The Globe waswondrous. A recreation -- the original burned down in 1613 when they set off a cannon for a cannon sound effect (efficient, that), and a spark caught the thatched roof with three thousand people inside. Amazingly, none died. Thatched roofs were banned in London in 1666 (see Great Fire of London), and this recreation (completed in 1997) is the first (and only) thatched roof in London in hundreds of years. So my fingers did not rest quite where Shakespeare's did on the door, but I walked the yard where he paced, undoubtedly insulting his actors with great imagination and vigor.
It was amazing enough just wandering through the space. We also stayed and saw a play, Anthony and Cleopatra, which I'm a bit embarrassed to say I'd never read or seen before. The actors did a tremendous job making it comprehensible, and the lead playing Cleopatra, Eve Best, was so, so good. She had a very Emma Thompson intelligence and charm about her; reminded me of Emma in The Tall Guy. Highly recommended, if you have a little time.
Perhaps the best part was the outdoorness of it. The sun beating down could be uncomfortable, but the pigeons swooped through randomly and beautifully. And it started to rain a little right at perfect moment near the end. And that might have happened, just like that, sun and pigeons and rain and all, four hundred years ago. Though Cleopatra would have been played by a young man instead. Still, magical.
How do I love these book art benches? Let me count the ways
The clouds are amazing here -- I may have taken a few too many cloud photos. We wandered through the Festival of Love. The guy making masses of giant bubbles had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Wished my kids could've seen it.
The London Eye is the most touristy thing I've done in a long, long time. There are queues, even if you buy a fast track ticket in advance. And then it goes up VERY slowly. And comes down equally slowly. And you are sealed in a little capsule and no wind in your face, which somehow seems sad. I did like that they had a little digital guide you could click through to help you identify the various landmarks, and tell you about them. But I'm afraid I was done with that about a quarter of the way through the trip. Jed liked it, though.
We ended the day taking a riverboat to our hotel, which was WONDERFUL. If I could figure out a way to make a riverboat part of my daily commute, that would make me so happy. Sun and wind and water, yes. London Bridge is thankfully not falling down, but it does lookinteresting, right up against modern glass buildings like the Shard.
I quite like the green glass buildings, much like the ones that mimic the shape of the Chicago River. And yet, I'm not sure how I feel about the aesthetic mixing of all these styles. Some of them, like the big white metal tubes and such seemless than harmonious, next to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I wonder, in a few decades, whether we'll look back at all our big white tubes and see them as a painful moment in architectural history. But I suppose we can't build castles forever.
OR CAN WE???
Last bit of our sightseeing day. The Battle of Canary Wharf was a major conflagration in earth's history, according to Doctor Who, anyway. Thankfully, the physical integrity of the universe was successfully defended.
More clouds, with the silhouetted city below. Our hotel (and the convention) are in a more industrial area of the city, called Docklands. Also here is what at first looked like a giant emerging (John Christopher) tripod, but apparently is actually a concert venue. Or so they claim!
We needed to cross to the other side of the river to get to our hotel, so we had an excuse to ride the rather ridiculous Emirates Air Line. Ridiculous, and yet, oddly charming. We had one of the little cars to ourselves, which might have been romantic if it weren't for the informational video about the history of Docklands that apparently, one cannot turn off. Oh well. River and sky, all good.
And that's the end of Mary Anne and Jed's Grand Day in London, curated by Katie Roberts, who sent us a detailed itinerary that we mostly followed. Thanks, Katie! :-)
Totally planned to swing dance to big band music at Retro Hugos tonight, but have just begged out of Kaffeeklatsch halfway through in order to come back to room and lie down. But I have a dress bought esp. for occasion! And feathers! But falling down! Maybe I can still go to the dance and just do a falling down type dance?? I'm sure that will go well.
Have just realized that tonight's dance is 1930s (and late at that), and not 1920s. Am afraid I will be the only one in sleek black flapper garb. Ironic, because I probably HAVE a cheerfully bright 1930s/1940s style dress in my closet, possibly more than one -- they are much more suited to my figure than the flat-chested straight-up-and-down flapper style. Will I go to the dance anyway, despite clearly failing to get the memo about the dress code? Doubly ironic, given that I am worrying about whether I'm wearing the right thing to a SCI FI CONVENTION event. Sigh.
Jed and I went to the Retro Hugos ceremony last night, where Mary Robinette Kowal was co-hosting a very amusing show, interrupted by periodic radio broadcasts re: a Martian invasion. It was followed by a swing dance, and thanks to a quick lesson from her and some internet guidelines, Jed and I managed to do a reasonably creditable job of not falling over our own two feet. It was undoubtedly unwise, given that I was up half the night coughing afterwards and continue to cough today -- I am coughing as I type this -- and yet, I cannot regret. Dancing!
I'm ensconced at a table in front of the Cornish Bakehouse, having just consumed a sausage bun (not bad, but not as good as a pasty, what was I thinking?). Am vaguely planning to be here answering e-mail until around, where I head to the Green Room and fall into a slew of panels for the rest of the day.
