The 2023 Chengdu Worldcon committee tweeted April 24 that it has named Ben Yalow one of three co-chairs of the convention. They have also appointed Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake III, Randall Shepherd as Vice-Chairs.
In addition, Bill Lawhorn has become a co-division-head.
Here is the committee’s latest organization chart:
Ben Yalow, Hongwei He, Chen Shi
Haijun Yao, Xiaolan Liang
Tong Xia, Yating Wang, Yao Chen, He Huang, Feng Yang, Zhenyu Jiang, Yue Sun, Zi La, Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake, Randall Shepherd
Colette Fozard, Nicholas Whyte
INTEGRATED PLANNING AND COORDINATION DIVISION
Division Head: Yating Wang, Bill Lawhorn
ARTISTIC DESIGN DIVISION
Division Head: Yue Sun
MARKETING DEVELOPMENT AND BRAND BUILDING DIVISION
Division Head: Yuxi Tan
PUBLIC RELATIONSHIP DIVISION
Division Head: Tong Xia
MEMBER SERVICES DIVISION
Division Head: Yao Chen
TRANSLATION SERVICES WORKING DIVISION
Division Head: Shuang Liang
HUGO AWARD SELECTION EXECUTIVE DIVISION
Division Head: Zhengyu Jiang, Dave McCarty
BUSINESS MEETING EXECUTIVE DIVISION
Division Head: Xue Yao
2025 CONVENTION SITE SELECTION IMPLEMENTATION DIVISION
Division Head: Chi Yao
EVENT OPERATIONS DIVISION
Division Head: Liu Yang
Division Head: He Huang
NORTH AMERICA, EAST ASIA, EUROPE AGENT
Division Head: Feng Yang
CONVENTION SERVICE DIVISION
Division Head: TBA
Many of the overseas committee members were part of the international array of visiting writers and Worldcon runners who attended the 5th China (Chengdu) International Science Fiction Conference in 2019, including then-DisCon III co-chairs Colette Fozard and William Lawhorn, then-Chicago bid co-chair Dave McCarty, plus Ben Yalow, and Pablo M.A Vazquez who was there as a winner of the Shimmer Program’s Two-Way Exchange Fund.
To Be Fair, I Was Left Unsupervised: A Disjointed Chronicle of 79th World Science Fiction Convention, Discon III – Day Five
By Chris M. Barkley:
DAY FIVE: THE LAST DAY
Sunday, the very last day of Discon III, was a VERY busy day.
Juli and I had finished packing the night before.
I was also up early (again) because I had a 10am panel; “Inspired Or Copied, The Ethics of Art”, featuring artists agent Jane Frank, attorney at law Harold Feld, and authors Keith DeCandido, J.T. Greathouse and myself. As I looked in the program book, I did not see anyone listed as a moderator. Which made me wonder why I was on this panel to begin with. Oh well, I thought…
But first, there were two other issues on my plate that morning. As I got dressed, Juli informed me that I maybe in hot water with our friend, author Jonathan Brazee. Apparently, I misstated his rank in the United States Marine Corps as “Lt. Colonel” instead of his actual rank upon retirement as full Colonel.
If you think the distinction is rather minor, think again. Consider this; my brain fart is the equivalent of mistaking the rock band Nickelback for The Beatles. I have several friends and relatives who have served in the armed services and nothing upsets them more than civilians like myself getting aspects of their lives dead wrong. So, I got dressed, dreading the prospect of running into the Colonel.
The other thing that caught my attention was a Facebook post by Adam-Troy Castro. In it, Mr. Castro totally eviscerates Jon Del Arroz, a internet provocateur (troll) mostly known for his incredibly egotistical boasts of writing talent and notorious passive-aggressive attacks on progressive writers, women, the LGBTQ community and practically anyone else who casts doubts his on his “greatness”.
Needless to say, I picked up Mr. Castro’s post and spread it all over Facebook (including the DisCon III page) and on my Twitter page with the caption (gleefully borrowed from Game of Thrones): “He who SHOUTS that he is a King, is no king.”
THAT, dear readers, felt very, VERY satisfying.
On my way to my panel, I decided to grab a quick bite of something in the DisCon III Green Room (located just off to the side of the hotel’s main restaurant) to tide me over until I could eat a fuller breakfast. And guess who was there, having coffee with a friend —
As I started to apologize profusely, he laughed and said that he actually got a kick out of being one of the “luminaries” spotted at the bottom of the first column of this series of DisCon III reports. Totally relieved that I would not be set upon by angry veterans or service members of the armed forces, I grabbed a cup of tea and made my way to my panel. (Subsequently, Col. Brazee contacted me via text and said that no further public apology was necessary but I must disagree. When a mistake of that magnitude is made by a reporter, a correction is not only called for, it’s mandatory as far as I’m concerned.)
As I passed through the lobby, I stopped by the Information Desk for the last newsletter and the traditional hoax parody as well. I also saw that there were several dozen silver colored, Flash Gordon shaped foam rockets on the next table over. Curious, I went over and examined one and saw the red and black label, which is how I found out that the defense contractor Raytheon was an official sponsor of DisCon III. (WHAT? I should have been paying more attention during the con! In my defense, I was unsupervised…)
Thinking that these would make a nice trinket for my four grandchildren, I grabbed several of them. As I passed by Ellen Datlow, who was seated in the East Promenade eating from the grab and go buffet, I gifted her with one as well. She was very appreciative since this rocket was MUCH lighter than the Short Form Editing Hugo Award she had won yesterday evening.
[Chris Barkley’s report continues after the jump.]
To Be Fair, I Was Left Unsupervised: A Disjointed Chronicle of 79th World Science Fiction Convention, DisCon III – December 19-20, 2021
By Chris M. Barkley:
(Author’s Note: As of this writing, I misplaced all of my notes for Day Four. The things I write about here may be a bit truncated, so please bear with me with this day’s events…)
I woke up relatively early (for a Worldcon), at around 8:45 a.m. Dapperly dressed in my Chelsea FC pajamas and socks, I decide to go down to the Information Desk for the latest Dis N’ Dat newsletter for the latest news and Programming changes.
