The Hugo Awards, Voting Has Started.

The voting for the Hugo awards (for those few who might not know: The annual fan award for the World Convention for Science Fiction) has started.
Also, I have a ton of Hugo Award material to go through before I can vote on – well – some of it. The Voter Package was made available today, and I downloaded it. Several GB, including graphic stories, images and podcasts. I am sure I cannot read/see all of it, but I will see/read some and vote accordingly.

SfifiCon, a One Day, Mainly Star Wars Con in Randers, Denmark.

Here is a report on a one-day con I attended in Denmark. I will resume my report on the Sense8Con 2 shortly.

On Saturday 13. April I went to a local con in the town of Randers.
The main theme of the con was Star Wars, but I did manage to find a few book related sellers. Nice to see that in an otherwise media related and merchandise related com.
I did meet a few old scifi friends and had nice chats wit them.
The highlight for me was a presentation by Nicholas Barbano and Mogens Høeghsberg on the development of the music of Star Wars which gave a bit of scifi film music history, and its changing style through the times, from a more classical music style at the early stage to a period with eerie electronic music, then partly thanks to John Williams, back to the symphonic/classical music style so well known from the music of Star Wars and much other science fiction films and TV.
The other part is, of course, meeting new nerdy friends and exchanging recommendations. I met quite a few people who had never heard of Sense8, so I gave them a briefing on what I think of it, so they could decide whether it is for them.

Near the end of the con I had a longer talk with Chris, who is sometimes stationed in remote places for weeks, and always brought material to watch, and he was running out of new (for him) stuff to watch. He was familiar with the first season of Babylon 5, and when I told him that it got better he decided that it was probably a good idea to add this to his watch list. Mentioning the creators of Sense8 and making a bit of a pitch for it, probably means that this goes on his watch list, too.
A very pleasant day.

Sense8Con 2 Part 2: Day one, Saturday

It started at breakfast. I was invited to a table with some fans, and there I met Birgit, the only other Danish Sense8 fan at the convention, at least as far as I know.
I am terrible with recalling names, so forgive me if I do not give all the correct names of many other people at the con.
First on the official program was the Welcoming Party which was essentially a welcoming panel. All guests were there, and gave a short introduction, plus we had some games of, e.g. guessing quotes.
Right behind me were two young women coming there from Dubai. I had a nice chat with them until the guests arrived.
All the guests looked very happy to be with the fans, and while some were much like their characters, others were completely different. Michael Sommers has much of the wonder and liveliness of Bug, while Sandra Fish is very different from the character of Janet. Tina Desai was more fun than I would have expected from seeing the character on screen.
After a short break we had the autograph session (actually two sessions). All of the guests took time to speak with every fan who wanted to. They looked like they were having a good time. My ticket included the 4 main guests, but I purchased one for the bonus guest, too. I am glad I added an autograph purchase for the bonus guest (Sandra), because the line she had was very short, sometimes non-existent.

In between the two autograph sessions we had a panel (Q&A) with Sandra Fish
She was very kind, very unlike the character she plays, but she loves playing “unpopular” characters, Nomi’s mother Janet. Someone who hates losing control over her life.
She was telling us that in order to create the character she felt the need to get to know and love the character, as I understand many actors do.
Sandra told us about her work with prisoners who would die imprisoned, and how the ones helped still continue the work with others in the same situation. Very touching.
During the second autograph section of the day it was time to meet more fans outside the panels.
I was introduced to several, but the trouble was recalling all the names. Here are a few:

German fan Ursula who was active in the campaign to revive Sense8 after the canceling of the show at the second season. She has also attended Fedcon in Germany, and I am sure that I have seen her asking questions at panels there, too.
Matteo from Italy, a very enthusiastic fan (well, I should say that anyone coming to a convention dedicated to one story should be).
Derek from Scotland who, at the first Sense8con earned the nickname The Old Man of Hoy, due to his Scottish accent.
Crystal from Colorado, USA.
Manu, a German teacher living in The Netherlands. She had actually taught German to a number of my colleagues I had when I worked there.

