LonCon3 – Day 2

August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird


Propelled by a 4 shot latte (coffee shop purchased as the hotel only had a nasty little vending machine) I started my day of panels at 10am with “The Science of Discworld” presented by Prof. Ian Stewart. I have to confess up front that despite having read all the Discworld novels I’d never actually picked up the Science of books because I’d been rather put off by similarly titled works attached to other franchises. It seems I was too hasty and after this talk will definitely be buying the first one as soon as I get home.

At 11am I was one of the lucky ones to get in to “Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction”. The Excel Centre is serious about fire regs and how many people can be in a room so if you don’t have a seat you have to leave the room. I honestly had no idea there were *that* many cross-overs, mash-ups and appearances of Sherlock Holmes in Sci Fi titles. Really, MASSES! The trick will be to pick out the 10% from the inevitable Sturgeon’s law 90%.


Midday saw me down at the Auditorium for the BIS “SKYLON and the spaceflight of the future”. Wow that took me back, I remember when Hotol was the great hope for reusable launch vehicles, but Skylon looks good and the technology in the Sabre engines is pretty darned impressive! Just before that presentation we were introduced to cosmonaut Anatoly Artsebarsky, which was kinda cool.


Next was back upstairs for a lively talk by Tori Herridge from the NHM “How to Make a Dwarf Mammoth”. Some interesting science and OMG what I wouldn’t give to have a pet dwarf mammoth, the cuteness factor of the babies is off the charts, a foot tall? How adorable would that be, and the adults only 3 foot? Sadly I will just have to file dwarf mammoth along with Leaellynasaura as impossible pets unless I can find a time machine.

3pm and on to “Missing – Believed Wiped” hosted by the BFI. A short description of the process of recovering lost material was followed by clips from some recent examples. Object Z, a couple of episodes of Out of the Unknown, Moonbase 3, Adam Adamant Lives!, the 1965 TV version of 1984, a BBC3 (the satirical show not the channel) spoof of War Game and a very strange little advert from the early 60s featuring Nicholas Parsons (don’t ask, it was just weird!).

That session actually finished before the scheduled time rather than having to be cut short like almost everything else so I went in search of food before planning on another BIS talk. But having wolfed down a pasty I spotted a familiar face and, well that was that. I ended up in the Dealers’ room saying hi to old friends and then I hung around and did a spot of shopping (a second hand book and a couple of t-shirts) before the room was closed at 6pm.


Back to the panels and I was too late for a seat at “Mining Magic”. Plan B, another BIS talk caused me to zone out a bit so I settled down to wait for “The Girl Who Waited” a panel on the lack of female protagonists in time-travel stories. I came away with the impression that this subject might not have been though through very well and the gender inequality doesn’t seem to be any worse than in Sci Fi movies and TV in general. There was also some unwarranted negativity about River Song which seemed to me to miss the central point that we see her character in reverse order so *of course* she goes from being cool and kick ass to ‘just’ a nutter who wants to kill The Doctor. She developed over time, it’s just we didn’t see it that way around. Anyway, it’s rather put me off any more gender panels. They were mostly saying the same things that we all know already and rather preaching to the choir and not even in an entertaining way. I’d rather hear new things.

8pm and I went to a panel on “The Press vs Science”. If you read many stories about science in the mainstream media you’ll probably already get what the problems are and nobody could really come up with any viable solutions.

9pm rolled around and I decided that I was just too tired to enjoy “The Human Future and Galactic Society” and so headed back to my hotel room to write this blog and then hit the hay.