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In our last instalment of ‘Eastercon’, we went through Friday, including the True Love and Trophies panel starring Yours Truly. Today I intend to work through the events of Saturday…

 

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The ‘Balancing the Creative Life’ panel.

 

 

I had a late start on Saturday and a relatively easy day. I turned up at 1pm in time for a panel which I felt was very relevant to me – Balancing the Creative life. This starred Tony Ballantyne as moderator and had Jackie Burns, David L Clements. Peter Ellis and Juliet Kemp discussing the issues of maintaining a 9 – 5 day job while also writing or producing art to a high enough standard. Several of the panellists claimed to cheat. Peter Ellis stated that he had not really started to write properly until he was retired from his full time teaching job and David L Clements was quick to point out that his job as an Astrophysicist did actually provide a lot of useful research material for SF novels. This panel also covered issues like being a carer for a family member and how to cope with raising a family. From that discussion I came away with a sense that I was doing a lot of the things needed to be both a full time worker and a writer – things like considering plotlines and character development in the otherwise dead time spent travelling to and from work, making good use of holidays and so on. I was also made aware of the wonders of noise cancelling headphones when it comes to shutting out distractions…

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General bustle of the Con

 

Later in the afternoon, I tried to attend the Female gaze panel, mainly because it was mentioned as part of the True Love and Trophies panel and was something I was interested in. However, it seems as though our ringing endorsement of this panel during our slot was enough to get them full long before the panel was due to start. So unfortunately I missed it, as did Ruth F Long who I caught up with later in an attempt to find out if she had learnt anything from it.

So, instead I decided to wander into a talk that was taking place in a larger room next door which was entitled ‘the Ecology of Doctor Who’ by Eira and Smuzz. This wasn’t (as you might expect) a discussion of fictional alien ecology but rather an interesting overview of the relationship between Doctor Who as a BBC TV programme and the ecological issues that were prevalent at different points in its history. Covering such things as the nuclear fears of the 50s, fuel crisis, deforestation and how these were represented in the show. The narrative was accompanied by a series of clips illustrating the points made and though these were plagued by technical hitches which delayed the start of the talk, they did help to make the points clear. The upshot of the talk was that Doctor Who has lost its way recently with regards to stories about the environment, though it is not clear if this is a deliberate policy decision or merely an accident of story selection, and that more should be done to use the show as a tool for educating the viewers about the issues relevant today. It was a talk delivered passionately with a lot of excellent arguments by a speaker who really knew his Who history and made a lot of points I agreed with, though I did disagree that New Who had wholly abandoned its liberal enviro friendly roots as there have been stories covering those issues. However, I am fully in support of there being more of that sort of thing – not just the ecological issues but also social and political ones. Doing the job that SF does so well – warning us about the dangers of the future based on the trends evident in the present.

After the Who talk ended (late due to aforementioned technical issues) I was rescued from the con by a crack team of special forces who dragged me to a restaurant for dinner… after which it was time to return to the convention for drinks and the disco… the disco that I missed due to getting involved in some fascinating discussions with various random people…

Next instalment: Sunday and a date with radio…

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