After the lunch break, more panels.
Brian J. Smith told us about him being the only member of his family in Texas who voted differently in the elections. He loves his family despite that difference.
He talked about how he does not like violence, and how he had to learn how to fight physically, OK, choreographed fights, but techniques to make it look more realistic.
How he went out with police to get a sense of how real police work is done, again in order to act in a more realistic way.
Seeing and listening to Erendira Ibarra really gave the impression of a lot of the actress being in the character.
She also talked about living in abuse, and how she initially thought that this was a Mexican cultural problem, but that the #metoo action recently taught her that it is a much more common problem for women all over the world.
Michael Sommers is a fun guy to see on stage on Saturday he did a flash preview of his one-man-show that he did recently. He was asked if he would do some more, and promised that he would on Sunday.

There is a lot of Michael in the character of Bug, especially his body language and his use of language.
Last panel of the day was with Tina Desai. Despite having a bit of trouble hearing everything she said in her very fast and somewhat accented speech, it was quite a pleasure to attend this panel.
When asked about Indian culture she immediately asked, from which of the many states in India. The country has a lot of cultural differences and dozens of languages spoken.
Tina is not quite the quiet type we see on screen as Kala. She is actually very lively and has a quick wit.

This was the end of the official part of the first day of Sense8Con2. A group of fans went out to get some dinner. The smaller group I went with ended up having pizza, and a longer talk with Ursula about Sense8 and a lot of other stuff.
An that is the end of a very pleasant and fun first day of Sense8Con 2.
Sunday will be described in a later post.

Going to Sense8Con 2, an Introduction.

In the week end 30/31 March I was attending Sense8Con 2 in Paris.
This was my first travel more than 100km from my home, since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2017, and had subsequent chemo therapy and an operation. It is gone now, and I just have to go to control visits. They keep an eye (or a CT scan) on you for about 10 years to check if it is really gone.
As many of you can imagine I am very happy to live in a country with universal health care.
I did have a ticket to the previous (first) Sense8Con last year, but had to stay home for the treatment, so now I take my “revenge” this year, going to several conventions and other stuff abroad.
Back to the travels:
When going to a week end convention like this one I usually want to do more than driving 1300km back and forth, so I arranged to visit 3 friends on the travel, one scifi friend in The Netherlands, an old colleague, also in the Netherlands, and another scifi friend in Cologne, Germany.

I have been in Paris before, so a general sight seeing session is not very necessary, but I decided to have a single day to visit a few of the Sense8 filming sites in Paris. The most famous one is, of course, hard to miss: The Eiffel Tower which I went to at the end of the day. I walked several hours, just taking some general photos, but Also seeing, from the outside, the center for the Arab world, and the nearby bridge, where filming was done, too.
At a later stage I want to visit more of the Sense8 filming sites, especially in Europe. On the way to Paris I decided, for time restriction reasons, to bypass the site in Belgium where the filming of The Lacuna was done. I will take that one, and probably the Dutch filming sites later, as I have connections in The Netherlands.

All in all I was driving just under 3000km (2000 miles), but it was definitely worth it.

The show itself is created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) who co-wrote all episodes with the exception of the season 2 finale which, for now is the final episode.

While JMS was heavily involved in the scriptwriting he was not so heavily involved in the production as such. That task was mainly done by Lana Wachowski who did a stellar job in the filming of the show.

Now for the convention:
The guests for the convention were 2 sensates and 3 supporting characters:
Brian J. Smith (Will)
Tina Desai (Kala)
Erendira Ybarra (Daniela)
Michael Sommers (Bug)
Sandra Fish (Janet – Nomi’s mother)
Friday evening, after walking through the streets of Paris, I made the registration for the con, but did not meet too many fans yet.

There were panels (Q&A), autograph sessions, photo sessions and meet&greet sessions. I did not do meet&greet sessions this time, but I just might do that next year (to be decided).

  • and, of course 2-300 of the Sense8 fanmily (spelling intentional)

Next post is expected to cover day one (Saturday) of the conventions. Let us just say: Many meetings.

