I’m baaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Didja miss me? Come on, at least pretend you noticed I was gone. Unless, of course, you were following my adventures on Tumblr or Twitter, in which case it’s probably like I never left, and you’re possibly quite sick of me. Hmm.
ANYWAY, since I originally started this blog in the wake of Continuum 8: Craftonomicon, and my appointment as programming whosit for Continuum 9, I thought I’d post my ChicagoTARDIS thoughts here.
ChiTARDIS was my very first fan convention for a specific fandom. I got to meet a bunch of old friends, some of whom I didn’t even know were attending, and I made a bunch of new friends. I was a bit creepy at the back of Burn Gorman’s head (he just had a very crisp haircut!) and passed Anjli Mohindra in the ladies room, where she was worried she wouldn’t make a good impression on fans.
Programming-wise, I … well, I spent a lot of time in the lobby. And the bar. And at Target. This isn’t so much a reflection on the program itself, but more that it seemed a bit silly to travel all this way, meet people in person for the first or second time, and then not spend time with them.
Having said that, the only panel I really regret missing was Fond of the Ponds, with L M Myles and Deborah Stanish, which was apparently 55 minutes of pure Pond-love. Most of the panels I did get to involved people being wrong in outrageous ways, like on the companion departure panel, where it was claimed that Martha achieved nothing in season 3 (she just saved the world, no big deal), and that Romana II was useless except for making goo-goo eyes at the Doctor. (I just … look, some woman went and wrote a whole essay about season 17 and how it’s quite good, and basically turns Romana into the Doctor, and you should totes go and buy this book.)
One panel that was PERFECT and WONDERFUL in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY was the Chicks Unravel Time panel. Well, there were some questions about whether or not the title is an attempt to reclaim a sexist slur, which I found odd, because when I was a teen in the late ’90s, “chick” was just the feminine of “dude”, no slur intended. Bit past the point of reclamation, y’know? But the women asking the questions were older, so I think this is a generational thing.
Anyway, that panel was wonderful, and people seem to like the book (it has three Amazon reviews, you know!), and we got to talk about the parts we enjoyed most. I said something completely incoherent about Tansy Rayner Roberts‘ essay about the Trial of a Time Lord season, which … well, I attempted to watch it once — I own the box set and everything — but now I want to give it another go. In fact, the whole book makes me want to watch all of Doctor Who, even the bits I previously didn’t like.
SPEAKING OF WHICH, the other panel I was on was called It’s Stopped Being Fun, Doctor … But I Can’t Stop Watching! About that thing where you’ve completely fallen out of love with a show, but you keep watching it. And blogging about it. And — my personal pet peeve — going into other people’s squee posts to tell them how much it sucked.
I figured it was going to be a panel fraught with disagreement. What I didn’t expect was that the fifth panellist wouldn’t even turn up, leaving me as the only woman on the panel, and the youngest by about a decade. I spent most of the panel being interrupted, contradicted and mansplained at, and when I couldn’t get words in, I settled for pulling faces. Did you know that Star Trek: Voyager only became good in the fourth season because then the writers had a pretty girl to motivate them? Of course the show wasn’t already improving in its third season (the normal trajectory for a Star Trek spin off) — no one was watching then. Well, no men, apparently, who are the only viewers that count. (In fairness, I think that was Brannon Braga’s attitude as well.)
And, to bring the discussion back to Doctor Who, a story driven by characterisation is … inherently bad?
It was very strange. But I did learn a lot about panel moderation, ie, you need to have it. So that’s good!
After that panel, my friends swept me away to the bar. NEVER TO EMERGE, except for food and sleep and hanging out in the lobby.
IN CONCLUSION, ChicagoTARDIS was a really interesting and overall positive experience. One day I’d like to get to Gallifrey, where apparently the programming is stronger but the lobbycon is less comfortable. But more than Gally, I’d really like to one day be in a position to see my international friends more than once every couple of years. Money in exchange for labour seems so inefficient…