SF Gateway Gollancz Omnibus.
Alastair Reynolds, Blue Remembered Earth, Gollancz.
George R.R. Martin, The Armageddon Rag, Gollancz.

At LonCon3, from Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt:

HWJN, by the above.

At LonCon3, purchased in the Dealers’ Room:

Tansy Rayner Roberts, Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press.
Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ink Black Magic, Fablecroft.
Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, eds, Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press.
Ariane “Tex” Thompson, One Night In Sixes, Solaris.
Pat Murphy, The Falling Woman, Gollancz.
Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad, Gollancz – the shiny new hardback one.
Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies, Gollancz – also the shiny new hardback one.

Yep. That’s why I had a hard time getting my suitcase to close.

Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part V: No really, there was a lot of party

The Hugo Losers’ Party was an awful lot of fun. There was a lot of going EEEEEE at the statistics (I came fourth) and excited gushing, and FRUIT. And also little chocolates and tiny chocolatey cake things, but I was most excited about the fruit. I got to meet E. Lily Yu (who is lovely) and finally talk to Jenni Hill for more than three seconds, and have a conversation with HUGO-AWARD WINNING NOVELIST ANN LECKIE, who is kind of amazing in person and looked pretty happily dazed. Kate Elliott and I had a long conversation about editing as a learned skill, particularly editing other peoples’ work; and I had a brief conversation with Roz Kaveney about how she and Kameron Hurley need to divide up the genre between them to make ambitious messes with genre furniture.

But mostly there was a lot of sitting around in circles eating fruit and drinking drinks (Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alisa Krasnostein, Rhiannon Rasmussen, Kate Elliott, Ann Leckie, Foz Meadows, Jenni Hill) and talking about how amazing the winners were and how brilliant Kameron Hurley’s and John Chu’s and Sofia Samatar’s speeches were.

Then I went back to my hotel room, quite late in the evening. And found Aisha already there. And I was rather hyper from copious amounts of caffeine and there was a lot of bouncy talking and at some point we thought it was a good idea to record the tininess of Tiny Shower for posterity.

And I tried to pack. It involved a lot of pushing on the suitcase. The suitcase needed duct-tape, because the seams split. Fortunately, I travel with twine, duct tape, and electrician’s tape.

And mostly a penknife with a flashlight and compass attached, yes, I may be weird. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’LL NEED.

(Mostly I need the bottle-opener for other people. And the scissors.)

Monday morning comes too soon

I recall waking up at 0530, while Aisha was doing something, muttering “Dawn. Fuck that,” and rolling over to go back to sleep. I had an 1100 panel – with Aisha, too – on “Critical Diversity in Science Fiction,” and somehow we made it to the green room in advance of the panel, where we met Fábio Fernandes and Erin Horakova before repairing to our panel room, where we were joined by our moderator Andrew Butler. I had caffeined up, and was possibly a blithering hyper idiot: mostly I remember that the panel opened with a mic test that sort of turned into, in Erin’s words, “the inadequate filking panel.”

I’m not sure how much of the meat of critical diversity we actually managed to cover. It was Monday morning. Forgive me: I was out of it.

even more people

Afterwards, some of us repaired to lunch with Maureen Speller and Paul Kincaid, at a table on the Boulevard that just kept expanding to incorporate more people as they drifted up against us and stopped. I know at one point the table included Aisha, D. Franklin, Zoe, me, Maureen, Paul, Erin, Fábio, Lal, David Hebblethwaite, Kev McVeigh, and STILL MORE PEOPLE…

…then I left for the fan village to try to meet up with Niall and Nic, and got sidetracked by meeting Kate Elliott and Rhiannon Rasmussen and Michelle Sagara, and some others (including Alex whom I’d met at Liverpool last year. Sorry, Alex! I have forgot your last name) and had a long discussion about books and book reviewing and things.

I did finally fetch up against another table, encompassing Niall and Nic and Erin and Abigail and Aisha and OTHER PEOPLE whose names I do not now remember or never caught, and had much fun discussions. At this point, though, I was punch-drunk. I don’t really remember what we were actually talking about, apart from Tiny Shower and DubCon jokes.

Eventually I extricated myself – with great sadness – from the convention, collected my bags from the hotel, and got the DLR to the Ibis Docklands Canary Wharf, where I had a room for the night so I could sleep before traveling home. The Ibis Docklands Canary Wharf is a red-coloured Ibis and is Slightly Less Budget. The shower was not inhumanly small! I had a whole comfortable double bed to myself, not a tiny plank of a bed. And god, I slept.

