Tea Parties in Science Fiction

The estimable Tobias Buckell, who attended and recorded the “Tea Parties in Science Fiction” panel I mentioned here, has now posted the podcast here, and offers his own commentary here. The recording is in .wav form and is about 12MB and 50 minutes long. Be aware there’s some background noise, thanks to passing traffic.

(For those of you too lazy to link back, this is a recording of a Penguicon panel that was supposed to be about “Warfare in Science Fiction” until the hotel we were at told us they were uncomfortable with discussing warfare in a somewhat open area of the hotel. So we changed all references of “war” and other war-based nouns, verbs and adjectives to “tea” and other tea-based nouns, verbs and adjectives. And then we proceeded to have a very useful and cogent discussion. Just another example of how SF people don’t like being told what to do by the clueless.)

Feel free to share and enjoy.

13 Comments on “Tea Parties in Science Fiction”

  1. I keenly remember going to a Cubs game with a dear friend who wanted to tell me about a terrible pr0n that he had rented, but didn’t want to look like a perv in front of the masses of strangers surrounding us. So he told me about the European comedy that he had rented, and how the cast were so painfully unfunny that he wasn’t even tempted to laugh. “In fact,” he said, “I felt like I might never laugh again.”

    Good times.

  2. > .wav? What is this, 1995? ;)

    When I tried to change it to MP3 the file ended up being larger, and I was in a hurry and didn’t want to monkey around with it any further…

  3. Probably because the .wav is at a very low bitrate and you tried to compress it to a higher bitrate mp3 (and maybe to stereo from mono, 16 bits from 8 bits, etc).

  4. Not specifically what I was thinking of, Nicole, but the first is definitely true… and, um… I really can’t personally speak to the second, but I’ll take your word for it. :-)

    More on topic, I was struck suddenly by the idea of H.G. Wells’s Tea of the Worlds—set in Britain, of course—wherein the climactic teaparty is brought to a most distressing halt by an anaphylactic reaction to bergamot.

  5. >Probably because the .wav is at a very low bitrate and you tried to compress it to a higher bitrate mp3 (and maybe to stereo from mono, 16 bits from 8 bits, etc).

    TB: Yeah, exactly and I wasn’t interested in fiddling around any further because my audio editor was being wonky with the LAME ENC, so I gave up.

  6. Thank you for the interesting and cogent discussion of war in science fiction. A few questions:

    1. I doubt substituting tea drinking for war is something that you would have done on your own, but having done that, did you think it had any effect on the discussion? (e.g., did having to do the mapping making you think more carefully about what you had to say or was the mapping so natural that the panel would have had essentially the same conversation if the hotel had been less antsy?)

    2. You mentioned On Tea Drinking by David Grossman. Was that a reference to On Killing or On Combat? They both sound interesting so I will probably get to both eventually. I was just wondering which one you had recommended.

    3. If I were to, say, write a story which used drinking tea as a metaphor for war (since, for example, there is an obvious parallel between ritualized combat and ritualized tea ceremonies), would you or any of the panelists, um, mind?

    Thanks again for a fascinating panel discussion and thanks to Toby for making it available.

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