LonCon3 – Day 5

August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird

When I got back to my room on Sunday night and read The Pigeon Post #11 I found a little note saying that the Library in the fan village was basically going begging. Free books?! Oh my! So naturally my first port of call on day 5 was the fan village. Seems Orion/Gollancz really didn’t want to take any books home so I’m afraid I got a little bit carried away.


I decided to weigh my new books, the freebees and the two I’d purchased and the total was 21.5lb (9.75Kg). Luckily I had friends in the dealers’ area who let me leave the books and my new painting with them while I went off to catch two last things before 2pm. A panel “The Bugs Are Coming Back” and a talk “Science Fact and Science Fiction”. After that it really was time to go so I said my goodbyes and staggered off to the DLR and the journey home.

Goodbye LonCon3, it was fun!


LonCon3 – Day 4

August 17, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird


Rather than kicking off with a panel at 10am today I went to the art show to place a bid and then took a look at the creepy crawlies and generally pootled around for an hour.

11am “Reluctant, or Just Not Interested?” focused on kids who can read but don’t want to and came up with plenty of reasons why but no good solutions.

Heading back over to the dealer/art show area I sat in the fan village and was lured over to the bandstand for a reading of “The Last Moonicorn” (a tale of dark whimsy, and pies, by Christopher Graeme). A story in rhyme which is probably about as weird as you’re imagining. It’s not been published yet and although he’d like it to be illustrated the first version probably won’t be. The words certainly conjured up loads of images in my head, I hope he finds someone with the skill to do it justice because it would be a great kids’ book.


1:30 was one of those annoying slots when there were three panels on at the same time that I’d like to have seen. Not getting there early enough to queue means that the decision was made for me, “I can’t do that, Dave: Artificial intelligence, imagination and fear” and “The Wrong Apocalypse” were both full, so “Secrecy in Science” it was.

At 3 I went to “You Don’t Like Me When I’m Angry” but honestly I was hoping for the panel described in the programme, not the panelists telling us about their personal anger issues so that one I left early and decided to see if I’d won the painting I’d bid on.

BTW this is the nearest you’re going to get to a photo of me, I was inside the TARDIS (I hope the others on my friend’s camera were better, I moved the bear down to floor level and a kid came over to high-five him).


The sharp eyed may spot that this is not the TARDIS that I photographed on day 1. LonCon3 has TWO TARDISes (or just TARDIS? definitely not TARDI because it’s not a latin word, TARDISes sounds right).

Getting back on track OMG … another queue. First a medium sized queue that moved, and then a longer queue that did not, or at least did not most of the time. I finally escaped at 6pm! The painting was worth it though.


Another case of multiple panels, and again (thanks to the queueing) I was too late for a seat in “These Are Not the Elves You’re Looking For” or “Botanical Conquistadors”. So I took my painting back to the hotel, returned to the Excel and feeling a little light-headed decided that food was probably a very good idea. Then a little more killing time before the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

What can I say, the Retro Hugos had spoiled me. By comparison the 2014 ones were … dull. No band, no Martian invasion, very little fun. I expected more. Anyway, incase you’re interested here are the results.

John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer – Sofia Samatar

Best Fan Artist – Sarah Webb
Best Fan Writer – Kameron Hurley
Best Fancast – SF Signal Podcast by Patrick Hester
Best Fanzine – “A Dribble of Ink” edited by Aidan Moher
Best Semiprozine – Lightspeed Magazine – John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
Best Professional Artist – Julie Dillon
Best Editor (Long Form) – Ginjer Buchanan
Best Editor (Short Form) – Ellen Datlow
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) – Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) – Gravity
Best Graphic Story – “Time” by Randall Munroe
Best Related Work – “We Have Always Fought” by Kameron Hurley
Best Short Story – “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu
Best Novelette – “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
Best Novella – “Equoid” by Charles Stross
Best Novel – “Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie

You can see the full stats for the Hugo votes HERE (PDF file).

I was seriously relieved that the novel and movie that I did NOT want to see win, didn’t win, but more than a little concerned that one got second place. I know Sci Fi and Fantasy can be argued to include fairy tails but a Disney Princess movie, SERIOUSLY?!

Oh and what the heck, David Tennant was at the Hugo Awards?!

In slightly related news my Dr Who/Dr Seuss mash-up t-shirt got a lot of smiles and a few comments through the day (it took a while before I figured out why total strangers kept smiling at me).

And so another day ends and back to my room.

LonCon3 – Day 3

August 16, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird


After a better night’s sleep, on account of being too tired to notice where I was sleeping, I set out for Day 3. Session 1 at 10am was “Sense of Wonder in Children’s SF”. Between the panel members and other people attending I came out with a LONG list of authors to check out for Youngling. Result!

Unfortunately by the time I got to suite 15 all the seats were filled for “Moving Shelves: Famous Adult Writers Who Have Written YA” so a leisurely stroll downstairs, stopping off to buy a sound activated tribble, got me to “Fresh Perspectives: Comic Books for Young People” with time spare. I now have another handy list of possibilities.

1:30 saw me back upstairs for the “Girl Scientists” panel and then I took a panel break to look around the art show. Unfortunately I can’t show you anything as photography is strictly forbidden but outside it was OK to take snaps of the amazing Wasp Factory … sculpture I guess you’d call it? or totally awesome object of wonder.

