Yet Another Journal

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» Saturday, September 05, 2009
DragonCon, Day 2
A much easier morning: we rose about eight, I had some oatmeal and yogurt, read the comics, puttered in Webkinz. We still reached downtown early enough to have seen a 10 a.m. panel, but instead James had an omelet plate from Gorin's and I had a bagel with cream cheese at Peachtree Place.

Since we still had a little while before our first panel, we went into the second exhibition hall, the one I had missed yesterday. Well, we were doing well until we came upon this bookseller. He had the two sequels to Patricia Wrede's Sorcery and Cecilia (sequels I didn't know which existed until sometime this year), and also the first book in a duology, an alternative Elizabethan-era novel about sorcery and playwrights Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare, by Elizabeth Bear. I also bought the new Beatrix Potter mystery so I could charge the whole caboodle, since I want to save my cash for the garage.

Our first panel was in the Science track, "Celebrating Apollo 11." Basically we all reminisced about how we watched the moon landing and what it meant to us. Several younger people even talked about memories their parents had passed down to them. One man's mother-in-law had been one of the few female engineers who had worked at Grumman on the lunar module. Other folks' parents, like James' dad, had been involved in the companies supporting the space program in some way. One of the moderators was a Canadian who built a 4-foot high Apollo capsule in his room. Another man still had the cardboard "build your own lunar module" kits Gulf Oil used to give out.

Gosh, it was so nice to be with people who remembered how magic it all was.

We made a quick break out of there (this was in the Hilton), through the Marriott (thank God for that new bridge!), and to the Hyatt for the Babylon 5 cast panel...well, first we had to go up the stairs and all the way "behind" the building to wait in a queue until they let us in the room. (I say "behind" because we were actually at the front of the hotel on Peachtree Street.) This was a great, great panel. Leah Rosenthal was the moderator of this gang of jokers, consisting of Stephen Furst, Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Tracy Scoggins, and Peter Jurasik. Bruce and Claudia joked about killing off "Half-Pint" (Boxleitner's wife, Melissa Gilbert, who had a role on B5), Stephen Furst talked about turning up so flustered at his audition that he got the part simply from that, they all mentioned how dirty and smelly the B5 set was (on the site of an abandoned factory) and how the heavy costumes even smelled bad, and many other things were discussed, all with a large dose of fun, especially from Claudia Christian, who is irreverent and quite hilarious. (Tracy Scoggins, I think, got the biggest laugh, though, when she was asked how it was working on Lois and Clark with Teri Hatcher: "Well, if you had six months left to live, you should do it in Metropolis, because it would have seemed a lot longer." LOL!)

Photos below: entire panel, with Leah Rosenthal third from right, then Stephen Furst, Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Tracy Scoggins, and Peter Jurasik:








The next panel was in the Alternative History track and was about how history is portrayed in movies purportedly about that event. Some of the panel below (I wasn't familiar with most of the people; the gentleman at the podium was an expert in the Scots, the woman in the hat a Revolutionary War reinactor, the redhaired lady had a degree in history, and the gentleman in the hat was of partial Native American heritage; other members of the panel were experts in other areas of history).



They chatted about movies like The Patriot (a major offender!), Dances With Wolves, Troy, The 300, and others. One thing we concluded is that the panel either needed to be longer or split into genres, like military films, Westerns, adventures, etc. There just wasn't enough time, even with them setting a 5-minute limit on the films.

James wanted to go to the Dealer's Room as they were saving something for him that he wanted to buy as a Christmas gift, so we left the Hyatt and descended into the madness that was the Marriott. I mean...really. The ballroom level was a mob scene, so clotted with people it looked like New Year's Eve in Times Square. The racket of all those voices were horrendous.

