Wow, so yesterday was incredible. So incredible that I was too exhausted when I got back to the hotel to write about it.
The day started with waiting in line to get tickets to go to the Neil Gaiman signing. As you can tell from my previous post, I did get them, but it was a significant wait. He clearly has a lot of fans at the convention.
After the line, we went to a fascinating panel on intellectual property rights and laws. I'm sure that doesn't sound exciting, but it was a really good panel featuring Cory Doctorow, an author I hadn't heard of before this convention, but definitely have some interest in now. He was a very good panelist, very informed on his topic. He also managed to make what could have been a very dry, boring topic into a very entertaining one.
Our second panel of the day was entitled "I For One Welcome Our Zombie Overlords", about, of course, the coming zombie apocalypse. I had been looking forward to this one since I saw it in the program, as had Erin. I have to say, it was disappointing. I can't complain too much because everything we've gone to so far has been great, this is the first dud. I'm just surprised that a topic so potentially full of fun turned out to be so lackluster. I think the problem was mostly the panel itself, not the topic. There were four panelists, and only one of them seemed prepared at all. I didn't really like a lot of his points or his shameless self-promotion, but he was the only one that had done any research, had a thesis and stuck to it, and did raise some interesting thinking points. Of the other three panelists, two just liked zombie movies, and I'm not even sure why the fourth one was there as she admitted to knowing pretty much nothing about the zombie-verse. It definitely did not live up to it's potential.
Happily, the afternoon and evening more than made up for that. First came the Guy Gavriel Kay signing. There was a line up for that, but it wasn't too bad, maybe 25 minutes to get to him. He was very nice. Erin got to him first, and he actually thanked her for waiting, which blew my mind. I feel like he's the one doing us the favour, not the other way around. When I got up there he noticed the sequence of two Erins and commented on it, so we had a tiny little chat with him about how yes, we did know each other. I liked him a lot.
Next came the highpoint of the day, the Neil Gaiman signing. After the line up for tickets, there was a line up started to see him an hour before the signing even started. It was quite a long wait but it was sooooo worth it. In the line they handed out post it notes upon which you had to write the inscription you wanted in your book(s), to speed things up. I had written out "Erin, Anticipation 2009" for The Kindly Ones, and just my name for The Graveyard Book. As shown in my last post, he didn't just write my name in The Graveyard Book, he drew a little headstone for it (in Erin's Coraline he also drew a little mouse). For The Kindly Ones he wrote what I asked but broke up "Anticipation" into "Antici-pation" like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Erin was signing after me, and I just stood at the table while I waited for her. Neil noticed the duo of Erins as well, and started chatting with us while he signed her books. He saw on my tag I was from Halifax and asked about that and we said yes, we were both from there. He asked if everyone in Halifax was named Erin and I said, for the most part, yes. We had a little laugh with him and then he recalled an old sailor's prayer he'd once heard about preferring to go to Hell over Halifax.
Erin and I were just about beside ourselves when we left. We talked to Neil Gaiman! Actually had a little chat with him! He was so charming and nice, my face was so red while we were at the table. It was just so awesome. It was doubly nice to have my previous impression of him, from his writing and blogs, completely verified. I just think it's awesome that he goes to the trouble of adding little extra things to people's books, even when he has hundreds of people to get through, and even chat with you. He definitely gave the impression of having a good deal of apreciation for his fans.
The day's greatness didn't even end there. We later attended a panel on the lack of diversity in comics and SF. The panel was absolutely incredible, I think the best we've attended. It managed to take what could be a very touchy subject and dealt with it constructively, and entertainingly. It was very enjoyable, and could have been a lot longer and still worth it.
The day ended with a screening of the movie Coraline, introduced by Neil Gaiman. Erin and I have both seen the movie but love it and had no problem seeing it again. Neil was, again, very charming and great to listen to for the intro. He told us about the making of the movie and how they did it. I have even more respect for it than I did before. I knew it was mostly stop-gap animation, but assumed there was some CGI involved but Neil dispelled that. There is *one* scene in the whole movie that is CGI, everything else is stop-gap. The only CGI was to take out rigging lines and lines on thier faces where parts were. That just blows my mind and makes it an even more incredible movie.
Of course, there had to be technical problems. The poor tech crew could not get the movie to play, their Blu-ray disc kept crashing. It was handled with humor by the crew and the audience though, and really difused what could have been a rotten experience with angry movie-goers. The anticipation of the movie starting being broken by error messages on the screen was only greeted by laughter and shouted comments like "Is there a techie in the house?" which brought more laughter (there is something hilarious about asking for a techie in a sci-fi convention full off geeks, you had to be there).
They did eventually get the movie going, so we got to enjoy the show and then headed back to the hotel to pass out. Now it is time for me to stop posting and go start the day!
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