P1030184 P1030189 P1030187

Click on the images for a full sized view and marvel at the teeny tiny skeletal fairies! I love this thing and wish I could take it home.

Sitting by the fan village green I wasn’t expecting a melee (you thought I was going to say Spanish Inquisition didn’t you?), but the Society for Creative Anachronism turned up and that’s just what there was.


And then “Bridging the Gap: Genre and the Mainsteam” was another interesting panel providing food for thought. I left a little early to be back at the dealers’ area before it closed as I’d arranged to go out to dinner with some friends. We got back just in time for the Masquerade to actually start. Watching people with passes taking photos of all the entries afterwards was *not* much fun and I joined the exodus before the winners were announced so you’ll need to look elsewhere for that info and photos. And so at 9:30 I had a quick look around the fan village and then set off back to my hotel.

Tomorrow, more panels, more stuff and the big question. Will I spend a stack of cash on some original art? There’s this really gorgeous painting of a dragon which I am sorely tempted by.

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.

LonCon3 – Day 1 and Retro Hugos

August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird


If you’ve been following the #LonCon3 tag on twitter you’ve probably seen a lot of people tweeting from the queue for registration. Yes, it was a long wait, I missed the opening ceremony, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I tweeted the one friend I knew was going to be there but she was in a panel so I had a little bit of a look around the Exhibits Hall to kill time. The dealers were a bit of a disappointment really but on the plus side I know I’m not going to be spending lots of money. Maybe a cute t-shirt for Youngling and I might pick up some second hand books.

The Hawaiian Dalek deserves a mention.


After that met with the friend and we had a long chat, catching up on who’s been doing what. Then we both went to a panel, Doctor Who: Fandom for the Whole Family. Some interesting observations and anecdotes but before the end I started to worry about checking in to my hotel so left a bit early when the subject seemed to be wandering a bit.


Got back, grabbed something to eat and then caught the second half of Why Aliens are Cool Again and then The Fermi Paradox in Light of the Kepler Mission. I have to say that only Dr Helen Fraser seemed keen on throwing that particular light on the subject, but again there were interesting points made and I’ll definitely be trying to make it to some more of the Science Panels. That took me to 8pm and so on to the Retro Hugos.


The whole thing was really very fun. The conceit was that we were all attending a live radio show at the 1939 WoldCon in New York and the two presenters (Mary Robinette Kowal and Rob Sherman) were time travellers (her arriving by DeLorean and him hitching a lift in the TARDIS). The music was provided by the Brideshead Ballroom Stompers and they were excellent! Really setting the mood. We also had some reports of a Martian invasion interspersed with the awards, but never fear, they were defeated by the Con Crud.

Before the Hugos there were a few other awards included. The First Fandom Hall of Fame Award went to John Clute with two further Posthumous awards to John “ted” Carnell and Walter H. Gillings. The Sam Moskowitz Archive Award went to Mike Ashley and the Forrest J Ackerman Big Heart Award went to Vincent Docherty.

The first Hugo sort of wasn’t. Due to a technicality a Hugo requires that there are multiple nominees and in the best graphic story (comics) category there was only one nominee. So they gave a Special Committee award instead, to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in recognition of the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1.

The main awards were as follows:

Best Fan Writer – Ray Bradbury
Best Fanzine – Imagination! edited by Forrest J Ackerman, Morojo and T. Brue Yerke
Best Professional Artist – Virgil Finlay
Best Editor (Short Form) – John W. Campbell
Best Dramatic Presentation (short Form) – The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. Written by Howard Koch & Anne Froelick, directed by Orson Welles (Mercury Theater on the Air, CBS)
Best Short Story – “How We Went to Mars” by Arthur C. Clarke
Best Novelette – “Rule 18” by Clifford D. Simak
Best Novella – “Who Goes There?” by Don A Stuart (really John W. Campbell)
Best Novel – The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White

After that I could have checked out some of the parties, there was a Dr Who one which might have been fun but I have to admit that I was starting to wilt and there was this blog to write so I retired to my hotel room.

Tomorrow, a bunch more panels and a more careful study of the dealers’ tables.

A new look

March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized by Firebird

The Nexus Route has a new look and some new features. Although we’re still focused on The Clone Wars there will be some branching out into other sci fi.

So, welcome!


and yes I know the image might imply it’s a disaster but, what the heck it’s cute and I wanted something happy.

Welcome to the new look Nexus Route

March 10, 2013 in Uncategorized by Firebird

Update: I’m copying over all the old blog posts manually which will require some editing to get them looking neat. Sadly the comments can’t come with them and neither can the contents of the forums.

The domain name switch will take place early morning UK time on Sunday 17th March after which the old version of the site will no longer be accessible.

Because this is a new setup everyone will need their first comment authorised again, so please don’t worry if there’s a bit of a delay.

Happy Holidays!

December 21, 2012 in Uncategorized by Firebird


This card shamelessly lifted from sw.com to share with you here rather than bothering registered members with an e-mail and missing out everyone else 🙂

If you’re of the Sith pursuasion they have one especially for you too 😈

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