I had no idea how long it would take me to get to Heathrow in the morning, though, so I ended up getting up far too early to trek across London, and fetched up at LHR before check-in and bag-drop for my flight even opened. But it was all good! Once I made it through security I had a delightful breakfast of ham and cheese croissant, followed by vanilla croissant, at a café called Cappuccino. Very tasty.

I slept on the plane. My mother picked me up at the airport. I got home, unpacked, shoved things into the washing-machined, showered, and went to bed for five hours. I woke up long enough to eat tea and check my email, and went back to sleep for another fourteen hours. And it was glorious.

And that, my friends, is the story of my adventures.

Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part IV: ALL THE PARTY

At some point over the weekend up to Sunday afternoon, I met any number of lovely people whom I’ve forgotten to mention to date, like Sophie Calder (of Gollancz) and Joe Monti, a very nice bloke who works for Saga, and Lee Harris (of Angry Robot and now and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and briefly in passing Ada Palmer and Madeleine Robins and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. And C.E. Murphy and Sarah Rees Brennan and Ursula Vernon. And Abi Sutherland. And Tobias Buckell. And probably bunches of other people whom I’m forgetting I was introduced to.

I did not realise heretofore that if you were vaguely acquainted with all the lovely people from the internet, a convention is actually a multi-day party. Now I kind of understand the appeal.

from some other encounter

Scott Lynch and Zoe Johnson.

Scott Lynch and Zoe Johnson.

Zoe attacks Scott for books. That man is a very good sport.

Zoe attacks Scott for books. That man is a very good sport.

The Dealers’ Room calls

After “Seeing the Future, Knowing the Past,” I stopped into “A Queerer War,” a panel featuring Tanya Huff, Ann Leckie, and S.J. Groenewegen, and moderated by Duncan Lawie. Question time seemed to devolve a little into 101, but on the whole I enjoyed the panel…

…and then I broke my resolution and went to the Dealers’ Room. I acquired rather more books than I intended, especially since I also visited the Library area of the fan village, where books were being given away with great enthusiasm. I picked up another… three? free books. YAY FREE BOOKS. (I will list acquisitions later.) OOPS SUITCASE PACKING.

I don’t really remember who I was talking to Sunday afternoon. I dropped in on the Hugo Rehearsal (ie: stand here, walk this way, don’t fall over if you win) and ran into Aliette and Foz and Mary Robinette Kowal there, and then… Laura Lam at the green room, maybe? And Amal. Almost certainly Amal. At some point I know I ate half a rotisserie chicken from the chicken place on the ExCel centre’s Boulevard, and shortly thereafter was afraid I’d get lost on the way to the Hugo Reception. So I went to find it early, and ended up waiting for 30 minutes.

All The Party

Hugo Reception was amazing fun. Props to the volunteers and organisers for getting things as smoothly run and organised as it was. I spent most of the time hanging out with Foz and Max Gladstone and his partner Steph, I think, with occasional hanging out with Kate Elliott and Abigail Nussbaum and Neil Harrison and Nic Clarke. There was free food, and it was very tasty. And there were FAMOUS PEOPLE.

We were very uncool when Peter Davidson showed up. Very uncool. It was the amazing brave Amal who lead us in a posse over to him eventually to shake his hand and say “I like your work,” and he seems like a lovely guy.

The entire room was really uncool a short while later, though, when David Tennant showed up. The poor man. Mobbed by geeks who wanted to shake his hand. He was an exceptional good sport about it, but one does feel a little sorry for him. (Not so sorry that I did not go shake his hand and say “I loved your performance in Hamlet,” though.)


Wow. So ceremony. I ended up sitting beside Amal, near Max and John Chu and Wes Chu and Ramez Naam, directly behind George R.R. Martin. Justina Robson and Geoff Ryman did an excellent job as hosts, as did the other guest hosts, and seriously, it was a really pleasing ceremony. That Kameron Hurley, what? ON FIRE.

The whole ceremony is on ustream somewhere. What the recording does not show is how three-quarters of the auditorium stood up to applaud Ancillary Justice‘s victory, when Ann Leckie made her way to the stage.

Being in the auditorium for the ceremony was an awful lot like being part of an extended group hug. And not just because Amal is a really great person to be seated beside if you are a very nervous nominee.

And when it was all done, it was Hugo Losers’ Party time. And that was exciting. Because there were FRUIT PLATTERS.

Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part III: AT LAST FRUIT

View from the hotel room window.

View from the hotel room window.

