As I mentioned yesterday, I'm swamped with reading Hugo nominees, so I'm too busy to write original material right now. Instead, I'm posting an e-mailed trip report from the 1998 WorldCon. This is the appendix, where I wrote about individual panels at the con.
OK, here it is:
Panels appendix to my report on the 56th World
Fiction Convention (WorldCon 56, "Bucconeer") Aug. 5-9
Baltimore, by Patricia Elkins Matson.
I had a blast, although I
was run ragged a lot of the
There were many, many activities
offered most days
between 10 AM and midnight and beyond. On one
one day (Fri. 1 PM), I counted 23 offerings. My
included many panel discussions. Many of
the panels were
fascinating, and none of them were
boring to me. Some I picked by
topic, some by authors
appearing. Detailed descriptions of 1-hour
appear in this Appendix. An (M) after a panelist’s
denotes that the panelist was the moderator.
Note: by no means do I
agree with all the opinions
- went late to last part of panel
"Faster-than-Light: Only in SF?"
Center. Panelists: Catherine Asaro (M), John G.
Eric Kotani, Richard Stoddart.
Can’t remember anything.
tried to go to "Life Under the Ice:
Possibilities on Europa" panel
but the panelists never
3:30 – gave up and went to end of
"Media Tie-Ins: Good
Idea or Work of the Devil?"
Ginjer Buchanan (M), Roger MacBride Allen,
Susan Shwartz, J. Steven
This panel was on SF books taken from TV series,
etc. All the panelists had written media
tie-in books and were thus
apologists, but it was
interesting anyway. Ominous fore-shadowing
panelist Roger McBride Allen: "I’d like to point out
it’s 3:30 on the first day and there are already
2 people asleep in
the audience. Pace yourselves,
4:00 - "How do Authors
Collaborate?" panel. Panelists:
Michael Capobianco (M), A.C. Crispin,
John Maddox Roberts and Wendy Old.
interesting panel (if you’re interested in
writing or the authors
mentioned). Best quote, John
Maddox Roberts on "collaborating" with
on his Conan books: "There are advantages to
with an author who’s been dead for over
ACC and EM,
respectively, say that Andre Norton and
Anne McCaffrey are easy to
JMR would love to be a senior writer (as opposed
the junior partner in a collaboration, his usual role)
that would mean his name was a brand name that
helped sell books.
- "Historical Research - Getting the Details
Panelists: Susan Shwartz (M), Lance A.
Harrop, Laura Frankos, Walter
Jon Williams, Connie
LF: The key is to keep
your mind on the story and
characters, don’t overload with
CW: Pick your time and place to put details in.
throws everything in and then lets her editor cut
he’s lucky he only has to write about stuff
he cares about anyway.
If you know what you’re doing, it’ll show. Some
details about the
past and the general period
environment/atmosphere should come out/be
the characters’ thought processes.
LH: the salient
point (critical determinant) of armor
is whatever it’s designed to
WJW: Sometimes there’s just one telling detail that
it all come real. (e.g. how itchy a gorget
Imagining what it really was like is what makes it
The telling detail is like the tip of the iceberg.
You know the
whole background, but only the relevant
10% is presented.
Bozo Filter" useful when researching. You
know which Web pages or
books will be good or useful
or trustworthy because you have some
choose, or filter out bad stuff (e.g. throw out
that mentions the great Knights Templar
CW: You must
trust, follow and explore your interests.
Don’t ultra-focus; look for
connections with many
WJW: Like the Knights
Templar popping up everywhere!
That’s neat! (gently disputing SS)
Books for children are great for giving you the
right level of
information without overwhelming you.
SS - she gets really involved
research/characters; she’ll go shopping and the
will start telling her what they want, or
they had a shirt like that
but it was stolen, etc.
SS reads travelers’ diaries for picking up
WJW - read the sailing masters’ logs, not just
LF - Go to the contemporary sources. Avoid the
CW - one way to find out a fact is to extrapolate
put the guess in your book. If you get it wrong,
lots of letters telling you so, and find
out the real fact.
