Sunday, August 7th, 2005 - Glasgow

Convention Items Attended

Time Description Comment
10:00 Is the American Empire on the Verge of Collapse? A particularly lively panel about the US beginning with the agreement that the US truly is an “empire” in every sense of the term (historically speaking). The discussion then focused to the stability of such an empire having a four-year term for a president that causes radical shifts in ideology to regularly occur. This panel could have gone on for many hours and raised a lot of very interesting ideas.
11:00 The SF Fan's Introduction to Literary Criticism I attended this panel to know a bit more about what actually is involved in literary criticism and found myself in WAY over my head with my getting lost very early in the discussion. I did find it interesting to hear from the panellists who are all either writers or reviewers to give their perspectives.
12:00 Creative Commons 101: A Primer for the Interested A very interesting discussion about the “Creative Commons” idea of copyrighting your creative work (such as stories, art work, etc). I found it interesting that it is essentially a set of questions that you answer that generates a “legal” statement that you can attach to your work. The questions are intended for you to describe how you want your work to be used, being as restrictive or open as you like. Perhaps you only want people to quote from it or maybe you want people to be able to take ideas and re-work them – It is up to you. I will have to learn more about this.
13:00 The World We are making Now 2: Places The panel discussed the future of buildings and it was not at all appealing with structures looking like art but seemingly not built for people at all (which was acknowledged by the panel). The future also seems to be up: Higher and higher buildings. One of the panel members was working on waste management system so a fair amount of the conversation was about that: How do you deal with the increasing amount of waste? In the UK they have to treat with chemicals now – There is simply not the capacity to use natural processes. This will become more and more of a problem in the future.
14:00 History of Anime, Part 3: Girls and Guns The final and certainly the most well-attended talk on the history of Japanese Animation taking us up to the present day with discussions about Miyazaki (the famous director who brought us the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke”) and the increasing use of computers in the animation process (Miyazaki was described as a bit of an “exception” to any of the rules of Anime in that he can do his own thing including having his Anime essentially entirely hand-drawn). A great way to end this series of talks.
15:30 Space Science Sacrificed?
17:00 Anime and SF in Japan This was particularly interesting since it had a modern director of Japanese Animation talking through an interpretor. He had a lot of fascinating things to say and gave a bit of insight into what the business is actually like in this day and age (and the sheer size of it, massive!).
20:00 Hugo Awards Ceremony The annual SF awards ceremony was very well attended and was, as normal, quite interesting. Also a LOT shorter than normal (just over an hour and a half!). It is good to see people in the field being rewarded (even some that KEEP getting rewarded such as David Langford who must have a whole room of Hugos now).

I think the highlight of my whole day was being finally able to get Alan Lee's autograph. The queue the other day to get him to sign his newly released book (released here at the convention) was simply too long so I gave up at the time. Today I saw him sitting chatting to someone in one of the presentation halls so I quickly ran over to the convention desk to buy his book then sat and chatted with him for about 10 minutes, discussing what he had said in his interview the other day. Truly a fantastic man who seemed perfectly happy to talk about his work. I was even happier when a lady joined us who is an artist not familiar with Lee's work but asked him to draw something so he did – In MY book! Fantastic! He deserves all the fans he has.

Returning to the room was yet another visit to the various parties around the hotel. We ended up in pretty much all of them though a number of rooms were reserved for use by the winners of the Hugos and were “off limits”. I particularly liked the Finland party which had all kinds of liquorice (including one with a “warning” on it since it was SUPPOSED to be VERY hot – I didn't think so, even after three or four of them…). I was really taken aback by the Fins welcome and promised to think about attending one of their conventions in the future…Good reason to visit Helsinki if you ask me. The Tolkien Society was also quite good – not for the food or drink (which were, OK) – but rather for the information about the convention in a weeks time (which I will not be able to attend) and about another smaller gathering in Oxford in September. I had a bit of a talk with one of the members about Tolkein and what he was like. Very interesting.

Another late evening though. Hopefully the last for a while…

⇒ Continue to Monday, August 8th, 2005 - Glasgow