Saturday, 9 October 2010


Nell and I attended NewCon 5 today and I’ve got to say I was a little disappointed.

First the venue: Nottingham FishMarket in October is seriously cold. It comes to something went by late afternoon the most popular gathering places from delegates wasn’t the bar but around the heaters dotted about the hall. The acoustics are dire too: it was impossible to hear questions from the audience during the panel sessions.

We sat in on three panel discussions and none of them really sparked (it might have been the cold!). The first ‘SF in Other Media’ never really seemed to get a focus...maybe the topic was just too broad. Couple of good things came out of it though: the idea that the viral videos on YouTube are now a genuine art form; the comment that kids are now living ‘secret lives’ in video games; and the news that Sci-Fi-London will be screening ‘Monsters’ (which is a must-see). The highlight was though Paul Skevington making the statement – apropos of nothing – that ‘the cake is alive’. Great!

Two Generation of McKenna SF-Lovers
The second panel discussion was entitled ‘Well AI Never’ an examination of whether Artificial Intelligence was feasible etc. etc. Again the discussion was disorganised: I’d have thought the place to start would be with the question ‘what is intelligence’, but that’s me for you. I suppose the most disappointing thing for me – considering the panel were all SF writers and hence presumably ‘think outside the box’ for a living – was how predictable the conversation was. The reference point they took for intelligence was Man and I am fast coming to the conclusion that Man isn’t intelligent...99.9999% simply possess the ability to regurgitate taught intelligence. To me emotion isn’t a sign of a higher intelligence it is just static interfering with the though process.

I have though to check out Nicholas Humphries theories of Social Intelligence (thank you Stephen Palmer) and the Turin Test (courtesy of Chris Beckett).

The third and final panel considered ‘Is YA fiction Really so Different from Adult Fiction?’. I thought Kim Lakin-Smith was especially lucid here especially her comment that the secret of YA seems to be to have the young protagonists at the centre of all the action.

I suppose if I hadn’t been so worried about frostbite I might have enjoyed it more, but in the end the cold triumphed and Nell and I cut bait about 4.00 p.m. Shame.

1 comment:

  1. But we did meet a lot of people, and I like Northampton very much - so it was worth it after all! :)