Straczynski Had to Cancel His Visit to Copenhagen.

A recent tweet from Straczynski told us that due to some deadlines moved too close, he had to call off the visit to Bogforum (Book Fair) in Copenhagen this year.

He also told us that this was in accord with the organizers of the book fair, and they will try to arrange for this another time.

So my plan of going to the book fair all three days  has changed. I will go there just one day this year.

This cancellation also opens the option of a second arrangement, so it is not all too bad.

Activity in September and October.

I have some work to be done on the house, so have not watched etc. a large amount of scifi/fantasy.

 

A quick overview of my watcheing etc iSept/Oct 2022:

TV:

Finished “House of the Dragon (HBO), season 1, I quite like thins one, , 8/10

Finished “The Umbrella Academy”, season 3. 7/10

Finished Cobra Kai, season 5. I like it, 8/10

Finished “Rings of Power” (HBO), season 1. I do not hate it, and found it entertqaining enough 6/10

Finished “The Flash”, season 7. 7/10

 

Books(audio:

Finished “The Masterharper of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey. Love it, 8/10.

Started listening to “Dragon’s Kin” by Todd McCaffrey.

 

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. [Spoiler Free]

As a long time fan of Tolkien’s work I have read the main books (The Hobbit and the three volume The Lord of the Rings) several times, and in recent years also listened to the audio books.

Of course I have seen the two movie trilogies, and I agree with many saying that The LotR films are superior to the Hobbit films.

It was with some trepidation that I started watching the first season of The Rings of Power.

The first few episodes felt a bit off, but through the series I did get to appreciate what they were doing. Being well aware that this is not directly material from the books, it is an imagining of things that have been hinted at in the books.

Through the episodes there are some clues laid out, and also some misdirection. My initial guess of one particular character turned out to be correct, but one other character I missed identifying until the season finale.

As a whole I enjoyed the season, and I may re-watch it before a (possible) second season arrives.

I will rate this as 7/10 on the Lurker’s scale.

A Wish Come True.

As you may already know, when I found Babylon 5 I also found its creator J. Michael Straczynski.

I did get to meet him almost 10 years ago at Phoenix Comicon, at the 20th anniversary celebration for Babylon 5 (B5), where I attended the “Promise Panel”, where he told, for the first time in public, the background story of Michael O’Hare who played the lead, Commander Sinclair, in the first season, and his struggle with mental illness.

If you don’t know the story, and want to, just go on Youtube and search “straczynski promise panel”. Please be aware that this contains spoilers for the B5 series if you have not seen it.

Having followed him for quite a while, I know a bit about his writing career.

He has worked as a journalist, writing for much else:

  • animated TV, like The Real Ghostbusters long ago
  • Live TV, like Jeremiah and, of course his epic science fiction series Babylon 5. There is a new secret Babylon 5 related project, not known in which format, but it has been made and should  be presented at the San Diego Comicon next year. Then there is the possibility of a reboot series of Babylon 5, not a remake but a re-imagining. This could be very interesting if it is given the green light. Then there is the Neflix series Sense8 that he co-wrote with the Wachowskis
  • Comic books like Superman Earth One, Spiderman, and some originals of his own
  • Film, like the Clint Eastwood directed Changeling, a historical drama
  • Novels, both genre and more general
  • He also wrote an autobiography

I have had the wish to meet Straczynski in Europe after he was involved in Sense8, so I did not have to go to the US to do it.

I, and others, have suggested to invite him to Fedcon in Bonn, but for some reason unknown to me, it did not happen.

Today I saw an announcement from the Danish book fair (Bogforum) that they are going to have Straczynski as a guest at this year’s fair in Copenhagen in November this year. I also saw the announcement by Straczynski himself on his Twitter feed.

Now my wish comes true. Straczynski visiting, not just Europe, but within 20 minutes drive from my home.

I am excited.

Some Activity in August.

