Plans for the year

I am currently planning on visiting two international Conventions, Eastercon and Worldcon.

Eastercon is the British national convention, and moves around the united kingdom every year, with different groups organizing it. This year will be in Scotland and is called Satelite 4 I have applied to be on the program, but doubt i will get much. Most of my time will be pushing Shamrokon.

Worldcon, is a convention that moves around the world, though tends to be US based. This is a historical thing, and this is changing. This year is in London, Loncon 3, next year is in Spokane (Washington state),Sasquan. This is basically one of the longest running Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions in the world. the First one occurred in 1939 at the New York Worlds Fair, this is where the name originally came form.

So my two international cons this year are both in the UK. I had hoped to make it to Swecon (Swedish National Convention) in June, or to Finncon (Finnish National Convention) in July,  but looking at finances that is almost certainly not going to happen.

Locally I will probably get to a number of Dublin Gaming and Anime cons. Will try to get a Ticket for Dublin Comic Con as well.

I will also be at Shamrokon which is taken place at the end of this August .

Chinese Worldcon

So a few days ago a friend discovered information about a bid to run a World con in Beijing in 2016. Here is the website, it is in Chinese, But a translate program is interesting.

People who have friends in Chinese fandom have identified the parties, and where the idea came from. Without going into too much detail, it is unlikely that such a bid would win at the site selection this year. However i think a Chinese World con would be a very interesting thing to have happen.

While there may be issues around how much control the Chinese government might have over programme, these are questions that we should wait until we have an actual bid team around to ask questions of.

For me, i would love a Chinese Worldcon as I would love to visit Beijing and the surrounding area. There is also a chance to meet some Chinese fans and see how Chinese fandom works.

of course this then leaves us wondering when would be best for them to bid?

If you look at the bid years that are around, there are no open years for a long time (There is a declared intention to bid for every year out until 2022)

So doing some analysis on the best year for such a bid, I think we can ignore 2017, as four bids is already more than enough, and I don’t think we want the War of the Five Bids.

2018 has two US bids, and China might have a chance there, However this is a case where the voters for two US bids would be more likely to Stay in the US.  At the Site selection in 2013 votes transferred from Orlando at a rate of approximately 2 to 1 to the other US Bidder. So avoiding 2018 is probably a good idea.

For obvious reasons I would prefer not to have them enter the 2019 bid race. Though this is the first year without a US bidder in the Race. The same can be said for 2020, for which New Zealand declared an interest in a long time ago. No one is bidding against them as yet and they have a lot of popular support among regular Worldcon attendees/voters.

the bids in 2021 and 2022 only have a single bidder each, Texas and Chicago, who hosted the 2013 and 2012 world cons. Which means they are also good places to bid.

I think the earliest that a Chinese bid would have a chance would be 2019. However as people who have not had much of a presence at a worldcon, it might be better for them to spend a few years running small parties and introducing themselves around, with a target to bid for 2021 or later.

Seven years sounds like a lot, but it means they have two years to introduce themselves at London and Spokane, then three years of bidding, with a vote in 2019. That is of course if they can actually get entrance Visas to the US…

Worldcon Travel Plans

So i still haven’t booked my flights for Worldcon in Texas in about 2 months….

I need to clear some money off of my Credit card first, but should hopefully have that done soon, I.e i have paid money, just waiting for it to clear.

The current front runner in flights involves flying through Atlanta on the way, and through New York, JFK on the way back. Not too bad, though with nine hours in New York, a little bit of extra tourism could be on the way.

The other thing i did, was look at how much it would cost to rent a car for the time i will be in Texas, and while more than i really should spend, is not to crazy for a Car slightly smaller than my own. Americans like big cars, so the compact size is pretty much standard here.

So if all goes well, i will be in Texas from the day before Worldcon, to the Friday After, though leaving early on the Friday and spending nine hours in New York. I will probably rent the car from the Tuesday to the Friday morning if i do rent one.

I wonder is anyone else doing a similar time period, and would like to do Tourism stuff?

[Review] Star Trek: Into Darkness

So a quick not a review of this movie that i saw a couple of weeks back, while still on a break from blogging.

This is a movie that was trying very hard to be aware of its source material, while also showing the changes the original movie had made. It introduced a main cast member, who reflected a lot on the changes from the original timeline, once you worked out who they were in the orignal timeline.

This is a movie that I enjoyed, but only by turning off my brain.

The Kirk in this series is even more reckless and out of control than the original timeline. Most of this is because he has never completed his time in the academy, he has never had to serve his time learning how to be a captain from others.  He is upset with Spock because Spock followed the rules and didn’t tell Kirk he was going to. Anyone who knows Spock, knows the rules will be followed.

The major problem i have with this movie, and the end of the first is that NO rational organization would give control of a Starship with hundreds of crew to a man-child like Kirk. While it made a small bit of sense in the crazy out of control moments of the first film for Kirk to take command, this sense would not hold after the end of the crisis.

Once you realize that Star Fleet is not rational the movie, plot-holes and all become much more believable.

This is not Star Trek, at least not in the modern sense, though it is a lot closer to the 1960’s version than people might like to admit. This is a world where greek gods are hiding out on planets, where there are beings of incredible power, who do not know Lightspeed is not infinite. It is a crazy world, and so too is Starfleet

I am undecided how i feel about this movie, and indeed the entire reboot, i think it shall take another watch or two, and that can wait for the DVD, or more likely Netflix.

 

[Review] Old Mans War

booksSo a book club in Dublin that I am looking at joining was this month reading The name of the Wind by Patrick Roftuss, and John Scalizi’ Old mans war. Having already read The Name of the wind back in 2011, i really only needed to read this to be ready for the book club.

The book is simply a tale of an old man, who chooses to enlist in the space army to be rejuvenated and get a new lease on life in the colonies after his term of service.

There are some very interesting elements in the book. For example the old people who sign up to join this army have no idea how they will be rejuvenated, however they are perfectly willing to do so, as the chance of dying in the ten years after they could enlist apparently runs in the very high likelihood.

So at first the book is asking, would you jump for a lifeboat, if you didn’t know how it worked?

After it is explained how it is done we get a short training montage, and then off to see the war in action.

I have often heard this work been described as very similar to a Heinlein story been told in a modern way by a modern author. I can defiantly see a lot of elements that would remind me of that. The training montage is similar to a lot of things in Starship Troopers, also our hero is in the Heinlein mould. He is someone who gets things done, thinks about his actions but when the time comes knows which way to jump.

I loved a lot of the technology within the book with things like the Skip Drive FTL technology been very interesting, though the explanation of how the it works gives me a headache. I suspect that in universe it is a concept that really is badly explained by the english language, and would be better if you could get the maths. I won’t try to explain it here, but it is a variant of an FTL transit system I don’t think I have encountered before.

Another interesting idea is the BrainPal. A computer in your head, that can send and receive messages, and will learn to respond to your wants and needs before you can articulate them. I admit that i want one.

The big problem I have with the book, is that there is no real reason to keep how the rejuvenation will be done a secret. At least none that is explained within the book. Also the disparate technology level between Earth and the CDF makes little sense, why keep a major source of what could be a production centre so behind the tech curve that they can’t help, even while you fight what seems like a total war!

The book itself was Hugo nominated in 2006 and the Author won the John W. Campbell award for new writers.

I have gotten the second book in the series, and look forward to reading it.