Suitably re-fuelled after lunch it was time to head back to the con for an afternoon filled with panels. Well, two or three more. Every hour there are about 10 different panels on a variety of topics. It can be hard to choose. Some are easy to discount. Some are harder. The way I choose what panel to see is I check out who is on the panel and what the topic is. Well d'uh. Interesting people talking on a topic I only have some, or maybe even very little, interest in will still get me in. A Scalzi or a Doctorow or a Benford, just to name a few, on a panel will be enough for me to attend.
Before the panels though, I ducked into the dealers room for a browse. The dealers room is giving my plastic a severe workout. I couldn't help myself but I had to drop some bucks for a boxed set of Schlock Mercenary comics. It is worth it just to see Howard Tayler sign each of the 6 books with a full page sized picture of the one of the characters from the comic. Howard is also one of the hosts of a podcast I listen to - Writing Excuses. As I told him, I came to his art because of the podcast. He is obviously doing something right because he will be taking home some of my hard earned.
You never know who you'll run into in the dealers room. This is my first con and I am totally amazed by how approachable the celebs are. Most of the time I get a little star struck and leave the celebs alone but sometimes you'll catch them in a moment where they might just have a minute to pose for you.
Cory Doctorow (above) was working his way through signing a box of his books at one of the dealer's stands, so I had to buy a couple. I already have these books but I don't have signed editions. I noticed that one or two people with I-pads were getting Cory to sign the back of the I-pad with marker pens. I had wondered how you could sign e-books.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden (above) was browsing the same stand as Cory and he also graciously posed for me holding one of Cory's books - I think PNH had edited it. He looked a little surprised when I first approached him. He probably thought I was going to pitch a novel to him. Afterwards, and with some dismay, I thought I may have said "Hi Neil Patrick Harris" when I approached him. I was nervous and I got a little tongue tied but I hope I didn't. Shit. Now that would be embarrassing.
Shopping done for the time being it was back to the panels. Kim Stanley Robinson, being Guest Of Honour, fits the criteria I mentioned earlier as someone I almost feel obligated to see on a panel. Marianne De Pierres on the same panel was bonus. This panel was The author’s strait-jacket: Switching genres.
From the right (above) - Kim Stanley Robinson, Ian Irvine, Melinda Snodgrass, Marianne De Pierres.
Marianne De Pierres and a little known blogger and fan boy.
The next panel I went to was Creating believable space travel. Starring, appropriately considering the interstellar subject matter, Gregory Benford, Ian Nichols, Gerald D Nordley, Amanda Pillar and Jeff Harris (left to right below).
Greg Benford is one of my all time favourite authors. I should really have spent more time perusing the list of authors attending this con. I may have shipped more books down to Melbourne to get signed. Fair dinkum, Greg has been there done that and knows just about everybody. He can also be very funny. I'm also very familiar with Gerald Nordley's excellent work in Analog Magazine. It is just one really interesting panel after another. Why the hell did I wait so long to come to something like this?
The last panel for the day for me was What can mystery teach science fiction? Quite a bit apparently. Mystery or detective or crime fiction has long history of association with SF. Asimov is a perfect example of a writer who wrote in both genres.
From left to right (above) - Don A. Timm, Alastair Reynolds, Jack Bell, Peter M Ball and Jay Caselberg who filled in for Sean Williams who was unable to attend.
And that was it for day two. Only time enough now for me to snap a couple of pictures of venue in the twilight and then catch a train home. I'm looking forward to day three.
Inside the venue - Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.
View of the venue (MECC) from a bridge across the Yarra River.
Trams on Spencer Street.
Southern Cross Station formerly known as Spencer Street Station.