Con Report Fantasticon 2018 in Copenhagen

My Dutch friend Jarsto and I had decided to go to the Fantasticon, so we both had week end tickets, and went to register Friday evening.
The theme for this years Fantasticon was Steam Punk, and it was quite fun to see people dressing up.
It was good to meet many old scifi friends, and get to meet a few new ones.

Saturday :
I went to the con, arriving about 1230.
More chatting with other fans, and then attending two program points :
Author interview with Lavie Tidhar, who was quite interesting and amusing to listen to. I just might find some of his books to read.
The second was Edmund Schluessel who talked a bit about cosmology, and told the story of two Danish astronomers :
Tycho Brahe who made as accurate measurements of the stars and planet’s positions and movements as is possible without telescopes. Yes, he did that before the invention of telescopes. He provided a massive amont of data, but did not d9o too much with it, but Johannes Kepler could use the data to form his theory and formulas for the movements of tha planets.
Then the talk went into measring the speed of light. Old measurements made with distances on Earth yielded no measurable delay, and light speed was deemed to be infinite, or in any case, not measurable. That was about to change.
Ole Römer who did use a telescope, among others to watch the moons of Jupiter. He noticed a discrepancy in the timing of eclipses of Jupiter’s Galilean moons, and by seeing the difference in timing when Jupiter was near conjunction with the sun, and in opposition to the sun, he measured the offset in timing and arrived at the conclusion that light does indeed have a finite speed. His result, made with the instrumentation and math of 1676.
He arrived at a speed of 200 000km/sec, which is excellent, considering the instuments used, and within a margin of about 30%.
I live a few km from the remains of Römer’s old observatory, and the Kroppedal museum nearby with some of the instruments used in the observatory, and asked if he knew about it. He did not, and I offered to bring him there for a visit, if he should visit Denmark again. He liked the idea, so we exchanged contact information.
After the talk we had an interesting conversation about science fiction and science in general, so I had an excellent Saturday at the con.

Sunday :
I was arriving a bit earlier than on Saturday, and, as usual having some talks with other fans.
In the afternoon there was a recording of a podcast by two groups. The Danish “Hva’ Fan” podcast and the Swedish “Fandompodden” , making a single podcast, spoken mostly in English. I took some pictures of the recording session.
Finally there war an interview with and a reading by the Danish writer Marie Ladefoged.
I came home with 3 books from the convention, two by Marie Ladefoged (in Danish), and one by Justina Robson.
I had a fun time, and I am looking forward to going to more conventions next year.

Anne McCaffrey, a Prolific Writer, also known as The Dragon Lady.

Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011) is one of the more prolific writers I know of.
I am mostly familiar with the “Dragonriders of Pern” series, and a part of the Acorna series.
At the Eurocon covention in Copenhagen, 2007, she was the main Guest of Honour, and the main reason I went to my first larger convention. At the reading she read from her story “The Ship Who Sang”, and that was a great convention experience. I still have to read more of the Brain Ship series, but there is so much to read/watch/listen to.
There is simply too much material to mention here, so I recommend visiting the Wiki page to get to know more about her work, but here are a few facts.
She was the first woman to win the Hugo award, voted by World Science Fiction Convention in 1968. This was with a novella of the Pern series, “Weyr Search”, later incorporated in the first Pern novel “Dragonflight”.
She was also the first woman to win the Nebula award in 1969, by the Science Fiction Writers of America. This was for her second Novella in the Pern series, “Dragonrider”, also later incorporated into the Dragonflight novel.
At the Eurocon she humorously told how she found having trouble handling the rocket shaped Hugo Award, because she found that it resembled a phallus symbol. Interesting how things have changed since then.

Also, at the convention she was very approachable at the table, and at the signing, where I got my hard cover copy of “The White Dragon” signed.

Anne McCaffrey CPH

Anne McCaffrey at Eurocon, Copenhagen 2007

This was Anne McCaffrey’s last convention, ever, and I consider myself lucky to have met the author of one of my favourite book series, before she passed beyond the Rim.
Later I will tell more of my own experience with her work, a bit about the Acorna series, and in more detail, about the Pern series.

