Sunday is, as we all know, a day of rest. Easter Sunday doubly so. Especially when Easter Sunday just happens to be the Sunday after a Saturday at Eastercon.
I’d originally planned a lie in and a late arrival at the con. However, fate and a chance encounter with one of the Green room staff on Saturday that led to a promise to help out on Sunday morning meant that I was now honour bound, by ancient compact and powerful dark con magic, to an earlier start than I’d had the entire con so far.
Which was fine, only I did one of my usual errors and turned up for my shift a whole hour earlier than I thought it was.
But it was fine and I had an enjoyable morning ticking people off lists and organising drinks for participants in panels and talks.
My next call was a post lunch coffee date with John Scalzi. This was 12 people in a room talking with John Scalzi with tea and coffee available (though John Seemed happy with Coke Zero). Three minutes before the official start of this event, he told us the story that had to be left off the record about a con a few years ago (and I will hold to that unofficial gagging order but I am totes teasing you with the fact I know something you don’t know… unless you were involved or at this event…) before launching into the event proper. What followed was an hour of questions and discussion with John holding forth on many topics ranging from his work as a consultant for Stargate Universe to his work as a film reviewer, his writing career, his love of fan art on stuff from ‘Sex, Death and Robots’ and his reflections on his post about straight white male being ‘easy mode’ in the game of life. As always, the coffee events are a weird sort of mix of informal ‘hanging out with the author’ combined with a more formal interview event. This one was so popular, they had to organise a second one later in the day.
After this and a short break where I did some more volunteering, I headed to a talk called ‘The Genius of Rosa’ by our old blog buddy, Russel A Smith. This looked at the episide of series 11 of Doctor Who that was set at the time of the (in)famous Rosa Parks bus protest. Russ went into detail on the episode and talked about the history and social context of the episode. The talk was mainly focussed on tackling the opposition to the episode, the negative comments that came (it seemed) simply because it was an episode about a black woman protesting. Each objection (like ‘the message was too heavy handed’) was answered in the talk.
Then there was a panel on Medicine in SF in which a bunch of medical doctors and biomedical scientists looked at concepts of medicine in science fiction and discussed the viablity of the methods. A lot of time was spent on the possibility of ‘AI Doctors’ similar to the Doctor from Voyager and what this may mean in terms of patient care and the risk of litigation (who is to blame if a medical AI makes a mistake?) but there was also time for a bit of discussion aboutpersonalised medicine, homeopathy and the sort of medical scams that exist now and how these may be worse in the future.
The final panel of the day was called ‘History of Representation in Doctor Who’. This panel looked at how well Doctor Who covered issues like race, sexuality, sexism and disablism. The panel looked at examples of this and considered their own first experiences of Doctor Who and how that affected them. Highlights included Fiona Moore discussing how some showrunners were really bad at feminism if they tried to be feminist but actually really good if they didn’t try and Guest of Honour DC pointing out how Barbara (first Doctor Who female companion) was actually a really strong character for her time with a lot of agency. There was also an almost universal fanship for Captain Jack Harkness.
After this, it was time for dinner and the bar… and spending all the hard earned groats from volunteering…