Eastercon recap

Eastercon was a lot of fun as usual. It felt like the schedule was less busy than in previous years, but I still got to go to some interesting panels and talks. One of the highlights was the panel on black holes which was a last-minute addition to the program thanks to the recent announcement of the black hole images. This panel also talked about some general principles of astrophysics and the problems of “science by press release.” It’s also the only time I’ve heard an audience so enthusiastic about the subject of tensor calculus. Other highlights of the schedule included a talk on the way science is portrayed in movies (unfortunately there were technical difficulties so that session started late and ended up feeling a bit rushed), planning for the apocalypse (though I’m surprised it took half an hour for one of the panelists to suggest eating or executing by guillotine one of the other panelists), and the panel on administering fantasy worlds (which gave me a nice list of book recommendations to look into).

I was involved in a few items on the schedule. The first was an author reading on the Friday evening, which was a bit quiet. Most of the audience were friends of the other authors there as moral support, but one of the other people in the audience is apparently in charge of ordering stock at a Waterstones, and she was asking me questions about the availability of my books afterward, so I’m counting that as a win.

I was on a panel about anime recommendations which was the one I was a little worried about, because while I watch anime I’m by no means an expert on it. Still, I was able to make some suggestions based on my personal favourites and one of them got a whoop from someone in the audience, so presumably my suggestions had merit.

The one I was really looking forward to though was the panel on queer baiting in mass market films. This was with a couple of people who I’d done queer representation panels with before, so I knew we could have some good discussions, and we all got to vent over the examples we found most frustrating. We also got into discussions about queer-coding vs queer-baiting, whether TV is doing better than film in terms of representation, and what things looked like in different parts of the world. All in all, it was a very fun conversation and a few people came up to me afterwards to say it was a good panel or mentioned it on Twitter. There’s got to be something good about any panel that ends in a call for revolution (though frankly I’m surprised D lasted until the last 30 seconds for that (they said afterwards that they’d thought they might make it through one convention without publicly calling for revolution, but they couldn’t help themselves)).

Guardbridge Books, who are the publisher behind Wolf Unleashed, had a table there, so I got to have a nice catch up with my editor. I did a one hour book signing at their table, which turned into a long conversation about our favourite books and tropes we find frustrating with someone who bought a book and the bookseller who was manning another dealers’ table across from us. That was fun too.

I also recorded a couple of interview videos for my YouTube channel, so look out for those coming soon. One of them was about the submissions process from an editor’s perspective, which I’m hoping will be useful for new authors looking to send out their first books.

One of the really nice things about doing these conventions is seeing people I haven’t seen for ages. It was nice to catch up with D, who was one of the people on the queer-baiting panel, and I met up with Francesca and Robert from Luna Press who I’ve met at these events before and tend to only see once a year, and I had some nice chats with the couple from Books on the Hill.

I also managed to continue my tradition of being randomly given a bracelet. In the opening ceremony, someone came to sit next to me on the grounds that I looked familiar so we’d probably met at a convention before. We talked for a bit and I admired her bracelets, at which point she promptly took one off and gave it to me as a gift. This is the second Eastercon in a row where a near stranger has given me a bracelet. It’s a trend I’m happy to continue if anyone wants to give me one next year.

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