shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
After dropping in to Ad Astra as briefly as I did (seriously, I think I spent more time on transit than at the con - why could they not pick a hotel IN Toronto??), I realized that maybe it would have been good to go, even with all the chaos of new hotel and schedules missing and everything. It was great just to talk books and writing (and cats) with people who aren't coworkers.

The problem is, I don't trust myself to feel social, or to seize opportunities. Surprisingly, I did at Ad Astra, like when I spotted Adam's name on his badge and just called out to him because I knew if I didn't, I probably wouldn't run into him again. But it felt weird, and intrusive, instead of assertively social. I am such an introvert.

But I'm glad I did. And I'm glad I found Beverly and struck up a conversation with her, too. Sometimes, attempting social pays off.

There was a particular panel at SFContario that put me off the whole con-going thing last year. I probably should have written up my thoughts on it at the time, but it boils down to "dear elder fandom: the kids are all right." And I know SFC is still young and trying to get established. But I kind of wish Ad Astra was the one downtown.

~~~

Relatedly, while walking back from a Friday lunch break trip to Soma, my boss inquired about hearing me mention I was going to ChiCon, and asked if I was going to see any authors in particular. Which made me realize I didn't even remember who the GoH(s) are.

~~~

Meanwhile, my rant about WFC claiming to be "in Toronto" this year has simmered down to a manageable level. I'll post a "how to get there if you're really IN Toronto and not driving" resource post instead. Be constructive.

In brief

Apr. 1st, 2012 06:47 pm
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Life has gotten the better of me. I have posts I keep meaning to make, but never write. Same old, same old.

Anyway!

I won't be at Ad Astra this year, nor SFContario, as I am saving my money, vacation time, and social abilities for WorldCon/ChiCon7 and World Fantasy Con.

At least I still have plenty of time to make that "things you should know about Richmond Hill (starting with how it's not "Toronto")" post for WFC.
shaydchara: an orange tabby cat sitting beside a t-shirt that says "pen > sword" (pen > sword + Rufus)
(Consider this an intro to a series of posts that won't get written (because I'm not a blogger): Needs a Fucking Plaque!)


Last weekend, while walking to #SFContario, I counted historical plaques. There were five that I could see from the street: two English and one French in front of Jarvis Collegiate, one on the pillar of Blake House, and another on St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton. (I always expect there to be one at the National Ballet School, but I haven't spotted it yet.)

Ten minute walk; five historical plaques.

And they were all rather boring.

But this is the problem with historical plaques, right? They commemorate something in the briefest of notes, and thus lose all the really meaty interesting bits.

Toronto is not a boring city, as the Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog and Torontoist's Historicist posts prove, but these are the stories that are not the ones you find even in plaque-size bites.

Take, for instance, this story about bears (er, the animals, that is, not the kind you find over at Church & Welly): it reveals that Bay Street was originally called Bear Street, and:

A little bit west of Bay Street, a bear found its way into a horse pasture. The two badass horses inside, Bonaparte and Jefferson, killed it with their bare hooves.

Those horse? Need a fucking plaque. Seriously. Just think about it - you're strolling around the financial district and you happen to spot a plaque that tells you how two badass horses killed a bear on this very site. Wouldn't you tell your friends? I'm betting you would, because it's that kind of quirky, easy to remember story.

Or how about this one, about the Circus Riot in 1855 (excerpt from a larger post):

A few weeks later came the Circus Riot—the most ridiculous riot in the history of the city. It was the firefighters, again, who started the trouble when they—get this—burned down a visiting circus after some clowns cut in line at a King Street brothel. The police watched it all happen, did nothing, and again found their memories to be mysteriously unreliable when the time came to testify in court.

Needs a fucking plaque, right?

I could go on, but I would mostly just be cribbing the cool bits from the Toronto Dreams Project blog, so you might as well just go over there and read through the archives.

(Posters, with QR codes on them, would be the perfect way to do citizen-commemoration of events that need a fucking plaque, I think. But I don't think I'm likely to make it happen.)

So. What's happened in your city that needs a fucking plaque?
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
In brief:

Friday night:
* AE SciFi party, with cake!

Saturday:
* Late start (for me, anyway) - chatted with the AE SciFi folks
* Edge of Time book launch - also with cake! Dufflet's cake. Mmmm....
* First Contact Without a Universal Translator
* Creation Museum Slideshow by John Scalzi
* Linguistics for Fiction
* The Future of Fandom (only part - I got frustrated)
* Sun of Suns Graphic Novel Sneak Peek

Sunday
* What is a Human?
* Accents and Speech Patterns in Fiction
* It's My Baby and You Can't Touch It
* Auction

And that was that. I didn't take notes on Saturday, as I was knitting, and the conversations were streaming along at a remarkable rate. Very interesting, but would have been self-defeating to try to transcribe.

Next year, SFContario seems to be the weekend after World Fantasy Con (which is also in TO), so I won't be doing both. I already have my WFC membership.
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
So it's two days before Ad Astra, and I finally posted the last of my panel notes from SFContario. They're not as well formatted as other panel notes, but I'll fix that later.

The only outstanding one is my notes on Karl Schroeder's solo talk, but those were mostly scrawled for my own use anyway.

