26 November 2016

Missing... Presumed at FantastiCon

Yep, last weekend (19-20th November) was spent at Hull’s Guildhall for FantastiCon, which bills itself as A Doing, Not A Buying Con, though there were plenty of books purchased, including some of mine. The paperbacks of the Horror anthology ‘666’, to which I’d contributed a 666 word story, completely sold out.

FantastiCon started three years ago as a multi-book launch event by Fantastic Books Publishing for licensed novels set in the SF computer game world of Elite: Dangerous and has now become a fixture in the SF/Fantasy/Horror Con calendar.

There were SteamPunk traders – I bought myself an interesting miniature fob watch on a chain – and plenty of Cosplayers of both graphic novel/comic and Hollywood movie types, as well as a very realistic Tardis and an even more realistic 'Doctor Who' impersonator - the accent and mannerisms were spot on - plus a phalanx of full-size Daleks which punters could drive. I decided it looked a bit too claustrophobic for my liking so passed on that one.

However, a convention aimed at an international SF gaming community would be lacking without banks of computers, and banks there were, some set-ups a little more encompassing than others. Don't just look at the four screens  and joystick in the left image, also note the foot-pedals.

Considering I was forever clipping the conning tower of the aircraft carrier with my jump-jet in Harrier Attack [a brilliant 1983 9kb game for the ZX Spectrum – no joystick, just rubber keys] I decided not to humiliate myself in public. Watching over shoulders was enough.

Apart from the mind-boggling coordination skills on show, I found the holograms fascinating, and like a wally took a still photo instead of video - how analogue can I be?

Suffice to say the Millennium Falcon shown is a model from which the hologram lifts and flies to the Death Star as a nearby planet rises in the distance and then... if you've seen the Star Wars movies you'll already be ahead of me.

I was engrossed in trying to calculate how it worked when one of its minders came up and insisted on explaining. Er... I think it might be a bit lost on me. No, he insisted, the Victorians discovered it; it was simple. And I was lost after the third sentence. Perhaps I'll stick to writing fiction.

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