We stopped by the exhibitors' hall before we went downstairs so I could pick up the Gremlins book. This was a story written by Roald Dahl when he was in the RAF during World War II, which Disney had planned to make into a cartoon. That deal fell through, but the concept art still existed, so they had turned it into a book. It was only $5, and when I got there there was another book I had heard about, but never seen, a coffee table book by Sylvia Anderson called My FAB Years, about her work with her husband Gerry and the series Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Fireball XL-5, etc. This was only $10, so I had to grab it.

After James had picked up his purchase in the dealer's room, we just walked outside, where it was hot, humid, but blessedly uncrowded and relatively quiet. Wow. Have the fire marshals seen that mob? Anyway, we walked to the parking garage and dumped off our load of books (James found three bound volumes of "Steve Canyon" comics), then went back over the bridge to Peachtree Place to cool off in the A/C and have some Gorin's ice cream. We have been spoilt by Brusters...this stuff is truly awful, and it was soft and melting, too.

Next we went back to the Hyatt. Since it was too early for the next panel, we strolled through Artists Alley and James bought me a cute little print: cartooned images of Harry Potter (with his patronus), Hermione Granger (with her wand, of course, and Crookshanks the cat), and Ron Weasley getting Owl Post from Pigwidgeon. (Yes, "Pig" is what sold the picture.) We also said hi to Andy Runton, then went around the art show. The "intestinal" (gross) art is still minimal, and we saw some nice pieces. No great spacescapes, but I bought James a print of a dragon attacking a Sopwith Camel, very visually arresting. I also found a lovely small print of a blue falcon with its wings forming a rainbow below. I said to James: "That's what Schuyler probably wants to be" and bought it on the spot.

This next panel was about the challenges and rewards of writing alternative history/time travel novels, and included Jana Oliver (the "Time Rovers" books), Eric Flint (1632 and sequels among others), and S.M. "Steve" Stirling, whom James has just begun reading. (I can't recall the name of the moderator at left, or the other young woman on the right, who publishes a science fiction magazine.)



They chatted about the popular time periods for alternative fiction, especially the Civil War and World War II, and how some of the settings, especially Gettysburg, seem to be overused, and how other pivotal periods, such as World War I, are often ignored, about how your own worldview as well as your lead character's perceives society at that time, about whether the character or the time period initially drove the book, and gave responses to other questions from the audience. Quite enjoyed it as I enjoy well-written alternative fiction.

It was time for the last panel, and here we split: James to the Marriott for a gaming panel, while I went to the Brit Track's "Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey" panel about David Tennant's last days in the role of the Doctor. As always, the panel began by ribbing themselves—here Alan Siler looks on as Rob Levy reads "The Top Ten Reasons Caro McCully [the head of BritTrack] is Tired" to Caro:


and Rob "in the Hat" Bowen, Jorge, and Maranda look bemused.


Much of the beginning of the panel was taken up with discussing how young the new Doctor (Matt Smith) looks—one person asked dryly, "Will the next doctor be old enough to shave?"—and how everyone will miss Tennant, as he has really left a positive mark on the series. Also much speculation on how the new producer, Stephen Moffat, will change the show's tone. Smith's Doctor is already being described as a combination of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy with an overlay of Patrick Troughton. Also wondering whether some favorite characters, like Sally Sparrow, whom Moffat created, will return.

At the end of the panel some spoilers were offered, and many people left so as not to hear them. Sorry, I'm "into" spoilers. So don't highlight between the exclamation points if you don't want to know the spoilers: !Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and J.K. Rowling have all been approached to write scripts. The Master will return in the series finale. The Daleks will appear in Matt Smith's first story. Harriet Jones, Martha Jones, Mickey, Rose, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, and Rose will all return in Tennant's finale, as well as the woman from the bus who made the prediction to the Doctor. Derek Jacobi and John Sim will both return as the Master, but Jacobi only for narration. A person in a Time Lord costume is seen in a publicity photograph, so there is a possibility some of the Time Lords survived the Time War. It sounds as if River Song will be back, as we were told it will help to watch "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" before you watch the two-part finale.!

And now it was really time to go home, get cool, have a nibble and a drink!

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