EasterCon 2014: Satellite 4

Though this year’s EasterCon was my second (last year was my first), I still feel a bit of a newbie. I had therefore decide that for this year’s con, Satellite 4, I would volunteer. My friend DC pretty much “claimed” me for Ops, so I had shifts there every day of the convention.

Photo © 2014

My badge.
Photo © 2014

Though I had arrived on Thursday, the first day of the convention was Friday 18 April 2014. I didn’t actually attend any program items this day, but had two shifts in Ops, and had a blast doing that. However, I managed to attend a few on Saturday, among them one called “Astronomy and poetry”, which was pretty much reading of poetry with some sort of astronomy link. I really enjoyed it. It was lead by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who’s a British scientist and Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

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Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Photo © 2014

Another fun program item on Saturday was “Is it steampunk if it’s real?” Here we could listen to Feorag NicBhride tell us about some odd transportations that was developed in the 19th and early 20th century. One thing is for sure: There was no lack of imagination at the time! If the transportation actually worked? Well…

Two other program items I attended Saturday were “African Writes” and “Read for your life!”, and I enjoyed both. Especially the latter ones, where you could listen to known and unknown readers read from their works. If there’s a similar item next year, I would love to listen to it! It’s not every day you get to hear an author read something from their brand new one-week-old idea!

Come Sunday, I managed to oversleep terribly, that meant I missed breakfast, as well as the first program item I had planned to attend. Fortunately, I did not miss the panel “Red planets”, which was on politics in science fiction and fantasy. It’s no secret politics interest me, so this was an interesting discussion. I would probably have gone to it even if my friend Pogodragon hadn’t been on the panel.

Photo © 2014

The Red planet panel.
Photo © 2014

After the politics, I hurried over to the next item I wanted to listen to, this one called “Humans are weird”. And this item made it clear we really are a weird mammal. Our babies are helpless, we have good eyesight and amazing sense of taste (humans have 10000 taste buds, while a hen has only 24!), and we have a rubbish sense of smell.

When the weird humans were done with for the day, I headed for my shift in Ops, before going to a sort of celebration of Terry Pratchett. This was a sweet and fun program item, where stories about the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett were told. Stories about meetings and other fun facts. I have never met, nor probably ever will meet, Sir Terry Pratchett, but he seems like a grand dude, and writes fun books indeed.

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Celebrating Sir Terry Pratchett!
Photo © 2014

Sunday ended with a party for next year’s EasterCon, Dysprosium. There was a beheadding of a chocolate bunny, drinks, snacks, and people to talk to. It was indeed fun, until I decided it was time for me to go to bed.

Monday was the last day of the convention, and I started it with a shift in Ops, before some time to relax. I then attended the program item “Early science fiction writing”, which I must admit was a great disappointment. I actually ended up fishing out my e-reader to read my book! Just because I was too polite to get up and leave, and maybe in the hopes it could turn better?

The convention officially ended with the closing ceremony. Prizes were handed out, people were thanked, and we all concluded it had been a wonderful convention. We can’t wait for the next one!

Gothenburg, I miss you!

Friday 19 to Sunday 21 April 2013 I spent the week end attending the annual bookcrossing convention, which this year took place in Gothenburg. This was my very first bookcrossing convention, and I must admit that I felt quite clueless, as I had no idea what usually happened at bookcrossing conventions. It was no surprise that they are a bit different from the science fiction or gaming conventions I’ve been to before, but that is to be expected.

I arrived in Gothenburg, and after checking in at the hotel, I headed to the venue at Norges hus. I got my name tags at the registration, and greeted some familiar, and some unfamiliar, faces.

After hanging around for a while, there was an informal opening of the convention, and there was a bingo going on. I didn’t bother to run around crossing out questions, but was more than happy to give my name to the ones looking for a librarian, a Norwegian, or just someone who’d read Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking.

There was also a quiz, that my team didn’t win, and in general a lot of fun and chatting.

