Van Nuys, California,
February 14 - 17, 2003
I could just say this was one of the best,
most enjoyable, most entertaining sci-fi cons I've ever attended, and
leave it at that. But you're probably expecting at least some kind of
report on what happened during the con, and I've got to justify my
expense account. So here's some info and a
The Fourteenth Annual Gallifrey One convention was
a salute to the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who which
premiered on the BBC in November 1963 as a children's science fiction
The show's grown up a bit since then. As have the
fans of the Doctor. Today, the Doctor's adventures are kept alive by
novels, short stories, comics and audios.
FIFTH & SIXTH
Peter Davison (the fifth actor to play the Doctor) and Colin Baker (the
sixth) were Gallifrey One's Guests of Honor. On the first day, the two
admirably entertained hundreds of fans with ninety minutes of humor and
wit, recounting stories from their days playing one (two?) of the most
popular figures in science fiction.
The two men were affable and approachable throughout
the con, signing autographs, posing for photos and chatting with fans,
showing why they remain sought after convention guests.
That was the extent of my conversations with Jill
Sherwin until her panel on Enterprise Monday morning. Prior to
that we just kept passing each other in the hallways, always
going in opposite directions. Gallifrey One is a small but very
busy convention. There's always something going on.
YOU DID IT
David Gerrold is one of the reasons I became a writer. I loved his book
on the making of Star Trek's The Trouble With Tribbles, which was one
of the first books about writing that I read. I've had a wide variety
of influences on my work, from Martha Foley to Stan Lee, John Steinbeck
to Anais Nin, and a few others. It was nice to finally meet David and
him about the storytelling craft.
The One-On-One sessions were particularly enjoyable. These were small
gatherings of about a dozen of so attendees with one or two of the
guests. I sat in on the One-On-One with Lloyd Rose and Kate Orman. As I
listened to them talking about their work, how they plotted stories and
shaped ideas, my
brain kept trying to send me a message. Finally the message got
through: Smart women are sooooooooo sexy!
SO THAT'S WHO HE IS
I didn't recognize Paul Cornell when we were introduced. He's the
creator of one of my favorite fictional females, Professor Bernice
Summerfield. But I didn't know him when I saw him. Now I do. Hey, Paul!
I went on a rant during the comic book panel with Marv Wolfman and Len
Wein. The state of comics is abysmal these days, in my humble opinion;
example, are today mostly psychotic vigilantes rather than the symbols
of truth and justice they once were. And should be. I took out my
on Marv. More him than Len because Marv and I have talked before.
Marv occasionally visits a comic book shop owned by a friend of
mine and I've had occasion to chat with him there. Marv, and Len,
I'm sorry for ranting during your panel.
I was glad for the opportunity to chat with Keith Topping, something I
very much wanted to do.
I had to thank him because one of his books helped me sell
one of mine. Keith authored a book about The West Wing that I was
reading concurrent with working out the plot for my second novel. I
realized I was writing what I latter called in my pitch "West Wing in
space". That helped sell the idea, and I'm currently hard
at work on that novel, the saga of an interstellar ambassador. So
thanks, Keith. Hmm, I guess I should send a Thank You to Aaron Sorkin
BEST OF THE REST
Many other fine folks were present at the con including Celeste
Yarnall, Virginia Hey, Herbert Jefferson, Jr. (of Battlestar
Galactica), David Howe (publisher of the Telos Dr. Who novellas), Gary
Russell (of Big Finish Productions, publishers of the Bernice
Summerfield books), Brinke Stevens, Bob May (who played the robot on
Lost In Space), Bill Blair (the alien actor), David McIntee, Jeff
Conaway (of Babylon 5), Robert Trebor, Lars
Pearson, Bill Baggs, Dale Smith and Andrea Thompson to name just a few.
David Whittam of Comeuppance Comics is publishing a
comic book series featuring Miranda, a character from one of the Doctor
Who novels. It's written and drawn by Lance Parkin and Allan Bednar.
Last but not least, I got to see my first Dr. Who
video. This one was titled Paradise In Chains and starred Rupert Booth
Deborah Reilly. This was a re-edited (by Jon Blum) version of the
I'm told. And I must say it was a nicely done production.
Please check out the links elsewhere on this page to
find out more about the wonderful world of Doctor Who.
My thanks to Shaun Lyon and the con's organizers; I
had a wonderful time and am looking forward to next year's convention.
© 2003 First Tribe Books.
All Rights Reserved.
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