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.

New : Watched and Read, January 2019

I am going to try something new on the blog :

Making a few notes on what I have watched, read and/or listened to, month by month, mostly with personal ratings.

There is the possibility of making separate posts about particular seasons or books.

Here is my list of genre related activities for January, 2019 :

Finished seasons :
Chronicles of Shannara Seasons 1 and 2 (7/10)
Into The BadlandsTV (seasons 1-3) (7/10)
Riverdale S1 (7/10)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina S1 (including xmas special) (8/10)
Titans S1 (7/10)
The Flash S4 (8/10)
Arrow S3 (re-watch) (7/10)
MarvelRunaways S1 (7/10)
ThePunisher Season 2 (7/10)
Black Lightning Season 2. I realized it continued in February, so deduct it here and I will add it to Watching in Progress

Watching in progress :
StarTrek Discovery S2 1 ep per week
Roswell New Mexico in progress one ep per week

Magicians S4 – weekly episodes

Black Lightning Season 2

Watched with friends :
Highlander S2 in progress (re-watch for me)
Jeremiah S1 in progress (re-watch for me)
Pine Gap S1 (8/10)
Berlin Station (in progress)

 

Reading :
Book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K.Jemesin
“The Fifth Season”

 

13 seasons of TV finished, some long, some intermediate, and several short ones in one month, as well as a novel. Quite a bit, but I expect February to have a little less genre activity, due to other activities taking over.

 

Babylon 5 20th Anniversary, Not the Book

A few years ago I was able to pick up the B5 20th Anniversary book at Phoenix Comicon, in 2013. The book is since then out of print, and will not be available again.

However, a multimedia edition is now available from B5Books.

Today (PST, I think) is the last day to purchase at the reduced price of $37. Tomorrow the fast response price will be the double.

If you have discovered Babylon 5 since the book went out of print, or you missed the print book for whichever reason, here is an opportunity to get the material in electronic form.

On top of that, there is some additional video material in the multimedia edition.

If you want to get it, you can go to

b5books.com and order.

Disclaimer : I am not affiliated with B5Books, but I have been a happy customer to many of their releases.

Have fun !

Marvel’s Iron Fist, Season 2

Just finished watching the 10 episodes of Iron Fist’s season 2 on Netflix.
I quite enjoyed the growth of Danny Rand, and Davos’ taking the fist, but perverting it.
Red fists in stead of Danny’s yellow fist, when it got powered.
The fact that Danny realizes that he can not (yet) control the fist, and renounces its power, and it turns interesting when they get a transfer of Davos’ power to Coleen. Her fist glows white, reflecting her balance of mind, unlike Davos’ (red) and Danny’s (yellow) glows.
Further development is when the power also goes into her Katana.

I rate this season
8/10 glowing Katanas.

50 years of “2001 – A Space Odyssey” – an incomplete review.

Yesterday I went to a 50th anniversary show of the classic “2001 – A Space Odyssey”.
I got the ticket late, on the same day, so the seat was not ideal – 4th row from the screen and to the side, so I had to turn the head to view the centre of the screen. This did not detract from the enjoyment of seeing the film on a big screen for the first time since it had its premiere in Denmark 50 years ago.
Since then I have seen it a few times on DVD, and it is a different experience.
Director Stanley Kubrick is, of course a legendary film maker, and was nominated for several Oscars.
In true Oscar comittee fashion, the only Oscar he received was for 2001. Further, in true Oscar comittee fashion regarding science fiction movies, the Oscar he was awarded was for the special effects, and not for the film per se.
Of course, the film was not entirely created by Kubrick, it was a collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, a legendary figure in science fiction.
Having a fond memory of my 15 year old self seeing the film when it premiered I could be a bit apprehensive, does it really hold up ?
I find that it does hold up very well. Seeing those iconic images and hearing the music of this classic was very enjoyable.
The film has been said to be very slow, and in comparison with modern films it is true. Kubrick tells the story in a slow, deliberate way, giving you time to digest the beautiful imaging and the accompanying music. I very much like Kubrick’s cinematography in the film.
Occasionally the film does show its age, for example the imaging of the moon, and Jupiter and its moons could be done much better with the images available today. However, we must remember that the film was made before the moon landings and the space probes’ visits to the outer planets, so the astronomical imaging of the film must be forgiven.
The science and technology of the film is, with one notable exception, very realistic in keeping with the concept of hard science fiction. From the floating pen in weightlessness to the silence of space. In some of the space scenes there is not even any music, just eerie silence. Sometimes we hear (the astronaut’s) breath in some of the space scenes. We wre told, and I did not know, that the breath we hear is Kubrick’s own breathing.
Then there is HAL. The massive A.I. computer with excellent speech synthesis, an claiming never to make mistakes. What happens when HAL makes an apparent mistake ? It is probably up to the viewer to decide which is tha case, a mistake by the A.I. or a deliberate misdirection. I would say that this looks like a deliberate “mistake” by HAL, when “he” says that “he” cannot let the astronauts endanger the mission. Also, I see echoes of this kind of A.I. logic in the modern TV series “Person of Interest”, where the A.I. may take steps to eliminate human intervention, because “humans are prone to error”.
The exception to the strict science and technology is, of course the monolith(s), every scene with that has spiritual/religious overtones, in the imagery as well as the music (or sound effects), and it is the important link that binds all aspects of the film together, from the dawn of mankind to the “birth” of the star child.
The sparing use of dialogue is also interesting, not many films (if any) in the modern age would dare to have about 25 minutes of no dialogue in the beginning of the film *and* about 25 minutes without dialogue in the end of the film.
One aspect of going to see this film was n ot the film in and of itself, but the audience. I think that about 80% of the audience was not even born when this film premiered, but they came because of its allure as one of the great classics.
Much more could be said about this re-premiere, but now I will leave you to your own thoughts.
I enjoyed this re-watch very much, and I will say that it passed the test of time.
I rate the film 10/10 strange monoliths.

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.

 

Re-watch of Star Trek TNG 1-2

Recently Netflix carries the Star Trek series where I live, so I decided to make a re-watch of Star Trek Next Generation.
Just finished the first 2 seasons, occasionally while doing some other stuff, like ripping some CDs.
Let’s face it, seasons 1 and 2 are not too strong, so I often found me leaving the episode running while changing CD (and editing the CDDB entry), but a few episodes did catch me.
Unlike some others I do like Q, episodes, sometimes for the sense of fun, sometimes for the challenges to characters.
Q Who? is my favourite until the end of season 2. What can compete with Q, Guinan … and The Borg ? For me that is a winner combination
One other season 2 episode is just excellent : “The Measure of a Man”
In season 1 I would also mention Datalore (yes, the introduction of Lore), and The Neutral Zone (The Romulans are back, and we get the indication of a new, very powerful adversary).
In season 2 I would mention Where Silence has Lease, Contagion (The Iconians make for a fun episode, once more with the Romulans), The Emissary (turning a disadvantage into an advantage – and Peak Performance.
Elementary, dear Data for the fun gets an honourable mention from me.
Yes, this is all my own experience, feel free to disagree.

 

Starting Season 3 it is clear that here is where some better episodes begin to appear. More on that later, and also a list of stuff I have watched and read since I moved back to Denmark. The list is not exactly short, and I may write some quick reviews of some of those at a later stage.

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.