ReaderCon Retrospective and Doctor Who

This past weekend I had the opportunity to return to ReaderCon, a local convention which I very much enjoyed last year. A friend was running the Green Room and needed some volunteer assistance, so I arrived late on Friday and stayed through Sunday afternoon.

ReaderCon is a small convention, but what it lacks in size and programming it more than makes up for in community and quality. All of the panels I attended were excellent (though I was amused that most of the panelists on the “Grimlight” panel didn’t know what Grimdark was going in), and diversity of representation on most of the panels was much improved from last year. I met so many wonderful people and had glorious conversations about everything from costuming to worldbuilding to puppies, and I even got to pet a hedgehog!

On Saturday night I was invited out to dinner with an industry professional by a mutual friend and had a long conversation that I hope might eventually lead to a request for materials, but I’ve learned by now not to count any ducklings before they’ve hatched. In the moment, I’ll get excited and optimistic, but the more time passes the more I convince myself that this door will close in my face as well. Time will tell.

Which brings me to my next point. On Sunday, I was chatting with a couple of lovely ladies about women in superhero films when I got a FB message from my friend Sal. “They announced the new Doctor,” he said.

I immediately excused myself from the conversation and practically flew to google, then let out an audible shriek as the first photo came up. A couple at our table turned, a little annoyed, and said they were trying to have a conversation.

“You don’t understand,” I said, probably half coherent. “They announced the new Doctor!”

“Oh,” the person said, a little interested now. “Who is it?”

“It’s a woman,” I said, on the brink of tears. “The new Doctor is a woman.”

Cue bedlam in the Green Room. Every new person who came in for the next couple of hours was pounced upon with a “have you heard?” “Did you see the announcement teaser trailer yet?” That trailer must have played at least fifteen times that first hour, if not more. There were smiles all around. Some people teared up. Women (and men) who had been waiting for this for their entire lives sat in a moment of stunned shock before exclaiming in joy. Some people said that they would wait to see how the writing was before getting too excited, which is a completely understandable stance, but by and large the reaction was overwhelming.

I’m so thankful that it was at a fantasy/scifi convention that I learned this news, otherwise the outpouring of hate on comment boards might have dampened my joy. As it is, however, my first memories of that moment will always be smiles and tears.

Finally, the Doctor is like me. I wish that I could hop into a TARDIS and tell ten-year-old me that when I was in my thirties, most of my heroes would finally be women.

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