Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn
milwaukeesfs

OddCon: Saturday

Saturday morning we got up in time to ingest the complimentary breakfast
that came with the room. OK as long as you like scrambled eggs and
sausage links, which were the hot options both Saturday and Sunday. Good
enough for me, but Georgie doesn't like a heavy breakfast. There were
waffles on Saturday, but Sunday morning she had to make do with toast
and jelly. We were both kind of surprised they didn't have sweet rolls
or something, especially on Sunday.

Ten o'clock was Georgie's solo panel, "The Persistent Amateur," in which
she did a good job of expounding her philosophy of life, art, and
fandom, in which doing what you want to do and love to do is worth doing
even if no one pays you to do it, and some times especially so. After
all, if no one is paying you, they can't very well stop you, either--.

At 11:30, we attended the panel "War on Science: Report from the Front".
(Russell, Neder, Lewis, and Havighurst). Since I'm particularly
interested in the attempts to pervert and subvert science in the aid of
"policy" there wasn't much new to me, but it was heartening to see how
many fans remain passionately committed to real progress. Points to
Richard Russell, the panel organizer, for pointing out the failures on
both ends of the political spectrum in this area.

At one PM, I had the great privilege of moderating the "Urban Fantasy"
panel, with Emma Bull, Sarah Monette, Will Shetterly, and Lori Devoti. A
lot of discussion focused on Emma's novel, "War for the Oaks," because
that is generally regarded as a seminal work in the genre, but we
covered a lot of other territory, including the cityscape of Monette's
"Melusine" series, "Bordertown," which both Bull and Shetterly
contributed to, Devoti's urban/noir/paranormal works, and others such as
China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" and Neil Gaiman's
"Neverwhere." Perhaps the most significant conclusion was that certain
types of stories and certain types of characters require the complexity
and diversity of an urban environment to exist, whether it is in
Lanhkmar or in Minneapolis. A large audience listened to the authors in
fascination for most of the panel before contributing their own
favorites.

At two thirty we took a break and checked out the dealer's room, which
was small, but not too small given the size of the con, and I suspect
the dealers didn't do all that much business. We picked up a couple of
used books from one dealer, bought some new from DreamHaven, admired
jewelry and cards and hung out a bit with Judy Seidl and Tim Kozinski at
the Ganesha's Treasures table.

4PM was time for me to help out Lee Schneider with his talk on "An
Alternative Roswell Conspiracy Theory." Lee's proposal that wreckage
recovered in the Roswell area might have been parts of a Soviet spy
plane flying from Mexico to survey nearby targets such as White Sands
and Alamogordo is interesting, fits most of the commonly accepted facts,
and has actually grown better with time given some recent revelations.
For myself, I still think it was in fact a weather balloon, but Lee's
idea is if nothing else an entertaining gedankenexperiment and goes to
show how easily a conspiracy theory can be built around very few facts.

Jim Frenkel took the Guests of Honor out to dinner at Takara Japanese
restaurant, which was very good. I am here to tell you that Emma Bull,
Will Shetterly, Patrick Rothfuss, and Jim Frenkel (and of course
Georgie) are all great company and wonderfully entertaining people to
go to dinner with. If you get the chance, don't pass it up. One of the
many interesting things I learned was that, yes, there WILL be a sequel
to "Territory," called "Claim." (Not giving anything away, since Emma
announced as much on Sunday at her reading.)

Back at the Con, we caught the announcement and readings of the winners
of OddCon's "Flash Fiction" contest, which were most impressive. (The
winners can be read at: http://www.oddcon.com/stories.html )

Then followed Guest of Honor speeches, Jim Frenkel Master of Ceremonies
as customary. Georgie lead off with her witty reminiscence of a life in
fandom. Emma Bull followed, saying she did not do speeches, but took
questions from the audience and gave very interesting answers. Patrick
Rothfuss batted third, with also "not a speech," but a hilarious story
of the perils of writing in northern isolation where the only remarkable
occurrence for days might be the sighting of an unusual duck--.

After a bit of circulating, we dropped in on the performance by Salaam
Shalom, an entertaining fusion/folk group that combines some pop
classics with Turkish, Israeli, and other mid-eastern music. The band
was fronted by an excellent mid-eastern dancer, whose name, regrettably,
I did not catch. Later on, the group taught some folk dances,
encouraging the audience to join in.

We took a short rest before coming back down for the Midnight Horror
Panel with the "What Is It About Zombies?" theme. We talked about
origins of zombie fiction and film, and the current interest in the
zombie phenomenon, with live action "Zombie Lurches", movies, video
games, and novels such as "World War Z" and "Pride and Prejudice and
Zombies." I was impressed by the depth of knowledge and interest the
other panelists brought to the table. It was a very good discussion, and
the small audience (after midnight, after all) all went away with new
knowledge.

After that, we staged our own two-creature zombie lurch and went up to
bed--.
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