Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

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» Saturday, August 31, 2013
DragonCon, Day 2

Once again, it will have to be the short, short version.

Since neither of us had panels at ten, we toyed with going in late; but we were both up at 7:40 anyway (damn nature calling). We'd left Willow out in an experiment, which she passed (no mess to clean up), so we decided to try a longer one and leave her out today. (Alas, she flunked. Two puddles when we got home, not on the potty pad, which she used four days in a row while in the bathroom and which we left out, right near the recliner where she sleeps, but near her water dish.)

Anyway, traffic was much better today, and we went down Ivan Allen Boulevard again, where people were already lining up with chairs at the curb for the DragonCon parade. Well, we've never seen the parade...

By the time we finished breakfast, there weren't any curbside seats left, of course, but we still stood outside the CVS at Peachtree Center and saw what we could see for about an hour. Thank God for a small breeze! It started out with flags and some military, and then all the groups, from Star Trek to BritTrack (with Sylvester McCoy in the parade) to anime and videogames of all flavors; there were multi-television Batmans and Robins, and a nice Dark Knight, Superman and Captain America, even more superheroes and superhero villains, Marvin the Martian, dragons (of course), no less than three EctoOne's from Ghostbusters, military vehicles, a contingent of 1940s re-enactors with a real 48 star flag, adults, children, men, women, Firefly fans and Buffy folks, and all other things wonderful. We both got some bad pictures because of the distance.

I want a better camera!

James had a brief sit-down because his knees were hurting, then he went off to his panels and I went off to my first, at the Hilton, about the Doctor Who classic series. The main speaker was John Levene (Sgt. Benton), and, as with all Levene panels, is mostly about Levene, because he loves to talk so, in between telling terrible jokes (one he told was in "Backwoods Home" last month). He did talk about the original Master (Roger Delgado), how he found out only after he died how much Jon Pertwee thought of him via a lost interview, about recording an album, his shock about hearing about Lis Sladen's death, his friendship with Ringo Starr. He was born in 1941 and almost did not survive, and says his first memory is from age three, watching the skys darken with the bombers heading for Normandy and D-Day.

Next was the British audio panel. I had to laugh, because there was one young man who thought it was the Neil Gaiman panel (he had the wrong day), but who was too polite to walk out on the panel (Alan Siler of Timegate, Sacha Dzuba from ARTC, and Josh Wilson). He asked "What is a British audio drama?" So...we told him: Big Finish, lost adventures, other stories, Companion Chronicles, and the whole kit and kaboodle, with original Doctors and companions, all the scenery supplied by your imagination. (Or as Victor Comstock, in the glorious words of Rupert Holmes, explained it so well: "And therein lies the magic: tens of thousands of people out there, listening, each envisioning their own motion picture of the mind. And that is what we give our audience...[w]e give them dreams. We give them towers and landscapes, secrets and revelations. We give them a warm hearth in the dark—or a cold shiver up their spine.")

Anyway, I should have taken notes! And yes, we pushed BBC Radio 4X like "billy-o."

"Doctor Who Canon" was a crowded and fun panel with Lars Pearson trying to fit puzzling script moments into the official timeline: the eighth doctor being "half human," the Valeyard in "Trial of a Time Lord," the Doctor's age (why was Eccleston younger than McGann?), and what is canon: just television? the books, too? the audios? (Without the audios Paul McGann's Doctor barely exists.) One audience member even had something he'd never thought of before. (How do you fit it in? Isn't that what fanfic is for? LOL.)

I cut through the Courtland garage and Peachtree Center as an easier way to the Westin hotel and the panel "The Use of Magic in Urban Fantasy," which included Jim Butcher (the Dresden files), Laurel Hamilton (Anita Blake), and D.B. Jackson, whose Thieftaker I just finished. They talked about the mechanics of their magic, how they want it to make sense: for instance Jackson's comes from incantations and blood, Laura Anne Gilman's from electricity. One had a shapeshifter character who must lose something of herself if she transfers into an animal smaller than herself. All of them say their magic is a combination of something you are born with, but which takes education to use properly and wisely. Oh, and Jim Butcher is growing his hair out again, which will probably please the fans who were disappointed when his long hair was shorn last year.

My phone connection sucked all day—Verizon has horrible coverage in downtown Atlanta; nothing in the Hyatt or Marriott at all and little in the Hilton, but I did get a signal in the Westin. James had called me to tell me that McFarland publishing was here, that they were "in the hallway near the first level." Since there's a bridge from the new Dealer's Room location, the Atlanta "America's Mart," I walked it, just intending to look for a few minutes, intending to walk down the hill to Peter Davison's panel in the Sheraton. Well, this was a mistake; I only found them when I was ready to walk out—horribly confusing. I saw a couple of interesting books, but just grabbed a list, and then walked down the slope of Andrew Young Boulevard. By then I had done too much thinking that the weekend was half over and was a little blue; although I found the Grand Ballroom, instead of going in, I went downstairs to the British Literature panel instead. A very small and slow panel, but it quieted me down.

Now, I'd toyed with going back to the Westin to join James at his last panel (which he said later wasn't very good), but why go all the way back up there? And, besides, this was probably the only chance I'd have to see Carole Barrowman, John Barrowman's sister, who is doing a series of books with him for young adults (they've already done a Torchwood book). So I stayed for the "Doctor Who Universe Round Table," with Alan moderating, artist Kelly Yates, and Ms. Barrowman (Lars Pearson was supposed to be on the panel but didn't arrive).

Best panel decision all day! Kelly was great and Alan had a good time moderating, but Carole is a riot. She is a self-proclaimed "loudmouth" and kept everyone in stitches. My mom would have called her "a hot sketch." She's an English teacher; wish I could have studied under her! She talked about everything from the book series—starts with twins, boy and girl, who discover that what they draw comes alive; in an art gallery, they draw themselves into a painting and suddenly are being chased; the first book is Hollow Earth—to growing up with John (they were eight years apart and struck sparks off each other; they have an utterly mundane businessman brother between them), to their reaction when John got cast in Doctor Who, a favorite of theirs (basically "Squeeeeeeee!"), to questions about writing. One girl asked her for writing tips (write! keep a journal! write at least a sentence a day!), another guy if being related to John got them any "ins" in getting their book published (no). Someone asked that, having seen John's antics on stage, if it wasn't hard collaborating with him. Carole tossed off that she could always take revenge by killing off Captain Jack.

Kelly also talked about not being obsessed with art as a child, but developing his interest in college, and working on the 50th anniversary comic book series. He's working on the 50th anniversary comic series, which I really have to see if I can find. Or maybe they will collect them in a compilation volume.

At about five minutes of eight, Alan pointed to the back of the room for one last question.

"First of all," says a voice from the back of the room, "you can't kill me off, I'm immortal."

Yes, it was brother John, having been sitting in the back of the room the entire time. Of course everyone shrieked and took pictures.

He actually did have a question, too, for Kelly, about using storyboarding.

A nice surprise to end out the evening.

Talked to Caran Wilbanks for a few minutes before going out to the corner to meet James trudging down the hill to join me. We headed home without incident, cleaned up Wil's little indiscretion, and relaxed for a bit.

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