Just as I exited the elevator, I encountered Laurie Mann and Dave McCarty in deep conversation. Mr. McCarty told me that he was on his way to the Site Selection Meeting and was particularly vexed because the contest between the Chengdu and Winnipeg bids was, as of this morning, in doubt.
This was a little peculiar because under normal circumstances, the identity of the winning bid would have been leaked the previous evening by unknown sources and would have been circulating among the parties last night.
But as I inferred from my earlier conversation with Ms. Mann and Mr. McCarty, this did not happen. By now, most of you may know that the statement from Kevin Standlee a few days earlier cast the election in doubt due to what was perceived by some as an infraction of the rules regarding the lack of valid addresses by those voting for the Chengdu bid.
To my understanding of the matter, a majority of the Chengdu voters used as email address because that is how they interpreted the use of that term in China
Mr. McCarty, who is associated with the Chengdu bid, had no idea whether or not the disputed ballots would be allowed or not this morning.
Quickly realizing that either history, a controversy, or both was about to occur, I bolted to my room, got properly dressed, grabbed a tea and a protein bar and raced down to the Palladian Ballroom for the reveal.
The Site Selection Meeting had been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. but that passed by as the room slowly filled with interested parties.
The meeting also passed a controversial resolution advising the Site Selection administrator that he reclassify as “No Preference” votes those ballots lacking any of four pieces of information specified in the motion.
The motion was signed by two leaders of the Winnipeg in 2023 bid, bid chair Terry Fong, and vice-chair Jannie Shea.
Short Title: Required Site Selection Information
Resolved, That it is the sense of the WSFS Business Meeting that any Site Selection ballot that does not contain a Membership Number, Name, Signature, and Address that meets the country of origin’s requirements should be counted as “No Preference.”
When it came to the floor, however, Site Selection administrator Tim Szczesuil said he was requesting the meeting’s guidance. He pointed to the relevant part of the WSFS Constitution, rule 4.4.1, and said it was “somewhat ambiguous with respect to what is required of the voter.” The rule reads —
4.4.1: Site-selection ballots shall include name, signature, address, and membership-number spaces to be filled in by the voter. Each site-selection ballot shall list the options “None of the Above” and “No Preference” and provide for write-in votes, after the bidders and with equal prominence. The supporting membership rate shall be listed on all site-selection ballots.
“The way it, to me, it could be read either as the ballot is required to have four items – I think it’s the name, the address, the signature, and the member number. Or it could be that the member has to include that information on the ballot.”
Potentially, the resolution can lead to ballots lacking any of the four items not having their preference for Chengdu or Winnipeg counted toward determining the winner.
Ben Yalow spoke against the resolution, saying he considered the rule “incredibly clear” that it was about the spaces for certain information which must be on the ballot, not what the voter must fill in.
The business meeting chair Don Eastlake turned over the meeting to another officer so he could go to the floor and speak in favor of the resolution, “I do not believe we should allow anonymous or semi-anonymous people who don’t provide enough information or don’t provide a name or haven’t signed [the ballot] to affect site selection…” Dave McCarty’s comment in support of the motion was that address information is needed “to be able to tell if they are real people.”
The site selection validation process doesn’t ever take time to test voters’ residence/mail address information and make a judgment about it. The two critical factors are that the voter must have a membership in the current Worldcon, and that the payment of the site selection voting fee must clear. However, a person could do everything required to become a member of the current Worldcon, DisCon III, and still fail a 2023 site selection voting requirement. For example, Eastlake pointed out a past practice that people who fail to sign their ballots do not get their votes counted, although they still get a supporting membership in the new convention.
The business meeting passed the resolution 47-30. Because it is a resolution, it is not binding. However, since he requested it, File 770 has asked Site Selection administrator Tim Szczesuil to comment how he will apply the resolution.
OTHER BUSINESS. Kevin Standlee reports on his LiveJournal that the meeting ratified all nine of the constitutional amendments passed on from last year’s Worldcon. “These amendments were initially passed in Ireland, then technically rejected and then re-passed in New Zealand, in order to evade the problem that hardly any WSFS members could actually get to the meeting in Wellington.”
The day started out as pretty dreary to fly out of Cincinnati. The morning was punctuated by heavy rain showers and overcast skies. But, as the morning progressed, the skies cleared from the west and the sun revealed itself in full splendor.
My partner Juli and I received our first bit of DisCon III news just before we boarded our plane. Kevin Standlee reported on the geographic distribution of the 2023 Site Selection ballots in advance of the end of voting on Friday. The fact that this dispatch reflected that the Chengdu bid was projected to win in a landslide caused a HUGE kerfuffle online and at DisCon III. So much so that the upper management of DisCon III, asked that the post be removed and/or redacted online. And shortly thereafter, it was.
I must note here that Kevin Standlee has been a very good friend of mine over the past twenty plus years and that my heart goes out to him. But I fear that he has done the Worldcon and the Site Selection process a great disservice by his actions.
This development came on the heels of an editorial published Tuesday on File 770 by the distinguished UK fan Colin Harris, who suggested that if the bid from Chengdu did win that the fan community should take a deep breath and accept the results of the election.
I have heard a great many good things about the members of Chengdu bid, in the earnest efforts to become a part of the worldwide community of fandom and their work towards winning the 2023 bid. I applaud their efforts, but I must say that my only fear, along with many others, is not any racial animus towards Chinese fans but that the authoritarian government of the People’s Republic of China may interfere with the convention committee, its members and its programming.
(Thursday morning addendum: Kevin Standlee has been removed as the Chair of WSFS Business Meeting and also been fired as an advisor from 2023 Winnipeg bid for in an announcement on the JOF Facebook page, “acting without consulting the bid’s senior management”. )
Well, counting Wednesday, there are three more days of voting to go. As NBC’s statistical analyst (and khaki pants advocate) Steve Kornacki will tell you, the early vote may be in but all of the precincts have yet to be heard from and that it’s still anyone’s race. We’ll find out for sure by late Friday night or very early Saturday morning. Watch This Space.
The flight was smooth and the landing was only slightly terrifying. Being seated on the left side of the plane, Juli and I were treated to a 45 second tour of all of the classic tourist sights anyone could want; the Capitol Building, the National Mall, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials AND the Watergate apartment and business complex. So much for sightseeing!