 

Brief Post on activities the last year.

The blog has not been active for a while. The removal, and rebuilding of my life has taken priority. Noth everything is about scifi 😉 .
However, I have had some scifi activities, such as :
– Fedcon 2015 and 2016
– Small local conventions like Dancon and Fantasticon
– The very first Copenhagen Comicon
– a bit of reading, mostly Dresden Files books
– watching some TV/HBO/Netflix series, such as Sense8 (rewatch)
– Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Game of Thrones, 12 Monkeys, and several others

More detail on some of it later.

My #FreeBabylon5 experience at Loncon3

Some of you may not be familiar with #FreeBabylon5, so here is a short description :

There have been several attempts to revive the interest in the Babylon 5 TV series, including JMS’ attempt to buy back the rights for everything. He already has the rights for a theatrical movie, but can not do much with that.

Come September 2013 he had enough of this and made a not on his Facebook page, saying that he could do no more and encouraging the fans to “be organized and be loud”, in order to get Babylon 5 back on TV screens and streaming services. Babylon 5 has been away from TV screens for over a decade in the US. He (and we, the fans) want casual viewers to be able to stumble across the series.

So – the fans started a campaign – letter writing and attention creating measures. The campaign has already been partly successful. The full 5 year series has been shown on the UK Watch channel, with a trailer referencing #FreeBabylon5, and is currently running in Denmark, Germany and Italy.

I have been participating by giving away FreeBabylon5 stuff at a few conventions, and had some fun with that.

Now on to my draft text for an article for the FreeBabylon5 website :

“This is a personal account of my (Babylon Lurker’s) attendance of Loncon3 also known as Worldcon 2014.

Since I live in the Netherlands this was the first Worldcon I have had available near me since I started to go to conventions.

I met Jan M Schroeder at Phoenix Comicon 2013 and Space City Con 2014, and she provided me with some #FreeBabylon5 treats to give away at conventions.

The first two conventions were small local conventions in Copenhagen, Denmark with 30 – 150 attendees – and I got to give away a bit of this. One Swedish writer saw my “#FreeBabylon5” badge and immediately reacted by saying that B5 is a brilliant show.

The third was Fedcon in Düsseldorf, Germany, a media oriented convention with about 5000 attendees. I did get to give away a fair amount of the #FreeBabylon5 stuff, since I met a fair amount of B5 fans there.

Having gone to bigger conventions I decided to go to Worldcon in London this year with a fair supply.

Loncon3B5web

I did not have a table, but just walked around, talking to people. I was slightly surprised by the sheer number of Babylon 5 fans I met there. I must have talked to about 100 people during the 5 days, and my impression is that about 80% of those were B5 fans who happily received the FreeBabylon5 stuff. I am aware that B5 is more popular in the UK than in the US, but among the US people I met the number of fans was high. Essentially everyone knew B5, and many of the non-fans had the show on their to-do list.

I have to assume that this is because Worldcon attendees have a very wide range of Science Fiction interests, books, films, TV, comics etc. I guess I should not have been surprised at all .

On Saturday a Babylon 5 fan meeting was arranged, and in spite of it coinciding with the masquerade we had 40 – 50 people there. Not everyone I met had even heard of the fan meeting. I am sure it could have been bigger if it had been more widely announced.

Jan had indicated that the temporary tattoos were quite popular at SDCC, at Worldcon I found that the #FreeBabylon5 ribbons were more sought after. I ran out of the ribbon supply, but I still have some of the tattoos left, and a few buttons/badges, too.

Loncon 3 has been a very good convention experience in general, and a good B5 fan experience in particular. I will certainly continue being a roving Ambassador/Ranger at other conventions that I will attend.”

JMS announces a Babylon 5 movie at SDCC2014

This is the text from Jan M Schroeder regarding her Saturday activities at this year’s San Diego Comicon, brought here with permission. Thanks Jan.

