Daily Archives: January 23, 2012

Confusion Convention Recap

My Confusion convention weekend started a bit inauspiciously; when Krissy and I arrived at the hotel the con was at, we noticed that I had managed to leave my suitcase behind, meaning that as far as clothing was concerned, I had what I was wearing and that was all. This precipitated a moment of panic before I realized I was a relatively well-off individual who lived in an advanced, first-world country, and could easily procure new attire at one of the numerous retailers who dotted the local landscape. Problem solved.

Other than that minor hiccup, Confusion was fantastic. I think many of you know that I consider Confusion my “home” convention — i.e., the convention I go to just for fun and to see friends rather than to flog myself and my product — so it’s usually a chance to relax and hang out and enjoy myself. This year was no exception to that; while I did programming (the first time in a couple of years, actually), what the convention was mostly about was catching up with people I like and getting to meet some new people as well.

This year was especially good for the latter, since Confusion was rather ridiculously top-heavy with writers this year. Above and beyond the usual local crowd (in which I include myself, as well as Anne Harris, Sarah Zettel, Tobias Buckell and Jim C. Hines among others) there was also Patrick Rothfuss (as the Guest of Honor), Brent Weeks, Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Jay Lake, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Howard Andrew Jones, Brad Beaulieu, Saladin Ahmed (who is actually local now, so: ONE OF US ONE OF US ONE OF US), Cat Rambo, Kristine Smith, Michelle Sagara and debut novelist Myke Cole and a bunch of others I’m forgetting and not naming because eventually lists become boring. The point is: Dude, many cool writers, many of whom I got to meet in the flesh for the first time.

I have already discussed the Legendary Licked Book of Epic Confusion, but other highlights of the weekend included bringing scrunchies and a lacy hot pink thong to a D&D game featuring many of the writers name-checked above, attending the release party for Saladin’s excellent and almost absurdly well-reviewed debut novel Throne of the Crescent Moon (which will have a Big Idea feature soon, incidentally), where among other things we discussed unlubricated emus and thrilled to Joe Abercrombie’s fabulous and almost too-accurate Admiral Ackbar imitation, and my joint reading with Toby Buckell, at which he unleashed the first chapter of Arctic Rising, his new (and very good) near future thriller.

I myself showed off the ARC of Redshirts (which Tor very graciously sent over to me at the hotel, so I could in fact show them off) and tried not to go all Gollum and scream “NO! MY PRECIOUS!!” whenever anyone asked to see it. On the other hand, the most common thing people did when I did hand them the ARC was to pretend to run, so you tell me who was being paranoid here. I think at least a couple of them would have run, had not Krissy, my vengeful, raven-tressed Amazon of a wife, been on hand to tackle and punish them. And punish them she would have. My wife is awesome.

Basically, it was a fantastic time all around and you wish you could have been there, unless you were there, in which case, you are glad you were. I’m looking forward to doing it all over again next year. Although next year I really do intend to remember my suitcase.

 

Various and Sundry, 1/23/12

While I was away at a science fiction convention, the world stubbornly went on without me. Here’s what I think of some of what happened.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikinews

 

* South Carolina GOP Primary: Loved it. Dear Republicans: I think your current reignited fling with Newt Gingrich is fantastic. Definitely make him your nominee. He’s the only candidate still in the race who can win over independents! He’ll totally destroy Obama in the debates! He’s cuddly! I can see no possible way the “Newt as nominee” plan could ever go wrong. Please do it. Please please please please please please please.

Even better: Newt/Santorum 2012! Just think about it.

* Joe Paterno, Dead: I don’t find it too surprising. A man who spent his life doing one thing, and who had it taken away from him in the most dramatic and dispiriting way possible, is not a man who is going to be in a position to put up a huge fight against a life-threatening illness. Mind you, that last sentence appears to excuse Paterno from agency (or lack thereof) in having his life’s work taken from him, and I don’t want to do that. Paterno’s failures regarding the sexual predator in his circle are his to own, now and forever. I know it pisses off a lot of Penn State alumni and/or football fans that it will always be part of his legacy. I imagine in his last days it made Paterno sad as well.

* Giants/Patriots in the Super Bowl: On Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to the alternate universe where the Ravens and 49ers are playing. That’s a game worth watching commercials around!

* SOPA shelved: Good, because it was a terrible bill. Maybe next time if Congress wants to craft a bill to deal with copyright violations on the Internet, it might actually ask the people who work on the Internet how to do it without potentially breaking the whole damn thing. I’d like to think it’s achievable.

That said, anyone who thinks that SOPA being shelved means that everyone’s suddenly giving up on dealing with copyright violations online are deluding themselves; one of the largely unmentioned aspects of the SOPA/PIPA protests is how just about every major player in the protest acknowledged that IP rights are a legitimate issue and have to be dealt with. It would be nice to think this is the inflection point at which everyone grows up a little and tries to build a framework that helps rightsholders control their IP and makes it easy for other people to legitimately own, share and enjoy create work from artists they like. Hey, shut up. I can dream.

* Megaupload shuttered: Inasmuch as I myself repeatedly found unauthorized copies of my work being made available via Megaupload, necessitating frequent missives to lawyers to have them do their DMCA dance, I’m a) willing to believe that the company was not working all that hard to comply with laws relating to copyrighted work, b) not going to cry huge, salty tears over its at least temporary demise. At least one other file-sharing site has changed how it does business in the wake of the Megaupload shuttering, and I suspect we might be at a point where file-sharing sites in general have a deep, introspective moment about how they do their business. I’m fine with that, although I wish it hadn’t taken the Feds seizing the domain name of a company and charging its principals with racketeering in order to do it.

There, now I think I’m all caught up.