As we were strolling through National Airport in search of the taxi station, we spied a cute CNBC kiosk. We didn’t stop to shop but I am imagining that all of the Brian Williams items have been marked down ninety percent. Just Sayin’…
At first sight, the Omni Shoreham Hotel looks quite massive; it is at least several hundred yards long and ten stories high. The exterior looks rather modern but the interior has the feel of an older hotel. Inside we found a spacious area around the lobby but it feels rather smaller as you journey inwards. Which leads me to the first of several criticisms of the hotel, the elevators are dreadfully small. So I can only imagine how chaotic things are going to get as people want to go to parties, programming events or checking in and out.
Accessibility for the disabled was a hot topic before the convention and the Omni Shoreham’s deficiencies were on full display as I noticed many individuals struggling to get to Opening Ceremonies. This is not to say that accessible services are non-existent, but it is sorely in short supply abound the entire hotel. Did I mention that those elevators are REALLY SMALL?
Easily getting through Registration has never been a hallmark of any convention and DisCon III was no exception. The incredibly long line stretched from the Western part of the Promenade all the way to the Eastern Promenade elevator bank. Juli and I entered the end of the line around 2:30 p.m. After fifteen minutes, I decided to go forward to investigate why.
What I found were two people seated at a station near the Registration Desk checking everyone’s Covid-19 vaccination cards. Only two. Around the corner, there were only two or three people relentlessly processing convention badges.
It was at this moment that DisCon III was critically short of volunteers. Everyone reading this knows that Worldcons are run by volunteers.
I, for one, refuse to completely blame DisCon III for the shortage of people working the convention. They have been begging for help for months and due to the pandemic and moving the convention date to December has decimated the number of people who normally would have volunteered.
(Personal Note: I was asked to head up the Press Office earlier this year but I declined because I was unable to persuade the people I usually work with to come to DisCon III. This was the impetus for me to write the Press Office Manual and its anecdotal notes that were published here several months ago.)
But here we are. And we will have to make do with the resources we have on hand.
ON the bright side, EVERYONE was masked and distancing as well as they could.
At around 3:30 p.m., I was beginning to think that Juli and I wouldn’t make it to Opening Ceremonies so I took some drastic action. I hated to cut through the throngs of people waiting but I went to the Press Office (which was conveniently located near Registration), made the acquaintance of Kevin, the Deputy Head of the office, who provided us with press ribbons and made sure Juli and I got our badges. We then rushed off to find the Regency Ballroom, which was located on a lower level of the hotel.
And Opening Ceremonies were a splendid affair, hosted by Ulysses E. Campbell, and featuring a performance from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir (who serenaded the group with a medley of Christmas carols, complete with choreography!) and an honor guard as well. I was personally delighted that the recipient of this year’s Big Heart Award was given to longtime fan Linda Deneroff, who was absolutely stunned and speechless (a rare occurrence, I assure you) as she accepted her plaque.
The event climaxed with Sebastian Martorana’s incredibly informative presentation on how he fashioned this year’s Hugo Award base, which were made from the same sort of marble from Baltimore that was used to construct the top portions of the Washington Monument.
Unfortunately, we had to leave right afterwards because it was 5:15 p.m. and my first panel, “What Makes A Classic A Classic,” was due to start at 5:30. There was another mad dash to find the Calvert Room, which we found with minutes to spare.
What followed was a wild and wooly hour about how the panel felt about what makes our favorite works of sf and fantasy classics. Our Moderator was Shaun Duke of the Skiffy and Fanty podcast and featured myself (singing, wut?!?!?), author, scholar and editor Ellen Kushner, collector and writer Bradford Lyau and the legendary fan editor and writer John Hertz. A full audio version will be posted on File 770 sometime in the next day or so.
Finding dinner was strangely fortuitous; Robert’s, the restaurant located in the atrium of the hotel, told Juli that they were closing at 7:00 p.m. due to a lack of serving personnel and supplies. You would have thought that the hotel would have made plans for extra service with a major convention starting that week. Well, noted and logged…
That threw us both for a loop. After seeing the meager offerings at the pop up takeaway in another corner of the hotel, we decided to go to one of the eateries on the corner of Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue.
On our way out the door, we encountered mega-fan Bobbi Armbruster, her husband Warren, Kathi Overton and her partner John Pomeranz. They all enthusiastically endorsed going to The Gourmand Grill, a Mexican American place that was a short walk right around the corner.
It was a rather small place down a steep set of stairs but Juli and I were totally enchanted by the atmosphere, the affordable menus and the incredibly helpful wait staff.
When someone canceled an order of Chipotle Shrimp, our server offered it to us at no extra charge. I had the Fish and Chips and Juli had the Meatball appetizer with a small side salad. Everything was eagerly devoured. I am quite certain we will be returning before the end of the convention.
At around 8:30 p.m., I wanted to go find the Con Suite. Juli was feeling rather tired and decided to retire to our room.
After a bit of confusion about its location, I was told that the Con-Suite was located in Room 840 in the Western part of the hotel. Upon arrival, I was informed that they had closed at 8:30. A passerby did mention that there was a party being held by a group called TANSTAAFL on the fifth floor.
While I was there, I was asked by Dave McCarty to engage in a contest. Once he outlined what it was all about, I enthusiastically accepted the challenge. What is it? What is it all about? I’ll explain in a future post, AFTER I have performed my part. Laters!
I snacked on a few dessert items and then I decided to call it a day at around 10 p.m.
After seeing what happened today, I knew tomorrow would be more of the same, if not more so.
More As It Happens, Your Faithful Correspondent
On Site Head Count: Not Available.
Luminaries Spotted Today: Nancy Kress, Dave McCarty, John Picacio, Marah Searle-Kovacevic, Tammy Coxen, Greg Ketter, Ellen Kushner, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Lt. Colonel Jonathan Brazee (Ret.), Kathi Overton, John Pomeranz and Michael J. Walsh.
Science Fiction Outreach took a booth at C2E2 in Chicago to promote reading and SF conventions.The event ran from December 10-12. James Bacon was there to help.
