Got to the Art Show a bit after 10 and picked up the matching earrings and pendant I'd bought.
It was blustery and cloudy, but the clouds were high nd cumulus and not looking like immediate rain, so I went back to the hotel area and crossed the street to the Emerites Air Line gondolas. Skipped the long line for tickets because they accepted the Oyster card. Took a lot of pictures, but the part of the Thames it crosses is not particularly photogenic.
Back to the con, as it was starting to rain, and waited at one of the author readings rooms for Ben Bova's session. Stayed for the next 2, the first being a Young Adult novel called The Pirate's Secret Baby by Darlene Marshall and then Charlie Stross (nominated for 2 Hugos) reading from a not yet finished book. Bova read an old story he had written for another author, where he took the story of Scheherezade and gave it a twist where she gets her stories from the city' storytellers, whose names are the Arabic version of famous sci-fi authours. Hari ibn Hari is Harry Harrison, and so on.
Marshall started out being a very businesslike entrepreneurial writer, but once she got into the reading she was quite good. Not a book I would buy, but not bad for a YA girl's library.
The Stross reading was mobbed. People kept coming in well after all available space was taken. This despite signs posted in front of all the rooms that when all the chairs are full, no one is to enter. But there were no traffic enforcers in the area, and people kept trying to squeeze in. It was as annoying to the author as it was to me. Again, not a genre I would buy, pull-the-magic-out-of-your-ass fantasy, but an enjoyable reading. He writes for his own amusement, but he has a faithful fandom who are invested in his characters.
I'd had enough of listening to readings in a room way too small for them, so I took the train back to the hotel. Did some stuff on the laptop online, then went downstairs hoping to have dinner in the hotel dining room, but they weren't serving except in the bar. So I walked most of the way back to the con to the Chinese place and had a nice lobster dinner.
Service was slow, by the time I got my check it was time to go to the Hugo ceremony. On my way, I saw quadrivium and hsifyppah walking the other way, waved but I don't think they saw me. Well, Brooke may have, she made a sound much like a gargling crow as we passed.
Like the Masq, the Hugos not only started late, there was no one on stage at official start time to greet the crowd. There was a Beefeater standing guard in front of some kind of gate-like object stage left. Eventually he was joined by a second one, and they flanked it.
When the MCs finally arrived, the gates were opened revealing a several-tiered stand full of rockets. With a little more lighting it could have looked very impressive.
The MCs did okay, and there were presenters for most of the categories and they all did okay. Tech, however, was terrible. They kept getting the IDs wrong, once in a while the entry slides were out of order, the presenter mikes were not powered up all the time they were needed. Tech tried to blame it on the talent touching the mikes, but they lied.
Most of the winners were not my first choice, I especially disagreed with Fan Artist, Fanzine, Campbell Award and Best Dramatic short form. Looking at the list, the only winners I had voted for were Gravity,for Best Dramatic long form, and The Lady Astronaut From Mars, by Mary Robinette Kowal for Best Novelette. The latter was so touching and well crafted it left the others in the dirt. The audience reaction seemed to agree. I had not read any of the novels, but was very happy that the winner was science fiction and not fantasy.
Back to the hotel by way of Tesco Express. Their self check-out machines are absurd, and the boy who tried to show me why it wouldn't let me scan more than one item did not speak english well enough, and his gestures were nonsense. The secret turned out to be they have the bags on a rack which blocks the bagging area, and the machine wants the items placed in a bag on the bagging area after each scan. And then it wouldn't read my card. The woman behind the counter figured that out. There is a different scanner for cards with and without chips. Both require the card to be inserted into a slot, which makes no sense for the chipped one.
Hotel, drank some chocolate milk, updated FB and LJ and here I am.
Plans for tomorrow:
I have a ticket for The Eye, if it isn't raining I'll use it. Need to be back at the con by 4:30 for the filk musical. After the total FAIL of the opening ceremonies, 'll give closing rites a pass.