Monday, 9 April 2012


Bloody Sunday started after Newbury feeding time with a panel on 'Biology of the zombie apocalypse, where I was joined (in the long-walk-away room 12) by "world experts in necrological studies" Dr Bob, Rob Haines, and Bill Sellers, moderated by Tom Womack. I was the lowly horror movie geek amongst the boffins, as we tried to figure out what makes the undead shamble about in search of human flesh. The hour went by quickly and the panel was certainly a lot of fun to do. Miraculously, nobody mentioned the taste of chicken.

Just before 11am, I was rushing to the Green Room for a drink, before meeting fellow panellists Dev Agarwal, Martin Easterbrook, and Graham Sleight, with moderator Lapswood (Chad Dixon), for my third and last programme item '20-odd years of CGI'. This was a particularly interesting topic as we tried to highlight various/ best examples of digital animation used in two decades of movies.

At noon, I went to hear Paul F. Cockburn, Paul McAuley, Martin Andersson, and James Treadwell talking about the current 'Sequelitis' affecting Hollywood, but had to leave early because I needed a drink and wanted to visit Ian Sales' launch party for the Rocket Science anthology he's edited for Mutation Press. After lunch, I went to the panel on 'Scientists and the media' in the Commonwealth main hall, where David L. Clements was moderator for Caroline Mullan, Paul Cornell, Jennifer Delaney, and Marek Kukula. It was a very worthwhile panel, as was the next discussion group for 'the science of Rocket Science', with the book's editor Ian Sales, and contributors Iain Cairns, Deborah Walker, and Martin McGrath.

At teatime, I was back in the main hall for a lively panel on 'The nature of heroism' with two guests-of-honour: Tricia Sullivan and George R.R. Martin, plus author Joe Abercrombie, blogger Genevieve Valentine, and moderator David Anthony Durham. Sullivan and Martin were both great, although in disagreement. After Jessica Yates talk about 'Superhero comics, graphic novels and the films they inspired', I went to the panel on 'Fantasy in our time' where Edward James, Andy Sawyer, and James Treadwell, were moderated by Graham Sleight, for a discussion about the influence of Tolkien and Howard.

The busy evening continued wiith the programme item 'Death of the author' as Ian Whates moderated for Ian Watson, Tanya Brown, Roz Kaveney, and Adam Christopher, in a discussion of shared-worlds in fiction. As expected, Watson was hilarious in a 10-minute talk about his contribution to Warhammer 40K. I wasn't keen on 'Multicultural steampunk', anyway, so I left that panel item after listening to a few minutes of authors talking, somewhat defensively, about diversification in a subgenre that seems like a lamentable dead-end in SF. The night's programme was obviously winding down by 10pm, as only a couple of the panellists for 'Worst and best movies of the year' bothered to turn up for the discussion, which started late and seemed haphazard, and was a bit disappointing for me.

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