The day began in a remarkably peaceful way with a Friends' Meeting for Worship organised by fjm. It was a very beneficial experience and the feeling of calm lasted well into the day.
From there I went to The Aesthetics of Fantasy: Writing the fantastic. (Very interesting and notes were taken. These will be posted in due course) After this I went to the Best New Feminist SF panel, which was small and casual, but interesting.
This was followed by the only dud of the convention Does Family Make Our Hero Boring. Well. it certainly made the only panellist boring. No, correction, he was probably just a totally boring person. I don't know why he had been chosen because he didn't talk about his writing (assuming he was a writer) nor did he talk about examples of heroes with and without families. All he did was tell dull anecdotes about his genius daughter and, lets face it, stories about other people's children are totally boring. Pat Cardigan the moderator didn't help either as all she did was refer to films I haven't seen. As the protags in my WIP are a young married couple with a small baby, I had hoped to pick up tips on how to make family life in fiction exciting, or at least some good examples of how not to do it, but none were forthcoming.
After about half an hour the couple in front of me started fidgeting and whispering to one another; a moment to two later, they made a break for freedom. I took my chance and followed. I did wonder whether a large part of the audience would stream out after us, but it seemed the others were enjoying themselves. As we fugitive three made it to the safety of the landing outside, the woman turned to me and said, with a slight German accent, "That was so boring." I agreed and, leaving them consulting the programme looking for something better, I went off to get a cup of tea.
I took my tea outside and sat on the steps to eat my sandwiches where I was joined first by del_c and then by a wasp. Having failed to persuade the wasp to stay on a fragment of sandwich -- it was doing the usual cat thing of being convinced that what I was eating was nicer than the bit I had given it -- we fled inside to escape it.
Next panel item was Geography, Landscape and Nature. Only two of the papers were presented, Only God Can Make a Tree and Maureen's very interesting paper on Landscape in Alan Garner's novels. This made me want to revisit all the places in The Weirdstone and Moon of Gomrath and to investigate the places in The Owl Service which, despite being local, I haven't visited yet.
Another visit to the refreshment area followed to purchase tea and a muffin. Here I met fjm and Ken MacLeod (with two friends) and chatted until fjm went off to prepare for her next panel -- which, though I had intended to go to, I didn't actually see because I ended up talking with carl_allery and then hanging around in the dealers' room to form the nucleus of the Farthing magazine launch gathering, to which various people turned up, like papersky and some of the other rasfcals.
At this point I made my excuses and went back to the hall to cook a dinner of spicy noodles. Meal consumed, I freshened up, changed and headed back for the Hugo ceremony.
Huge auditorium in the Armadillo, nicely done out. The ceremony was more fun than I'd expected. The co-presenters introduced things with an amusing commentary, based on the conceit that France was the world superpower and the Hugos were named after the great Fiction Scientifique author Victor Hugo.
matociquala got the Campbell award for best new writer, fjm got a Hugo for the Cambridge Companion to SF, Charlie Stross won best novella, The Incredibles won for Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form, Susanna Clarke won best novel with Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and Dave Langford got two more Hugos for best fan writer and best semi-prozine.
And so out into a mild August night, still little more than deep twilight, to walk back to the hall and prepare for bed.