August 5th, 2005

Fishy Circumstances

Worldcon Thursday

I do love a good opening ceremony at a Science Fiction/Fantasy convention. A good beginning will cover the weekend's highlights, give some sort of sense of what the important aspects of the next few days will include. It will entertain, while introducing the con's most important people, both staff and guests. This one began with bagpipes and moved on to christen a spaceship, before culminating in a reception sponsored by the city of Glasgow. Thank you, Glasgow.

The convention has a stealth theme, one not advertised to attending members in advance. At Spaceport Glasgow, it's launch weekend for the WFSF Armadillo, a spaceship which will, as the plot goes, take all con attendees to Alpha Centauri for its maiden voyage, beginning Monday afternoon. The opening ceremonies covered much-needed introductory material for the plot: safety announcements (Don't Panic), orientation, introducing the ship's captain, and providing all of us with a copy of the lovely in-flight magazine. A Glasgow city councillor gave an inspired speech, before formally naming the spaceship.

With the exception of one largely academic panel on the Middle Ages, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon and evening being social to some degree or other, including meeting enthused first-time Worldcon attendees at the reception, reunioning with guyelfkin, chatting briefly with the Toronto contingent, and dining with a new friend from last week's BFSA meeting. I walked back to the hotel in stages - first the party hotel, where a cealidh was in progress, then to another en-route hotel were a vivacious fairy-garbed woman was staying, then to Central Station, where my Finnish companion turned off. Then a lost Scottish businessman was abashed at needing to ask an American how to get back to his own hotel; but my convention map knew, and that gave me company for most of the rest of the route.