I considered doing an assemblage of other people's con reports to reflect my experience of the weekend's event, but that would be even more work than generating my own. Short version: Had a blast. Met people. Bought books. Won books
(even better!) Drank coffee. Had equal numbers of nonsensical and meaningful conversations.
Long version: I wasn't that nervous about this con. I knew I would run into at least a few people I recognised, and if I didn't, I have the "escape into nearest panel and hide in the audience" trick down pat. Fortunately it didn't come to that because the new people I met - especially random_alex, girliejones, cassiphone and benpayne - were so awesome. Also, because the panels weren't that great. I understand the committee must have had problems with two of the originally advertised guests pulling out due to ill-health, but the program was really thin. Especially without a Masquerade to anchor the weekend, it felt like the con sort of drifted about without a focus. The panels I did attend were a mixed bunch, but I think I had the most fun at the Upcoming Movies panel of all things, watching previews of Die Hard 4.0, Transformers and Elizabeth: The Golden Age with Alex.
Other panels I saw were a discussion of the cliches of fantasy, a history of children's/YA spec. fiction, Isobelle Carmody's GOH speech which was very entertaining even though she must have given similar speeches a million times before, World Building 101 - not so interesting except for Gillian's remark that you can approach world building from any angle at all - food, transport, climate ... There was a screening of The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, which I was looking forward to seeing and was fantastic, but unfortunately couched in a long discussion on the creative process that seemed like padding.
After dinner with the A-list (I could tell you, but then...) I skipped out to see Daft Punk's Electroma (post to follow), but returned later in the evening to the brilliant news that Alisa Krasnostein had taken out three Ditmar Awards for herself and ASif! I braved Cat Sparks' room-party launch of Daikaiju! 2, which was hot, crowded, fun and had blue cocktails affixed to dinosaur lollies. By cunning use of my sixth sense I snuck out apparently just before the police were called.
It was even less about the panels on Sunday, but I caught the end of a great discussion on the liminal by Rjurik Davidson, Robert Hood, Paul Haines and Kirstyn McDermott. Came away with some horror movie titles to chase down. I accompanied Alex to the Science Fiction and Fantasy in the School Curriculum panel where we rolled our eyes a lot and I egged Alex on in harrassing the moderator.
We traipsed across town then to the launch of Tansy's book Seacastle, the first in the seven-book series The Lost Shimmaron. And it was lucky we did, because we both won prizes.
Later in the afternoon I sat in on a panel on novel writing, which seemed to only just avoid becoming a showdown on note-taking techniques. Later in the evening was the debut screening of Claire McKenna's movie The Liminal, which was great fun - so much work had gone into it!
Everyone was definitely winding down by Monday - the glazed look of the over-stimulated was visible on every face. I saw about half of Carmody's discussion on characterisation, but I was so exhausted not much registered. There was much sitting about until the closing ceremony - which I attended soley to make sure it really did end. Goodbyes all around and a bag of books later I'm really pleased I attended this convention - but it was the people that made this one, not something that can ever be programmed in.