Saturday, June 1, 2013

BayCon Redux

I'm alive, barely. I came home with Con Crud from BayCon and have spent most of the last few days unconscious, which is the best way to spend a period of physical misery IMO. I'm feeling almost alive again, yay.

The convention was fun. I saw some friends I only (or almost only -- depends on the year) see at BayCon, and that's always cool. Even if the convention itself wasn't really that great, I'd still go to see old friends. Lois McMaster Bujold was the writer GOH, and I went to a couple of her panels, a reading and an interview.

For the reading, she read a couple of chunks of a novella in the Vorkosiverse, which she said might not ever be published because of structural issues, so those of us in the room might well be the only fans who ever get to experience even a piece of it. That'd be a shame -- it's from Ekaterin's POV (which was apparently one of the problems, but anyway) and was about how the guy who developed the butterbugs modified a strain of bugs to eat radioactive foliage and such, and concentrate the "hot" matter in their feces, which the bugs were trained to deposit in central collection areas. So basically, the idea was to release these bugs into Miles's glassy crater (which isn't so glassy anymore, but is still very radioactive) and let them do their thing. Clean up the glowy poop periodically and shoot it into the sun, or dump it down a particularly active subduction zone, whatever you want to do with it, and eventually the land will be habitable again. Of course there's a kink in the cable, and things get interesting, and that's about where she stopped reading. :) I hope she fixes the problems some day, because this was the beginning of a fun story.

I've heard Ms. Bujold speak before, and I've always enjoyed listening to her. She's a good reader, too -- I dragged my husband to one of her readings at a WorldCon back when, and that persuaded him to start reading the Vorkosigan books. If you have a chance to see her, take it.

The masquerade was small this year, but there were a lot of cool costumes. My favorite was Erin Mittman, who did "Dess from the Midnighters, by Scott Westerfeld." I've never read that book, so I have no idea how close she was to the original. But what I loved was her prop work -- young girl in a black costume, it was decent, whatever. But she had this long spear she carried, and the spear had a length of fishing line at the pointy end, attaching it to a big, black fly/spider-like monster made as a balloon animal. For her presentation, she "fought" the monster, and it looked awesome. :D The balloon creature was light and floaty, so at times it sort of hovered, and at times it darted around, depending on what she was doing with her spear. It was the best fighting-a-monster act I've ever seen at a masquerade, where the monster wasn't another person in a costume. Major kudos to Ms. Mittmann; I hope we see more of her at future cons.

Best Workmanship went to Shael Hawman, for "Knit Klingon." I think she was the woman who did the crocheted Wonder Woman costume last year, but I'm not sure. This was great, though, and I actually liked it more than the WW costume. The announcer said that everything above her boots was either knit or crocheted, and it looked awesome.

Best in Show was a black woman named J.B. (that's all that's in the newsletter, unfortunately, and I don't remember whether more of a name was announced during the competition) who was an "Intergalactic Amazon Warrior." The costume was decent, and I liked that it wasn't low cut or slit up to here or anything; it was a warrior costume, not a "sexy-whatever" costume playing for catcalls. What was really cool, though, was her presentation. She had a sword (looked kind of like a katana, although I didn't get a close look) and she had a dance/kata routine she did with it that looked really good. A lot of costumers can't move very well, and look awkward or self-conscious, but J.B. must have practiced this, and it looked very good. Another one I hope to see more of in the future.

Luckily my con crud didn't hit until I was on my way home, so I had a great time at the convention itself. Ironically, I actually did some writing at the convention (although not quite enough to make my quota for the week) but I haven't managed any at all since I got home. :/ I hope to fix that tonight and tomorrow, although I'll probably blow my quota again. That's okay; I'm way ahead for the year so far, and if I had a day job, I'd definitely have taken these days off, so I don't feel bad about taking them off writing too.

Still hacking and light-headed,



Suzan Harden said...

Don't be so hard on yourself on the word count. Con crud is part of the reason I haven't gone to one in years. I'd be down for at least two weeks to a month. Besides, cultivating those friendships are important, and you're ahead for the year!

Charles Gramlich said...

so many good books, so little time. I've been remiss in my Bujold reading.

Angie said...

Suzan -- since I figured out how to control my travel sickness (the weird, 3-days-after-flying thing) I'm usually fine at cons. Every now and then, though, something will grab me. I don't know whether it's the con itself, or something picked up at the airport or on the plane, or what. [sigh] But yeah, stuff like this is one of the reasons I've kept pushing during the good times, even though I'm way ahead of quota for the year. :)

Charles -- Bujold is definitely worth making room for in your reading time. The Vorkosiverse starts with Shards of Honor, but the Chalion books are good too -- nice exploration of religion, starts with Curse of Chalion -- and The Sharing Knife (also a series, starts with that book) has one of the few really unique magic systems I've seen in a fantasy. Chalion has three books while Sharing Knife has four. The Vorkosiverse has fifteen, but that's a feature rather than a bug, once you get into it. :)