- one great way to slip period details in is
with the chapter
headings/short insertions of other
CW - of course, if
you’re intellingent and charming
enough, you can get away with
putting in anything you
want. (Charles Dickens, and some book that
a 3-page description of the London fogs.)
LH - dig a
little deeper than the secondary sources so
you’re sure you’re past
all the Bozo Factors.
CW - you’re sure to come up with more stuff you
to research after you start writing.
But be warned, just
because someone is contemporary
doesn’t mean they really understand
what was going on.
Contemporaries can be morons too.
SS - get
someone who knows about the stuff to
proofread your work.
- don’t trust people who have an axe to
grind. But sometimes
axe-grinders are right. (Panelist
cites/ridicules how historians for
years didn’t refer
to slave accounts of ante-bellum South because the
would obviously have been biased against the
to make it a story, you have to see it thru
characters’ eyes, not
just your own.
CW - Yes, it’s all just an illusion. You’re doing a
putting many elements together and making it
- found Omni hotel for "I can explain that!"
panel, which offered
many ridiculous explanations for
audience questions about various
Panelists: Charles Sheffield (M),
Catherine Asaro, Hal
Clement, Judy Lazar, Jack McDevitt.
nothing that stuck in my mind afterward.
4:15 - Came
to "InfoWar: High Tech’s Role in Military
Susan Shwartz (M), C.J. Cherryh, Tom Cool,
Peter Jackson, Kevin
Lots of interesting things to think about.
to troops, crashing systems, etc.
SS - Will the forces of 2010 really
be leaner and
meaner, or just sort of skinny and unhappy?
- brings up the War of Lies - WWII Allied
disinformation against Rommel,
SS - If you’re wrong at the
base of the information
pyramid, you’ll be REALLY wrong by the time
disinformation filters to the top.
CJC - mentions her
"Hellburner" book relevance.
KR - CIA etc. try to guard against
point people at what they expect to see, and
usually see it.
Audience question from a self-called grunt
You guys are ruining our wars. How do we guard against
spoofed? (Seemed to expect an instant, tangible,
- The American Army has traditionally been famous
getting the information. (Contrast:
Japanese in WWII, only officers
know what’s going on;
only officers’ gas masks have capability to
Like traditional Russian style - officers important,
are cogs.) But now, it seems as though only the
people back at the
Pentagon will be able to see the
whole picture clearly and at once.
- but this really upsets the experienced ones. The
advantage of the
American system is that the guy on
the ground knows what’s going on
and reacts quickly,
and therefore can deliver surprises to the
Audience Q - We need a virtual-reality Cultural
program (like Berlitz language courses) so
that a soldier can learn
about the place he’s being
Audience - Food logistics used
to be important, but
now it’s information. How do you control the
Audience - Getting info may be easy, but how do you
it? How will the enemy use it?
CJC speaks of the Grenada syndrome -
(American med school students) called back to the
from payphones. Now warzones will have the Internet
Information PROTECTION will be much harder,
with people telling
about stuff they don’t even know
is important (giving away where
troop positions are,
CJC and KJ - the Soviet Union collapsed
of all the info flowing in. The Soviets would
bad information about the US (poverty, racism, traffic
but Russians saw good stuff inadvertently
included (traffic jams,
yeah, but look at ALL the CARS
those people have!)
Audience Q -
how do you train people to ask the
question that they actually want
to be answered?
KJ - maybe the flood of info will help people to
more precisely. Do a Web search with just one
you may get thousands of sites. But add
conditions, and you’ll narrow
SS - and maybe the flood of info will help people not
confuse information with knowledge (let alone
"Molecular Biology and Space Opera: Two Great
Panelists: Wil McCarthy (M), Steve
Gillett, Shariann Lewitt, Linda
Nagata, Walter Jon
Not just molecular biology, actually
about a whole lot
of new tech and thought-patterns and how they can
into future space operas.
