April 25 2011

Minicon 46 recap

Back from Minicon 46. I had a good time. I also discovered that an iPad does work just fine as a laptop replacement for a weekend like this. Sunday was also our anniversary and we went to Collete–a French restaurant in the Sofitel across from the convention hotel and thereupon ate too much.
On Friday I went to the panel The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be – 4:00PM, with panelists John Scalzi, Laura Krentz, Neil Rest, Greg Johnson and Magenta Griffith. This was a good discussion on how the present isn’t quite the future that has been envisioned in SF of the past (no flying cars–probably a good thing). This was the first time I had heard Scalzi in person. His con persona is pretty much what I expected from his blog persona–witty and energetic. Since he was GoH I didn’t get any chances to have any sort of in depth discussion with him, so the dark secret tides of his underlying angst remain undiscovered. 🙂
At 7:00 I went to the opening ceremonies where music GoH Chas Somdahl sang us a song a Scalzi was formally introduced.
At 9:30 I listened to Patrick Nielsen Haden and the Deaf-Tones (Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Elise Matthesen) do a variety of songs. They were quite good. Steven Brust dropped by to listen, but I didn’t get a chance to talk with him and tell him Tiassa was quite good. Teresa did mention at a later panel that Tiassa is on the extended NY Times bestseller list–well deserved.
At 10:00 I went to Successful Writing In the Digital Age with Aaron Vander Giessen(M), John Scalzi and Ctein. This was mostly a discussion on Scalzi’s and Ctein’s experiences with translating blogging into sales. The general consensus being that on line presence doesn’t necessarily translate into sales figures, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt either.
On Saturday at 11:30 AM, I went to Science Literacy Vs. Human Knowledge with Chas Somdahl, Kelly Strait, John Scalzi, Howard Davidson and Rob Callahan. The base idea of the panel was that as human knowledge expands, it becomes harder to keep up. The main focus of the panel was the general lack of scientific literacy.
Then, at 1:00 was Don’t Read What You’re An Expert In with Rachel Kronick (M), Marissa Lingen and Magenta Griffith. This was a fun discussion on the astounding number of errors that occur in just about every form of entertainment (books, TV, movies …) and that you tend to notice when you are an expert in the particular area that is being mangled. Computers being magic boxes always irritates me. For example the “infinite zoom” of image enhancement you see all too often in crime shows.
At 2:30 came my own panel–Malazan Book of the Fallen Recap with Beth Kinderman(M), Steven Halter and Greg Johnson. 2:30 turned out to be the most heavily booked panel hour of the con, including Scalzi’s reading. So, we ended up with the panelists and 1 audience member. We forged ahead and had a really good discussion on the books and writing of Erikson. It was a good time and probab;y a good break in for my first time. Hey, I discovered I liked it. As a panelist you get to talk a lot more as an audience member and if it’s a subject you’re good at that’s not a bad thing. I think I’ll give it a try again.
At 5:30 was the Scalzi interview with David E. Romm.
At 8:30, Scalzi gave a slideshow of his tour of the “Creation Museum.” There is a Creation Museum in Kentucky that shows how Dinosaurs and people all lived together from about 6000 years ago. Scalzi had made the unfortunate remark that you couldn’t pay him to go there. About $5000 IN DONATIONS and a few months later, Scalzi found himself and a friend on the tour. He took a lot of pictures. This was probably the most fun and semi-surreal hour of the con. It also tied in really well with the lack of scientific literacy discussed in the earlier panel.
At 10:00 I went to a reading of Atlanta Nights by Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Atlanta Nights was a book co-written by about 30 SF authors with the purpose of being incredibly bad. It was then submitted to PublishAmerica in order to expose some of their unfortunate claims as a vanity press. This was a nice discussion. Teressa read a chapter by Jim Macdonald and then gave various accounts of her own experiences with slush piles. Slush piles are worse than you imagine them to be.
On Sunday was Common Misconceptions About Publishing – 11:30AM with Michael Merriam (M), John Scalzi, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. This tied somewhat into Teresa’s panel from the night before, but also covered such things as “it’s really a good idea to include your return address on a submission.”
Finally on Sunday at 2:30 was Works of John Scalzi with John Scalzi, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Teresa Nielsen Hayden.
Here’s a picture of Scalzi’s first Coke Zero after Lent.
John talked some more about how it came to write “Old Man’s War”–military SF seemed popular. He also gave an amusing account of writing an emotional story and having the Schwan’s man interrupt.
In between the panels, there was various wandering about, swimming and the watching of interesting people. Minicon 46 — a good time.

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Posted April 25, 2011 by user in category "Uncategorized

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