This morning was the stroll with the stars -- I admit, I was a little cranky when my alarm woke me for it, but in the end, very glad I went. Lovely to talk with Paul Cornell, Ellen Datlow, Andy Duncan, Dominick Daunno, Adrian Faulkner and more.
Fascinating to see how they're deliberately transforming a pretty rough industrial district into residential areas, complete with grassy swards and tree-lined paths, even the occasional cottage. Having the river there is also a plus! Three or four Indian restaurants within a block or two, along with a host of other ethnic options. Does make me wonder what the locals think of it all -- are they in favor of this gentrification?
It's been a fairly frustrating convention so far because I keep meeting interesting people whom I want to have long conversations with, but I can't talk without doubling over into coughing fits, and also exhausted. Yesterday, by midday I had given up on talking to anyone and just saved my voice for my three-panels-in-a-row. Which I managed to make it through by chugging cough drops steadily through them, but it was a near thing. Then I tried to go to the Titan/Tor parties, but gave up after a few half-hearted conversations (sorry, old friends!) and went back to my room and slept for thirteen solid hours. Haven't tried talking yet, but hopefully today will be better. Everyone whom I failed to talk to yesterday -- it wasn't you, it's me. Aishwarya, Nin, Mark, etc. Hopefully today will be better.
I thought this was just so lovely. Ion P (whom I've failed to find on Facebook, though he assured me that's the name he went by) asked me to sign his notebook, and I was just so impressed by the beauty of his tiny notes. He was kind enough to let me photograph them. My own notes would be much more scribble-scrabble!
Me and Mark Oshiro -- Mark who Does Stuff. I was delighted to meet him in person, after he did such a funny, charming reading of the first two stories in The Stars Change. http://markreads.net/
Last night, as I said, I did try to swing by the parties. Gary Wolfe just looked so iconic, with his pipe and pose. Pictured withStacie, I think? Sorry! I was really losing names by this point in the evening. I didn't stay long enough to cut into the lovely book cake, but I did end up having a lovely dessert in my hotel room right before I collapsed and slept gazillion hours. I recommend the blueberry financier a la mode unto you.
At the end of the Strange Horizons party, Jed and I were sitting in a corner of the tent, just enjoying the all the lovely vibrant conversation and enthusiasm. So many young people, all excited about our magazine, and lots of older folks too. I felt quite grandmotherly, I admit. Look how big baby's gotten!
I have cropped this tall and thin to give you a sense of what it's like for me to stand next to the fabulous Geoff Ryman. If he were standing up, I think I might come to his belly button, but he graciously insisted on kneeling for this shot.
Our awards panel went reasonably well, though I was tired enough that I said a few dumb things. There is apparently a limit to how long I can be wise and witty while battling a cold.
Ah well -- there's a good quote somewhere about how you should leave the day's foolishness behind. If I weren't so tired, I'd remember who said it. They said it beautifully.
I got two paragraphs in The Guardian's coverage of LonCon (mostly about David Tennant, though).
A brief glimpse of five of our six Diversity in YA panelists. Fun conversation!!
I only had half an hour to swing by the Clarion West party, but I got a quick selfie with E. Lily Yu, and had a great conversation with a young Singapore-based writer, Manish Melwani.
And now we've seen the raw numbers -- SH came SO close. Well ahead in nominations, in the lead for the first three rounds of voting, lost by just 16 votes in the end. Congratulations again to Lightspeed, but look out next year -- we're coming for you!
And my last #LonCon3 photo -- I fly out early tomorrow morning and will miss the last day of the convention; need to get started on final semester prep, since classes start in a week. I found this sign amusing, and also smart. Me and Mary Robinette Kowal. She looks lovely, as always. I'm clearly tired enough that my sari is starting to slip off, after a long and tumultuous night -- there were quite a few highs and lows. And it's sad, as always, to be saying goodbye to these people -- but I'll see at least some of them in D.C. at World Fantasy. And you never know -- I might actually have my new SF book drafted by then. A girl can dream.
LonCon staff -- I had a lovely WorldCon, and the panels, in particular, were really splendid this year. Well done, you. I'm sure it wasn't perfect -- something this huge probably can't be, and you're undoubtedly dealing with difficulties already. But I hope you can take some satisfaction in having pulled off an immense undertaking, and having brought a lot of people a lot of joy. Thanks.
As a final note (no, really), I am glad that various folks are expressing their schadenfreude and outright glee about the Hugo results so amusingly, so I don't have to come up with anything clever. I am too tired and have too early a flight to follow the party all night long, but I admit, it is tempting.
"OH MY GOD THE SCI-FI LADY AUTHORS ARE IN THE STREETS OF LONDON BEATING MALE AUTHORS TO DEATH WITH HUGOS THIS IS IT THIS IS WHAT WE FEARED" -- Chuck Wendig
"I, for one, welcome our new sci-fi lady overlords! #hugoawards" -- Elaine Chen
"Huh, I think the Vox Day and Correia slate might have been the best thing to ever happen to the Hugo awards." -- Jackie M.
"I admit that instead of running through the streets burning down men's clubs, I was actually paying bills during the Hugos. #badfeminist" -- Kameron Hurley