The preliminary program is up, and I'm making notes to myself to figure out my schedule for the weekend.
But first, I whine: my throat feels like some evil persistent imp has taken a Brillo pad to it, my lungs ache profoundly, the skin around my nose is bright red and stings when I move any muscle on my face, my stomach has gone on strike to protest the steady diet of cough drops, all the synapses in my brain have edged away from their neighbors thanks to the decongestants (which have mostly stopped working), my ears are blocked up and I just did something nasty to my jaw when yawning to try and clear them, and I am vastly lacking in sleep. In short, I have a cold, and I want it to stop.
There. Aren't you sorry the program came out today so I had an excuse to post?
* ~ 3:00 pm:
- Arrive, dump stuff in hotel room. Find PNH and/or TNH, help with Tor party setup.
- Exeter: Annual Meeting of the Boskone J.D. Robb Get-Together and Critiquing Society
(Traditional, and I would dearly love to know if anyone else hated Origin as much as I did. Then again, it might just cement my reputation as the wet blanket at these.)
- Gardner: Non-traditional Structures for the Multi-volume Novel
Do most genre multivolumes actually _have_ structures, beyond "It's too big, let's cut it in three," or "It' sold big, so let's have sequels"? What can we learn from Burroughs, Robinson, Rowling, Stephenson....or our own panelists? Which styles are most innovative? Which ones haven't we attempted yet?
Debra Doyle, Michael F. Flynn, George R. R. Martin, Beth Meacham, Charles Stross
(I expect at least one rant about having to split books for price reasons. I can't think of anything particuarly innovative in this regard, which maybe is a reason to go.)
- Republic A: Great Space Opera
One can argue that space opera is the foundation of SF, but does it still have a place in SF today several generations removed from the foundation? The term "Space Opera" is pejoratively used to describe a story set in space which could just as well have been set ion Earth. Are there stories which can only be told when set in space or is the epithet just? What makes great space opera great? Besides Ken MacLeod, who else is writing great space operat today?
David G. Hartwell (m), Walter H. Hunt, James D. Macdonald, Steve Macdonald, Ken MacLeod
(Perhaps I'm tapped out on space opera panels. Dunno.)
- Hampton: Reading (etc.) - Internal or Published Chronology?
Does reading (or watching) in the order published give you a better idea of the writer's (or the writer's world's?!) own development? Does going by internal date best show you the story/character arc in the way it was actually intended? Which way do publishers, writers, or readers prefer? In which series does it seem to matter most.? Which should come first, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" or "The Magician's Nephew"? Star Wars4 or Star Wars1? Come up with some other good examples.
Ellen Asher, Sharon Lee (m), Steven Sawicki, Joe Siclari, Teresa Nielsen Hayden
(My answer is usually "publication order," and I'm pretty happy with that, so I don't know how likely this is.)
* Dinner? (Either early, around 5:00, or late, 7:00 or 8:00. Anyone want to make specific plans?)
* Post-dinner: more help with Tor party, if needed
* 10:00 pm: Par-ty!
10:00 am (is it really likely that I'll be awake enough at this point? Well, no. But in case—)
- Hampton: How Much Science Should SF Contain?
Hugo Gernsback made SFexist to teach science. Is this a foundational idea for of all of SF or a horrible error from which we're still trying to escape? Why do we care if the science is right if the story is good? Much of SF seems to get along quite nicely with no discernable reality in its physics, yet there is also the occasional masterpiece which is a masterpiece *because* of its science content. Is the issue the technical details or is it a general approach to the universe that is important? And what do SF authors typically get right or wrong?
William Hartmann, Geoffrey A. Landis, Chad Orzel (m), George H. Scithers, Ann Tonsor Zeddies
(Chad is moderating, but I can't work up a lot of interest in the topic.)
- Republic A: Is Fantasy Necessary?
Edward Abbey said "I see more poetry in a chunk of quartzite than in a make-believe wood nymph, more beauty in the revelations of a verifiable intellectual construction than in whole misty empires of obsolete mythology." If this is so, why do so many of flock to read fantasy? Discuss (without bloodshed, if possible.)
Bruce Coville, Debra Doyle, Sarah Monette, Mary A. Turzillo (m)
(Panel titles and descriptions like this never strike me as promising, but who knows?)
11:00 am (Can only stay until 11:30, tops)
- Hampton: Space and Sensibility: Channeling Jane Austen?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any beloved (and why?) classic will be inevitably form the foundation for works of art which reflect the age and the media in which they appear at least as much as they reflect their source. Is it not therefore to be wondered at that the matter and manner of the the distinguished Authoress of "Emma" and "Pride and Prejudice" should be adopted by a class of writers generally more concerned with the head than the heart, the spirit of adventure than the spirit of domestic intrigue? Additionally, it can little be wondered that the volumes of a certain Lady have engaged the general good opinion of a later and more celestially inclined generation.