LN - the kinds of stories that
resonate today are the
kinds that made up the classics of
WM - You’re painting on the largest canvas available,
stories have room to be great.
SL - What if tech means individuals
each have more
power, and they can set up their own mini-societies?
- Space operas have been stuck in ’30s style, with
predominating (just like all the
nationalism/empires of early 20th
Also, writers didn’t realize that the future might not
LN - In space opera, even the rare strong female
follows masculine patterning. Also, the future
is North American,
and alien cultures are monolithic
with no politics.
SL - It would
be nice to see people getting smarter,
not having the same old
WM - SO uses outdated hardware, no sophistication.
and projectiles used, but those are really just
What about sneaky, subtle things -
battles, human pilots probably unrealistic.
Also, you’re talking
enormous distances. You send off
weapons and wait… drop chaff, dodge.
Also, in reality,
battles can be very short - e.g. an Olympic
match that has two parries is really a long battle,
in movie fights.
WJW - "Aristoide" changes everything and nothing at
The problems you DO have are a whole new order of
Biological systems, compared with the
vastness and hostility of
space, are fragile. We’ll
send out robots to find worlds we can
survive on, then
they’ll re-build/download the species.
LN - Well,
because of the experiences different people
undergo, that actually
causes them to end up with
different brain structures (because of how
grow and connect?)
Relativity should be realer. The more
characters have, the better the stories are. FTL is a
and cheats spoil stories.
WM - Now things (computers) are more
decentralized (network computers as opposed to the old
so you have less control.
We’ll define technologies and societies by
LN - I may be an anarchist, but I
still have to obey
the laws of physics.
WJW - for real future
warfare, you want something that
will go in and infiltrate quietly,
and then go off at
a later time - like a sleeper virus.
"What if Alpha Centauri Had a Peace Corps?"
panel. Panelists: John J.
Kessel (M), Keith R.A.
DeCandido, Barry N. Malzberg, Dr. SETI, Toni
if aliens come, will their "help" be good or bad,
as viewed by us?
(U.S.) Peace Corps as a propaganda tool - Kennedy
started ours as
much for prop as for pro bono, quite
as much for Cold War purposes as
to help people. U.S.
sends out "advisors" - hope the Alien PC isn’t
some of our "advisors" (military advisors)…
Assume they can’t
come here, they only want to talk to
us. What if it were us? What
would we say to a
Missionaries tend to be from more
not socially) advanced cultures, just because
the ones who can travel farther.
Would the species helping
us be homogeneous? Wouldn’t
we be more likely to get caught in some
Analogy - U.S. PC told African mothers not
breast-feed because it’s primitive and unsanitary -
question of finding potable water to make
up the baby formula. What
realities of ours would
Alien PC fail to take into account?
to 50 light years - right now - we’re already
announcing "We’re here"
with broadcast, atom bombs,
etc. 50 years from now, the
announcement sphere will
be 100 light years.
"Information by its
very nature is disruptive."
Reference to "Star Trek: The Next
of "Darmok" - will we be able to interpret the
at all, or will we only be able to tell that
someone’s out there?
translator is a traitor" - truly accurate
translation is practically
If they can come here at all, they can probably do
at all that they want to do to us. If energy
isn’t expensive, all
bets are off anyway. With costs,
telecommuting is cheaper, but
motives (religion?) may
Cultural demoralization -
give alcohol to Indians,
etc. Also just feelings of inferiority. Of
demoralization may not be all bad for humanity.
plane culture/religion of (South?) Pacific
islands referred to.
like to contradict something I said earlier."
U.S. PC can’t just
decide to go into countries, it has
to get permission from the
How will PC help us? Will they decide we’re
and make 90% of males sterile, or
something even more disruptive?
- "It’s all SF: Science Fiction/Southern
Fiction" panel. Panelists:
Toni Weisskopf (M), James
S. Dorr, Andy Duncan, Edward Kramer, Mark
L. Van Name.
A lot of interesting things were said, but I often
that this wasn’t MY South that they were talking
Fiction traits: obsessive self-obsession and
for both: Feeling that you have to be familiar
predecessor-writers, building on them or
contradicting them, but
taking them into account.
