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.

 

Musings on Fringe, Season 1. [Spoilers]

A few thoughts on season 1 of Fringe:

Characters:

Walter Bishop (John Noble), the mad – or maybe not so mad – scientist who has done research for the defence dept. then being in an asylum for about 17 years. His specialty was – and is – fringe science, all outside the reach of science, though a bit of it may be possible. Not quite stable, but brilliant when allowed in his best moments.

Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), son of Walter also, high IQ, has been operating as a con man for a while.

Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), a very good FBI agent, has photographic memory, among many other abilities. She has been working well with her partner John Scott. Yes, they were lovers, too.

Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) assists the trio, mainly taking care of Walter,

Those are the main characters, Some more of the ensemble cast are:

Philip Broyles (Lance Reddick), takes Olivia into the Fringe Division, an unofficial part of Homeland.

Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo), most often assisting agent Dunham in the investigations.

Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), executive director of Massive Dynamics, a very large corporation formed by William Bell, Walter’s old partner in fringe science research.

Summary:

In season 1 we encounter a number of fringe events, in the beginning they appear unrelated, but as we progress there seems to be a pattern emerging – the term “Find the Pattern” is literally stated a few times.

One thing that appears in every episode (if you can spot it) is an Observer. Those are mysterious characters, invariably dressed in suit and hat, to me looking like 1930s style. When they are first noticed by Olivia it turns out they they have been seen throughout history, appearing at significant events. In addition they seem to have an almost non-existent sense of taste, as seen in one episode. In season 1 they are still a total mystery.

We learn that Olivia appears to have some unusual abilities that look like telekinesis. It turns out that Walter and William Bell experimented with children a few decades ago, and Olivia was one of them. That is when it gets interesting.

One more aspect that appears in this season is the concept of a parallel universe, of course in an episode titled “There Is More Than One of Everything”.

Activity, February to April 2022.

This spring has not been as active, scifi-wise.

I finished the Sense8 rewatch before going to the Sense8Con3.

The Fringe rewatch continues, and by the end of April seasons 1 – 3 were completed, and season 4 is in progress. One episode per day when time allows.

The spring is in full swing, and some garden activities are necessary.

I have made a very modest start with setting up a set of two solar panels to power some of my amateur radio activities.

 

Sense8Con3 in Paris, and a Visit.

In the past week end I went to the third Sense8Con in Paris.

The convention was, of course delayed 2 years due to the COVID-19 situation. While restrictions have largely been lifted, The convention did, however, require mask wearing at the convention activities, with the exception of photo ops.

Tis convention was much smaller than the previous one 3 years ago, as some people could not afford to go, and others had previous appointments at the convention days.

This made the convention even more close-knit than the others I have attended, and I got to meet some attendees from the previous one, and got to meet some new ones.

The (actor) guests this time were:

Tina Desai (once more) who played Kala in Mumbai.

Purab Kohli who played Rajan

Toby Onwumere who played Capheus in Nairobi, and

Paul Ogola who played Jela.

All of them were quite entertaining at the panels/Q&As, and responded to fan questions with very lively answers.

At the previous con I had asked about their relations to writers – evryone had been talking mostly about Lana Wachowski, so I put the focus on the co-creator J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

All were appreciative of the writer’s, no surprise, because without a writer there will be no story. At the con 3 years ago Tina told how she tried to get JMS to open up to her, and how she was happy to break through, as they had much in common.

Tis time she told us how JMS would always be available to fill in back story for the characters, as he was the only one who had the time during the filming/production, as he was, of course, very involved in the creation of the characters and the story.

Paul Ogola had a special appreciation, as he has done some writing himself.

At the autograph sessions there was ample time for the guests to chat a bit with the fans, due to the small size of the convention.

I managed to make a few photos with the phone, and here is one. I may add more later. Tina Desai at the special panel:

After the convention I made a visit to one of the filming locations. In the series it is named The Lacuna, a place which is “in this world, but not of this world”. This is filmed at the ruins of an abandoned abbey in a village near the city of Brussels, the initial building of this started in the mid 12th century.

If one is interested in old architecture and ruins, this is definitely a site to visit, and for a fan of Sense8 it is well worth standing in The Lacuna, which is in the remains of the church of the abbey. Here is the one illustrating The Lacuna:

Both pictures in this post are right out of the camera (my phone), completely un-edited.

I may try to find time to look at, and edit a few more of the pictures from the convention, but this is all for now.

Some Spring Tidying and Cleaning.

While it is not quite spring, today’s weather had a touch of spring here. Sun shining from a clear sky (not often in Denmark), and the temperature quite acceptable. Well, I say not quite spring because it is still February, and that is still officially considered a winter month.

After a long time with COVID restrictions (some self imposed), the tidying activity had been lacking here, so now a lot is needed, and finally, I got started.

Indoors the living room space got a little floor space freed. Much more is needed, but it is now possible to have a guest sitting in the few (more) square meters (sqm) available. Yes, it was that bad, but it is a start, and must continue. 😉

In the out-house (I would not call it “shed” because it is much bigger than a shed in my eyes. A total of about 40sqm (about 400sqft) sounds like a lot of space, and while some stuff has been removed from the out-house after my removal some years ago, A lot still needs to be done there, so I can start some workshop activities.

