Posted on February 2, 2006 Posted by John Scalzi 12 Comments
For those of you going to Boskone, here’s the schedule of panels and appearances I’ve got going for me. I have eight thingies going on, so, uh, you apparently won’t lack for opportunities to see me blather on. Eight events is a lot, but frankly, I’d rather be busy than not. Otherwise I’d just sleep, and you all know how much I hate doing that. Here’s the schedule:
Friday 8:00 pm
Scotty, I Need More Bandwidth: Managing Information Streams
Sheila M. Perry (M)
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink?! Many of us are already drowning in a sea of information (and misinformation) when we really just want the good stuff…. Does having more bandwidth help or hinder? How do you keep tabs on the information industry’s output? What if you had a direct neural connection? — Would it help you to manage all those online information streams before your brain explodes?
Comments: Mmmmm… exploding brains.
Saturday 10:00 am
Online Writing and Online Communities
James D. Macdonald
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
John Scalzi (M)
Comments: No panel description comes with this one, so I guess as moderator I get to make it up as I go along. Bwa ha ha ha ha hah! I find it deeply amusing to be moderating a panel that has James D. Macdonald and Teresa Nielsen Hayden on it, as they are two of the great online moderators of our time (which means, of course, two of the great online moderators, ever); hopefully I won’t make too much an ass of myself.
Saturday 1:00 pm
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
John Scalzi (M)
Real world and utopian politics have informed the writings of some of the best in the genre. Who, how, and why? And does SF require new politics, or can it work with familiar politics in a new setting? (Please check all flamethrowers at the door – this is not a panel that debates contemporary political philosophies, except as they apply to contemporary works of SF)
Comments: Moderating a politics panel with PNH and Ken MacLeod and a political reporter/SF writer? I may have to pack my taser! I can’t imagine that this won’t be a wild and wolly panel.
Saturday 4:00 pm
War and Peace
Walter H. Hunt (M)
Clayton L. McNally
Ann Tonsor Zeddies
Why are so many SF/F books about war and not peace? And who is good (believable, anyway) at writing about war and who needs to go back to boot camp? Panelists will discuss realistic and unrealistic depictions of war in fantasy and science fiction….and may even do the same for peace….
Comments: There aren’t so many books about peace because peace is boring. That’s why it’s called “peace.”
Sunday 10:00 am
Reading (0.5 hrs)
Comments: I have no idea what I’m going to read from — the first chapter of The Android’s Dream is too long for this time slot. Being that it is the weekend before the release of The Ghost Brigades, I may simply read from that book. In fact, yes, I will. I’ll read the first half of the first chapter of that book. Be there! Or, you know. You’ll miss it.
Sunday 11:00 am
Homage…..or, Stealing(?) from the Classics
John M. Ford
Mark L. Olson (M)
Ken MacLeod is having a conversation with classic SF — he clearly has a deep affection for the genre, and incorporates classic phrases that allude to other stories in the canon. Who else does this, well or badly? What makes it fun? When is it more like stealing?
Comments: I imagine I am on this panel because I shamelessly admit to steal ideas. Yes, I’m a thief. Lock me away in the literary prison.
Sunday 12:00 noon
Comments: I suspect this will be a mass thing, otherwise I’ll be sitting in a room all alone for an hour.
Sunday 1:00 pm
Comments: Oooh! My first kaffeklatsch! Uh, can someone tell me what I’m supposed to do in one of these things? No, seriously. I haven’t the first friggin’ clue.
Aside from these events I’m sure you’ll see me wandering aimlessly and/or hanging out at the parties; feel free to come over and say hello.
Any kaffeeklatsch which doesn’t end in a fistfight is a kaffeeklatsch that wasn’t worth going to. In my opinion.
Do I have to take part in the fistfight? Or can I just watch?
Wow, I thought this would be clear: at a kaffeeklatsch, one is simply required to klatsch some kaffee.
The last kaffeeklatsch I went to was a drag, I don’t envy you. If you can’t speak German, just do what I did: smile, nod, and say “ja.” If you absolutely have to count to ten for some reason, skip the number nine, which they find most disagreeable. I guess it’s their thirteen. What a quirky people.
John, I’m pretty sure violence participation is optional. Offering to hold someones coffee while they brawl is considered good etiquette for these things, so use that as an out.
Lars, something tells me that if speaking German is enforced at the Boskone kaffeeklatsch, it will be a very slow one, indeed.
They usually do autographing at tables in a big open space between registration and the con suite, if I’m remembering correctly.
Kaffeeklatsch: you, and ~10 people who’ve signed up or just shown up, sit around a table with munchies and chat.
Oddly enough, I took seven years of German, and know just enough to get myself into a fistfight. Which, apparently, would be perfect for this situation.
Well the only day I have available and could make some time for Boskone is that Sunday. So I’ll brush up my German and try and to, uh, meet you at the kaffeeklatsch.
The Boskone version of a “kaffeeklatsch” entails you sitting down at a large round table in a room that also contains a coffee service. People (who have probably signed up in advance for the privilege) join you at the table. You talk with them. An hour elapses.
It can be a lot of fun. It’s basically a chance for people to have a conversation with an author they’re interested in (or an editor, or an artist), in a setting just structured enough so that everyone’s comfortable.
As for “political SF,” first, as I understand it we’re supposed to be discussing the relationship between various ideologies and the literature, not taking our pet ideologies and banging one another over the head with them. Second, Dan Hatch and Ken MacLeod are both notably gracious and sweet-tempered guys. Third, the really interesting potential discussion here isn’t the influence of ideology on SF, it’s the influence of SF on ideology, and if you haven’t read Ken’s The Cassini Division, I urge you to repair that omission between now and Boskone, stat.
Mr. PNH wrote: “…the really interesting potential discussion here isn’t the influence of ideology on SF, it’s the influence of SF on ideology…”
Would this be an appropriate time to remind everyone of the Karl Rove/Babylon 5 anecdote? I always thought the Mars initiative seemed a bit out of step with the rest of the administration’s general thrust; perhaps it was the pet project of a SF fan? And thus, without getting into a flamewar, there’s an example of the influence of SF on ideology.
(If you didn’t know, that website collects the Usenet postings of Joe Straczynski, the guy who created Babylon 5. Babylon 5 was a science fiction TV show, way back when.)
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking that actually discussing politics in front of a public forum with Ken MacLeod will either be completely delightful or something akin to gargling with Drano. My experiences with people who 1) can really think, 2) can really express themselves, and 3) have politics that are Totally Freaking Alien leads me to fear for the worst, but hope for the best for your panel. In case you thought you were on the left of any left-center-right political spectrum, this should disabuse you of any such illusions.
Before then, you would be well advised to read at least some of _The Star Fraction_/_The Stone Canal_/_The Cassini Division_/_The Sky Road_ before attempting this feat. OTOH, most hard SFish folks would be well advised to do so in general. Also recommended is _Newton’s Wake_, which is vaguely political but mostly just big space opera fun.
Dude, Boston is like two hours away, so I am planning on being there! (Well after my morning class on Saturday, anyway…)