"Plus, the South is just (expletive)
"The landscape is a permanent, oppressive part of
mentions James Lee Burke, a Southern writer.
The Southern culture
historically has been an indirect
culture - lots of talking, but the
real info may be
hidden. Culture of deceit and indirection.
about slavery & guilt, swampy atmosphere,
sense & sensibility.
Storytelling tradition. Each locality has a
history; kids grow up hearing adults telling stories.
may not understand, but they feel the power of
SF looking forward while Southern fiction looks
back? (but the future
is based on the past).
Antitechnology stance is elitist - average
Someone from audience says the biggest
in the South isn’t from the Civil War, it’s from the
introduction of air conditioning.
Remember, there are many regional
within the South.
The South has long experience
with living side-by-side
with an alien culture.
Trying to keep blacks down eventually just
race question all-pervasive.
structure. Poor whites actually
have lots in common with blacks, but
what class everyone belongs to.
to religion and SF approach to
faith. John Kessel’s "Good News from
Other recommended S/SF authors: Greg Benford, Michael
(Bischoff?), Gene Wolfe, Terry Bissan, Manly
Wade Wellman, Harry
Cruz, Rudy Rucker, Joe Lansdale,
David Drake, Anne Rice, Tom Dietz,
Robert E. Howard, Orson Scott Card, Sharon McCrumb,
Hess (spellings not vouched for)
Note differences between Southern
Appalachian culture. There are and have always been
Souths. W.J. Cash. But there’s also 1 South.
1:00 - "Extrapolating
Known Science into Science
Panelists: Ian Randal
Strock (M), Michael A. Burstein,
Karl Kofoed, Dave Kratz.
with one of the panelists upset about having to
speak into the
microphone for the tape (tapes of all
lectures are available for
sale) because the panelists
aren’t getting any of the tape proceeds.
He said, "I’m
not bitter, I just find this absurd."
By the end of
the 19th century, most physicists
thought the major discoveries had
been made and that
the rest would just be refinement.
Forward, James Hogan are good. Hal Clement’s
"Mission of Gravity"
known science and using it is so much more
interesting than just
saying ‘OK, we have FTL, let’s
go on from there.’
One guy says
good science is good, but good characters
are also necessary for good
SF. Cites Greg Benford and
science-based hard SF and
tech-based hard SF?
Also goes back from
SF to use ideas for producing
question - what the HELL is known science
theory destroyed by an ugly fact."
New facts make much old SF
questionable, though it
seemed possible at time of writing (Venus as
6:00 - "Ridiculous Medicine in SF/F/H" panel.
Panelists: Elizabeth Moon (M), Lee Killough, Judy
Perrianne Lurie, Joan Slonczewski. Pretty
funny, all about silly
errors writers often make when
medicine enters their fiction.
blood transfusions in Dracula with no blood
EM - broken
bones heal too quickly without help.
JS - Humans and aliens producing
shouldn’t fit, egg&sperm shouldn’t fit,
JL - Michael Bishop’s "Transfiguration."
Lot" - Anemia vs. High blood pressure - one
shouldn’t exclude the
Unlikely to be able to catch independently evolved
from each other. But you’d probably get
immunological responses to
foreign proteins, as we do
from terrestrial things.
Genes can be
picked up from one bacterium to another.
EM - irritated by John Wayne
wounds in the shoulder
that never hit anything vital. Also, the
concussion people bounce back from. Actually, the
someone’s knocked out, the worse off they’ll be
arterial blood spurting from the jugular VEIN!
Allergies you’d get
on a terraformed planet. The soils
would have toxic, different
Animals instinctively knowing what’s good for them -
paramedics who easily know what to do for
aliens. What are the
limiting factors? Does it even
Whenever we get an alien
contact, veterinarians will
instantly gain more respect. Drugs that
will heal cats
will kill dogs, etc. Also, you can’t ask where it
Universal antibiotics - bad enough - but which will
work against VIRUS from alien world.