I have my own comments on what could have lead up to this point, but that will have to wait. Please enjoy.

J. Michael Straczynski has bee a very busy bee, as you will see in Jan’s report below :

 

Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con (or the day JMS announced that he’ll do a B5 movie).
I got there at a good time, not long after the con opened at 10:00 AM. A little surprisingly, the mezzanine didn’t really seem too much busier than other days so far except for the food area being busier. I’ve got pre-written letters to WB and NBC/Universal out on the table and a fair number of folks took those to mail after adding a little demographic info. Five or six were left with me and I dropped them off to be mailed.
The big panel of the day was JMS’ of course. First I went to his signing and got a few things signed that will most likely be destined as fund-raisers. I verified with JMS that he wouldn’t mind if I handed out buttons and postcards before his panel. A new friend, Lukas, handed out at the door and I wandered the room where people were already staying from the panel before.

JMS started the panel by reviewing his current projects, both ‘out house’ (not Studio JMS) and in-house and continued with news. We got an introduction to the Sense8 actors. JMS described it as a “…complex, amazing tapestry of stories.”
– Ten Grand: JMS is currently negotiating with a major Studio/Network for a series based on this.
– Shadowman feature film: He’s two to three weeks from turning in the latest draft.
– He couldn’t name it, but he’s working on a project for Universal concerning Rod Serling and working with Carol Serling, Rod’s widow on it.
– Again he couldn’t say much but he showed a title card for a show called “Two Streets” that he’s just made a deal with Universal for that he’ll be working with “Walking Dead’s” Gail Anne Hurd.
– “Titans” is the name of the Feature film/graphic novel project that was just announced yesterday (see movie thread).
So it’s been a really big year for Studio JMS. And due to that, he can now look to doing a feature film for B5. JMS recapped that WB owns everything about B5 except the movie rights and even though he holds the film rights, to take a B5 movie to another studio without holding the TV rights wouldn’t work. There’s one studio in LA that doesn’t care about that – Studio JMS – and in 2015 JMS will write the script. He’ll give WB the opportunity to step up, but if they don’t, Studio JMS will make it in 2016 on their own with a $1-200,000,000.00 budget.

Fan questios:
A fan asked if JMS might crowdfund part of the film so that fans might be involved and JMS said that he resists doing that because it seems to him that SF fans are an exploited group and he doesn’t ever want to do that – he’d rather accept investor money.
Asked about the current situation with streaming Babylon 5, JMS said that it’s all up to Warner Bros. and gave the ‪#‎FreeBabylon5‬ campaign a nice plug, telling of the success in Europe to date and hoping for some movement domestically.

A fan asked if the success of a B5 feature might improve the chances of streaming and even future TV projects and JMS said that it would probably have a significant effect, that a good way to get someone’s (WB) attention is to rattle their cage.

Asked if the film would be a reboot or a continuation:
“It would have to be a reboot because it’s been twenty-plus years since we started that show and some of the age ranges wouldn’t work with some of these characters so we’d need to move a few people around. But what I want to do is use the original cast one way or another but we’d have to move some things around. I’d love to see Bruce as the PPresident of the Earth Alliance; it would be the perfect role for him.”

JMS went on to tell about a story he wanted to do that he wasn’t allowed to in the original show where when Londo was injured, he wanted to do a dream sequence where the actors played different characters but the studio thought the audience would get confused.
A fan asked what’s being made not that would equal B5 for being transformative and JMS replied that TV is having a golden age right now with lots of amazing things. being made.

He concluded with his regular homily for the fans to never surrender their dreams, that with persistance and talent and luck, can overcome your circumstances and follow your passionss and succeed.

Jan
(posting in various places- feel free to share)

 

Another Moon Walker picture

I just edited another of the pictures from the meeting with Ed Mitchell at Space EXPO.

This shows that longest of all the Moon walks in the Apollo program. Apollo 14’s.

From Apollo 15 on They brought a Moon Rover, so they had much less walking on the Moon.

Moon Walk

Apolle 14, the longest of the Moon Walks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may add a few more pictures later.