Monday, July 27, 2009

Satellite 2

I spent this weekend at Satellite 2, an SF con celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings. It was the first time that I've been to a con since Concussion, which was Eastercon 2006. This was much smaller than Concussion or Interaction (the previous year's WorldCon) and felt more intimate.

The two-day programme was pretty tightly packed, meaning that I had to miss some interesting-sounding stuff and also didn't spend an awful lot of time in the bar. It also meant that I was up at a time of day on Saturday that I had previously refused to acknowledge actually existed. The organisers had thankfully not scheduled anything that I particularly wanted to see at silly O'Clock on Sunday, which meant that I got a more of a lie in that day :-).

The guest of honour was Iain M. Banks, someone who I had never heard speak before but turned out to be eloquent, funny and a really nice guy. I took the opportunity (which I probably wouldn't have done at a larger con) to buy him a drink and have a conversation with him (under the guise of getting a book signed) in the bar later and he turned out to be just as nice and entertaining as he had been on the platform. Mind you, I don't know how many pints he had had by that point ;-). It's a shame I never made it to the Dead Laika Party at the end of the con, but everyone I was with was too tired or had other reasons for leaving early and I didn't really fancy hanging around on my own.

The whole thing was great fun and although I'm disappointed that Albacon 2010 got cancelled due to lack of advance signup, I'm considering going to Odyssey 2010 (next year's Eastercon in London). The only problem is that single rooms are already sold out, so I'd need to find someone to share a twin room with. If anyone's interested, do let me know.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Putting the Science in Science Fiction

I must admit that I am one of those people whose teeth grind at bad science in SF (oddly, the tritium in Spider-Man 2 is one of the worst offenders for me) and the idea that Torchwood are going to CERN sort of fills me with dread. However, this article by CERN's spokesman puts a much more positive spin on the idea. His thesis is that all publicity is good publicity and any awareness-raising of what CERN is and what it does is positive.

Maybe I do worry too much about the accuracy of science in what is, after all, entertainment, but I'm just somewhat worried about the lack of understanding in the general populace of the science and technology that keeps our civilisation afloat, and the mass media (although I'm not sure just how much that Radio 4 counts in that regard :-)) certainly should have their role to play in that.

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