I just got sent my Noreascon panel appearance schedule, and let me just say: Holy buckets, am I on a lot of panels. I’ve got eight of them, plus a reading. This is a bit of an upgrade from last year, in which I was on two panels and had a reading. So if you were hoping to see me on a panel this year, well, now you’ll have lots of chances. I don’t know if this is because they think I’m actually interested or just a sucker. Guess we’ll find out.
Here’s what I’ll be on, so you can start planning to come (or avoid) now. I’ll also add some preliminary comments. The panel descriptions, by the way, come from the convention e-mail I got. Don’t blame me if they’re not descriptive enough — I know as much about them at this point as you do.
Thursday, 9/2 @ 1pm: They Should Make a Movie of That…
Description: What SF/F/H short stories, novelettes, novels, trilogies, or series would make great cinema?
Co-panelists (to date): Jim Mann, Carrie Vaughn
Notes: I’ll be moderating this one, apparently. It turns out I’m on a lot of film-based panels, which makes sense considering The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film and all those years as a critic. I expect more additions to the panel before it actually gets under way; three seems a little understaffed for such a topic. Being moderator, I expect we’ll open up the panel to questions and comments, although I expect I’ll check in with my co-panelists to see what they have to say on the matter.
Thursday, 9/2 @ 3pm: Must-See TV and Movies
Description: Are you cineliterate? Can you call yourself a fan if you can’t recognize “Klaatu berada nicto?” Do you know who Tom Corbett is? Why you should stay away from pod people? We’ll talk about the classics, and even the good stuff, from Metropolis to Rocketship XM to Princess Monomoke…
Co-Panelists: Chris Barkley, Daniel Kimmel, Craig Miller (moderator)
Notes: Again, another panel playing off the SF film book and my years as a critic. This should be an interesting panel, not in the least because I expect that should we discuss fantasy as well as SF films, Kimmel and I will have differing opinions about the value of the Lord of the Rings films, as evidenced by his largely negative review of The Return of the King here. And he describes The Chronicles of Riddick as “a good cheesy sci-fi action movie that one can actually enjoy.” Well, it is cheesy, that’s for sure. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be any fun if people didn’t have differences of opinion as to what is essential viewing and what is not.
Friday, 9/3 @ 1pm: Looking Backwards: The 20th Century
Description: It was a time of terrible wars and great evils and unparalleled progress, ending with democracy triumphant, right? Well…. It was also the time of Milton Berle and cheese Whiz, love beads and Elvis, and……OK, so will the writers and fans of the late 21st century look back on the 20th with nostalgia, with surprise, or with horror? How will people in far future times look at us? Imagine what things about the 20th century that those in the future will look back on in the same way as we view the Roman gladiators…
Co-panelists: Esther Friesner (moderator), Craig Gardner, Terry Prachett, Connie Willis
Notes: Given the presence of Willis and Pratchett, I expect no one shall even notice I am on this panel. But on the other hand, I expect it to be well-attended. And as it happens, however, I do have an opinion as to what the average person in 2099 will think of 1900s (i.e., roughly what the average person thinks of the 1800s, which is basically a big blank except for the Civil War and possibly Mark Twain), and the whole panel looks really good, so it could be a lot of fun.
Friday 9/3 @ 4pm: Rumors at the Speed of Light
Description: The downside of rapid Internet communication.
Co-panelists: Charles Ardai, Sharon Sbarsky
Notes: Once again I am called to moderate. I wonder if I can dragoon Charlie Stross or Cory Doctorow to sit in on this panel, as they’re both obviously qualified to opine, although I’m sure both of them have incredibly packed schedules as well. No matter what, I think this can be a very interesting topic.
Saturday 9/4 @ 2pm: Lies I Learned at the Movies
Description: Let’s discuss at least a few of the thousands or scientific facts that movies teach us — that turn out not to be true. Our favorite: the title of the 1969 “historical” epic about a volcano disaster, “Krakatoa, East of Java” ….um…it’s WEST….
Co-panelists: Adam-Troy Castro, Bob Devney (moderator), John Pomeranz
Notes: Since I’m doing a chapter on this sort of thing in the SF Film books, I’ll be taking notes at this panel.
Saturday 9/4 @ 4:30pm: Reading
Description: I’ll be doing a reading of some of my work for a half hour.
Notes: You can thank Justine Larbalestier for this one, since apparently she pestered someone on the programming staff to make sure I had a reading scheduled. It’s nice to have friends. Now all I have to do is come up with something to read. An obvious choice would be something from Old Man’s War, but I’m actually thinking of writing up something else special for the reading. Something amusing. We’ll have to see if I have the time and/or ability to fight against sloth.
Sunday 9/5 @ 10am: Grow Old Along With Me: Aging Your Characters
Description: Why get stuck in adolescence? Middle age is another quest/rite of passage, and so is old age/death. How do you help your characters grow old (gracefully, or not)? How do you work with those parts of the voyage through life in your work? Or, are we being merely mercenary-to sell to an aging market segment?(Or, because we grow old, we grow old…?)
Co-panelists: Lois McMaster Bujold, Nancy Kress (moderator), Jean Lorrah, Steve Miller, Susan Shwartz
Notes: Finally, a panel that’s actually related to the science fiction novel I’ll have coming out. The panel does look rather tightly packed; I hope I don’t get squeezed off at the last minute.
Sunday 9/6 @ 4pm: Writing for Massively Multiplayer Online Worlds
Description: Good SF/F writing makes or breaks a persistent massively multiplayer online world. Without them, a MMORPG becomes a slayfest, or a simple “go here and do that” list of quests. Experts from the industry talk about how to get more involved in persistent worlds as creative forces from the start of a project to its launch, and what good writing means to a creation of a great game.
Co-panelists: Alexander Macris, Jessica Mulligan
Notes: I assume I’m on this panel because of my work with OPM and the Watchdog column therein. Clearly I am not a writer or a designer of MMORPGs, although of course I have opinions about them. No one’s listed as moderating the panel; if no one eventually is listed, I may ask to do it if only to make sure someone can’t ask me a really difficult question I know nothing about.
Monday 9/6 @ 2pm: SF Chick Flicks
Description: So many SF films are about boys and their toys. What are the SF films with heart and soul? Are there any great SF “romances” that would really work on screen?
Co-panelists: Bob Devney, John Pomeranz, MaryAnn Johanson (moderator)
Notes: Is anyone still at the convention at 2pm on Monday? Also, and not to knock my own sex here (Y Chromies is my homiez!!!), but if the name of the panel is “SF Chick Flicks,” why is 75% of the panel male? I know I’ll be surprised if we get much attendance. On the other hand, I’m excited about the panel because I have a secret crush on MaryAnn Johanson, who is a damn smart and funny reviewer and also lists Buckaroo Banzai as her favorite film ever, which would be enough for me to propose marriage if, in fact, the US didn’t have this totally irrational hangup about bigamy. Stupid US laws. Anyway, don’t tell her about my secret crush. It’ll just weird her out.
So there you have it: All my panels and reading. Inbetween these, I expect to be hanging out in bars (odd for someone who doesn’t drink, but apparently everyone else does. What can you do), catching up with friends and avoiding sleep in all its myriad forms. If you don’t catch me at a panel, you’ll undoubtedly see me around. Don’t be a stranger. Unless you’re, you know, a crazed Internet stalker. In which case: 500 feet at all times, just like the restraining order says. Fortunately that’s not most of you.