Saturday, August 20, 2011

WorldCon 2011 -- Day 3

Things are beginning to blur together now. I'm not even really sure of what day it is. I just know that it's the third day of the con, and I'm only ever vaguely aware of what hour it is. I know I go to this panel at this time to start out, and then its go, go, go, go (with a brief pause each day for food). I can't even remember if I've talked about this already (I'm too lazy to go check right now), and I can only barely remember what panels I've gone to if I check my schedule.

Wow. So much to take in.

So today was a bit of a lighter-weight day, but it was by no means absent of awesomeness.

I had the "Understanding Publishing" panel to start things off, nice and early at 10:00. John Berlyne (British agent), Lucienne Diver (American agent), Sandra Tayler (business manager for Schlock Mercenary, essentially), A.C. Crispin (founder of the website Writer Beware), and Brent Weeks (author) were all a part of the discussion, but it was really dominated by the two agents. Honestly, that makes a lot of sense, but it would have been kind of nice to hear a bit more from the others.

A lot of the information they covered was important, basic stuff about agents, editors, contracts, and publishing, but it's stuff that's always important to reiterate. (Unfortunately, it's a bit too much for me to summarize here, at least tonight, but go to and Dean Wesley Smith's site and you can find a lot of information about this stuff.)

Overall, a useful panel, but far from the highlight of the day.

Following that, I was at "Social Media for Writers" (tweeted about it here.) The panel featured a number of critics, nonfiction, and fiction writers (including Cory Doctorow, though he was a bit jet-lagged) all talking about how things like blogging and twitter and others can help to form a community and allow the writer to both plug into and be plugged into as a member of that online community. Not an advertising outlet, but a big party room where people can engage in an ongoing conversation. It was really quite cool (and helped to solidify my thoughts about twitter.)

Took a break for lunch and ate a great shepherd's pie at Foley's Irish Pub just up the street from the convention center, and then I took a turn about the dealer's room before heading for my next panel:

"Consistent Magic Systems" with a whole bunch of awesome people. Pat Rothfuss (best known for being Pat Rothfuss), Guest of Honor Tim Powers (the writer of "On Stranger Tides," among others), L.E. Modesitt (famous for his long-running Recluse Saga, and the highly consistent magic system in it), Gregory A. Wilson (professor of creative writing at St. John's University in New York), and moderated by Jo Walton (a very knowledgeable woman). Lots of good points raised, including a number that I hadn't heard or considered before (and I have spent a lot of time considering magic systems) so the panel was a success for me.

One of the highlights of the panel, though, was when I found myself sitting next to the young author who I watched practice her pitch to Brandon Sanderson last night at the Tor Party. We met officially and chatted for a bit both before and after the panel, which made me feel better about failing to introduce myself the previous night.

So, yeah. I made a friend! :)

Following that panel, I sat down at a table for a bit before my next session, simply to take a minute to breathe and maybe glance at my notes. provided me an opportunity to meet and learn from a prospective novelist who is currently in the process of submitting his SF novel. He's a friendly guy by the name of Ramez Naam who I hope has success with his book and who I hope I'll have a chance to run into later on at this con or else at next year's.

Main point, though, is that it was really encouraging to meet and chat with someone who is more on "my level," rather than trying to make a personal connection with one of the panelists -- many of whom are authors I really respect and admire.

(N.B. Skipped "Book Design and Layout" in order to chat with Ramez.)

Right, so the next panel on my schedule was "F*** Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in on." And it was awesome. I met Matthew Rotundo (who you'll remember was my buddy during the Tor party) outside the panel and reconnected with him briefly before we both went into the panel.

And it was a full house. Apparently the combination of profanity, Saladin Ahmed, Aliette de Bodard, Ken Scholes, and moderator Christopher Kastensmidt draws out a lot of people. *shrug* Who knew?

Anyways, the panel was a lot of fun, very exciting, very entertaining, very informative. LOTS of new book suggestions to read. Wow. Lots of new books. I'll probably do a whole post of WorldCon book suggestions once this is all done.

After the panel, I talked with Matthew a bit about his plans for the evening and he invited me to the SFWA Asimov's party, which I would have had no way of learning about otherwise. Thanking him for the suggestion and promising to see him later in the evening, I headed off for my final panel of the day...

"Post-modern Fantasy"

This panel was a beast. Very much not what I expected, but still very awesome. It featured Brandon Sanderson and Nick Mamatas basically going back and forth on trying to decide what exactly post-modernism IS, with N.K Jemisin ("100,000 Kingdoms"), Brent Weeks ("Night Angel" trilogy), and the Sanderson-summoned Peter Brett ("The Warded Man") acting as tempering agents on the fires that would occasionally rage, and Peadar O Guilin moderating.

Quite fun. Quite heated at times. Very chaotic. Probably the most high-strung panel I've attended yet.

Alright. Panels over. Couple hours of break time to gather snacks from the Con Suite, then it's off to stand in line for Mary Robinette Kowal's puppet show.

Don't laugh. It was awesome.

I'd love to do a whole blog post on what Mary and her crew did for me with their performance -- truly challenging my perceptions and expectations for not only puppetry, but theater overall as well -- but I don't have time for it right now and I'm sure that, by the time I actually got around to writing such a post, the emotional drive will have faded. *sigh* Oh, well.

Suffice to say, it was awesome.

The rest of the night was party-time again. Much smaller party at the SFWA suite tonight than last night at the Tor party. I actually had elbow room.

Of course, slight downside to this is that there aren't as many people to meet and greet with, but that didn't matter too much for me. The folks I did have a chance to talk to were really cool.

Also, I got to personally commend Mary Robinette Kowal on her performance in the puppet show while we were riding the elevator down to the lobby together with a bunch of other writers...and she knew who I was from my twitter comments. (Score? Using twitter: 1. Ditching twitter: 0.) So that was pretty cool as well.

Alright. I've let this go on long enough now. It's really time for bed. Another busy day tomorrow. Hugo Awards Ceremony tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be the most underdressed person there (despite being congratulated for my snazzy dressing during the rest of the week).

Saturday Convention Schedule
10:00 -- Fans Turned Pro
11:00 -- Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin Presents "The Pointy End" from the HBO Series
12:00 -- The Importance of Continuity
  OR  -- The Craft of Writing Short Science Fiction and Fantasy
  OR  -- Designing Believable Languages
13:00 -- Religion and Fantasy
  OR  -- Tor Books presentation
14:00 -- Speculative Japan (maybe)
15:00 -- Art Direction: What's Involved? (maybe)
16:00 -- From the Page to the Screen: The Ethics of Adaptation
17:00 -- Designing Believable Archaeology and Anthropology
20:00 -- Hugo Awards Ceremony

Also, before I forget. For those of you who might be interested in the EPIC Comic-Con panel from this past year, Pat Rothfuss has a humorous review of his day from that event up on his blog. It's quite entertaining, so you should go check it out.


  1. he bringing "the pointy end" with him? Whatever does it mean?

  2. He's going to be showing the episode, and then talking about the challenges involved in writing it...among other stuff I'm sure.