I was on a panel today, the Latest News from Mars and as soon as I walked in felt out of my depth. The other two panelists were scientists [1. I don’t have my program book on me and it has their names in it. Lovely men and a fun conversation.] and here I was, a writer. I mean, one of them brought in a globe of Mars. He was totally ready. I had launchpad, my twitter feed and reading Bad Astronomy to bring to the table.
But astonishingly, I totally held my own. We started with the question of what was the most exciting recent news. The glaciers! were my pick. I figured that the audience would be up on that, too, but it was news to most of them. We had a good dicussion about what this meant for SF in addition to the science of it. I learned that there’s lichen on Earth, plus some insects that can live in our glaciers so it’s not unresonable to posit life in the glaciers. Likely? No, but you just need the what if potential for a cool story.
I was also amazed at how much information I’d retained from Launchpad. Paricularly when we started talking about how the Rovers work. Granted, if I was pressed for detail, it became quickly aparent that I had only a surface understanding, but it was still cool because, as Mike Brotherton planned, I know the frame and the right questions to ask. It was a pretty exciting panel for me.
This is my first Philcon so I sort of didn’t know what to expect. So far I’ve been impressed with the organization of the con. Good signage, easy registration and lots of communication beforehand. On the downside, I left NYC later than I’d planned and left my demo puppets and the Campbell tiara in the apartment. This is manifestly not very bright. So, Philcon = organized. Mary = not.
I was pleased to finally meet Bud Sparhawk, the Eastern Regional Director of SFWA, since he and I have known each other online for quite some time now. We were on the Websites for Writers panel with Ef Deal and Nathan Lillly, with whom I’d corresponded but not met.
All in all, it was a good day. Even if I am stupidly forgetful.
I’m heading for my first Philcon this year. I figure it’s close plus the SFWA regional meeting is there and I’d like to attend.
Here’s my preliminary schedule.
10:00PM Websites for Writers – Event #16
12:00PM Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction
2:00PM Science Fiction and Romance
3:00-5:00PM Crafting: Hand Puppets (Yep, I’m going to teach on the kids’ track.)
8:00PM Beyond Philip Pullman- Is Atheism the Last Taboo?
10:00AM Towards a Theory of Science Fiction
11:00AM Reading (I’ll bring a couple of options and let the audience pick)
12:00PM Presenting your art: tips for approaching art directors, publishers, and galleries
1:00PM The News from Mars
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]