By James Bacon: I had a terrific weekend and thousands of books were given away. Helen Montgomery was leading the operation with a host of fans helping out. The books, so many kindly donated by fans, were moved from storage to McCormick Place on Wednesday by Helen and Dave McCarty. On Thursday set up was in full flow and the shelving was built with Leanne’s help, and books put out.
Weeks of preparation had gone into sorting the books, especially separating kids’ books, as these are at a premium for kids present at con, but even they are separated into age groups.
Friday was busy enough but with some superb examples of cosplay. Readers, once convinced that ‘Free’ meant free descended upon the booth with eagerness. Dune and Frank Herbert were perhaps the most asked for, although we had plenty of prequels, sequels, so that was good. Horror as ever proved to be strongly popular, and media tie-ins from Star Wars to Star Trek were very popular. There was considerable interest in magazines, while related books flew out.
Leanne, Johnathon, Dave, Noelle, Michelle, Alan, Sue, Pam all helped to call out free books, replenish, chat, engage and recommend. Pam had donated a given box so as it got opened was able to give first-hand recommendations. It was also nice to meet fans for the first time and they were a lovely crew.
Here the call of free attracts all fans. One needs to be ready to meet erudite well-read fans, of all ages and backgrounds, and I loved talking to readers.
“Any authors you are looking for? And who’s your favourite?” work well, while “Would you like a recommendation?” was also popular. If one found a good book and lightly said “This is awesome space opera” it was soon taken away. Fans like recommendations. A Penguin book of Irish Myths lasted seconds.
It’s great fun, although a hard part is convincing people that the books are free, that yes, you can take more than one and you know, there were fans who were so grateful, so pleased to be going home with something, unexpected and nice and certainly in some cases, clear they hadn’t expected to be taking anything home and that is amazing.
Librarians and teachers flock in, inquisitive and eager to spread the word, collectors wonder and share their passion but are reluctant to take books they hope fans younger than them will pick up. Chicon regulars fist bump and show their pride and pleasure with the efforts and cosplayers cone in to browse.
Octavia Butler, Yoon Ha Lee and Aliette de Bodard proved easy to recommend, readers were actively enquiring about writers from as diverse backgrounds as the fans at C2E2. It’s easy to talk about great works while catering to such requests. Anthologies also offered great opportunity to allow a low investment spec try of a specified genre or area, and with themed subjects covering so many aspects, even with the most challenging of requests “I like war stuff” was easily sorted with some Joe Haldeman edited anthologies to choose from.
Likewise James White, Justina Robson and Robyn Hobb were snapped up by readers looking for pointers. Pratchett, Rice, Banks, Harris, Gaiman, LeGuin were snaffled quickly too, but with less prompting.
Real excitement and pleasure was palpable, and it was fun.
We had T-shirts available for a @$25 donation and these proved popular, and people were just so nice and lovely, and donations kindly flowed. There’s real respect and appreciation.
Every book has a bookmark promoting Outreach, Worldcons, local cons. But also flyers were given out for local cons and worldwide ones too.
With a good crew in hand, breaks were encouraged and I was gratefully given time to enjoy C2E2.
Had a cracking weekend. In between giving away free books, with Helen Montgomery and the gang, meeting fabulous cosplayers, and enthusing about dozens of authors, I also got to roam about C2E2.
It was amazing to meet Larry Hama, who was so friendly and we spoke about the Vietnam issue of Journey Planet, while he knows the west of Ireland well. He also was happy to use a Sharpie on a fan that would get tattooed!
It was fabulous to catch up with Dublin 2019 featured artist Afua Richardson who continues to do amazing work, and I was chuffed to get her to sign Marvels Indigenous Voices for which she did a variant cover.
Gene Ha was super lovely and kind, and we enjoyed overcoming some pronunciation challenges, our mutual friend Pádraig Ó Méalóid, being easy to read one way and not sounding like the person I mean when I say Pádraig. Gene is a guest at Capricon and Chicon 8 and I’m very excited.
I asked Chris Claremont, “So about the Leprechauns in the X-Men?” and got a wonderfully thoughtful response. Indeed we spoke for longer than I expected, and it was a good discussion.
Stephanie Hans was impressed that comics signed to other fans make lovely postal surprises, while I got to meet some amazing people thanks to Christopher Hwang. I failed to meet David Mack, and I wanted to thank him again for an awesome time at Thought Bubble.
It was all go. It was huge. There were a lot of people but not overly crowded.
The Covid policy was good, everyone wore a mask, polite and cheerful wardens reminded people, in a respectful way, assuming forgetfulness in the first instance and having masks for anyone who dropped them. This approach is good, it works.
The con had hundreds of large 10- or 12-foot tables, next to a long run of different food trailers or stands and a bar, where beers and food could be eaten. At these tables there was no issue if you had no mask on while enjoying your break. People were respectful asking to join tables with others, but still given space some distance away at the same table, while anyone who I observed saying “I’d prefer you not” was respected or thumbed up and folks moved on. It was good, thoughtful. There was no anti-establishment bull, but likewise no heavy-handed unnecessary enforcement. Regular announcements informed us all that masks were mandatory. It was good.
The cosplay was excellent and I offered praise and took photos of favourites.
Timothy Zahn was as ever delightful, and it was good to speak to him, asking what’s next for this author and his character Grand Admiral Thrawn.
A wonderful personal moment was some kind praise from Garth Ennis for the Battle issue of Journey Planet, noting a particular poignant element, a photo of myself and Dad and an article I wrote, while I discussed research I’ve done on V for Vengeance, published in 1942.
Garth is so good to his fans, he signs and signs and signs and is generous with his time, he contributed to JP with an interview and kindly donated to charitable activities arranged by Paul Trimble, but you know, praise from professionals for your zine, is nice. I can’t wait for his next work with PJ Holden and Keith Burns, The Lion and the Eagle.
Detroit Pizza is Amazing. One pizza was equal to all the cheese I ate in three months. Got a go on a US school bus, met Josephine the French bulldog who got off her pedestal of guarding Battlecat to say hello. Along with thousands of fans taking away books.