Onwards!
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Disability in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Panelists: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Jane Carol Petrovich, Mark Offer, Fiona Patton, Suzanne Church

Description: Disability is a theme treated fairly often in SF/F but not always with complete objectivity and accuracy. How are disabled characters portrayed in SF and Fantasy literature? What are the common misinterpretations and stereotypes of disabled life in Speculative Fiction and how can writers work to avoid these errors? What does Speculative Fiction say about the way disabilities will be treated or managed in the future? Finally, are there unrecognized or hidden disabilities that deserve more attention in Speculative Fiction literature?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Writing the Future
Panelists: Hayden Trenholm (mod), Robert Charles Wilson, Dr Alex Pantaleev, Ira Nayman, Madeline Ashby

Description: A lot of people seem to think the future will be like the past but with better gadgets. How do you create a credible near future (up to 50 years from now)? What things are likely to change and what will stay the same? Technological and scientific changes are important but they aren't the whole story. How do you incorporate probable or possible changes in the environment, economy and politics, culture and social mores, into a believable future?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

What Do You Mean My Stake Won't Work?
Panelists: Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Douglas Smith, Stephen B. Pearl, Karen Dales (mod)

Description: Drive a stake into the vampire's heart and it is dead right? In traditional vampire lore that stake better be made of Oak, Ash of Thorn wood, or you just made it mad! How incorporating facts from actual mythology can add conflict and challenge to paranormal fiction.

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy
Panelists: Peter Halasz, Robert J. Sawyer, Alison Baird (mod)
[Jo Walton and John Robert Colombo were scheduled but didn't make it. It was supper time.]

Description: The only Canadian writers read by significant numbers of people are published in the US, so is there any such thing as Canadian SFF? The British "New Wave" changed American SF forever, but is Canadian SF sufficiently distinctive and coherent to have a comparable impact? Why does the Canadian government give grants to writers nobody wants to read, while genre fiction writers starve to death?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Biotech: Friend or Foe?
Panelists: Mark Offer, Stephen B Pearl, Jane Carol Petrovich, Peter Watts, Eric Choi (mod)

Description: This science holds out a myriad of possibilities: supplying fuel while removing carbon from industrial emissions, regenerating cartilage, restoring mobility to millions, and curing human illness... as well as generating plagues that are racially specific, destroying our food supply by killing off bees, and converting farm land to deserts. A look at this double-edged sword and where it might take us... for good or ill.

Note: was late arriving to this one due to having popped out for lunch with some other folks. Missed the introductions and initial round of questions.
Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Keeping the Science in Science Fiction
Panelists: Dr. Alex Pantaleev, Hayden Trenholm, Alison Sinclair, Robert Charles Wilson, Robert J. Sawyer (mod)

Description: The technology of a story is critical to any work of science fiction. How does a writer keep the science believable and interesting to maintain the enthusiasm of the reader? How do you make unrealistic science, FTL drive, time travel, etc, believable to the reader without reversing the polarity of the tachyon beam and rerouting it through the deflector dish?

RJS - is keeping science in the saving grace of print vs. Hollywood?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Food in SF
Panelists: Derwin Mak, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (mod), Suzanne Church, Matthew Johnson, Al Katerinsky

Description: From gagh to soylent green to vat-grown protein, food is depicted in many forms in science fiction. Our panelists discuss the role of food in world-building. There may even be recipes, although probably not for soylent green.

writers need to keep in mind:
- source of food/spices
- necessity of storage, etc.

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Short Stories & Novellas: Where's the Love?
Panelists: Stephanie Bedwell-Grime (mod), Leah Bobet (Ideomancer), Michael Swanwick, Hayden Trenholm

Description: Sure, we say we love reading shorter works, but it's the novels that sell, and awards for shorter fiction tend to go to successful novelists. Why don't short stories and novellas get more respect?

Definitions:
novellette = 7500 to 17500
novella = 17500 to 40k
novel = 60k +

Where's the love? well... Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Pissing on the Grave of Post-modernism
Panelists: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Peter Watts, Chandler Davis (mod), Fiona Patton, Michael Swanwick

(This panel was very chaotic and I very quickly gave up on taking notes. It was more of a random chat with giddy people than a moderated discussion.)

(some discussion of what does panel title mean? nobody really knows...)

From the program: Does anyone really care about subgenres or literary movements? Does cyberpunk really mean anything anymore? How are categories of science fiction used by readers, writers, editors, reviewers, and academics? How can authors associated with certain movements remain relevant when literary fashion changes?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and only vaguely edited, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

How to Write a Synopsis
Panelists: Karl Schroeder, Erik Buchanan, Stephen Pearl, and Michael Martinek (mod).

Description: A synopsis is an important part of the submission package you will use to sell your novel. But what is a synopsis and how is it developed and polished? Is there an ideal length? Panelists discuss common problems and errors.

MM - moderating because he's written so many bad ones
- what do you think are worst mistakes?
Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
As I get my panel reports up, I will link them from here as well.

SFContario Panels I Actually Attended (as opposed to the list I had considered):

Fri
7pm - How To Write A Synopsis
8pm - Pissing On The Grave Of Post-Modernism

Sat
10am - Short Stories & Novellas: Where's The Love?
11am - Food In SF
(12pm - Dealer's Room - chatted with writers)
1pm - Keeping The Science In Science Fiction
(2pm - Lunch)
3pm - Biotech: Friend Or Foe?
(4pm - 6pm - Home for dinner)
7pm - Canadian SF&F
8pm - Rewilding The Human Species
9pm ~ 10:30 - Charity Auction

Sun
10am - What Do You Mean My Stake Won't Work?
11am - Writing The Future
12pm - Disability In SF&F
(1pm - Break, wandered around, ate)
2pm - The Yellow Peril And Exotic Asia Refracted Through SFF

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Shay D.

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