What’s to keep the body from
Even today, implants are a problem.
Mixing species to make centaurs. Clones that
grow up in 4 days and
have the same memories as the
parent/twin. Cloning from red blood
Radiation that produces lots/high proportion of viable
Organlegging urban legend (You visit a
and wake up minus your kidney).
Long dying speeches.
transplants OK, but you can’t heal a damaged
Baselines - normal can be a funny and varied thing.
to society can be seamless even for someone
with an irregular brain,
as shown by dissections.
11:00 - went to "Guest of
Honor Speech by C.J.
Cherryh" with Sarah. CJC really seems like a
and good person.
Talks about early life, finding a home with fandom.
late 20th-century attention span is geared to the
(watch-talk-watch-talk as a
lifestyle/primary mode of "interaction"
The amazing changes she’s (and we’ve)
lived through in
the century - TV, political borders, the moon,
computers work faster, "the worker is being driven
faster and faster
and faster by the machine."
Dealing with the Data Monster -
inundation by data.
Students - everything they’re learning now may be
- disappear or be useless by ??? years. An
stereotyping seems to be replacing former
ethnic, etc. stereotyping.
to oversimplify: There’s so much to
know/experience that we look for
short, quick ways to
identify things and move on. Books are being
this way now, as brand-name fiction. People get
by skimming the data-peaks and
extrapolating whatever data mountains
the peaks might
People are impatient of ideas that
question their own.
They want a short burst of info-tainment that
what they already believe.
Internet very important to
fannish community, keeping
us together and helping young/new people,
exposure to new ideas. The core fan community is
growing now. CJC hopes for virtual SF
supplementing/reporting fully the
real conventions now. CJC drops
into chat rooms,
online, meeting and helping newbies. "Newbies,
their way across the lily-pad web pages
toward fandom, ‘organized’
fandom - more power to
Q: What does CJC think of modern
education? A: You
need both sets of anchors - a grounding in the
and a concept of the future. The older generation has
tendency to oversell things to youth, as if they’re
convince their own generation. Don’t do
gloom&doom when teaching
about the environment, tell
kids what they can do about it.
What to do about really tightly-focused people? A:
They need some
friends. The more diverse people you
know, the more willing you’ll
be to leave your own
familiar interests and explore others.
see a T-shirt you don’t like, remember that
that’s not the whole
Q: The gender difference in fandom. A: Certainly more
now than when CJC started. But there’s some
gender division within
numerous interest groups.
Sometimes you just have to screw up your
go cross that line. A smile goes a long way.
feminism? A: CJC classifies herself as a
How do you choose among data piles etc.? A: First
friendships, then form a network and branch
out. Get your friends to
help you find out what’s
worth learning. You suddenly discover that
at the table with you have so many different
and viewpoints, yet they all come together
on something or other.
When you come to these cons, the resources
can bring to bear on problems is amazing!
(fans) should make a point of talking to
library acquisition people.
A: Yes, local fan groups
can have a great effect on libraries. Fan
make a difference.
Q: Any audio books in the works? A:
No offers yet;
maybe pronunciation is a problem. (She’s poking a
fun at herself here, since many of her
character names have
gutturals and sneezes and
apostrophes in the middle, etc.)
"Maim ‘em Right" panel on how authors can write
battle/sickness scenes and avoid stupid
Siegel (M), Lee Killough, Elizabeth
Moon, Lisa Freitag, Dale Ridder.
- mentions the current resurgence of tuberculosis
DR - problem with
anthrax is that the spores don’t
KS - the World Trade
Center bombers also planted
anthrax, but luckily the explosives
burned it up. Look
at vectors of contamination in the Middle Ages.
