RogerBW's Blog

Worldcon in Dublin 22 August 2019

I went to the Worldcon in Dublin. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Some things went well; others didn't. The venue was the convention centre in Dublin, the largest in Ireland – and while it can manage 8,000 people in a single hall, 5,500 people wanting to move from room to room were really rather too much for it. The staff did their best, and once they took over running the queues from the convention's volunteers things started to work, but that was on the second day of the five day convention.

It is notable that Worldcon-going fandom, en masse, is too stupid to let people out of a small room before crushing forward to get into it. Then, having been told to use the stairs rather than crowding the lifts and escalators, they crammed forward into a stairwell completely full of people, rather than stepping to the other side of the lifts and using the entirely empty one. Hey ho.

But in spite of that – and the split site, with several things being a 15-minute walk or a tram ride away from the main venue in a cinema complex that was still being built – it was great fun, because of the people.

The building frontage makes me think of a pint glass coming down over a spider I'm about to throw out of the house.

But the important things were available at the hotel. (Bacon was on plate number 2. And 3.)

This was the only supplied guide to what was where in the building. I ended up passing around a samizdata map of the rooms which I'd extracted from a pre-release version of the programme guide. (And even then one of the pages was upside down.)

Network access tended to fall over a lot, not helped by (by my log) 77 APs all bellowing over each other into the same space (when planning a wifi installation, don't believe the guy who gets a commission for each AP he sells you), but mostly it was the uplink that failed and timed out. I've seen this done much better.

Full moon over the Liffey.

The Finns were there.

Why aren't the drains working? I wonder…

Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator, quite well dressed up even if I read that logo as "USS Cuckold". Still vulnerable to the Kaufman Retrograde.

The Boxed Set of Tolkien's Laundry Lists.

Important things.

Nearly as important things. (All the food we had in Dublin was excellent.)

Liffey sunset.

"Dear Auntie Squark, I am doing a dominance display but that other bird is just ignoring me. What should I try next?"

The actual, original, Enchanted Duplicator, found and restored to something like working order.

Stickers for dogs.

On the ferry back. Even after I'd eaten it I couldn't tell what it had been. (Couscous, apparently.)

I put my card into this petrol pump in Holyhead and it rebooted…

The Hugos happened; results, voting details. Of the six categories in which I voted, my first choice won four, so yay me I guess. The one that really surprised me was Short Story; if I'd been placing bets I'd have expected Clark, Gailey or Pinsker to win, and a more even split than actually happened.

I'm glad Martha Wells declined nomination for two of the three novellas of hers that were picked. As it is she's disadvantaged by the format (the whole of Murderbot Diaries is one story and really ought to have been nominable in Novel, where it might have had a chance, or Series, where it definitely wouldn't have); splitting the vote would probably have cost her the win. On the other hand the novella considered as a stand-alone rather than as part of the series perhaps isn't all that great...

Good for AO3, I guess, though it really doesn't fit comfortably in the same category as actual books by a group of people who all worked on the thing. But that's what happens when you have an "everything else" category, and I'm not going to start going to the business meeting and proposing a Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo.

I keep meaning to read some of Malka Older's work and not getting round to it.

I may start reading some more magazines in the hope that they print stories more interesting to me than Apex did or Clarkesworld currently does.

This year's Novel nominations (and the rest of the written fiction, really) felt like a pretty weak batch overall; there were entries I liked, and one I liked rather a lot, but I think nothing that would be in my all-time top 50 if I were daft enough to compile one. I'm not at all convinced that any of them will even be among my favourite books of the year. Still, nothing else published in 2018 that I've read so far is noticeably better…

See also:
2019 Hugo Awards

  1. Posted by Vivienne Dunstan at 07:51pm on 22 August 2019

    Glad you had a good time.

    We were there too, though I was only at the con on Thursday and Saturday, with full days of rest needed in between. My husband was there more. I was using my manual wheelchair, and the first day was very tricky, with lifts and chaotic queueing. But things improved after, and I loved my time there.

    On the downside the distance to the Point was terrible. I decided we would not even try to push me there and back, so just stayed at the CCD. That was regrettable, but I got enough there.

    We also fitted in some other things. For example one afternoon we managed to arrange to meet a university friend from 25 years ago - a fellow PhD computer science student at St Andrews who now lives in Japan. We had a marvellous hours chat with him.

    On another afternoon I had an Irish family reunion, meeting the grandchildren of my Dublin great granny’s two sisters. This was so special, reuniting a Dublin family that had lost contact after my great granny died in childbirth in 1913. And a line totally proved by DNA testing of specific people.

    So yes some problems, but overall a very happy trip for me. So glad we went.

    Best wishes.

    Viv (yockenthwaite on YSDC)

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 07:56pm on 22 August 2019

    Yes indeed. It's traditional to talk about the things that didn't really work, but the core things went right: I got to some excellent panels, and mostly had a good time talking with people (some I see most weeks, some I see rarely, some new friends I'd never met before).

  3. Posted by Dr Bob at 02:47pm on 23 August 2019

    The unidentifiable carbs in your food is probably quinoa. It has those little detached half-circles.

    Enjoyed Dublin a lot. I fancy going back when there isn't a con, to see a bit more of the city.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 02:58pm on 23 August 2019

    Well, it achieved the primary objectives of being technically food, shelf-stable, and not so popular that they ran out…

    Me too; I'd like to spend more time in the old centre, rather than the shiny new docklands bit where the convention was. We drove around for some sightseeing before getting on the return ferry, and there were some lovely Georgian bits (most of them still with their original railings).

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