We were also served some yummy food (with a vegetarian option), and we even got to learn some Swedish folk dance. Some of the dances were familiar, as we have the same ones in Norway (with different names). It was a lot of fun!

Friday was also the day where I learnt that it was usual to have a gift table on bookcrossing conventions. I had neither expected, nor brought, any gifts, simply because I had no idea there would be one. If I am to put my finger on something that might have been a minus to my experience, it is that I wish some of these things would have been explained on beforehand. I did actually look for information on the bookcrossing forum before the con… Needless to say, I was very surprised to see a couple of books for me on the gift table. Both of the books were from my wishlist on bookcrossing, and one of them was a book I recently got from another bookcrosser by mail (I just had forgotten to remove it from my list). This book did not come with me home, but I released it at the Gardermoen airport on my way home.

To start the day with having breakfast with other bookcrossers was delightful! It was nice to chat and eat and have a soft start of the day, before heading back to the venue. I managed to catch the interesting talk about translating books in the morning, before I ran off to meet up with an old friend of mine, to have lunch with him and his wife and daughter.

Saturday was also the day for the release walk, where we wandered the streets of Gothenburg and left books all around. The people of the city would be able to find books in many funny places, I guess, like hanging from trees as well at on the statues and benches.

We also had a flash mob in Bältesspännarparken, starting with elis-fromSweden walking to a spot, picking up a book and read. Then most of the other bookcrossers went up to stand beside her, one by one, and formed a line, ending with beson. elis-fromSweden then went up to one of the strangers staning by, watching, and handed her a book, before walking away. The flash mob is included in the video below.

After the flash mob, people spread to all directions, mostly in groups, and went for a treasure hunt and lunch. We ended the day by going to different restaurants in town. I had signed up with the group to go to Masala, a really nice Indian place not far from the Poseidon. The food there was really yummy!

At the last day of the convention, it was time to hear the bid for the convention in 2015. Only Oxford placed a bit, and we all cheered wen it went through. There was also a presentation of next year’s convention in Australia, by discoverylover and Skyring.

The convention ended with the raffle, which is a sort of lottery. I had put almost all my tickets into the Harry Potter prize, and didn’t win. Oh well, I wouldn’t have had room for it anyway. 😉

Then it was time to say good bye, and “see you in Oxford 2015!”

EasterCon 2013: Eight Squared Con

At the end of March I headed to Bradford, in West Yorkshire, England. Though I have been to several conventions before (I was quite active with ShadowCon in Oslo at one point), this was my first outside Norway. Actually, it was my first outside Oslo, even though I haven’t lived in the capital for the four last years. I have been wanting to attend EasterCon for several years. I almost managed to get there last year, but then things didn’t quite worked out.

I arrived in Bradford on Thursday, and had a bit of a soft start before the convention actually started. Spent the evening with some people I knew already, as well as some new people who were introduced. There was Indian food in the centre of Bradford, which was good.

I headed to the Cedar Court Hotel, where the main event took place, a tad bit early on Friday. The registration opened before expected, and I managed to get my badge and a bag of information. As I couldn’t see anyone I knew around, I headed back to my hotel, where I relaxed, before heading down to Cedar Court for the opening ceremony.

Eight Squared Con was, as I said, my very first con outside of Oslo, and it was on a totally different scale from what I was used to. I admit it felt intimidating in the beginning, as I am an introvert by nature. Some people would probably not believe me, but it’s true, I feel very insecure among strangers, and am not the person to go up to a group of strangers and start chatting with them. As the days went by, I did warmed up a bit, and managed to talk to quite a few people.

I attended a few panels, and my favourite was “The Changing Portrayal of Gender and Sexuality in SF & Fantasy”, which more or less was about LGBTQI people in SFF literature. It was more like a discussion group than a panel, which I think worked very well. Another panel I found to be funny, was the “Superheroes on Film” one. I kind of like superheroes, you know…

All-in-all I had a great experience, and have even signed up for next year’s EasterCon! See you there?