- Usually authors make someone sick or die for a
plot purpose, but
you can accidentally dissipate
dramatic tension by flubbing
something. Figure out who
you want injured and how long they’ll be
take it to an expert and ask what thing will make that
- Frogs, reptiles are about 10,000 times more
resistant to nerve gas
And up until WWI, if you got wounded you’d have a 25%
of dying from gangrene. Some Middle Ages
folklore said that moldy
bread would help a wound to
heal. And where does penicillin come
discovered)? Moldy bread.
EM - Most societies have a
wide range of knowledge.
Pragmatic, tradition, etc.
Q: Roman army
medics used wine to wash a wound and
then honey as a poultice. That
usually works IF you
do it early enough - before sepsis sets in.
scenario - space station, with terrorists with
hostages. Can’t pump in sleepy gas,
because the same medication
dosage affects different
people differently - so it’s likely that one
would drop first, and then the others would start
Also, enough drug to make some people
totally unconscious would make
others stop breathing
Can’t fiddle with reality too
much - too many
coincidences are bad.
Purpose of a John Wayne
wound is to create sympathy
for the hero. Put the wound on the
OUTSIDE of an arm,
not the middle of the shoulder where all the
arteries, etc. are. Remember, if the weapon is too
you’ll slice all the way to the bone, and if
it’s too blunt, you’ll
release toxins. If you use a
gun, don’t have a high-velocity slug.
host is where the bug lives, the vector is what
Example - hosts are animals in Africa,
vector is the mosquitos that
transmit malaria or
4:00 - "The Coming Environmental
Panelists: Joan Slonczewski (M), David Brin, Dave
good points and some I disagreed with.
DK - disaster is a
catastrophic disruption, anything
to cause long-term changes.
operative emotion in almost all cultures has
always been fear. When
the fear horizon is high,
threats are close - "Will my children get
to eat?" When fear starts to decline, people join up,
as villages to protect against other villages
(fear is for more
long-term threats). You can see this
with American Indians - they
hold big intra- or even
intertribal gatherings in times of plenty.
if you hear that a dolphin is stranded, you
may run to the beach
with the same speed as your
ancestors - but with entirely different
to save, ancestors to eat).
JS - mentions
eco-disaster of the appearance of
oxygen. Dr. Ian Malcolm in
"Jurassic Park." When we
talk about eco-disasters, we really mean OUR
that keeps us comfortable and looks nice, etc.
Shiner - Professional ecologists have been talking
about these kinds
of things for a long time. But we
don’t talk about disasters as such
because that begs
the question, a disaster for whom? But disasters
happened before, anyway - e.g. Permian extinction.
- the current worst disaster is the slow
ongoing loss of ecosystems,
species, etc. (Slash&burn
in Brazil, etc.)
JS - why do we
care about all this anyway? Well, you
never care about anything until
you’re in danger of
losing it. Indian myths and the tradition of
with nature may have come with their realization that
had killed off most of the large species in the
knowing the self-interest inherent in altruism
does not take away
from the beauty of altruism.
"Earth" and "The Transparent Society."
DB talks about
first-order and second-order effects, rants about the
Congress actions. Mocks Gregory Binford’s
(sp?) ideas on fighting
global warming (dump something
- was it iron - in the seas to
SS - It’s not at all clear that people WANT to save
environment. People want the Disney version - the
pretty stuff but
NOT the ugly parts that coexist and
help the ecosystem run.
population driving the problems.
Education/poverty correlations with
Q - overfishing and dumping of toxins.
Today, point-source pollution is really the worst
problem. But you
can attack the problem - witness
Chesapeake Bay, etc.
Q - what
about rain forests and oxygen?
DF - we’ll die of too much CO2 long
before we die of
lack of oxygen. The danger is that the soil is bad
rainforest territory, so if you lose the rainforest,
DB - we’re already smearing species across the
Books - Silent Spring, Where Late
the Sweet Birds
Sang, Timescape. George Stewart’s "The Earth
John Brunner’s "The Sheep Look Up" and "Stand on
Quote - "Whatever your cause is, it’s a lost cause
America is using so many resources, it’s hard
the Third World to listen about popu-lation control.
we can’t be driven away from problem solving
simply because of
accusations of hubris.