I need to look at all the stuff on shelves, to see what is useful to me, and what should be discarded, and what must be discarded. A lot of sorting to do, but finally it has started.

In the indoor department, there are some thing needed. The bathroom is over 50 years old, and it needs a complete renewal. Since I am lousy at that type of work, I have decided to have it done and saved enough to pay the bill. It had been postponed due to COVID, but now I really need to have it done.

Scifi Activity, January 2022

Got to watch a bit this month:

Films:

A drama-documentary about Einstein and Eddington – 7/10

A new Netflix original scifi: Don’t Look  Up A political satire  around a comet hitting Earth – 7/10

TV:

Season 4 of the Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai. Quite enjoyable – 8/10

The Expanse series finale An excellent series, and an excellent season 6 – 9/10

The Torchwood mini-series in 5 parts: Children of Earth. While I did not find the Torchwood seres in general all too enjoyable, this is an excellent piece of TV – 9/10

Season 1 of Fringe rewatch. Still excellent, the first season is a good introduction to the characters and the universe as such – 8/10

Started a rewatch of Sense8. Just about mid-season 1, and running.

The Fringe watch was a bit too fast, so the next season will probably be a bit less than 1 episode per day. Sense8 will just continue, probably with about one episode per day.

The days are getting longer, and some other activity is needed, indoors and outdoors.

More Rewatch: Sense8 and Fringe.

This month I have started a rewatch of two of my high ranking series:

Sense8:

I am now mid-season 1. The story is as good as I remembered, enjoying it a lot.

The filming/cinematography is excellent, the “visiting” scenes filmed in two or more places is so well done, it feels seamless, and we are now getting to know the characters better.

Fringe: Just watched season 1, episode 7 “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”.

John Noble is wonderful as Walter Bishop. It does not detract from the other actors, but his performance really shines all from the beginning.

I am taking both series in a moderate tempo, no big binging with many episodes per day. Sense4 has a total of 24 episodes, and I go for one every one or two days, maybe with short breaks. Fringe has 100 episodes, so one or two per day will be the norm, also with possible breaks.

After this I would like to do a Babylon 5 rewatch, but I want to see the remastered version, and it is not yet available on physical media, and I have not yet found it included in the streaming services I have. I may have to wait for a while.

Rewatch: Torchwood: Children of Earth. [Spoilers].

While the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood did not really catch me, there was one season/event that did.

Living in Holland at the time I could watch BBC TV on the cable, and that means that I could catch the 5-day event that was Torchwood: Children of Earth.

5 episodes, each about one hour long, broadcast over 5 days, this strikes me as an excellent science fiction story.

Suddenly children all over the world simply stop for a while, and all saying “We are coming!” An older man also does that. A government official Mr Frobisher is ordered to handle the situation, and it turns out that something strange happened to the older man – he escaped an alien abduction back in 1965, but apparently the connection is still there.

When Torchwood is destroyed by a bomb Jack Harkness is blown to bits and the surviving members escape, but are hunted. The mystery deepens. Of course, Jack is immortal , so he survives anyway.

The children stop once more, saying “We are coming – tomorrow”. Later again: “We are here”

All the while the government builds a glass container for hosting the alien visitors – filled with poisonous gases – for humans, at least … and the hunt for Torchwood (and others) continues. The aliens “beam” down and negotiations begin. The aliens want 10% of the children from all over the Earth. Ouch! The government wants to negotiate, but the aliens refuse and threaten to destroy all human life on Earth..

From the older man we find out that the one bringing the children to the pick up point was none other than – Capt. Jack – at the order of the government agency – no wonder they wanted him (and Torchwood) out of the way.

In the end Capt. Jack resolves the problem with the aliens, but at great (personal) cost.

The children of Earth are saved.

During this rewatch I very much enjoyed the story telling and the acting, and I rate this excellent story 9/10.

The Expanse TV Show Is Over.

Today I watched the series finale of the TV series.

I have not (yet) read the book series by James S.A. Corey, so I cannot compare the two.

I like the series, even if the final (6th) season was too short. Lots of threads were closed, but some are still open, should the series get a continuation at some stage.

I cannot fully recall the first seasons, so at some stage a re-watch of the series is in order I think getting and reading the book series may be a good idea.

Latest on the Babylon 5 Reboot.

J. Michael Straczynski reported that he finished script for the pilot episode of the new Babylon 5, and it has been approved.

The pilot is a go. Now we will have to wait for CW’s reaction to the filmed/finished pilot.

It has been announced that Time/Warner has set up the CW network for sale. JMS has told fans to relax. No one has been reported to be interested yet, and the sale must mass all the administrative bureaucracy, including monopoly checks etc. It should take a year, at the least, enough time to establish the show as being viable. After all those companies want to make money 😉

I am not worried about that aspect. Now we wait for the CW network to give their answer. Patience …