Here is a bit about my activity in August.

I finished watching season 1 of “The Man in the High Castle”

This did not catch on strongly with me, but I may still do some more, but it is not high priority.

Rating 6/10.

On the recommendation from a participant of the Fantasticon this year, and another friend I watched season 1 (until now) of “Station Eleven”

While it was interesting enough to finish the season, it did not catch me as much as I have the impression from the recommendations. There was a lot of time jumping (not time travel), and it took some time to get used to.

Rating 7/10

Having liked “Game of Thrones” very well, I started watching the spin-off “House of Dragons”. The first two episodes aired in August, and I like it enough to continue watching. A rating will have to wait until the season is done.

 

Then there is “The Sandman” (season 1) on Netflix. This is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic/graphic novel of the same name.

I have not read the source material, but I have read some Neil Gaiman stuff (and liked it), and seen some TV with him involved in the writing, and I always liked it.

First of all, from the very beginning this feels very much like Neil’s writing. I love the acting and cinematography of this. Episode 6 is a solid highlight of the season.

I am definitely hoping for a continuation, but hopes are moderate, given the tendency of Netflix to cancel shows after a season or two.

Having said that, this first season stands very well on its own.

Rating 10/10

I finished re-listening to the audio book “Moreta, Dragon Lady of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey. I enjoyed it very well as late evening listening, as well as listening to it while driving.

Rating 8/10.

The progress in reading The Expanse novels is slow, as there are some other summer activities going on.

Non scifi activities:

Due to the heat wave I have not done a massive lot, but now it seems to cool down, and I should continue building my system for partial coverage of my electricity needs with solar power. More about this in another post.

Attack!

As it looks like some unwanted people have found their way to the website, I have taken measures to increase security.

Password changed to an even more secure one than previously. The older one was quite secure, but I am not going to take the risk. Of course, no clues to what it might look like.

Other measures that I am not going to tell you about.

Thank you for your attention.

A Little July Activity.

This is summer time, so not too much indoor scifi activity.

I got to watch a single film in the Harry Potter franchise:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. This film is not bad, but it does not quite measure up to the “original” films from the books..

I started re-reading (well listening to the audio book version) another book in the Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series:

The Skies of Pern. I did not quite get to finish it, as this is done near bed time, and sometimes the evening activities stretched a bit longer than planned. But that is fine, it is a good finalization of the main story. There are several more books in the series, and I want to do at least a few of them after finishing this one.

Activities, May and June, 2022.

I did get to do a little bit more in May and June this year. I am still building some more solar power setup, and some ham radio in the summer season, but here is the list:

Finished season 3 of Batwoman. A. OK series.

I finished the rewatch of Fringe. A very enjoyable thing to see again.

During May and June, mostly when traveling, I have been re-listening to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, as I have organised the series. The listening has continued a bit in the late evenings. At the moment the main series, as I perceive it:

  1. Dragonflight
  2. Dragonquest
  3. The White Dragon
  4. The Renegades of Pern

Also got started with some reading again:

I started The Expanse series, after finishing the TV series. I am now reading the first book: Leviathan Wakes.

I will be going through that slowly, but the intention is still to get to read them all. I have them available on my Kindle e-reader.

Of course, in May and June there were two conventions that I have already mentioned in previous posts, the Fedcon 30 in Bonn and the Fantasticon 2022 in Copenhagen.

A strictly non scifi, but a bit related project:

I will start building a small solar power system for the bedroom. This should provide the following:

  1. Night lighting, a bit of reading lighting
  2. Charging facility for my phone, e-readers, tablet etc.
  3. Power supply for a small audio player system, for audio books and the like

This will likely be made with 100W solar panels, a battery with a capacity of 20 – 25 Ampere-hours and a charge controller. Even in the deep of winter I would expect this system to provide sufficient power. If this is not the case the system can be expanded with higher solar panel power and bigger batteries.

