Quick Capricon Recap

Well, I had fun, in any event. I’ve already detailed my DJing experience, so I won’t go over that again, except to say it was Friday and today is Monday, and I’m still sore, and, clearly, old. But the rest of it went over pretty well, too. I moderated a panel about the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement, which was well-attended in part because I think there was an expectation that the panelists (which included Cory Doctorow and Michael Z. Williamson) would eventually start stabbing each other, but as it turned out everyone played very well together and instead of a ideology battle we had a substantive conversation on popular protest movements and the impact of modern technology on the same. In other words, they came for the blood but stayed for the nerd. And that was cool by me. I then also did a reading, at which I threatened to bring my ukulele and play it; as you can see from the photo above (by Michael Johns, who gave me permission to post it because he is awesome) I made good on the threat. And I sang! And hit at least half the notes! So there’s that, too. And there are genuinely lovely people who both put on the con and attend it. It’s a very friendly con, and I always felt at home.

And now I have a three-day work week, because next weekend I am at another convention — Boskone, in Boston, where I am the author guest of honor, and at which I will be debuting my latest book, 24 Frames into the Future: Scalzi on Science Fiction Film. Unfortunately I have five days of work to fit into those three days, which is my way of saying that, hey, this week I may not be updating as obsessively as I usually do, on account of pay copy. Yes, life is terribly unfair this way. We must all try to move forward anyway.

24 thoughts on “Quick Capricon Recap

  1. TW:

    It should be noted that Mike let me borrow an actual bludgeon for the panel, so I think he was on my side in terms of keeping order. He’s a very good guy. But: yeah. He knows his way around a blade.

    Dave:

    Someone Like You and Creep. In the former case, I failed the falsetto, but in the later case I managed it.

  2. Capricon was wise to assign you as the moderator of that panel. Such a politically charged topic has the definite potential to devolve into a pissing contest between competing ideologies without a strong moderator to keep things in check. And, in my experience, you are about the strongest moderator in SF fandom. When I’m at a con that you’re at, I always seek out the panels that you moderate, because I know they will be very well run, with the panelists not talking over each other, staying on topic, everyone on the panel getting more or less an equal chance to speak, and the “more of a comment than a question” asshats in the audience getting gracefully and skillfully malleted.

    If you won’t run for POTUS, can we at least get you to moderate the debates? ;-)

  3. @ John

    You know, I’ve been a hard core speculative fiction fan for twelve years – even longer if you count Janet Asimov’s brilliant Norby Chronicles which I devoured as a kid before forgetting about SF for a decade – and in all that time I’ve never been to a convention. I’ve met three other people in my life who share my love of SF, but lately these last couple years I’ve started to feel like someone who’s never seen a gathering of his own kind. John, am I correct in my impression that you never went to a con until you were a writer?

    which was well-attended in part because I think there was an expectation that the panelists (which included Cory Doctorow and Michael Z. Williamson) would eventually start stabbing each other

    Sorry I missed it – the debate, not the hoped-for stabbing. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Contact with Chaos are my go-to recommendation books for post-scarcity economics and alien first contact respectively. Doctorow and Williamson seem like fun dudes (I like people I can argue with).

    Someone Like You and Creep.

    Creep is ambitious. Any recordings per chance?

    @ TW

    My money would have been on Williamson if a knife fight had broken out…

    Sure, but by the time Williamson had his balisong out, Doctorow would have used his phone to one-handedly hack Williamson’s site and take his blog hostage while using the other hand to fend him off with a 3D-printed shield of recycled plastic!

    @ hugh57

    Such a politically charged topic has the definite potential to devolve into a pissing contest between competing ideologies without a strong moderator to keep things in check.

    Naaah, when has that ever happened :P

    If you won’t run for POTUS, can we at least get you to moderate the debates? ;-)

    I second that call. Especially in 2016 when the debates won’t be such an echo chamber.

  4. John:
    Does it reveal my age when I admit that when you said “Someone Like You,” the first thing that popped into my mind was “A Girl Like You” by the Smithereens?

  5. JJS:
    I wouldn’t say I feel old, though I’m surely not as young as I’d like to be. Let’s just say that my frame of reference isn’t exactly up to date sometimes.

  6. “except to say it was Friday and today is Monday, and I’m still sore, and, clearly, old.”

    Phhhht! You’re just getting started.

  7. Such a politically charged topic has the definite potential to devolve into a pissing contest between competing ideologies without a strong moderator to keep things in check.

    Or with panelists just behaving like well-socialized adults who can be allowed outside without parental supervision and/or a taser held to their tender buds.

  8. Hey John,

    I’m planning on attending Boskone, but will only be able to make it on the Sunday, work permitting. Would you be willing to autograph a book if I brought it to one of your panels?

  9. Again, I’d like to express my admiration for your moderation skills! I explained the support group for those of us who get That Look from our partner(s) to my sweetie who was unable to attend this year. She explained that it really is a look of love, as they already know we’re wonderful, that’s why they’re with us. I’ve always suspected I’m getting the better end of the deal, as I know how wonderful my partners are, but I also know when to just smile and say “thank you, sweetie.”

    Anyway, thank you for contributing to a wonderful convention! Hope to see you again sometime soon.

  10. Was this your first public ukulele performance? I bought a uke on Black Friday, so I’ve been at it nearly three months now, but it looks like we’ve been practicing completely different generations! I’m at work on tunes like “All of Me” and “Side by Side” and “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and so on.

    I hear Liz Gorinsky just bought a uke, too! We obviously need to form the Science Fiction Ukulele Orchesra.

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