Our technological development (harmful as it
been in the past) is what helps us be able to solve
5:00 - "Transplant Technology: Miracles or
Panelists: Judy Lazar, Larry Niven, Ronald C. Taylor.
Ronald Taylor, a transplant coor-dinator; someone
who interfaces for
a transplant board; and Mike,
someone who’s had a transplant.
lot of the questions were just about the state of
the technology now
and near-future. Some panelists
were pretty dictatorial about cutting
off debate on
Larry Niven surprised me a little - I
high-energy, and he seemed pretty laid back. Bearded
guy with glasses, wearing a fanny pack, with a
Says transplants are fairly old as
fiction, pretty recent in fact.
LN’s been writing
about them since before people did them. He
societal dangers, yelled a lot, noticed doctors’
popping up on transplant ethics, stopped
yelling. He’s not really up
on the field now.
Transplantee says it was painful at the time, but
you don’t notice it.
Coordinator says it’s still pretty hard to get
One of the panelists says that anyone who hasn’t
their organ donor cards shouldn’t even be here
listening to the
panel. After this, numerous people
who ask questions preface with
faith-credentials by saying they’ve signed.
are working on various aspects of problems
in transplants. Example -
LN - my problem 30 years ago was
criminals being obvious targets for organ harvesting.
asks about possibility of harvesting criminal
mentions a death-row criminal who volunteered to
have his body
thin-sliced for study.
RT - Human genome project, etc. We’re getting a
on control signals for genes being turned on &off,
affecting organ transplants.
Q from audience says Chinese killing
Telemerase, vague hope of making
us immortal, bigger
hope of killing cancers.
Q: mechanical organ
replacements. Coordinator: now,
primarily used as a bridge while
JL - work done on artificial pancreas to
sugar and give insulin.
Q: In 2 countries in
Europe, there is mandatory organ
donation UNLESS you actively fill
out forms to opt out
Q: New technology lets people
push margins (e.g.
anti-lock brakes just get people driving faster).
easy transplantation let people just abuse their
answers - it’s all a dance. People may smoke more
because they can
replace lungs, but then anti-smokers
will feel more free to punch
them, because fixing
someone is easier.
Q: If you want to sell a
kidney for $10,000, to boost
your life or pay for kid’s operation or
can’t you have the freedom to make that choice?
pretty dictatorial and of a tone to cut off
contempt-frustration at "foolish"
question: Selling organs is illegal
because it’s just
too easy to abuse.
LN mentions urban legends of
executing someone but not quite kill-ing
Back to the organ-selling question:
were the first transplants. But the people who want
sell blood are the people whose blood you don’t
organ transplants. Skin is already on the
organs - could you do it fast enough? A:
well, you’d have to do it
with universal organs that
could go into anyone. (Answer was from the
panel," a husband-wife team of medical researchers who
popped up to interject thoughts or answer
tends to lower tendencies to heart
disease. Also reduces iron
content and oxi-dative
Q: This is an era of
overpopulation. Why transplant,
wouldn’t it be better for the planet
RT answers - not overpopulation everywhere. Japan
even have replacement (more die than are born
each year). Nor does
the U.S., nor Canada.
Q: How do you prioritize transplants?
When do you stop trying? If someone’s rejected
shouldn’t someone else get a chance?
A: That issue is still up in the
LN - actually (looking at watch - panel is ending
6:00 - "Mad Lib SF" - not really a panel because
for lots of audience participation.
"Panelists" were Ray Ridenour
and Tom Whitmore.
Passages chosen from literature, L. Ron Hubbard,
plush-red-velvet romance, and the progress
report from the San
Francisco 2002 convention
committee. Fun, some clapping, but not many
laughs. A couple of my suggestions were taken (e.g.,
long verb was called for, so I said "hopping down
the bunny trail.").
- "Influences of C.J. Cherryh" panel. A lovefest
on how great CJC
is, but some really neat stuff was
brought up anyway.
