It's already been a great Con. Dinner with Niall, Nic and Abigail on Wed. was wonderful, and we started but didn't finish a very interesting conversation on voice and style in reviewing. Soundbite from Gary Wolfe: "Voice is attitude and style is the presentation of that attitude." I'm still meditating on that one. Farah Mendlesohn also suggested some good books, including (I think I heard this right) Reading like a Writer. Is stayed up rather too late and drank rather too much, but all my favorite people were right there in one bar room! Such are the trials and tribulations of WorldCon.
Needless to say it was not an early morning on Thursday, but that's OK because the con didn't really start until the early afternoon. I (and most other critics in attendance) went to a panel on "One Genre or Many" featuring Farah, Gary, Ellen Klages, Patrick Rothfuss and Michael Swanwick. It was a very entertaining panel, although it didn't come close to answering the prompt. Highlights:
- There's a spectrum of classification, from calling every aisle in the grocery store "Food" to getting in to sub-sub-sub-sub genres -- probably neither extreme is very useful.
- Michael Swanwick mentioned that he views genre as reading strategies.
- Farah likes thinking of theoretical approaches as filters one lays over a book, some of which may be more or less appropriate to the book at hand.
- Also from Farah, the fact that sf lacks a consistent (?) critical language in which to have these discussions. I thought this was the most interesting point, but it didn't get a lot of follow-up at the time. More things to think about.
After that I headed to the dealer room, which is a bit small. However, it's harder for me to actually get through a dealer room now: instead of making a simple sweep through, I keep running in to people I know and stopping to talk. Takes much longer that way!
I caught part of the "Putting the World in WorldCon" panel, ably (although a bit tyrannically) managed by Jetse de Vries--I appreciated it though, because he kept a laser focus on how the lit of the panel's members differed from US/UK sf/f. The panelists were Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Spain), Tore A. Hoie (Germany and Norway) and Kyoko Ogushi (Japan).
I'm in the dealer room at the Locus table now, and running out of charge on my netbook. More to come later. One last note, though: Anticipation is running Kaffeeklatches for scientists as well as authors. So Curtis will be doing a Kaffeeklatch tomorrow morning at 11 in his role as a Systems Engineer for Boeing and NASA -- spread the word, or come on down yourself! It's experimental, but I think it's an excellent idea.
More to come when I get back online. That's the problem with WorldCon -- so much stuff & so little time!