The bid committee styles itself the Jeddi High Council, led by Master
of the Order Yasser Bahjatt (Yoda), who was born in Michigan but has lived in Jeddah
since he was 5. He is a computer engineer by profession, but also is the author
of Yaqteenya: The Old World, “the first Arabian alternative history
The bid website adds:
Yasser has been actively building the SciFi culture in Arabia since 2012 when he announced the Initiative Yatakhayaloon that he co-founded with his parter Ibraheem Abbas to jump start the contrary SciFi culture in Arabia (TED Talk). Since then he has been attending the WorldCon to talk about Arabian SciFi and to promote it globally.
Other committee members are Grandmaster Khalid Alsameti (Kenobi), Lore
Keeper Rami Hamzah (R2-D2), Ahmad Sabbagh (Ackbar), Dr. Ashraf Fagih (Anakin) a
Saudi writer and novelist, Mohammed Albakri (Mace), Raneen Bukhari (Rey), Tamim
Kashgari (Tarkin), and Thamer Alturaif (Vader).
File 770 sent an inquiry through the contact page on their website asking about their conrunning experience but has yet to receive a reply.
As is well known, visitors to Saudi Arabia are subject to various cultural and religious restrictions, which can be read about in the entry on the country’s “Local laws and customs” posted by the government of the United Kingdom. Some of these include —
…Local laws require men and women to dress modestly covering shoulders and knees in public, avoiding tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. It is not mandatory for female travellers to wear the traditional robe or abaaya. Information on important laws and etiquette around dress codes is available to visitors on the Visit Saudi website.
…Homosexual or extra-marital sexual relations, including adultery, are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties. It’s also illegal to be transgender. Transgender people travelling to Saudi Arabia are likely to face significant difficulties and risks if this is discovered by the authorities. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
CHICAGO IN 2022. The Chicago bid has been wooing voters for a few years now. Their most recent Smofcon questionnaire, Chicago for Worldcon 80 in 2022, said, “We will likely be at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in downtown Chicago, the site of four prior Chicago Worldcons.”
…The guests are from 14 countries and regions, and over 40 events will be organized during the three-day conference.
…Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province which is best known as the home of pandas, is the cradle of “Science Fiction World,” China’s most popular sci-fi periodical.
Founded 40 years ago, the magazine has cultivated a large number of well-known sci-fi figures including Han Song, Wang Jinkang and Hugo Award-winner Liu Cixin.
Chengdu has made great efforts in recent years to develop the sci-fi culture industry and build itself into China’s science fiction town. It has put in a formal bid to host the 81st World Science Fiction Convention in 2023.
A partial list of the international writers and conrunners who are
in Chengdu includes CoNZealand (2020) co-chairs Kelly
Buehler and Norman Cates, DisCon III (2021) co-chairs Colette Fozard and
William Lawhorn, Chicago in 2022 bid co-chairs Dave McCarty, Helen
Montgomery, plus Crystal Huff, Pablo
M.A Vazquez, Ben Yalow, Derek
Künsken, Mimi Mondal, Robert J. Sawyer, and Francesco Verso.
Some of the guests and visitors were also part of the group photo below taken at the China Science Fiction Conference two weeks ago (November 2-3) in Beijing, China. SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal is at center, with Vazquez on the left, and Vincent Docherty (co-chair 1995 and 2005 Worldcons) to the right.
… Kennedy adds an interesting little tidbit about the material used to create the screen:
“But I’m going to add one other thing that I didn’t know anything about this and it’s an interesting little tidbit. You have to grow the crystals for these screens. Who knew? You have to wait five years for the crystals to grow. And the crystals means a limited number of screens. Not only do you have to grow them but if you have volume, it’s important that you have the same bunch of LCD screens so that all the crystals are growing together. And then, how they refract the light, then they go into a whole pass on the ground crystals to then curate which ones are refracting the light in the same way so Its quite a process.”
So now the soundstage, a performance capture volume like the one James Cameron used on the Avatar films, is wrapped with these very high-resolution LED screens that present footage either shot on location or “in combination with CG environments.” Brennan explains further:
“And we’re able to have the perspective with cameras, but that means that you can change from Iceland to the desert in one [minute] from setup to setup so it really changes the flow of production. I think it also helps because actors are not in a sea of green. They’re actually seeing the environments that they’re in. And you add to that, after the puppetry and they’ve got characters to perform against in the environments that they are in and I think it does change.”
Silvia: I like mosaic novels so it’s no wonder I thought “Automatic Eve” by Rokuro Inui was cool, but it also had a Phillip K. Dick meets steampunk Japan vibe that is hard to miss. The other science fiction novel I recommend is Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s “We Cast a Shadow,” in which a black lawyer wants his son to undergo an expensive procedure that will render him white. It’s a near-future, socially charged and pretty impressive debut.
The first book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy introduces a stunning world in the midst of an apocalyptic event. To avoid major spoilers, let’s just say that The Fifth Season is brimming with gloriously intense family drama and includes one of the most phenomenal magic systems ever created. It also boasts a complex protagonist who is a mother, gifting us with one of the most formidable and fascinating characters of the 21st century. Jemisin made history by winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in the row for this trilogy, cementing her status as an essential voice in fantasy literature. But critical success aside, simply diving into her luminous prose will be enough for you to discern why she’s such a brilliant, must-read author. —Frannie Jackson
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY.
November 21, 1942 — “Tweety Bird” debuted.
November 21, 1969 — First ARPANET link put into service.
ARPANET was an early computer network developed by J.C.R. Licklider, Robert Taylor, and other researchers for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It connected a computer at UCLA with a computer at the Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA. In 1973, the government commissioned Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn to create a national computer network for military, governmental, and institutional use. The network used packet-switching, flow-control, and fault-tolerance techniques developed by ARPANET. Historians consider this worldwide network to be the origin of the Internet.
November 21, 1973 — The Michael Crichton scripted Westworld premiered. Starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin, critics gave it mixed reviews but it has an 86% rating among watchers at Rotten Tomatoes.
November 21, 2012 — The animated Rise Of The Guardians enjoyed its premiere. The feature starred the talents of Hugh Jackman, Jude Law and Isla Fisher. Based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood series, it really bombed. However the audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes is very healthy 80%.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born November 21, 1924 — Christopher Tolkien, 95. He drew the original maps for the LoTR. He provided much of the feedback on both the Hobbit and LoTR and his father invited him to join the Inklings when he was just twenty-one years old, making him the youngest member of that group. Suffice it to say that the list is long of his father’s unfinished works that he has edited and brought to published form. I’ll leave to this group to discuss their merit as I’ve got mixed feelings on them.