Saturday morning was the morning of the Strange Horizons Brunch, 1000-1200. It was also the point at which I began to realise that I wasn’t ever going to get more than about four hours’ sleep in a night at this convention.

Fruit is exciting

Strange Horizons Brunch took place in the fan village, and was very thrilling. IT HAD FRUIT. As the ExCel centre and environs was a bit of a fruit and veg wasteland, as far as I could tell, this was incredibly exciting to me.

I did finally get to meet Niall Harrison and Nic Clarke and Mari Ness and Stephanie Saulter and Tori Truslow and Foz Meadows (properly) and Abigail Nussbaum and some other people whose names I am forgetting – were Shaun Duke and Paul Weimar and Erin Horakova there? Lal whose surname I cannot spell? Maybe. They are all truly excellent people to talk to, and it was lovely to finally meet them in the flesh – although Niall is insanely tall and skinny, it’s kind of wondrous.

Your humble correspondent breaks a resolution

Saturday was also the day I broke a resolution and bought a book. And thereafter the floodgates kind of opened. I DIDN’T MEAN TO, HONEST. But they were also giving away books in the “Library” area of the fan village – it seemed that Gollancz had brought absolute crates of books to give away, particularly from their SF Gateway Omnibus series but some others also – so I wandered out of Saturday having acquired a Kate Wilhelm omnibus and having bought Pat Murphy’s The Falling Woman from the Gollancz table.

For lunch I met the amazing Lesley Hall, and shortly thereafter tried to attend the panel called “Your ‘realistic’ fantasy is a washed out colourless emptiness compared to the Rabelaisian reality.” Discuss. But the room was standing room only, and half an hour in to what bid fair to be an excellent panel involving Kate Elliott, Nic Clarke, Edward James, Kari Sperring and Jenny Blackford, security kicked the standees out. After trying to hop into another panel, I felt ill, and ended up going back to the hotel room to nap for a while.


Naps are wondrously restorative. I came back to the convention in time to sit in on two panels that I wasn’t scheduled on, “Travel in fantasy,” starring Michelle Sagara, Leigh Bardugo, Scott Lynch, Jenny Blackford, and Katie Rask, and “The Joyful Poetry of Space Opera,” starring Adam Roberts, Hannu Rajaniemi, Elizabeth Bear, Rosie Oliver, and Carl Engle-Laird, which sort of mostly turned into the Adam Roberts show. But both were fun to attend.

Then I was on a panel with Mari Ness, Justin Landon and Nic Clarke. Unfortunately, this panel was moderated by Myke Cole, and his style of moderating rather clashed with I think the kick-back-let’s-have-fun bloggers-vs-epic-fantasy snarkfest that I think the rest of us really wanted the panel to be. (He seems like a nice guy, just the wrong guy to moderate us for a 2000hrs “fun stuff” panel.) Justin and Nic took great pleasure in my blushes when they kept bringing up the Michael Sullivan review and responses thereto.

Afterwards, I met Chance Morrison for the first time, whom I’ve known on the internet for what seems like forever. That was pretty excellent. Also pretty excellent was the party in the fan area bar, where I got to chat some more with some more excellent people, including Aisha and Irene and Carl and Foz. (I missed the Gollancz party that was going on that evening. Too much stuff! Too many people!)

Then back to the hotel to (try to) sleep, so that I could be prepared to moderate an 1100 panel the next day.

Irish people talk shit about Irish stuff

I could not bring myself to be serious about the “What Does Ireland Have To Offer” panel at 1100hrs on Sunday. I dressed up in Hugo-award-ceremony-going clothes and got myself to the convention in time to take in the 1000 panel on “The Spies We Still Love,”, and loaded up on caffeine, and rocked up to the panel that I was having at 1100 with the lovely Ruth Frances Long and Susan Connolly and our token American, K.A. Laity. And I introduced the panel in Irish, and then tried to the direct the conversation in fun directions (in English) thereafter…

…there were two American blokes in the audience who asked weird questions. One wanted to know if there was any science fiction being written in Ireland, as if fantasy did not count, and the other wanted to know what influence Irish folkore had on Irish science.


The panelists had some fun, I hope, talking about how Irish mythology is basically “Don’t piss off the weird people who live over there.” I had fun, anyway.

