Reversed Polarity


Doctor Who conventions are kind of a rare thing around here. I’d been to a couple Who Party Toronto events, including the one [a couple weeks ago](, but they’re fairly small affairs. When I heard that the people who put on Polaris (see [2008]( ([2]( ([3]( for comparison) were putting on a Doctor Who convention for the 50th anniversary, I jumped on it.

Well, okay, I waffled for a little bit, but Ellen convinced me I had to go, so I got myself all signed up and decided to go.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Perhaps something like what I’d heard [Gallifrey One]( is like, though inevitably on a smaller scale. In the end, I had to modify my expectations a bit.

I suppose I should back up a bit. I’ve been finding myself in a not-so-perky-and-energetic mood the last few months. And it’s been a long time since I’ve gone off to a convention alone. When I did, as much as I enjoyed aspects on the con I participated in, I found the overall experience to be pretty depressing. Because I’m not a life-of-the-party, put-myself-out-there, small-talk-and-cocktails kind of guy. I don’t particularly relish meeting celebrities and I don’t really know what to do with my fellow fans unless I’ve already got some sort of personal connection with them. I do, however, like hanging out with friends at these things and discussing and deciding what to do, where to go for lunch and things like that. That’s super-fun. But I didn’t have that here.

So in setting myself up for going to Reversed Polarity, I probably should’ve tried harder to rope some friends into going with me.

But that’s probably why my reaction to the thing seems to be one of disappointment. I mean, intellectually, I know it shouldn’t be. It was a whole weekend of Doctor Who stuff! How cool is that?! But I (somewhat inevitably in retrospect) found myself feeling left out and like I wasn’t fitting in. Which is totally my own fault, really.

After I was able to moderate my expectations, I was able to have a good time in a vaguely detached, doing-my-own-thing kind of way. The panels helped.

Leading up to the con, the programming people announced that there were several “panels in peril.” They included the (one and only) [Big Finish]( panel and the [New Adventures]( panel. There was no way I could let those die! So I signed up. On a whim, I put myself down for panels dedicated to the 6th and 7th Doctors as well.

Being on those panels was pretty much the best thing about the con for me. I love talking about this stuff. And I was able to play off other knowledgeable people as well. They were great. I’ve done the Doctor Who panel at Con-G before, and that was fun, but these were far more likely to have a few hard-core Doctor Who fans around I could nerd out at. Glorious!

Ellen showed up for the main guest talks. She was really excited to see Dick Mills, one of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop engineers, creator of many iconic Doctor Who sound effects and co-“realizer” of the Doctor Who theme. We also appreciated his stories about orgasm guns and rushing off to see a lady about her tits. He’s a lot of fun, really.

Oh, and I should probably mention Peter Davison too. And Graeme Harper and Dan Starkey. I got my Caves of Androzani DVD signed by Peter and Graeme, and got Dick to sign Ellen’s Doctor Who sound effects CD.

Ellen had to leave after the guest talks, though, as the air in that hotel isn’t at all good for her.

I’m going to call the event on the whole a success, even if my mood at the time detracted from it. I’m very, very grateful to the people who put it on and a little sad they didn’t announce a follow-up event for next year. Because it’s the sort of thing that often improves as it matures, and I would’ve liked to see that.

Review: Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue (The Bern Saga, #1)Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fast-paced, fun adventure which is made better if you don’t think about it too hard.

The things Molly and Cole get up to are literally incredible and it’s an outright miracle they survived half of them. The prose-style can be a bit breathless and overbearing at times, with chapter cliffhangers amounting to “Or was it???” and “Little did they know they had it all wrong!” I think I would’ve enjoyed a few more chances to catch my breath between impossibly deadly disasters.

I was looking for a fun space adventure, and this book is that, especially if I can keep myself from rolling my eyes long enough to enjoy it.

I might be tempted to recommend it to younger readers who might be more forgiving, but one thing that might temper my recommendation is that Molly and Cole kill an awful lot of people and there don’t seem to be many consequences to that. Maybe it’ll catch up to them in later books, but it’s rather disconcerting and out of character for most YA I’ve read.

Of course it ends on a horrible cliff-hanger. I think I might give the next one a try at some point, but I need a break from this first.

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