Notes to self behind the cut on Boskone's preliminary schedule. Who else is coming?
- John M. "Mike" Ford Memorial Auction & Extravaganza
(On one hand, I think this will be fun; on the other, it's on opposite Chad's first panel of the con and I don't usually buy things at auction. (We already gave to the library fund.))
- Visiting Japan
If we attend the Worldcon in Yokohama this August, what knowledge should we bring along? What ten phrases are essential? What societal differences should we be prepared to accommodate? What are Japanese SF fans like? What will we eat? How much could all this cost?
Vince Docherty, Chad Orzel, Peggy Rae Sapienza
(I dunno, maybe I can get Chad to just tell me the highlights . . . )
- Religion in Fantasy
Is it too simplistic to say that C. S. Lewis's and J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy promoted Christianity, while Philip Pullman's subverts it? How is creating a credible religion like creating a workable economy? Who are the best fantasy writers at this? Must you believe, even a little, in a god you make yourself?
Judith Berman (m), Debra Doyle, Walter H. Hunt, Jane Yolen
(I just wanted to say that this is really a very broad panel description).
- Boskone in Death: J. D. Robb 2007
(Not as much juicy stuff to talk about this time, since there's only been one book out since the last one.)
- Putting It All Together: The Importance of Plot and Structure
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy builds new girl: plot keeps everything from happening at once. But do requirements differ from a fantasy novel to a horror movie to SF TV? Is it all as easy as A, B, C, D, E (action, background, conflict, development, end)? Are any memorable works poorly put together? What are the top tips for construction a great plot?
Daniel Abraham, Steven Popkes, Steven Sawicki, Melinda Snodgrass (m)
(Could be very much my kind of thing, but could not be, especially since I don't think I know any of the panel members.)
- Reading: James D. MacDonald
- Reading: Debra Doyle
(Or I could see what Doyle and Macdonald are reading. Or sleep in.)
- Brother Guy on Ice (or why the GT flag is flying at the south pole): Guy Consolmagno
(I have no idea what this is, but Chad says he's a good speaker.)
- Straddling the Line: SF and Mystery Hybrids
Is "whodunit meets howdunit" a more natural marriage than with, say, a technothriller nurse book? Compared to regular SF, must you plot more rigorously? Can you hide more clues among SF's many infodumps? Who has arranged this kind of marriage especially well? How?
Robert I. Katz, Paul Levinson, Steve Miller (m), Melissa Scott
- Should Harry Die?
Speculations on the final Harry Potter novel: what will happen? What should happen.
Sarah Beth Durst, Daniel Kimmel (m), Priscilla Olson
(Also maybe. I'm somewhat inclined to go into the book with as little speculation as possible, to keep from getting in the way of my own reading experience.)
- What Can't You Read?
All of us have books that are considered classics or, when we hear the description are convinced are exactly the type of book we would like -- yet we don't. What are some of yours, and why? What makes some types of books very widely regarded by many yet nearly unreadable by a few.
Janice Gelb (m), Fred Lerner, Steve Miller, Patrick Nielsen Hayden
(Besides Dune, I'm not sure I have any, and it's not the type of book I would like anyway; but the panel might be interesting regardless.)
- Spooky Action at a Distance -- the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, Bell's Theorem, and other Phenomena: Chad Orzel
- The Gooey Center of Hard SF
SF Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden has observed, "Many of the genre's classics are in essence carefully-tuned machines designed to attract readers whose primary conscious loyalty is to rationalism, and lead them by a series of plausible contrivances to a sudden crescendo of mystical awe." Discuss, with examples and counters, if any.
Kathryn Cramer (m), Matthew Jarpe, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Allen M. Steele
(I have no strong opinions on this and am more likely to go to the next panel, but I love this description.)
- What If Nelson Had Captured Napoleon: Missed Turning Points in Alternate History
In 1798, in the middle of the night, as French ships carried Napoleon and his army to Egypt, Nelson's ships passed within a few miles. What if Nelson had captured Napoleon at sea? The world would be very, very different. This is one of the great turning points in history about which there are no major alternate history novels. The panel looks at other such turning points. Why have they been ignored? What makes a good turning point for an alternate history story?
Beth Bernobich, Michael F. Flynn (m), James D. MacDonald, Paul Park
(This sounds like fun, though my sad ignorance of history might be a handicap.)
- A Sea of Words: Naval Fiction both Historical and Fantasitc
Sea stories are very popular amongst SF fans -- both historical fiction by writers like Forester and O'Brian and SF and fantasy works by writers like Weber and Novik. Why do sea and space voyaging tales get into our blood? Are we not so much SF fans as exploration/close-knit- hierarchy/cool-complicated-tech-and-talk fans? How is a frigate different from a generation ship? Who are our Foresters? Our O'Brians? Naomi Novick has added dragons to the age of fighting sail; what exciting trope can we send to sea next: Furries? Robots? Vampires? ('Ware Captain Blood!)
