Monday, February 19, 2007

Boskone 44 - Part 1

Some notes on the sessions I attended, mostly so I don't forget to follow some of the links, but also in case they are of use or interest to anyone else. Attributions, quotes, references, etc. are as best as I could manage or translate from my handwriting (which looks like the scratchings of a headless chicken jazzed up on Red Bull). All mistakes are mine.

Making the Science Real (or at least making it seem real)
Panel: Glenn Grant, Shariann Lewitt, Steven Popkes, and Allen M. Steele.

Word choice important. Surround the text with enough detail to make it sound real. All agreed it was harder to fudge the science today vs. 20/15/10/5 years ago since we just plain know more about physics, chemistry, the universe, etc.

Lewitt: One sure area is math. The proof is correct or it isn't. If your math is right, you are on safe ground.

Popkes: SF writers tend to make new names for things when in reality people hang onto words and metaphors long after the function has been transcended. Ex. cell phone for a device that takes pictures, plays music, organizes your calendar, etc. Ex. Dialing a number when there is only a touch pad, no rotary dial.

Who/What They Mentioned:
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
The James Bond Dossier by Kingsley Amis

Ask The Slush Pile Readers
Panel: Hannah Wolf Bowen, Adam Golaski, Nick Mamatas, Paul G. Tremblay

Bits of advice from the magazine editors, most of which should be common sense. No unicorns or mermaids or dead kids. Ask for letter response (small envelope, save yourself postage), first line of the story is important, etc.

Most will draw the line at certain topics or types of stories they just won't print. Split on personal versus form rejection.

Who/What They Mentioned:
New Genre
Clarkesworld Magazine
Fantasy Magazine

Religion In Fantasy
Panel: Judith Berman, Debra Doyle, Walter H. Hunt, Jane Yolen

I will admit it. Much of the Tolkein/C. S. Lewis/Christianity discussion went right over my head. Some of the discussion did focus on "Making The Pretend Religion Real".

Hunt: In a pantheon, gods come into being for a purpose and reason; make sure they fit together and interact with each other. Old religions change over time. Explore believers (e.g. the gods did this) versus non-believers (e.g. no, there's a logical explanation for that).

Doyle: [ed. best line] Realize the religion fully. In addition to the high priest make sure to also include the "women's guild of the altar." [okay, you had to be there].

Stunned Realization: I actually have a book written by Jane Yolen (Take Joy) and my daughter has read several of her children's books.

Who/What They Mentioned:
Milton, Blake (you don't really want links, do you?)


Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

For Making the Science Real, that last point is a good one. I'm surprized there was no discussion of handwaving (or shouting "Heisenburg Compensators" in a crowded transporter). And the Slush Pile panel, that would be a handy one. So, how come all the other cons (that I don't go to) have great panels. Sigh. :)

February 20, 2007 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

"I will admit it. Much of the Tolkein/C. S. Lewis/Christianity discussion went right over my head.

Holy cramoly, I felt the same way in the "Modern American Fantasy" panel or whatever it was called w/ Elizabeth Bear and Swanwick (? the Clarion dude).

Thanks for taking notes. I feel like the lazy kid w/ the smart friend.

February 20, 2007 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note taking at conferences -- I've been to quite a few. There's so much information, I think the note taking is easy. I just never figure out what to do next.

Thanks for taking the time to post a few key points. Maybe you'll be an inspiration for me to type up my notes from the past weekend.

February 20, 2007 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Ah yes, handwaving was mentioned. My notes are spotty. Some panel titles were better than the content. There were several time slots when I wished I could (appropriate to the genre) clone myself to attend more than one.

LBB: On the contrary, you are the cool artsy kid everyone secretly admired.

Yeah Rick, type them up already! ;-)

I do retain the information better by writing the notes down. I retain even more by posting them here, with the added incentive of the online links which I can follow later at my leisure. See, it's all just about me. :-)

February 21, 2007 at 12:42 AM  

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