Born November 21, 1937 — Ingrid Pitt. Actor from Poland who emigrated to the UK who is best known as Hammer Films’ most sexy female vampire of the early Seventies. Would I kid you? Her first genre roles were in the Spanish movie Sound of Horror and the science-fictional The Omegans, followed by the Hammer productions The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, and The House That Dripped Blood. She appeared in the true version of The Wicker Man and had parts in Octopussy, Clive Barker’s Underworld, Dominator, and Minotaur. She had two different roles in Doctor Who – somewhat of a rarity – as Dr. Solow in the “Warriors of the Deep” episode and as Galleia in “The Time Monster” episode. (Died 2010.)
Born November 21, 1941 — Ellen Asher, 78. Editor who introduced many fans to their favorites, as editor-in-chief of the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) for thirty-four years, from 1973 to 2007 (exceeding John W. Campbell’s record as the person with the longest tenure in the same science fiction job). She was personally responsible for selecting the monthly offerings to subscribers, and oversaw the selection of individual works for their special anthologies and omnibuses. She has been honored with a World Fantasy Special Award and an Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. In 2009, she was given a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and she was Editor Guest of Honor at Worldcon in 2011.
Born November 21, 1942 — Jane Frank, 77. Art collector along with her husband quite beyond belief. Really. Together they put compiled a legendary collection of genre artwork, The Frank Collection, that has won awards. She is the author of numerous articles on illustration art, artists and collecting, and the book The Art of Richard Powers which was nominated for a Hugo, The Art of John Berkey, and The Frank Collection.
Born November 21, 1944 — Harold Ramis. Actor, Writer, and Producer, best-known to genre fans for his role as Egon Spengler in the Saturn-winning, Oscar- and Hugo-nominated Ghostbusters and its lesser sibling Ghostbusters II (the scripts for both of which he co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd). He had voice roles in Heavy Metal and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, and a cameo in Groundhog Day, for which he received Saturn nominations for writing and directing. He was also director and producer of Multiplicity. (Died 2014.)
Born November 21, 1945 — Vincent Di Fate, 74. Artist and Illustrator who has done many SFF book covers and interior illustrations since his work first appeared in the pages of Analog in 1965. He was one of the founders of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA), and is a past president. In addition to his Chesley Award trophy and 7 nominations, he has been a finalist for the Professional Artist Hugo 11 times, winning once; two collections of his artwork, Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art and Di Fate’s Catalog of Science Fiction Hardware, have been Hugo finalists as well. He was Artist Guest of Honor at the 1992 Worldcon, for which he organized their Art Retrospective exhibit. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011. You can see galleries of his works at his website.
Born November 21, 1946 — Tom Veal, 73. He’s a con-running fan who chaired Chicon 2000. He was a member of the Seattle in 1981 Worldcon bid committee. He chaired Windycon X. In 2016 he married fellow fan Becky Thomson. And he wrote the “1995 Moskva 1995: Igor’s Campaign“ which was published in Alternate Worldcons and Again, Alternate Worldcons as edited by Mike Resnick.
Born November 21, 1950 — Evelyn C. Leeper, 69. Writer, Editor, Critic, and Fan, who is especially known for her decades of detailed convention reports and travelogues. A voracious reader, she has also posted many book reviews. She and her husband Mark founded the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Club at Bell Labs in New Jersey (Mt = abbreviation for the labs’ Middletown facility), and have produced their weekly fanzine, the MT VOID (“empty void”), since 1978; it is currently at Issue #2,041. She was a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for 20 years. She has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times, and Fan Guest of Honor at several conventions, including a Windycon.
Born November 21, 1953 — Lisa Goldstein, 66. Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer two years in a row. Her short fiction has garnered an array of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominations, as well as a Sidewise Award. The short story “Cassandra’s Photographs” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist and “Alfred” was a World Fantasy and Nebula finalist; both can be found in her collection Travellers in Magic. Her novel The Uncertain Places won a Mythopoeic Award. You can read about her work in progress, her reviews of others’ stories, and other thoughts at her blog.
Born November 21, 1965 — Björk, 54. Who bears the lovely full name of Björk Guðmundsdóttir. I like Icelandic. And I’ve got boots of her band somewhere here I think. She’s here for The Juniper Tree which is a 1990 Icelandic film directed and written by Nietzchka Keene which is based on “The Juniper Tree” tale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm. She’s one of five performers in it. Oh, and because her last album Utopia explored that concept even using cryptocurrency as part of the purchase process.
Coca-Cola Amatil, which produces the beverage, said the ad was a light-hearted parody of “zom-com” or “zomedy” movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Warm Bodies.
…The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed the complaints, saying that while the ad may be distasteful to some viewers, it did not reach the threshold to be considered likely to cause harm or serious offence.
It noted that since receiving the complaints, the advertiser had decided to reschedule the ad to be screened after 7pm.
We still don’t know what the titular hero of The Mandalorian is going to do with the little “asset” that he found in the first live-action Star Wars series, but it is more than clear that the real world wants a piece of it. Everyone wants merchandise for the “Yoda Baby,” and there’s good news on the horizon.
Disney and Lucasfilm purposely held back this bit of salesmanship to avoid spoilers, but that starship has flown. CNBC reports that all kinds of toys and apparel based on the character will be out in time for the holidays.
(9) IN WIRED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The December WIRED
has three articles on Star Wars that I thought were interesting. These
Angela Watercutter interviews cosplayers who enjoy cosplaying Rey because her costume is relatively simple and because she is the first female character in Star Wars to wield a lightsaber: “Everybody Loves Rey, a Star Wars Story”.
Annamarie McIntosh is coming undone. People in comic-book tees are rushing past her, lit up by too-bright fluorescents. She’s surrounded by massive signs with corporate logos, from Nintendo to DC Comics. The cavernous hall is 460,000 square feet, and McIntosh is taking up about three of them, trying to cinch the beige bandages wrapped around her arms. “We’re having issues here,” she says, with an exasperated giggle. “It’s been falling down all day.” With an assist by her mom, the 17-year-old finally twists and tucks her costume into place. All things considered, the fix is easy. It’s 2019’s Comic-Con International, and compared to the wizards and warlocks and Wonder Women crowding the floor, the outfit of the Jedi Rey is plain, simple. Sensible.