Darlene Marshall (m), Michael F. Flynn, Jim Mann, Susan Shwartz
(Well, I really like two of the authors named . . . )
- SF and the History of Science
Let's look at SF (or historical fantasy) involving the development of science: something that's interested writers in our genre from DeCamp to Stephenson. Are tales where certain technology isn't developed more fun? Why not change the laws of physics in a story? Can you set true science in the ancient world, or does it begin with the Enlightenment? Does explaining both history and science double the infodumps?
Guy Consolmagno (m), Gregory Feeley, Chad Orze
(And then there's the spousal-interest thing.)
- Images of Loss in "Lord of the Rings"
Five years ago, we discussed the images of loss in Tolkien, and it was one of our most popular and successful items, so we return for a fresh look. After Frodo has returned, still not entirely healed, to the Shire he tells Sam "It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up. lose them, so that others may keep them." Much of the power of The Lord of the Rings comes from the deep sense of loss that fills it: The Elves' loss of Middle Earth, Men's loss of life, the Ents' loss of forest and the Entwives, Frodo's loss of the Shire, Arwen's loss of immortality, Elrond's loss of Arwen -- and there are many others, even Gollum's loss of the Ring. Bittersweet images all. Are these essential to the enduring strength of Tolkien's universe? Would we love it as much without the final image of the magic leaving Middle Earth, as the elves (and ringbearers) take the straight path across the sea to the West.....?
Debra Doyle, Mary Kay Kare (m), Michael Swanwick
(And my regret that I haven't gotten anywhere with my LotR re-read.)
- Publishing: Myths vs. Reality
Lou Anders, Ellen Asher, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Eleanor Wood (m)
- Writing For and Acting In Audio Books
If you're composing with being read aloud in mind, should you obsess about sentence length? Rhythm? Tongue-twisting vocabulary or too-similar names? Does reading aloud as you write help? If you're voicing the story for posterity, what are the skills required? How can you keep character voices distinct? What are the best examples of doing it all right?
Bruce Coville (m), Timothy Liebe, Tamora Pierce
(More likely, dinner, but you never know.)
(Yes, that's all it says.)
- Pirates in Petticoats: Women Pirates in Fact and Fiction
Why are some girls pirates? Because they just AARRRR! Or perhaps they're fleeing abusive male companions, or even more oppressive social conditions. How rare are they? Are they perforce smarter or more violent than male marauders? Is it any life for a lady?
Darlene Marshall, Jane Yolen
(I think this is meant to be in fiction, though in history is a possibility too.)
- Medieval Throwing Machines: Catapults and Trebuchets: Erik Meyer
- The Dragon Still Waits: A Look Back at the Works of John M. Ford
Is Ford sometimes too smart for our own good? Must you know who Earl Rivers was to appreciate The Dragon Waiting as one of our finest alternative history fantasies? Is Growing Up Weightless simply a great Heinlein juvenile? Did the Klingons ever have a truer friend? Did anyone write anything about 9/11 better than the poem "110 Stories"?
Chip Hitchcock, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, George H. Scithers (m), Teresa Nielsen Hayden
(I, umm, haven't read all of Ford's works yet. *hangs head in shame* This makes me a little reluctant to go to an all-encompassing panel, as much as I would like to.)
- A Horse Is Not a Motorcycle
Our hero gets on his horse and rides hard and fast throughout the day. The next day, as battle begins, he leads a charge down the steep slope, the horses overwhelming the defenders. Scenes like this are common in fantasy stories and movies. Yet the creators seem to know little of real horses (or of military tactics like forming square, for that matter). Our panelists discuss the mistakes of the past and how real horses behave.
Ellen Asher, Melinda Snodgrass
(Yes, it's a perennial, but it's a perennial I haven't been to before.)
- Who Else Should I Read?
By now, most everyone is familiar with UK writers Ken McLeod and Charles Stross. Both have been on the Hugo ballot, after all. But are they also familiar with writers like John Meaney, Justina Robeson, Ian McDonald, and Steph Swainston. And most everyone is familar with Canadians such as Robert Sawyer and Robert Charles Wilson. But have they read Karl Schroeder. And what about the writers from the US they may be missing. The panel discusses some of the potentially overlooked major writers in the field.
Stephen Boucher (m), Don D'Ammassa, Glenn Grant, Fred Lerner
(Recommendations are good.)
- Applied SF: Consequences of the Video Cellphone
Let's use these hot new gizmos as a case study in SF prediction and the laws of unintended consequence. What unexpected new uses have already arisen? Which can we extrapolate? How will they affect communication, newsgathering, historiography, crime, music, homebuying, education, art, security, or dating?
Walter H. Hunt, Alexander Jablokow, Shariann Lewitt (m), Steven Popkes
(Could be fun.)
That looks like more than enough possibilities, doesn't it?