And now back to our regular programming...
Shamrokon was a rollercoaster for me, and I'd like to apologise for being the guy with the screaming baby. The problem with having really well-behaved kids is you never know when to expect they'll have a rough day or two, and Olivia was teething terribly on the Friday and Saturday.
Aside from that, and a couple of accessibility/facilities issues that the hotel have responded to with wonderful eagerness to fix, I had a really good time. I can't say great, but the reasons it wasn't great are definitely nothing to do with the con. Just about everyone involved in running Shamrokon was someone I recognised as a veteran of Irish conventions, and the experience really shows. Hats off to the Shamrokon crew, you did us all proud. I don't think I've seen a convention run so smoothly in my life.
I started my con off with a mad dash to the panel on Cartoons in Common, at which I quickly realised I was woefully underqualified to talk about European cartoons. Many thanks to my fellow panelists, James Brophy and Miroslaw Baran, for allowing me to tangent a bit with my comparisons between how European and American cartoons tackle certain issues.
And yes, Once Upon A Time: Life, is the only kids' cartoon I know of that features sexual intercourse, and then childbirth, in its opening credits.
Also, Bravestarr really did have an anti-guns episode, and an episode where a little kid dies from a drug overdose.
On Saturday, then, I got to moderate a panel for the first time, and join Ian Watson and Carrie Vaughn in discussing Peaceful Science Fiction. I'd like to thank them, especially, for being so easy to converse and engage with, particularly since each of them has so much more author-cred than I do!
Sunday was the day we had to be out at the con earliest, and also our most fun and relaxed day. Which goes to show you, don't bother taking it easy in the morning if you don't need to be at a con until the afternoon. It'll always be more chilled out if you just get there early.
In the morning I got to join Ruth Frances Long, Ian Paul Power, Bob Neilson, and Patricia Kennon to talk about whether or not there were any Irish authors writing SFF for adults, with Irish publishers (there aren't), and if not, why not? Lots of good discussion and debate, rounded off with the hope that Irish publishers will one day accept SFF as something more than being "for kids".
In the afternoon then, following yet another incredible feed at the hotel bar, I sat down with Emma England, Davitt Waldron, and Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire, to talk about toys. And wow, was that ever a lot of fun. We could have probably filled multiple panel slots talking about toys in all kinds of contexts, and we had some fantastic, eager comments from the audience.
To repeat: we need parents and toy manufacturers to stop assigning toys to kids based on their gender, and yes, if there is anything I'd love to have hung onto from my childhood years, it's the Superman costume my mum made for me when I was little.
And that was Shamrokon for me. Roll on the Worldcon 2019 bid, and see you all at Octocon 2015!