Adam Rogers undertakes “A Journey to Galaxy’s Edge, the Nerdiet Place on Earth” — and discusses how the park is a form of storytelling. He says that cosplaying in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is banned, although “I saw a few women cosplaying on the down low, hair done weird, rocking galactically appropriate boots.” This graf of Rogers is news to me:
Eventually, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will open. That’s a two-day stay adjacent to the Orlando park in a hotel designed to look like a Star Wars spaceship, a luxury liner called the Halcyon. The windows will somehow look out onto space; families will get tours of the bridge, and ‘port day’ will connect to Galaxy’s Edge. Apparently even the hotel building ill be bermed off from arriving guests–all they’ll see is the ‘terminal’ where they board a shuttle to the Halcyon in orbit above.
Genevieve Valentine fills in the backstory of Padme Amidala from the story in Revenge of the Sith and other clues from various other Star Wars stories: “Padmé Amidala, Queen of Empty Space”.
The biggest battle in Star Wars is between its mythic arcs—the heroes’ journeys—and its political stories. Padmé fell on the political side so squarely that the prequel trilogy expended significant visual and narrative energy trying to drag her toward the mythic, where Anakin Skywalker was waiting.
She never got there. Her realm was that of the negotiation and the vote, and nothing was able to bring her into line with the adventure and the myth.
(10) KIWI IN TRAINING. Stephen Colbert has spent the week
masquerading as The Newest Zealander. I
don’t think any WorldCon venues are in shot, but parts are right next to Museum
Prominent New Zealand celebrities Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”) show Stephen around the town of Wellington and offer him tips on how to blend in as a local.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, N., Martin Morse
Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Errolwi, Tom
Boswell-Healey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes
to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
M. Barkley: Author’s
Note: This column is being written on the day after our return from Ireland.
Because, time travel. AND jet lag.
I received a text from John and incredibly, Carole’s wallet was FOUND with
all of the contents intact. I immediately spread the news on the Dublin
2019 Irish WorldCon Community Group and on my own page. I hope the details
on who found it and where it was lost will be forthcoming. Needless to
say, there was much rejoicing in the land this day!
has a taxi service called FreeNow, which, I have come to discover, is
neither. I was considering filing a suit with the World Trade Organization
but HEY, Carole’s wallet was found, so forgetaboutit…
flatmates nor myself have turned on the tv since we’ve been here. And
we’re good with that.
flatmate Peter has sadly informed me that Hurling is a sport that does not
involve vomiting on a professional level. I told him I was very relieved
to hear this because the programmers at Fox Sports do not need any
I do regret
not getting to John Scalzi’s incredibly danceable DJ session Saturday
night. It probably would have annoyed him if I had pestered him all night
requesting Manchester (UK) bands like The Stone Roses, The Smiths, 808
State, Inspiral Carpets, Swing Out Sisters, Simply Red, Oasis, The
Chemical Brothers, Electronic, The Mothmen, The Mindbenders, The
Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Charlatans, The Happy Mondays, New Order,
Elbow, The Fall, The Courteeners and The Drones but not Bauhaus. Don’t get
me wrong, they’re a great band, but from Northampton. Sorry.
people of color and of alternate and non-conforming genders dominated the
Hugo Awards for the umpteenth year in a row. Bravo. There must have been
much squealing of horror from the basements of cis-gendered nerd boys last
evening. White men had dominated fantasy and sf awards for decades so I am
not feeling too sorry that other folks are in the ascendance right now. I
am reminded of what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked in
2010, “How many women would be enough on the Supreme Court?” She replied,
nine… There have been nine men there for a long, long time, right? So
why not nine women?”
I began the day solo because Juli had been hit with a double
play of a sinus infection and a migraine brought on by the raising and lowering
of the house lights during the Hugo Award Ceremony. As such, she remained in
bed for most of the day.
Both Juli and I had one big regret out trip; that we hadn’t had time to very
much sightseeing beyond the city. But, as I was walking about the city and
looking at all of the people from different countries, cultures and languages,
all working and living in this big, bustling cauldron of humanity felt like a
more worldly, more cosmopolitan city than my own home town. I was both humbled
and awed by the city of Dublin.
As I was crossing the drawbridge, I saw an older woman of
indeterminate heritage, sitting off to the right side of the walkway with a
dixie cup of with a few coins in it.. I stopped in front of her.
Several weeks ago, while looking through a grocery trash can
for losing lottery tickets (which could be redeemed for state lottery prizes),
I saw a gleaming flash coming from the bottom. I reached in and pulled out a
one Euro coin. My thought was that it was brought back to the US by a tourist
and was used to rub lottery scratch off tickets and was either accidentally or
deliberately thrown away.
But here I am, an American with an honest to god Euro and I
was going to an honest to god country in the European Union. Right there and
then, I vowed to make sure that this little Euro went home where it belongs.
And there I was on the bridge. I took that Euro and another
coin out of my wallet. I leaned over and she smiled and held her cup up. “ I
found this coin my country,” I said to her as I put the coins in her cup, “and
I am just returning it to its home.”
The woman gave me a broad smile and said something that was
unintelligible to me but to me it felt both grateful and heartfelt. I wish I
had given her more but the only thing I had left at this point in the trip were
a few American bills, which would have been problematic for her to exchange. I
walked on, hoping for the best for her. When I returned later, she was gone.
There was a Sunday session of the Business Meeting but I
decided to skip it for reasons that will become very clear in my final
I checked the schedule of remaining items and there was
nothing of interest as far as I was concerned. So I made a beeline for the fan
exhibit/dealer’s room. I had only been through the room once before and since I
had a limited amount of space and weight allowance for our one suitcase and I
wanted to buy at least one thing while I was in Dublin.
