Monday, 18 August 2014

Loncon 3 : Monday

For the sake of tradition, here is a photo from our hotel window, showing the ExCeL loading bays at the back, and the work on the new Crossrail in the front.

A Room With A View
After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, leaving our luggage for later collection, and walked across to the ExCeL for the last day of the Worldcon.

First up was a talk by Dr Nicholas Jackson, on Knots in Non-Euclidean Space.  Nicholas has been giving interesting general talks on mathematics at Eastercons: this time it was based on some of his own work.  I got lost towards the end, but it was all done in his clear, amusing, and interesting style.

Next was a panel on The Politics of the Culture.  Banks was a fairly consistent Old Labour social democrat; reviewers seem to assume his characters’ opinions are his own, though.  Ken MacLeod told the story of The Use of Calculators as Iain’s proposed route to his Marxist communist utopia of “a stateless and classless society based on automation and abundance”. Many of the Culture novels are based on the Minds having a strong sense of the cost of backwardness, and a moral imperative to uplift, and then working through the complications and consequences with a degree of rigour.

At noon I went to see The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), by the RSC Shakespeare Company: 37 plays in 97 minutes, including all the comedies at once, and Hamlet several times, faster and faster, and then backwards.  I’d seen it many years ago; it was well worth seeing again.

Lunch, and then my final panel the con: The Scientific Culture.  Here no Banksian reference, just a discussion of the culture (with a small ‘c’) of science and scientists.

The end of a great Worldcon, my fourth: I went to Glasgow 2005, Glasgow 1995, and Brighton 1987.

And, coming full circle, I left the ExCel for Brighton, where tomorrow I give a tutorial on complexity and emergence at the Student Conference on Complexity Science.

And so to bed, in a different hotel, now by the seaside.

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