But then I had to run to my 1200 panel, “Seeing The Future, Knowing The Past,” moderated by a lovely bloke, one William Brad Hafford, writer and Middle Eastern archaeologist specialising in the Bronze Age, and starring Kari Sperring, Karen Miller, Sarah Ash, and, well, me. Sarah Ash was a rather quiet panelist; I feel Karen Miller talked over her once or twice. Miller was very engaged, and wanted to talk mostly about the demands of the middle of the market; while Kari and I (aka the Socialist Historian end of the table) basically leapt in with Cool History Stuff ™ at every opportunity, and talked about how grand narratives are simplified consolatory ones, and that the really interesting stuff happens in the rough unsmoothed edges of history.

Something along those lines. Someone who was in the audience might have had a better view of what we actually succeeded in talking about.

Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part II: “Tiny Shower Is Our Nemesis”

“An experience not to be missed. But not to be repeated.”

The Ibis London ExCel Docklands Hotel is a budget hotel. It is apparently the middle grade of Ibis: the Ibis “Budget” is even less fancy, while the Ibis “Styles” is slightly less compact. Aisha and I discovered, upon investigating, that the shower of our Ibis was inhumanly small. (On Sunday night Aisha made a video of tiny shower: somewhere PROOF EXISTS of its tiny dimensions.) The experience of showering was rather akin to sealing oneself inside a torpedo launch tube. Keep your elbows tucked and don’t try to turn around.

As I said to Aisha, when I emerged (slightly more claustrophobic than before), “That’s an experience not to be missed, and also not to be repeated. Except it has to be repeated, or we’ll turn into Cat Piss People.”

“Tiny shower is our nemesis,” became the refrain of our morning convention experience. “Hello, Tiny Shower! We meet again. Who shall have victory this morning?”

Spoiler: not us. It came as something of a relief on Monday morning to be able to say, “Farewell, Tiny Shower! We shall never meet again and I WILL BE VERY HAPPY WITH THAT.”

But I get ahead of myself.

Sad breakfast

Thus Friday began. I discovered that the hotel, much like the convention centre, did not believe in fruit. Breakfast was a slightly sad affair for me. It would only become sadder over the weekend, for on Saturday and Sunday the array of yoghurt on offer – not very vast – grew more pathetic.

It was lovely to meet Wes Chu and Justin Landon in the breakfast room, though one wonders how Justin coped with the Tiny Showers. Shortly, I shuffled off to the convention, where I saw the Dealers’ Room (so many pretty books) and inflicted myself on the magnificent Amal El-Mohtar at her signing. She didn’t seem to mind me camping out for a gossip session alongside her, because shamefully few people came along to worship her awesomeness. I met Ibraheem Abbas and Eng. Yasser Bahjatt, who were signing at the table beside the amazing Amal, and they were lovely too.

Two lunches and free cake

First lunch was with Amal and Tansy Rayner Roberts and Julia Rios and Jo L. Walton. (I think.) Second lunch was with Fran Wilde, in which we encountered Michael Swanwick and did a LOT of talking. Then somehow it was late afternoon and I wandered back into the Dealers’ Room for Tansy Rayner Roberts’ signing – where she had shamefully few people come to get books by her signed, so I camped out at her table and gossiped away. She is just as lovely in person as she is on the internet, and everyone should be reading her very fun MUSKETEER SPACE serial.

Then it was dinner time, and my friend Martin who lives in London now came to have dinner with me. It was really lovely to have a break from meeting ALL THE NEW PEOPLE and be able to relax and have dinner with someone I’d known in person for longer than an hour. So we had dinner, and then we went on a tour of the parties – Jo Fletcher Books, Tor UK, and Titan Books were all having parties in the Fox bar, and it wasn’t a badged area, so Martin could come visit too. We ran into D. and Zoe, and Charlie Stross and Féorag, and I talked Martin into buying a book I hadn’t even read. (Also the JFB party had free cake.) After Martin left to get home to his partner, I hung out at the party a little longer, where Joe Abercrombie and Mark Charan Newton ganged up on me at the bar to twit me about that old review of Michael Sullivan’s book on Strange Horizons, and I met Jared and Anne while I was actually awake, and Justin introduced me to George R.R. Martin (and I shut my teeth on anything beyond “Hi, nice to meet you,” because I don’t much like his books). And then I fetched up – while trying to extricate myself from party – at a table with Aliette de Bodard and Tricia Sullivan and Sophia McDougall (among others) and Much Was The Talking.

I do not think I managed to attend above four panels besides the ones I was scheduled to be on, but I sure as hell talked to a lot of people.

Adventures In Visiting England and Conventions: Part I

You may or may not recall, dear readers, that I was traveling to foreign English lands all last week, in order to attend Nine Worlds 2014, and LonCon3: the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention. Many were the adventures of your intrepid correspondent! Much did she travel! Far did she wander on untrodden paths…

…Well, maybe not so much with the untrodden.