Joe Scilari, Edie Stern and Boston superfan Mark Olson were
manning the Fanac.org table and they proudly informed me that over 3500
pages of information had been uploaded to be archived, a tremendous success for
If you are unfamiliar with Fanac, their website says:
“This site is devoted to the preservation and distribution of
information about science fiction and science fiction fandom. There are
fanzines, photos, and all sorts of strange and wonderful information about
So, check it out sometime.
While making my way to the New Zealand bid table, I wandered
too close to the Chicago in 2022 table and was beckoned over by Dave McCarty,
who was sporting the most garishly red Grateful Dead shirt I have ever seen.
Mr. McCarty specifically called me over for the expressed
purpose of explaining, in passionate, excruciating detail, why the US Women’s
Soccer team was being wrongheaded in their approach to their lawsuit against
FIFA for equal pay.
I will not go into detail about what his arguments were (if
you were to contact him directly, I am quite sure he would be MORE than happy
to lay out all of the evidence for you) but I conceded that he may have a
point, which seemed to satisfy him (for now). And before you all label Mr.
McCarty merely a sexist “mansplainer”, I want you to know that he is the father
of a daughter and he desperately WANTS them to achieve to goal of being paid on
an equal basis as the men’s team.
I also had the good fortune of being present when Mr. McCarty presented his
lovely eight-year-old daughter, Mia, with her convention gift, a replica
version of Hermione Granger’s wand.
My next stop was the CoNZealand table where I checked on the
price for a pair of supporting memberships. One of the staff members (whose
name, unfortunately, I did not record) was utterly delighted to see my “Saint”
symbol button and told he about how she obtained a rare copy of the original
Leslie Charteris novel Meet The Tiger and how she was lucky enough to
get it autographed by the late Sir Roger Moore!
Speaking of which, I had my phone out to check on my Paypal
balance when I was approached by a fan named, wait for it…JAMES BOND, who
asked me for some help finding a program item on Dublin’s online Worldcon app,
“One moment please,” I said as I put my phone down and
reached into my crossbody bag for the printed pocket program book.
“Here you go. I’m analog today, not digital.” Mr. Bond got a
good laugh out of that remark. For the record, I did NOT expect him to
die…laughing. Just Sayin’.
When I finally got around to shopping the dealer tables, I caught sight of a
book that I was very interested in; Farrah Mendelsohn’s The Pleasant
Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, a deep, unflinchingly and critical
look analyzing his fiction and non-fiction and how he influenced science
While I was buying the book, I was reunited with my fellow File
770 reporter, Daniel Dern. We were also joined briefly by one of Dublin’s
Special Guests, Spider Robinson and his “driver”, writer and comedian Stephan
Herman. Spider had trouble remembering me until I reminded him that I had
scored some pot for him and his late wife Jeanne at the 1994 Worldcon in
Winnipeg, Canada. Ah good times. Also, yay for the statute of limitations.
Spider told me he had a fantastic time in Dublin and was very
excited to sit down with a local genealogist while he was there. “ I have
learned more about my family in that one hour than I ever did from the rest of
my family during my life,“ he gushed.
I went back to our flat to check on Juli around 3:30. She was
feeling well enough to go to the Closing Ceremonies at 4:30, but I wanted to
take a short nap myself.
This decision proved to be a bad idea because Juli, thinking
that I wasn’t getting enough sleep on this trip, let me sleep in until
We rushed to the auditorium but the ceremony was already
under way and we arrived in time to see George R.R. Martin and his partner
Parris McBride on stage, accepting a Committee Award from Chair James Bacon for
his contributions to Fandom and the Dublin bid in particular. I was saddened to
see Ms. McBride in a neck brace and I sincerely hope she recovers soon.
I was surprised and happy to see that Dublin had recruited
the creator of Artemis Fowl, Eowin Colfer, as the Host of Closing Ceremonies.
Soon enough, Mr. Bacon took to the stage to thank the convention committee, his
staff and volunteers and finally the fans who attended, to make it a memorable
experience for everyone.
Memorable? Indeed it was, But I can assure everyone reading
this that the Dublin convention will be studied, scrutinized and autopsied more
closely than any other recent Worldcon due to the cutoff of the sale of
attending memberships weeks before the start of the convention, the size of the
venue, the imposition of queuing lines by the owners of the convention center
and the confusion they caused between the staff, volunteers and the attending
fans. But, it’s Worldcon. It’s a certainty that things WILL go wrong and there
will be some embarrassments and obstacles to overcome. People may have
been angered over some incidents and inconvenienced by others but in the long
run, the only thing that matters is that everyone survived and no one died.
Having gone the 29 Worldcons now, I can attest to that).
After the gavel was symbolically passed to the New Zealand
bid via interpretive dance and acrobatics, Juli and I headed over the The
Drunken Fish for a celebratory dinner with Wyn, Liz, our flatmates Anna and
Peter and our Australian fans, Susan and Grahame. As usual, I ordered too much
food but, in the spirit of detente between the US and Ireland, I finished it
all. Except for the extra helping of kimchi someone passed my way. There
is only so much kimchi a person can take, I mean, c’mon man.
Wyn and Liz had been in country for nearly a week
before everyone else arrived and took an extended driving tour of Ireland,
visiting many castles along the way.
“Were any of the castles white?,” I asked Liz, who, thinking
of the ubiquitous American fast food restaurant chain, broke out into a
As a matter of fact, we did see a white castle,” said
Wyn in a very serious manner.
“Really?” I turned to Liz. “How was the food?” Liz collapsed
in uncontrollable laughter. Mission accomplished.
After dinner was consumed, we said goodbye to our dinner
companions The flatmate squad then called a cab and traversed over to the
southside of Dublin for a whiskey tasting at The Market Bar, the nicest looking
hole-in-the-wall that I have ever seen in my life. Since I don’t drink spirits,
I drank in the atmosphere and watched grown adults swoon over whiskey. Good
It took five tries but we were finally able to summoned a
FreeNow cab (which, as I noted above, is neither) and we made our way back
While the flatmates recovered by chatting about their
convention experiences, I began packing for the flight home, which was
scheduled for 12:55 local time tomorrow.
As always, United Airlines advised us to get to the airport
at least three hours in advance of the flight. Juli was particularly
worried about getting there early but hey, when we’ve flown in America,
the wait time was usually a bogus ruse to get us there and buy stuff while we