Redemption 2015 was held from the 20th to the 22nd of February at (for almost certainly the last time) the Britannia Hotel, Coventry. I went down the day before and came back the day after, so my report runs from the Thursday to the Monday.
Having managed to get my packing more or less finished by Wednesday night (and after discarding one pair of boots and one pair of jeans to try and keep the weight of my biggest suitcase manageable) I made it to Huddersfield Station over an hour earlier than planned. Then, of course, there was a delay getting into Manchester, and so I ended up on the train to Coventry I'd originally planned for, arriving at the hotel not long before 10pm. Fortunately my forward planning had also involved taking home-made sandwiches on the train with me, so I was able to head straight to the bar in search of the usual suspects and a couple of people I'd only previously encountered on email as well.
The hotel didn't seem keen on keeping the bar open beyond 11pm, and I'd completely forgotten how much drinks cost outside the People's Republic of Yorkshire (which extends quite some way into Derbyshire on a good day), so I was happy to call it a night after two JD and Cokes.
I was up bright and early on Friday morning, ready to rendezvous with Hermione (in the next room but one) for breakfast. After a quick excursion to Claire's Accessories (mainly for a length of silver chain, although I somehow emerged with make-up and earrings as well) and Sainsbury's (for scavenger hunt supplies and provisions), I put in a couple of hours on the Registration Desk, and located my room-sharer (who turned out to be pretty much everything I needed, including knowing plenty about running organisations for Young Persons).
I fitted in three panels prior to being on one: Classical cultures: How much do they get right?, What was Blake’s plan on Gauda Prime? and Where does fandom live? all of which meant I didn't have time to eat before What will we be eating in 3015?. This panel featured me, Raj Rijhwani and Pat Reynolds discussing almost as much about the history of food production and preparation as we speculated about the future, but it was interesting nonetheless.
I sort of wondered about eating before the opening ceremony, especially given that I felt rather lightheaded from drinking a white wine spritzer (only £1.50 -- far more sensible pricing) on an empty stomach during the previous panel, but servalan persuaded me that it was possible to snack and play cards at the same time. So I joined her and a bunch of others for Slash the Game which turned out to be rather fun.
The Opening Ceremony was as much fun as always, and included a chaos modelling challenge, a first glimpse of the chaos filming that continued throughout the con, and a sudden surprise additional candidate for Ruler of the Universe in the form of Baby Oswin.
After that I wandered down to the discussion on The influence of Alice in Wonderland at which my main contribution was to wave around some of the illustrations in my eBook of the original edition. Then I went back to my room and flaked out.
On Saturday morning I discovered that my room-sharer was as much of an early riser as me, in spite of getting in later than I did, so we both had breakfast with Hermione. I got slightly waylaid, and missed the only 9am panels of the weekend, but made it to Fight choreography for writers which was mostly a discussion session, although a few weapons were brandished for purposes of emphasis. Then I was on Favourite women authors with Marwan, servalan and Steve K, at which I think we all had an equal chance to share our choices and scribble down notes about everyone else's.
I took a short break after that, then spent half an hour running around laying down the clues for my Scavenger Hunt. In the end I didn't get as many participants as I'd hoped for (possibly because people were off being sensible and having lunch) but I was amused that those who took part completely failed to find the clues I'd left in places where my Brownies would have looked first. Still, we all had fun, as far as I could make out.
After collecting all the left-over clues, I had another bit of a break before taking part in two back-to back panels: Has steampunk has its day? with Jonathan Green (and Archimedes the mechanical parrot), Vanessa May (convincingly! portrayed by Misha), David Wake and Peter Harrow (we all agreed that it hasn't then spent the rest of the hour swapping tips and recommendations with the audience) followed by the Alice in Wonderland Balloon Debate with the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and Alice (which I posted about here). There was a hurried costume change in the loos between the two panels, but everything worked out okay in the end.
Following yet another costume change, I found myself on yet another panel discussing The Bechdel Test and asking why we can't have shows that are the equivalents to Scott and Bailey, Last Tango in Halifax and The Good Wife but IN SPACE!!! (or possibly IN MIDDLE EARTH). There was also debate on how the Avengers film franchise fails by having more than one female character in some films but keeping them on separate teams such that they never communicate.
I then went off to watch the Fancy Dress and Cabaret, armed with more spritzers to get myself in the mood for what was to come. That next item was, of course, Blake’s 7 Wobblevision, run as always by steverogerson. elenopa and I drew Blake and Avon for our characters, so off we rushed to my room to pick up matching water pistols (important rule of packing: make sure there's room for toy weaponry). Photos of the guilty parties will undoubtedly follow...
Sunday morning had been planned as a bit of a quieter time for me, but that didn't quite happen. I went to the Firefly retrospective in the main hall with Philippa C, Sabine F, Tlanti and DaiseeChain as planned (and now I want to track down all of the comics) but then ended up in mingmerciless's Ration roulette as a result of having donated paper plates to the cause earlier in the weekend. Still, some of the food was mostly edible. Having survived that one, my next panel was Who else should have been on the Liberator? with DaiseeChain, Travis and servalan. Basically we managed to put a convincing case for every single Blakes 7 guest character (though not all at once). Which was fun.
I got an hour's break before my big event of the weekend: the Man of Iron script reading. We had a few last minute casting changes due to illness, some lost scripts and mislaid props (due to lack of one fake knife, Avon was spanked by one of the lesser robots -- Ho Hum...), and various other unforeseen hazards, but I got to play Gabor. Which was a real treat after I've been mainly off-stage for the last couple of productions. We had a small invasion towards the end as Avon was played by the ConChair and she was needed for Closing-Ceremony related activities, but overall it may have been the best version we've done so far.
At the Closing Ceremony, Baby Oswin was declared Ruler of the Universe and we got to watch the final result of the Chaos Filming. I also won a prize in the raffle, and then volunteered myself as scribe to the ConChair for What would you like to see at Redemption ’17?. I may have been too efficient at that one, as I now seem to be Secretary to the ConChair for the foreseeable future. Ah well...
After a spell of hanging out in my room, I followed the ConChair to her next panel, Grimm: We have our tales, you have yours, and now feel I ought to watch the TV series, although I shall also heed beccaelizabeth's opinions on the show too. Finally, we had reached my final panel of the weekend, When a villain jumps the shark with Pen Robinson, Daiseechain and David M, and I was feeling a trifle wiped out. This was sort of fixed by a quick excursion to my room (conveniently next to where the panel was held) partway through, but I really didn't start to recover until afterwards.
At which point I tracked down blazingskies's Project Genesis (anime, video and chiptune music night) just as they were packing up. So I followed everyone to an impromptu room party until such time as my batteries wore out again.
Monday morning was mostly about saying goodbye to everyone, although I did get collared a few times with more suggestions for Redemption '17, all in good time for me to type everything up on the train. All comments will be considered, so keep an eye on the website to learn what will be happening in two years' time.
All in all, another excellent convention, and I'm looking forward to the next one, no matter where they decide to hold it.