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Saturday 8 August 2009

Mich threatened that she would jump on me if I was still asleep by the time she arrived at the Delta Hotel in the morning. Unfortunately I was awake by the time she knocked on the door and Pod let her in. Our reason for being awake early today was a group photograph of boarders with Kyle Cassidy, Neil Gaiman’s photographer. A short while later Pod, Mich and I left the Delta and walked toward the convention centre in bright sunshine. Mich donned her sunglasses and I remarked that she was only doing so to look cool. Her immediate retort: “If I was bothered about looking cool I would not be walking with you guys.” Ouch!

Neil’s Photographer Photographs You

Kyle Cassidy is an incredibly talented photographer and is in fact Neil Gaiman’s official photographer. As Yagathai puts it “he takes so many pictures on a daily basis that he knows light like a fish knows water.” Kyle spent Saturday morning taking photographs of SFF fans. He has that special knack of getting people to relax and capturing them at just the right moment to create a snapshot that is not only beautiful but a revelation of the subject.
When we arrived there was already a small group of boarders there including The Bastard of Godsgrace who had made the trip over from Poland to be here. I did not realise at the time but he is actually the Polish translator of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ which is pretty cool. He was not the only ASOIAF translator we would meet that day.
We were waiting on more people to arrive including Kat and Luga who were in fact the two people who had suggested we do this in the first place. But we had a dozen boarders there and could not really wait around all morning. Clearly there were too many people for the small backdrop and light bloom rigged studio area Kyle had set up for the regular shots he was taking so he took our group picture in front of the glass windows of the convention centre. In order to put the photo on his site he needed our written permission to do so and we did start to queue up and do this, but Kyle stopped us and said he would be at our party later tonight and we could sign the release then. Needless to say this did not happen. We should have known, signing stuff at our party? It was never gonna happen and as a result the group shot photo did not make it into the official gallery with the others. But Kyle did make it available to us on Flickr.
Most of our group followed Blue’s suggestion and went to a panel with Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson which had already started. Some time after we left Kyle Cassidy, Kat and Luga finally arrived. Apparently they had overslept! This, despite telling everyone to be there at 10 am and not to be late. I don’t know, what are they like? Kyle took a picture of these two slugabeds anyway. Kyle also managed to photograph the ever elusive Aoife who I did not see much of at the con but she was definitely there as the evidence shows.

Archetypes without Stereotypes

Panel: Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Ben Jeapes, Nalo Hopkinson, Doselle Young

I am so glad Blue suggested we go to this panel. To sum it up in short; it was fucking hilarious! I wish I could remember more of what was said because it really was brilliant. The entire audience was kept laughing throughout. This panel discussed what makes a good archetype without it being a stereotype and also the character stereotypes that they hate.

Brandon spoke about Patrick Rothfuss’ book ‘The Name of the Wind’ and said he was half way through before he realised this was simply a book about a wizard who goes to a school for magic. Because the story was being told in such an interesting and fresh way this realisation creeps up on the reader and you don’t notice the stereotype in play. Brandon went on to say that he was trying much the same approach with his ‘Mistborn’ series. It begins as the story of a group of thieves who attempt to steal something and fail. Then from there the story becomes a larger save the world type quest, which is of course a traditional fantasy stereotype. By telling it in a different way he could in some ways mask that stereotype and keep it from becoming a huge distraction for well versed readers.
Patrick moderated the panel well and shook his mod fist a few times to keep things moving along. He mooted the question about stereotypes the panel hate. Brandon said that he really hated the dark lord who wants to destroy the world, because why would anyone want to do that. The irony of this being, as he himself pointed out, that in ‘Mistborn’ there is a dark lord type baddie to defeat but at least he did not want to destroy the world he merely wanted to rule it.
There were also some great answers from Nalo Hopkinson and Doselle Young. Doselle is a comic artist with an incredible sense of humour and he said so many amusing things which I sadly can’t remember because I was laughing too much to memorize. One thing I do remember was that Nalo had been saying she disliked the stereotypical femme fatale character with the dozen knifes hidden in her clothing. Doselle said “oh hell no, I love the sexy femme fatale, mmm, she can come fleece me any time” or words to that effect. This lead to a discussion of female characters looking into a mirror to describe themselves and Nalo thought this was just a male author’s fantasy as they get to describe their character as having fine pert breasts and the like.
Patrick Rothfuss interjected to say that he used to think that was the case but then related a tale about his girlfriend who he had caught in the act of checking herself out in the full length bedroom mirror. Patrick stood up to give a demonstration of what he had seen through the ajar bedroom door. Before he started he warned the audience not to film this “Seriously my girlfriend is 7 months pregnant and she will kill me if she sees this on Youtube.” Patrick then adopted a pose looking back over his shoulder as if checking out his right butt cheek in a mirror. He made appreciative faces to the amusement of the crowd. Then he told us that in order to go from checking out her right cheek to look at the left instead of simply turning to look over the other shoulder his girlfriend actually jumped in the air and spun 300 degrees around to land looking over her left shoulder. Patrick demonstrating the move as he said it, “Don’t film this!” he cried again pointing to someone at the back of the room.
After the panel was over I decided I really needed some breakfast and so I went up to the secret rooftop restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Lany came along for something to eat as well and the two of us sat in the sun enjoying some food and a chat. At some point a man came up on the roof, wandered around a corner and did not come back for a while. I think he was probably having a smoke. Lany said that once we finished eating we should go take a look to see what was round the corner. We discovered the top of a nearby building on the edge of Chinatown which had the most amazing Chinese Pagoda on the roof of it. Then we noticed that this building is in fact the Holiday Inn
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