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» Saturday, May 28, 2016Panels Every Hour on the Hour
Let's say 7:45 came too quickly, but at least I slept well. Good thing, because it was a flurry of a morning: dog walking, backpack stocking, and then zipping off on the freeway to get to the hotel in time for breakfast. It's a great buffet, but oi, the price! $41 for the two of us. So we eat as much as we can and tuck away some for later.
My first panel was "The Wonderful and Ever Expanding World of Disney." I was delighted to find Zootopia fans here, including author Debbie Viguie (I ran into her later near the dealer's room and we talked Judy and Nick for five minutes)! We also talked about the "sequelitis" that plagued Disney for a while and if any of them were any good (personally, I liked Bambi II and Patch's London Adventure). There was a bit of chat of how beautifully Brave was animated, but how the plot vacillated. Surprised no one mentioned Jungle Book.
The following panel was about the current season of Doctor Who, with much discussion about Peter Capaldi's tour-de-force in "Heaven Sent." Like others on the panel, I'd been skeptical of 40 minutes of nothing but the Doctor, and remember how astonished I was that the 40 minutes were over so quickly.
I returned to James (and Clay and Maggi) in "Remembering the Classics" in the literature track. As well as speaking about Heinlein and Asimov and all the rest, going back to H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, we tried to define a classic and what made it classic, and what made it worth reading vs. "required reading." What works for one, we all know, doesn't work for others, and mention was made of Asimov's Foundation series. My best friend read this in high school and loved it, and gave me a set for Christmas. I read three pages and never could manage the rest.
Next was a great panel given in the British Pub track: "British History, the World Wars." Mark Heffernan said he originally wanted the panel to be about the Battle of the Somme, since it is the hundredth anniversary, but this was a more general chat about both wars, and how the first led to the second. We even talked about things that were kept secret about World War II for many years, like the facts about Bletchley Park. Louis Robinson revealed he once met Albert Speer in the BBC studios!
And finally, time for Paul McGann! After seeing people like Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, McGann seems quite reserved. He does talk with his hands, though! [girly reaction warning!] Goodness, his eyes are so blue! [that's it :-) ] It turns out he appeared in a film called Withnail and I, in which he played opposite Richard E. Grant, who has also played the Doctor. The majority of the discussion was about the television movie, but not many details "behind the scenes" were revealed. He did love working with Sylvester McCoy and loved the TARDIS design: that was a real set, and not CGI as it would have been today.
Next, a panel devoted to this year's NewYear's Sherlock special, "The Abominable Bride." Some folks wished it had been an actual, standalone Victorian mystery as opposed to a fantasy happening in Sherlock's mind as he tried to solve a mystery. Most of what everyone liked was the in jokes, and the homages to the Holmes canon.
Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Terry Molloy, and Paul McGann joined forces for "The BIG Big Finish Panel," in which all things audio drama were on topic. McGann's lengthy tenure as the Doctor in audio was discussed, of course, and how thrilling it was to have all his audio companions mentioned in the seven-minute video "The Night of the Doctor," but the different alternative adventures were also in evidence: the use of classic Doctors in new adventures, the companion stories, the tales set on Gallifrey. (Colin Baker, whose tenure was cut by a strike and then dismissal, also has had his sixth Doctor career extended via Big Finish, and the seventh Doctor and Ace had more adventures as well.) I only have a few of their CDs; I just can't afford them. And I never will catch up now! But I'd love to hear more. Their 50th anniversay special, "The Light at the End" was fabulous.
James had a panel at five, which I went to, a Book Club discussion based on the novel Ready Player One. He bought it just to read for this panel, but he said he enjoyed it because of the videogame theme. It sounds like it's sort of a Hunger Games riff, with an evil corporation and people trying to win a big prize by playing 1980s video games. The many 80s references in the story are due to the fact that the author is a 1980s junkie. Sue Phillips, who was conducting the panel, liked the story less, but admitted she was not fond of video games and could not relate to the character. However, at least once person in the audience said he identified with the protagonist and really loved the book.
"I Feel...Young: Star Trek at 50" was the next port of call, where Alice was in the front row. She has been a Trek fan since the series began. But we didn't discuss just the original series; we talked about Next Generation and the rest of the spinoffs (and how Enterprise was just getting good when they cancelled it). They clued us in to a interesting-looking set of books: These Are the Voyages, one book for each season! (Just FYI: they're cheaper at Barnes & Noble.)
Our final panel was "Why Fandom?" Well, because people of like interests have always gotten together. But, if because of those interests, people were thought of as outcasts, why then do fans fight against fans? So part of the discussion was about tribalism and exclusivity. Basically, even in fandom there are people who wish to be exclusive, but each fan should just accept everyone's interests so long as they do not hurt others or interfere with others' enjoyment.
I'd slipped out to use the bathroom about 7:45 and discovered the cabaret line forming outside the door. There was quite a long line for the cabaret, and people buying tickets up to the last minute, and soon we joined the queue.
Finally the traditional cabaret ending, a raffle giveaway, commenced. James won a spiffy poster and others received Who figurines, a stuffed TARDIS, a Who Yahtzee game, etc.
There was a "Gallifrey Game Night" and a Prince/Bowie singalong following, but we had to head home to our puppy, and pretty much straight to bed one more time. I miss the "pet friendly" hotel.