We may, indeed, readily list estimable Authors who have attempted to catch something of her style. Yet might not any attempt to draw a portrait of a mannered society impart a sympathetic coincidence of feeling? Is this preference but the fashion of a moment, or a phenomenon of more respectable permanence. White gloves optional. Tea will not be served. La!
James D. Macdonald (m), Beth Meacham, Sarah Monette, Delia Sherman, Teresa Nielsen Hayden
(I still don't know what science fiction is being influenced by Austen. It might be interesting to find out.)
- Republic A: Is Science Fiction Necessary?
Haven't we won? Aren't science-fictional ideas, vocabulary, themes and predictions now deeply embedded in the popular culture? Aren't a disproportionate percentage of popular movies from our genres? Don't mainstream authors at all levels of seriousness dip into the slipstream every day? So, what's our mission now? What worlds are left to conquer - and why?
Tobias Buckell, Rosemary Kirstein, Chad Orzel (m), Karl Schroeder, Charles Stross
(Or, there's watching Chad deal with moderating this topic.)
* 11:30 - 3:00?: Lunch with friends in Burlington.
- Kent: Why Graphic Novels (Sometimes?) Work
Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of material (past/present/future) presented in this medium. How hard is it to adapt material from different media to it? What works, what doesn't?
Lenny Bailes, Geary Gravel, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (m)
(Not likely I'll be back in time, but in case.)
- Jefferson: Time to Remake "The Lord of the Rings"?
Peter Jackson remade "King Kong" 72 years after the original - what took him so long? In our speeded-up age, isn't it already time to start thinking about remaking Jackson's own "Lord of the Rings" trilogy? Who do we cast, who directs, and what do we do differently? (OK, Faramir is obvious, but....) And what other SF/F/H movies might also be ready for a do-over? How does what we saw before affect what we do in the future?
Susan Hanniford Crowley, MaryAnn Johanson, Timothy Liebe, Laurie Mann (m), Faye Ringel
(I'm pretty sure I'm not going to this, I just had to laugh at the Faramir comment.)
- Republic A: Higgins Armory presentation
(They always do a nice job, though I have seen a couple of their presentations before. Man, I am missing some good stuff, and not much after I get back; but one of the lunchtime friends lives in California, so what are you going to do?)
* 4:00 pm - onward: Dealers' room, dinner. Who hasn't got dinner plans yet and wants to eat with us?
- Republic B: Saturday Night Thing - Cowboys in Space Suits on Hawaiian Holiday
* 10:30 am
- Dalton: Reading: John M. Ford
(Because I am a pathetic fangirl.)
* 11:00 am
- Hampton: Audio Books
How should a book sound? Should it be abridged? Dialog (and even descriptive narrative) are fairly easy (are they?), but what can you do about footnotes? pictures? weird punctuation? charts? Discuss the present world of audio books, from straightforward narrations, full cast, dramatizations, text books for the blind....Where is it all going? Has the market changed significantly to encourage the production of more of these products? If so, what's driving it all?
Bruce Coville, Timothy Liebe, Alicia Kestrel Verlager, Eleanor Wood (m)
(I listen to a lot of audiobooks these days, as booklog readers will have noticed. Also, I think that narrators ought to read footnotes but say they're footnotes.)
- Exeter: Discussing "The Princess Bride" (MaryAnn Johanson)
(Yay, The Princess Bride! Someday when I'm well, I need to make a "Yes, you're very smart. Now shut up." icon.)
- Kent: SF as Literature?
Is it ever? What makes it so? Does intent matter? Who decides? Why do we care?
Lenny Bailes, F. Brett Cox, William Hartmann, James Patrick Kelly (m), Chad Orzel
(Spousely loyalty, lunch. Spousely loyalty, lunch. Hmmmmm.)
- Kent: Nautical Novels
Sea stories of the age of fighting sail.....pirates.....shrimp boats? Why do so many fans like this stuff? (Hmm, well, maybe not the shrimp boats.) Perhaps a cruise is like a convention; we all embark together into a small but stimulating environment with its own rich customs (sodomy and the last?), language, hierarchy, smells, jokes.....
Darlene Marshall (m), Beth Bernobich, James D. Macdonald, Jim Mann, Patrick Nielsen Hayden
(Be so very glad that I am too sick to try and make jokes about casting the Aubrey-Maturin novels with fans I know.)
* 2:00 pm
- Exeter: Weird Quantum Phenomenon
From "God does not play dice" to "Spooky action at a distance," from wave- particle duality to wavefunction collapse.... Quantum Mechanics is one of the strangest and most powerful theories in the history of science. What's all that weird stuff about, and what is it good for?
(Yay, a thing of Chad's that I definitely want to go to. I was feeling all unsupportive and stuff.)
I am bringing my spiffy new Palm with wireless keyboard, so I will be typing notes at panels; if anyone would particularly like detailed notes for anything on this list, please say so in comments. I refuse to feel obligated by requests, but I am more likely to distort my wrists on the little keyboard if I know someone actually wants to read the things.