Monday, September 6, 2010
Back from the other side...
'It's a strange strange world we live in, Master Jack' Worldcon in Melbourne seemed to have more than its fair share of chaos, and the stillness of the island is welcome after that. Still, it is a window into the dynamics of serious sf fandom. And some of the costumes some people wear are kinda cool too.
The truly interesting sounding panels were not often ones on which people (Editors and authors) were ready to commit themselves to the hard questions - the panel which in theory was about "What we publish" by various editors turned into more of a discussion on the sizes of books, than on the subject that perhaps I was alone in wanting to hear about - what got published and perhaps why? The panel on geo-engineering turned into a panel on CO2 emissions control and sematics - which may be a very interesting topic but it ain't terraforming - a subject I am interested in. The panel on future trends in SF - obviously of interest, had Toni Weisskoph - also obviously of interest but a known quantity - they want good stories, and not steampunk, an audio-book editor, and a - in Mikado terms - Lady novelist. Audiobooks are only produced from successful publications and the Lady Novelist's contribution seemed to be that sf needed to be more literary and have more women writing hard sf. She was one of those people who were unused to the idea that anyone could doubt her assertions, let alone challenge them. It was not necessary for them to be scientists - or it appeared, to write about science. One would just redefine what Science was to make it into English Lit, or at least nearer to that. This is a point of view that some people may share, but I don't believe it's a future trend. At least I fevrently hope not. On the other hand the panel on 'where do elves come from (which I was faintly dreading on account of having to speak on it) turned into quite a thoughtful, funny and packed to the rafters panel.
The lack of a good meeting places was severely felt. And the Hotel had screwed the concom over, and and room parties... weren't. A lot of the linking and an making contacts was nipped in the bud. And to be honest, Toni, Ginger Buchanan, and Patrick Neilsen Hayden were there, but the panels - and other events seemed very bare of the editors from major US houses, or from anywhere but Australia. I wondered if it was a dislike of Worldcon or a sign of the times. Anyway, I did get a little more clarity on my future with Baen - Like I found out what the next book will actually be - A sequel to Dragon's Ring. I also got to meet all too briefly Rowena, and spend a bit of time with Chris and of course we've been lucky enough to bring Kate home with us. We met a lot of other folk - some very friendly barflies, and some of my fellow Australian authors and writing people. Glenda Larke, Garth Nix, Gillian Polack, and Sharryn Lilly to name a couple that we had long chats with. The local sense of humor works for me. We had too many other 'ships in the night' sessions with other people... I also missed a bunch of people I hoped to see.
It was interesting, exhausting, but most of all, stimulating. Got a lot of books to write. Of course we'll still have SELL them. Over and over I heard about the price of books in Oz and the various walls to purchasing e-books.
Spread the word. There are no restriction on the Baen Free Library, nor on Webscriptions, and not on Naked Reader either.
And here for your edification is Kate, torturing Chthulhu junior earlier this evening. Daddy will doubtless be here later to Ftagn us up for this. I wanted to put up a big picture of our crayfish (spiny lobster) dinner, but Kate thought that would be cruel to Sarah.