It does make me wonder whether, in this age of e-mail and on-line polling, it is possible for con organizers to get from attendees, at some quite late stage, a sense of how many people are likely to attend particular panels and to sort out the room allocation in the light of such forecasts. I ask this question naively and in the sure and certain knowledge that there is probably some very good reason why not.
My only other real beef was with the media programmers, who for some reason completely ignored my request to be on media panels as well as civil liberties ones, critical ones, fanfic ones and queer ones. What is the point of filling in a programme participant's form in considerable detail if one section of the programmers are going to ignore your form altogether? When I mentioned my unhappiness about this, I was told that I should have chased them about it - but I had, through friends on the programming committee, and they had chosen to ignore my chasing them.
I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I am, these days, a moderately important critic of sf and fantastic film and tv whom people might have wanted to hear on my subject. Things go wrong, but it would have been nice for them to acknowledge that mistakes had been made rather than snap at me as if their failure were my fault.
Apart from anything else, I like many other panellists had a book to promote and was on panels on just about every other subject than the subject of my books. I'd like to think that 'From Alien to the Matrix' had a chance of getting a nomination next year and exposure to media fans might have helped that.
I will get round to talking about the many excellent panels and parties I did get to in a later post.
Meanwhile, catching up on the news, I see that the Independent picked up on the destruction of all archaeological sites in Mecca on the grounds that to associate e.g. the birth of the prophet with a particular location which Muslims might value for that reason is idolatry in the eyes of the people currently running Wahabism.
The argument is that any construction of the human hand or mind might be worshipped and come between the good Muslim and his God. The trouble is that an obsessive fear of idolatry is itself potentially an object of idolatry when it conflicts with other duties, like solidarity with other believers, or indeed a broader community of humanity. An obsessive fear of idolatry is clearly a construct of the human mind and clearly becomes an end in itself at the expense of true religion. Maybe what Islam needs is not an Enlightenment so much as a heavy dose of its equivalent of scholastic philosophy as turned in on itself by an equivalent of the Jesuits.