I have just made the calculations for this system in my head, so I may have underestimated the power consumption. We shall see.

Fantasticon 2022 in Copenhagen

This week end I went to join Fantasticon in Copenhagen.

This is a small-ish convention organized by Danish fans, and usually has a few writers as guests of honour, some Scandinavian, and usually a one or two English (or American) writers.

They have two tracks of presentations, interviews, writer Q&A etc.

Apart from this we have several writers attending, so there is more than enough opportunities to talk about writing.

The convention covers the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, and this year we had about 100 registered members/attendees. Not bad for a small country with about 6 million people.

For me, I only went to one or two of the presentations, and stayed in the main room having some long chats with other fans. This was the first Danish convention I have attended since the start of the pandemic, so there was a lot of catch-up to do.

I am happy to have met several “first-timers” and got the opportunity to welcome them into our part of fandom. Most often, when meeting a “new” (to me) fan I start asking them for their favourite story, and of course giving them my own preferences. A nice way to get a conversation started.

So I had a drive into the centre of Copenhagen on Saturday and Sunday, this ended being two long, but very enjoyable days.

After such a long absence it is really good to be back in the convention activities again

Fedcon #30, June 2022.

I went to this year’s Fedcon. Starting with visiting a few friends in The Netherlands on the way, I arrived at the convention hotel on Thursday afternoon.

None of the group I know very well had arrived yet, so after checking in – this time it went smoothly – I took a bit of rest in the room.

Early evening Dutch friends Annette and Detlev had arrived, and during the evening a few more of the old friends arrived A newcomer to the group, Wolfgang, was also a pleasure to get to know. In a sense the convention had already started.

Friday the official part of the convention started, with panels, Q&As photo-ops and a lot of chats. My friend Melanie, known to me from two Worldcons, also arrived and we went to a few panels together, and were generally hanging out often.

Friday was good fun I had 3 nice encounters.
First of all I got a talk with a physicist who is also writing science fiction on the space travel subject, with the more plausible physics involved. Talked for about half an hour.
Then, at the opening ceremony the ESA people had a surprise for us: They told that a member of the team making presentations could not come due to travel difficulties. We received a video message with her excuse, and it was a good one: She was on the ISS – travel difficulties, indeed 😉
I can now rightfully claim to have received a message from space 😉

After the opening I walked a bit outside, and got to have a short (small talk) with one of the guest actors. A great time was had.
Also, I got to meet a younger fan coming from Florida, and working in Switzerland, dressed up as Spock. A well done costume.

Finally there was a musical show. FEDCON RATPACK, with Vaughn Armstrong, Casey Biggs, Max Grodenchik and Nana Visitor singing and playing nerdy songs played to older music. They really enjoyed doing this, and I enjoyed them quite a bit.

Saturday:
This was (of course) the busy day of the con.
Presentation on new tech visions at Star Trek.
Autograph session in the heat. Got my fav photo of Jonathan Frakes signed, and he seemed to like it.
Steve Dix (Englishman living in Germany): Nerd comedy show, quite amusing.
ESA (space agency): Ask the crew (for their different missions) yes, Q&A. They are very good and it looks like they enjoy coming to Fedcon. Also they had a stand where we could find some (free) stuff, posters, stickers, and a tote bag with pictures of a lot of their space crafts.
Q&A with the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston was very good. Better than I had anticipated
ESA made presentation on the James Webb telescope. A fantastic new instrument that is now starting its work on really deep space imaging in the near infrared spectrum.
Meeting more fans, of course.
It comes through very clearly that the ESA people are as happy coming to the con as we are seeing them here year after year.

Sunday:
This was a more quiet day with some autographs, and a few panels.
The “breakfast panel” with Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes was real good fun.

Suddenly the Fedcon is over. Spent all of Sunday evening chatting with other fans.

Excellent convention …

Monday it was time to go home, and I managed to arrive at my house just before midnight.