As usual, Boskone was a lot of fun. I think as time has passed, I’ve learned my way around the con enough and become comfortable enough in my professional persona that I can relax.
The Friday night reading went very well — thanks to everyone who showed up! I read from “Letters of Fire,” which will be coming out in Beneath Ceaseless Skies later this year, and which takes place in the same industrial fantasy world as the last few short stories…only quite a bit earlier. I sat down with a good friend later and traded a crit of his excellent novel for a crit of the mechanical lobsters short story.
Saturday I was a little frazzled, but only in a good way. As the lone fantasy author — and the lone non-scientist — on the Handwaving Science panel, I think I held my own fairly well. I made the points I wanted to make, mainly the idea that so long as the reader has the sense that the characters know the science behind the system, the reader can then trust the story to keep it together. The Monsters in the City panel also went well, although I’m still mildly amused that we all seemed to be on Team Canine (Hound, fangborn, werewolves…). I think I was starting to fray a little by the point of the Playing With Dice, but it was still a lot of fun. While we all had very different stories of how we’d come to gaming and our current status, we still had many common points when it came to the social value of gaming and constructing a world so that it’s believable for either players or readers.
The rest of the evening is a bit fuzzy, partly due to the margaritas over dinner and partly due to the apparent mandate my friends had to get me drunk enough to start explaining my theory of the Holy Grail. This is, it turns out, an excellent benchmark; when I hit Grail point, I should not have any more to drink. (Unfortunately, when I hit Grail point, I am usually fuzzy enough that I can’t properly cite my references, and so my argument loses a good deal of force.) I hope I was entertaining at least.
Sunday morning, with the help of quite a lot of caffeine, I joined Darlene Marshall, Charlaine Harris, and Alexander Jablokov for a discussion of how setting affects our stories. Somehow this got onto a discussion of teeth. It made sense in context, trust me. The Beneath Ceaseless Skies reading was quick but fun, and afterwards I joined family for sandwiches — and then lurched home and slept for most of the rest of the day. That’s what I get for missing that nap on Saturday.
It sounds so bland to say this — the word “nice” has lost a lot of its strength — but everyone I met at Boskone was really nice. Maybe I just unknowingly got put on the “charming people” track for the weekend.
Now, to sit down and fix the mechanical lobsters story. And then…*eyes large manuscript on desk* to the rest of the work.
I’ll have a quick con report up later about Boskone. For now, I can summarize the experience: It was awesome, and I’m exhausted.
In the meantime, today’s my blog day for Supernatural Underground, so in my sleep-deprived and mildly goofy state I’m admitting to my tendency toward drama. Or, rather, DRAMA!!!! (and yes, with that many exclamation marks). I don’t know if I can blame it on family tradition, but I will say that there were an awful lot of Brian Blessed imitations this Christmas. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, but I sure as hell enjoyed it.
(And now I’m going to have the Flash Gordon theme stuck in my head for the rest of the night. Oh well.)
Quick update on the Boskone schedule: It looks like the Beneath Ceaseless Skies group reading has been moved to Sunday at noon. I’ll probably still need coffee at that point, but at least now I know what I’m reading.
I’ll be at Boskone this coming weekend, and as usual, I’m in way over my head. But it looks so very worth it.
Friday, 7:30 PM
Reading – Margaret Ronald
I’m still not yet sure what I want to read. Probably a short story, probably one of the industrial fantasy pieces. “The Guilt Child” might be a good one. I’d read “Recapitulation,” except that I’ll probably be excerpting it for…
Friday, 8:30 PM
Beneath Ceaseless Skies group reading
Here’s to group readings! Seriously, these are like little samplers of BCS, and there’s something that I love about reading just a few minutes’ worth of story and piquing people’s interest. It’s probably the same part of me that loves watching trailers as much as the movies themselves.
Saturday, 10 AM
The Art of Handwaving Science
Tom Easton (M), Michael F. Flynn, Jeff Hecht, Margaret Ronald, Ken Schneyer, Joan Slonczewski
On your first day as an SF writer, you’re likely to be faced with the problem of how to write about science that either 1) you don’t have a good grasp of, or 2) nobody has a good grasp of because it doesn’t exist yet. How do you respond?
This will be…interesting, since most of the SF I’ve written is fantasy wearing deely-bobbers. However, I’ve got a few points to make from the fantasy end of things, particularly regarding “science” that doesn’t exist at all.
Saturday, 12 Noon
I’m not actually sure about this, since my final schedule has me on a kaffeeklatsch at noon, while the program listing has me on one at 2:00. My guess is it’s the latter, but check the schedule at the con to be sure. Also, I like to say “kaffeeklatsch.”
Saturday, 1 PM
Monsters in the City: Exploring Urban Fantasy
Dana Cameron, Suzy McKee Charnas, Alexander Jablokov (M), Toni L. P. Kelner, Margaret Ronald
There’s no official program blurb for this, but I’m guessing the title says it all. I’ll see if I can come up with some recommendations, and we’ll see how the discussion spins.
Saturday, 2 PM
Saturday, 3 PM
Playing with Dice
Peter V. Brett (M), Ethan Gilsdorf, Margaret Ronald
Dungeons and Dragons,along with other fantasy role-playing games, has influenced the lives (and careers) of many professionals in the field. How has an involvement in such activities affected your relationship to the genre? How can you use gaming to help you – as a person or as an active participant within the science fiction community?
Also known as the “I out myself as a huge nerrrrrd” panel (oh come on, like it’s a surprise). I’ve been asking former members of my gaming group, as well as several more active gamers, if they have any lessons, and they’ve been surprisingly useful. We’ll try to keep this from turning into Game Anecdote Time.
The Spirit of the Place
Laird Barron, Charlaine Harris, Alexander Jablokov, Darlene Marshall (M), Margaret Ronald
When scenery is so much a part of the fabric of the story that it almost becomes a character, what does it add to have such intimate settings?
Literary critics help me out: I know there’s a term for the setting that’s so alive it’s nearly a character, but I can’t for the life of me think what it is.
From the looks of it, I’ll be needing a nice long nap come Saturday afternoon. Will I get one? Probably not, knowing me.