Nine Worlds 2014

I arrived at Heathrow early on Sunday morning, after about 30-45 minutes’ sleep. In between the neighbours’ dog shutting up, and my alarm going off, there was not all that much time – so I don’t actually recall all that much from Sunday. I had a panel to participate in. I arm-wrestled Geoff Ryman (and won): he is a very clever tall skinny geek. I met the very smart Zen Cho, and blurrily encountered Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry, and Jenni Hill, a lovely editor from Orbit UK. I recall having lunch with Elizabeth Bear and Alex Dally MacFarlane, and meeting Scott Lynch in passing, but I was seriously out of it.


Towards the evening, the amazing writer and historian and all-around lovely person Kari Sperring and her man Phil bore me off to Cambridge, where I got to meet their cats, among them a very affectionate half-grown catling who wanted All The Attention.

The inimitable Telzey.

The inimitable Telzey.

I am immensely grateful to Kari and Phil for their impeccable and delightful hospitality – and for introducing me to young Michelle Yeoh in Hong Kong action movies. They are truly wonderful people.

Cambridge has pretty architecture.

Cambridge has pretty architecture.

Some tourism (and bookshop tourism) happened on Monday, when I received a whirlwind tour of Cambridge and environs, including the famous Soup Pub (whose real name I cannot now remember). On Tuesday D. of Intellectus Speculativus and their partner Zoe trained down to Cambridge and I spent the day with them, doing tourist stuff like looking at buildings:

Pretty buildings

Pretty buildings

And inside museums:

Cambridge has many museums

Cambridge has many museums

…where we agreed that it was sometimes nice to be able to look at stuff that had nothing to do with any of our subject areas (all Classicists/ancient historians, us) and just admire it as a collection of pretty objects. (The museum did try to educate us about the objects in the collection, but we were having none of it. Bad historians were bad on Tuesday.)

And repaired to a pub called the Maypole, where many beers were on offer and I sampled only one.

Wednesday contained a lot of wibbling on my part and attempts to convince myself that LonCon3 would not actually be terrifying.


And then Thursday was con-going. Were it not for the amazing Kari and the amazing Phil, I doubt I would have made it to and across London: the Tube attempted to kill me, and proved rather confusing to hideously apprehensive me. But I survived the journey in time to check in to the tiny green-coloured Ibis (the middle grade of Ibis, I understand) near Customs House DLR station, and to make it to the convention centre in time to register for panels.

I arrived sometime before 1130. The queue was immense. Props to the volunteers (especially to Oscar and Katherine [sp?]) who were keeping things moving, and who, as it approached 1230, took me out of the line down to registration proper so I could get badged up for my 1330 panel.

I did not get my Hugo nominee stuff at this point in time! But I went back for it the following morning.

The 1330 panel was titled “The Changing Face of the Urban Fantastic,” and had a 1330-1500 timeslot. It was my first ever Worldcon panel, and my first ever gig as moderator. I had done no prep, but with Sophia McDougall, Paul Cornell, Robin Hobb, and Freda Warrington as panellists, I didn’t have to do much work at all. At 1345 approximately, the skies opened and we had a very dramatic thunder and lightning storm as our accompaniment: dramatic soundtrack!

I do not actually at this remove remember what was discussed on the panel, only that I had a lovely chat with Sophia (and Liesel Schwarz and Laura Lam and maybe some other people) in the green room after the panel ended, before I went to meet Kate Elliott and Mahvesh Murad, whom I’d arranged to meet before the con for coffee/drinks/chattings at 1600. We repaired to the Aloft bar and talked endlessly for two hours – they are lovely smart people, both an utter delight to have conversation with – before I had to leave to meet some people from for dinner.

Irene Gallo and Carl Engle-Laird are just as lovely in person as they are on the internet. So is Justin Landon, who is bizarrely tall and broad of shoulder – people are so much more three-dimensional in person than they are on the internet, it’s quite weird. Then I ran into Fran Wilde and some of her people after dinner, and later on found myself beside the Cool People Table in the fan area, where I met Max Gladstone, Django Wexler, Ann Leckie, Roz Kaveney, Charlie Stross, and Tom Pollock, among others. They are all startlingly lovely people – and Tom, at least, stands out in a crowd.

At some point, I made it back to the Ibis, and there I met my roommate-for-the-con, the utterly amazing Aishwarya Subramanian, for the very first time – and we talked a lot before finally deciding we’d better sleep.

In the morning, we were to discover an unusual feature of our hotel…