There were a couple of things on at 4pm that sounded interesting. Something about geoengineering with Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Benford and the intriguingly titled Just A Minute. Just A Minute didn't have any notes describing what it was about but China Mieville and John Scalzi were on the panel so I thought I'd check that one out. There was quite a crowd lined up outside of Plenary 1 for Just A Minute. Whatever it was going to be it looked popular. By the way, a plenary is an auditorium or a theatre at a convention centre but in the dictionary it means full, complete, entire or meeting. We all milled around the entrance to the plenary for few minutes because apparently there'd been a double booking. An executive decision was made by someone and we all trooped down to plenary 3. Again we, including the panel members Scalzi and Mieville, milled around waiting to be let in. After some time, the panel was close to 30 minutes late by then, the signal was given to go back plenary 1 where, finally, we trooped in.

This was the biggest panel I've been to so far. Paul Cornell and his partner Caroline Symcox, Jennifer Fallon, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Cat Valente, China Mieville, John Scalzi and Ellen Kushner. Just A Minute is a BBC radio comedy gameshow. The object of the game is for the panellists to talk for Just A Minute on a nominated subect "without repetition, hesitation or deviation". If a panellist hesitates, repeats a word or deviates from the topic another panellist can interrupt with a challenge. If the challenge is successful the challenger gets a point and continues to speak on the topic for however long is left of the original 60 seconds until he or she is challenged. If a challenge is unsuccessful the original speaker gets the point and continues speaking. Obviously this leads to much hilarity. In the end the panel hilariously degenerated into the Scalzi Mieville show with Scalzi, in the end, winning on points.

From left to right -
Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Jennifer Fallon, Caroline Symcox, Paul Cornell, John Scalzi, Ellen Kushner, Cat Valente and China Mieville.

Below is some video of the panel I shot on my little Lumix LX-3. The audio is a bit crappy and the video is comprised of about 6 shorter videos cut together so the there is not much in the way of continuity but it should give a decent taste of the show. If you view it in full screen mode or over on Youtube you can watch it in HD.

Because the panel went over time because of the late start I was late getting to Kim Stanley Robinson's book signing. I only had one book to sign - I'd got a bunch signed last time he was in Sydney (I saw a signed Red Mars on sale here for $125). With only 20 to 25 minutes left to sign the queue still stretched half way across the room. I'd also ordered a shitload of souvenir t-shirts from the t-shirt vendor to be picked up before 6pm. A clash of deadlines. Get the book signed or pick up t-shirts? I did the only thing I could think of and do both. Co-queuers, a father and daughter, offered to hold my place, and book, in the queue so I could go and sort out my t-shirts. There was another guy in the queue I kept running into at signings. He was dragging a wheeled shopping bag thing around filled with books. We chatted every time we ran into each other. Good people these con goers.

After trying and failing to pay for the shirts from Fo' Paws for 10 minutes because their credit card device wasn't connecting, I told them I would have to get cash and come back after closing if I could. I raced back around to the KSR queue with 10 minutes to go. We were still about 20 people from Kim when the convention volunteers policing the queue said that Kim would be finishing at 6 and we may not make it. They started handing out tickets for the next day just in case. Unfortunately for me the next day's signing was scheduled for 2pm. I was hoping to be on my way to the airport at that time. Bugger. Luckily for those of us that were left in the queue we were able to get our books signed today. Crisis averted.

I still didn't have my t-shirts though. Luckily, again, there was an ATM conveniently located within the convention centre. A good 5 minutes walk but still on site. After a bit negotiating with the volunteers manning the door to the dealers room to let me back in I picked up and paid for my t-shirts.

And that was it for day 3 at Aussiecon Four. Day 4 is next.