« Hugo nominations (part two) | Main | Research question »

Memo to self

Must remember (for 2010, the next time the Eastercon is due to be held in that particular hotel) that driving from Edinburgh to Heathrow and back again — even with two relief drivers — is nuts. Especially if one is cramming four consecutive fourteen hour work-days in between the 430 mile motorway runs.

Orbital was great; it was also the biggest British easter SF convention ever. Much as Neil Gaiman observed, I have a feeling that there was a really excellent SF convention going on in the hotel I happened to be staying in; I was just too damned busy to enjoy it. (Well, next year the eastercon is going to be held in Bradford, a city with which I am not unacquainted, and I'm really looking forward to not going to be one of the guests of honour!)

I'm off to Dublin on Friday; will write more when I recover from the past weekend. Meanwhile, in lieu of editorializing, here's an article on futurology masquerading as SF from the New York Times, and here's the latest review of Halting State (from the Sydney Morning Herald).




I was wondering if someone would draw that SMH review to your attention. Apropos of your earlier thread about predicting technological trends, they compared you to Gibson, who famously didn't notice cellphones. If he got away with that, I'm sure no-one will notice whatever gaffe you made.


"looking forward to not going to be ..." Doesn't it just seem there's one "ing" too few in there? But I'll be damned if I can figure out where it should go. "looking forward to not goinging to be ..." is the only reasonable answer.


That seems strange to me. I've made 430+ mile drives solo many times, I've done 1200-1300 in two days on several occasions, and I even have done 1000 in one straight shot by myself (although *that* was a killer, and somewhat unsafe). 430 miles with 3 drivers seems like an easy Sunday drive to me, the kind of thing we might do to take the kids to SeaWorld.

But that was on US Interstates, are British motorways that different?


It's not motorway all the way, and many sections of British motorway are pretty busy--not rush-hour levels but often all lanes in use. Usually it doesn't slow you down, much. On a working day, it can be much lass stressful to settle in with the truckers at 60mph, though at every junction you have the idiots doing last-minute lanme changes.

Now, I'm not sure how Charlie planned things. I don't think I'd plan on driving much more than 100 miles without a stop, but the other problem is how well you may sleep, or otherwise relax, as a passenger.

And, the one time I drove to a convention for a full weekend, what I did on the last day was quite restrained.


Oh boy, the people who wrote those articles are going to be surprised by Saturn's Children, even if they don't see the cover art.


>>But that was on US Interstates, are British motorways that different?


Usually, for exactly the same volume of traffic, one lane (or more) narrower.

And although freeway exits and entrances aren't perfect in the US, they usually don't "back up" quite so much as their UK equivalents.


There were only a couple of hold-ups on the trip up and down to Heathrow -- a slow section at the border where major roadworks are being carried out to replace a section of A-road with motorway to finally link the M6 and the M74, and (of course) the infamous M5/M6 junction to the west of Birmingham. The rest of the time we were at 70 on the motorway, 45-60 on the A-road section between Edinburgh and Abingdon. Stops ate another couple of hours.


It depends on how you do the drive, and on how used you are to long-distance driving. I too did the Edinburgh-Heathrow drive for Orbital, and it was fine. There were two reasons why:

1) I used to do the Edinburgh-Cambridge run pretty regularly, so Edinburgh-Heathrow is effetively just a slightly longer commute, with the advantage that it doesn't involve the A14.

2) I had no particular deadline for arrival at either end, so I could spend much of the trip pootling along in the slow lane, listening to Radio 3. Yes, I became the kind of driver that the rest of you scream at in frustration. I find that driving under time pressure, having to worry about keeping up the pace, constantly overtaking and so on, is really draining. Remove that pressure, and it's a doddle.

The con was great, and your GoH speech, Charlie, was delightful. The 2010 Eastercon will effectively be a sequel, and I'm sure it will reach the same high standards. I really hope I can go, but if there's a general election that year I'll be otherwise engaged with standing against Alistair Darling.


Even people who were at the con as regular schmoes had a feeling of "I wish I could have gone to this con"; there was just so much of it. I wanted to also really thank you for the contribution you made as a GOH (and apologise that the bit I highlight in my post-con report is the leech story). ;)


Many thanks for your part in making Orbital such a great con!


It was indeed a great con. I really enjoyed the Lovecraft panel.


If the M5/M6 junction is a problem, why not divert via the A50?


meeting you in heathrow was great (as was the whole convention, as a matter of fact) and i hope to see you soon in romania! pics will come soon in the mail (especially one with you and china at the booksigning session - love that one! too shiny, as i said that day)


Likewise, great to meet you, Horia!


If you want to get to London from Edinburgh without too much hassle the train is probably the easiest- last year I got the 6 am (or so) and was in London By 11 or such, and could have worked on the way down. I was then able to get the tube right across London, have a meeting and trial demonstration of sieving and then meet a friend, before getting the last train back to Edinburgh just after 6.
I've shared driving to Tewkesbury in a minibus, fought in the battle, gotten roasted by the hot sun and lost sleep due to said sun rising at 6am, not to mention the beer, and then driven back again in a 3 day period. It can be done, but it is nasty. It takes a lot of time out of your week.