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On the second day of the convention...
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lil_shepherd
Because of a mixup/misprint in the Read Me about the timings of breakfast, the queues went on forever, but the breakfast wasn't bad. Ina and I have decided to eat as little of the overpriced hotel food as possible. The beer and cider in the fan bar (arranged by Martin Hoare) are, however, excellent.

I bought books.

I did not manage to get to the art show.

The triumph of the con so far has been the programming, which was excellent.

I started with 'Watching the Detectives', (which has now got sort of mixed up in my mind with a panel I saw Sunday morning) with various authors talking about their detectives of the supernatural. Ina was at 'Unseen London'. Not sure which of us got the better deal.

I followed that with a most useful (and often funny) talk by Helen Pennington on her post-doc work as a molecular biologist with a speciality in diseases of plants, including gene splicing, gene engineering, the way this is portrayed on TV and film (with possibly too much information on the misuse of pipettes) and, indeed, in the press.

(To see this I had to miss a panel called 'What Can A Convention Chair Learn from the Evil Overlord List' - which I suspect is a good deal. Writers certainly ought to be aware of it and we know some of them are...)

Following that was louisedennis's talk, somewhat oddly titled "How Do I know My Robot is Safe?" which, as she admitted, is a question that can only be answered by "You can't." This is her field and the audience was large and, judging by the questions, well informed. The Lego robots were cute, even I understood the coding, and there was much discussion of the problems with AI controlled vehicles and lots to think about.

We then went shopping, both in and out of the con, talked to lots of people, and came back to our room to watch The New Thunderbirds Are Go



The character animation with the plasticine hair and glowing eyes (characterised by Helen McCarthy as "Frozen eyes: Scott = Elsa with a dark crop") is absolutely vile, though much of the mechanical stuff was good, save for a lack of shadow and weight. (Weta have done far better work on children's cartoons cf Jane and the Dragon) I know they were looking for a 'puppet' look, but, really, the hair on the puppets moved and there were shadows because it was model work. The water scale is still very bad.

The way the characters boarded the T-birds is iconic and was used almost shot for shot (several times - something the original series did not do, though the pilot here was the same length as the old series' individual episodes.) However, those designs were that way because they were using puppets who could not bend or run. Here, where the movement is not restricted, it looks, well, odd.

However, bad animation is not death for a programme, so long as the writing is good (See Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes). Unfortunately, this was by far the weakest part of the show. The plot was a mess, with so many things happening at once - and a good many of them illogical that is was pretty incomprehensible, and the pacing was ludicrous, while the characterisation almost none existent.

This has been made by Gerry Anderson fans. It is easy to see that Sylvia's influence, so often underrated, has been ignored. (She was responsible for character design and casting, as well voicing Lady Penelope, who is ill-served here.)

Sorry, the new Captain Scarlet, for all its many faults, was better animated and better written.

The evening was meant to end for myself and Ina with GoH's Seanan McGuire's concert, supported by Playing Rapunzel and Talis Kimberley and whatever band she has at the moment. Unfortunately, Seanan had lost her voice during a trip across the Atlantic that had left her jet-lagged to hell. Her part, therefore, was as compere, introducing sets by the two bands. I was sorry we didn't get to hear Seanan who is well known in the filk community on both sides of the Atlantic as a filking talent, but she has also done stand-up and I have yet to see her being less than hilarious. Her story of capturing frogs in Talis's garden had howls of laughter shaking the hall. And it is always a joy to hear both Playing Rapunzel and Talis. (Though it has to be said that I was singing the chorus of the former's "Someone on the Internet Is Wrong" all morning and this is all their fault.)

We went to bed late and inspired. Which is why this afternoon I had to quit because I was yawning so much. However, that is another story.

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(Deleted comment)
The problem with the boarding sequences in CGI is that you do wonder why the fuck they are doing it that way, and how they suspend the laws of physics, Zan.

The unseen London sounds fun. In fact it all sounds fun apart from queues for breakfast which is never fun

They were actually quite efficient at getting people seated, and none of it was as bad as the first day (i.e. people dragged themselves out of bed before 8am.)

Having been to Eastercon all of once (and hey - it is a year since we met in person! *waves madly*) and with my plans to make it this year in tatters, I am thoroughly enjoying your con notes - thanks very much!

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