RogerBW's Blog

Thoughts on an Eastercon: Dysprosium 07 April 2015

I spent some of last weekend at the Eastercon. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Mostly it was really rather good, and the things wrong with it were inevitable given the shape of the hotel. Half the programme was in the red area, half in the blue, so every hour and a quarter the corridor between them filled with people trying to get from one to the other.

And it wasn't an especially big corridor: about two and a half British standard fans wide.

This wasn't made easier by the dealers' rooms (green on my map above): rather than the usual browse from one table to the next, anyone visiting dealers had to go into the room. So if you weren't generally interested in (say) artistic prints, you wouldn't stroll past and be grabbed by something amazing. (But there wasn't any other space they could have used.)

Also people stopped in the corridor to see what was in a specific room.

But on the other hand the real ale bar (in the blue area) was well-stocked (much of it from Bingham's, and I shall clearly have to investigate Sherfield Village Brewery too). Hardly any chairs, though, so mostly people didn't hang around here.

The main reception/bar area, upper right on the map, was just a bit strange, but as the only place with a significant amount of seating that wasn't a programme room it became the default socialising spot.

I thought the sculpture was meant to represent the Earth's core, but the central ball had recognisable land-mass outlines on it. Navigation over the world, perhaps?

The lighting behind the bar gradually changed colour.

But enough of the venue: what about the convention? Well done, I thought: what programme I went to worked, and once people had settled on the main bar as a social area rather than trying to find space in the Real Ale bar it all worked pretty well.

(Networks such as the telephone system are often described as having an n² usefulness: the usefulness to each person is proportional to the number of people who can be reached on it, so the usefuless as a whole goes up as the square of the number of users. Thus is it significantly better overall to have one big telephone network rather than two medium-sized ones. For conventions that's true up to a point: there are particular people I want to see, as well as meeting new people, and the larger the convention the harder it is to find them. I suspect that for me there may be a sweet spot in convention size of about 150-200, but it would have to be the right 150-200.)

Next year in Manchester; the year after that in Cardiff.


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 06:17pm on 10 April 2015

    A very modest con report Roger. And I notice that Susan and myself have been caught en passant in one of the dealer rooms. I have only just caught up with three to four hundred emails, and plan to write a report soon.

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