Steampunk couple at Odyssey

Steampunk couple at Odyssey

About 1,500 people showed up for Odyssey 2010 last weekend, and I was surprised at knowing a good handful of them. That’s mostly because of Martin Owton, my friend and critique partner, and the London T Party.

Aside from the hotel being like a rabbit warren, with tight corridors and low ceilings, making me very claustrophobic, the con was great. I sat with Liz Williams at the book signing, got Joe Abercrombie and Iain Banks to sign books for me, and even signed a few things myself, which kind of surprised me.

Iain Banks was great. His author interview was one of the best ones I’ve ever attended. He was very funny and self-deprecating, and came across as genuine and likeable.

From left, Martin Owton and Gaie Siebold, on the right Juliet McKenna

From left, Martin Owton and Gaie Siebold, on the right Juliet McKenna

The writers workshop on Saturday afternoon was a success. I critiqued with T Partyers Sarah Ellender and Gaie Siebold and I think we gave the attendees their money’s worth.

Writer's workshop

Writer's workshop

After the workshop, we trooped off to a pizza joint around the corner, only to find after a 90 minute wait that the restaurant had run out of pizza. Some people left in search of different fare, but the rest of us stayed and had pasta, which was very good, although possibly that was because by then we were ravenous.

Female hero panel

Female hero panel

Sunday my panel on Female Heroes was very well attended and was lively and interesting. Jaine Fenn, Sam Kelly, myself, a panelist by the name Pink Dormouse, and Lilian Edwards engaged the audience in a spirited back and forth discussion. The room was full and we had trouble getting to all the questions and comments because there were so many people, which is the trouble with successful panels.

I think this panel was better than the one on the same topic I did at Aggiecon, but I also think I’m done on this subject. I think that the sexism that once plagued fantasy and science fiction has largely been made moot. Do we still need to discuss it? Or at least, are there different questions to ask at this point?

I talked with a few agents and editors and made some good contacts, which is always the point of these events. I foisted Gordath Wood on Juliet McKenna, who was kindly interested in it.

All in all, a successful convention. Wish I could go every year, but my bank account would not like that very much.

More later.


J. Kathleen Cheney · April 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I’m glad you had a good time ;o) London is a very interesting place (particularly to a desert rat like me), full of inspiration.

As for the panel, I suspect it will occur endlessly. We had “The Heroine’s Journey” at the conference this week-end. (I didn’t go, though).

Patrice Sarath · April 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I could have spent a month in London alone and not seen it all. I will go into the rest of my travels in later entries, and my favorite visit was to Stonehenge (go figure) and Bath.

See, now phrasing it as “The Heroine’s Journey” makes sense, because you instantly have a richer context. Okay, so there is more to talk about!

J. Kathleen Cheney · April 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

The husband and I are hoping to go back there in 2012 and hike across Scotland. So much we didn’t get to see last time!

Sam Kelly · April 29, 2010 at 2:57 am

I enjoyed the panel immensely (so thank you for that), but it was very wide-ranging and we could happily have used up four or five times as long while still not covering everything in depth.

I’m not sure I’d agree that the sexism that once plagued fantasy and science fiction has largely been made moot – I think we have new and interesting forms of sexism instead. “The Heroine’s Journey” sounds interesting in that light, even given my distaste for the word.

Patrice Sarath · April 29, 2010 at 8:16 am

Hi Sam!
I agree that we could have gone on for a couple of hours, and maybe the next time the discussion could take up two blocks instead of one.

New and interesting forms of sexism — you know, I think you are right. There’s a lot going on, one of which is the ghettoization of paranormal romance. Are women writing this form of urban fantasy because they are shut out of the genre? Is it a weed or a hardy wildflower?

One of the questions we didn’t get to in the panel, I found out later, was, what about a fat hero or an ugly hero? Why are we not writing about outliers?

I’ve been mulling this since and I go between, well is that the scope of the panel, why do we think of women and outward appearances when we don’t with male heroes, to, well, that’s kind of a good point.

I will be very interested in hearing how it goes next year, if Eastercon does the panel again next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.