Elizabeth Moon (M?), G. David Nordley,
EM - says
how tired she is. "If I had to get on a
horse right now, I’d have to
get on a mounting
block." EM tells the tale of how she’d pretty much
up on writing SF (or getting it published) until
she read CJC’s
GDN - was blown away by the Chanur series. The
and idiosyncracies of
intelligence/sapience. Balancing of
strategies for other species, many other things.
a fairly recent critic, not a writer? Mentions
some idiot writing
about superior womyn leaders who
used "Downbelow Station’s" Captain
as an example of cooperative leadership! Ha!
is usually pretty autocratic, ruthless when needed.
first stumbled across the Faded Sun - Kesrith
books. Read first two,
couldn’t find third. Very
frustrating. Stopped for a while, then led
back by a
used book dealer who didn’t have the third book but
"Merchanter’s Luck." This book helped EM go on
with writing. Her
first SF convention was NASFIC in
Austin in ’85. EM went to a CJC
reading. CJC advised:
Don’t write big fat books at first, tackle
manageable. This coming from CJC, who mostly writes
fat books all the time! So EM was inspired by a
desire to be up there
at the podium - if CJC can do
it, I can do it.
GDN - says he
finds all these tough, resourceful women
in CJC books something of a
turn-on. Also, he says
something about conscious/unconscious
creeping in (to his own writings?)
PL - finds
"Rimrunners" very believable in terms of
her own military experience
(except there’s no gym for
exercise on the spaceship)
GDN - of
course, like anything, things change, and the
written universe is now
getting more touchy-feely.
But CJC understands the space
And the whole issue of cloning - "Cyteen."
EM - CJC
is brilliant at atmosphere. The people and
their reactions to
science, LIVING with the advances
in technology, let alone the
reactions of aliens
living among humans.
PL - CJC does a lot of
interesting things with her
cultures. In the Chanur books, the human
EM - prefers CJC’s hard SF to her fantasy
looking for something in fantasies that doesn’t appear
CJC. The insistent realism prevents the fantasy
from breaking loose.
A little too didactic.
PL - certain themes resound: Trade is about
goods. Taking the long view.
GDN - "Cyteen" with
evolved Union culture, a
meritocracy government, with more-or-less
backstabbing and brown-nosing.
EM - CJC’s very realistic
"Wave without a Shore." The
difficulties encountered by people with
views. CJC doesn’t ever make things too easy, but all
problems flow seamlessly from her characters. EM
saying fantasy should be just wild and
free - it’s just that you’re
using different rules
from another place.
GDN - has trouble
setting one law aside without
thinking of other ramifications.
CJC was early "Thieves’ World" contributor,
Nights" series and did some of the
"Sword of Knowledge" books.
- says "Merovingen Nights" books are not
"Serpent’s Reach" characters have been
genetically modified. Also
says that because of
relativity, S. Mallory reappears after long
without aging much.
EM - relativity/ long view - people
get in and out of
phase with their worlds, their pasts, etc. CJC
you in the middle of something, full speed ahead. The
then gets a better picture of what it’s like to
be in the action of
the story. She’s big enough to
take/accept the risk/certainty of
confused and dropping her books.
GDN - the richness
of CJC’s books.
EM - if you read classical language in the original,
appreciate what just a scrap of it can mean in
terms of making
connections. To make a culture feel
real is to build layers and
Implies a history going back to Rome.
Some of CJC’s books are much more accessible than
Station" is tough because all these
people on the station are
dropped into the middle of a
war, and they each see only their own
part. "Gate of
Ivrel" has very ambiguous characters with ambiguous
How do they react in stress? Whether you’re a
hero or a villain
depends on who’s looking at you.
EM - Attitudes toward sculpture
(& architecture?) go
back all the way to Babylon - the concept
importance of having a public space. "Wave without a
and a discourse on space.
GDN - Back to the scraps and connections -
fascinating the things that survive from one culture
later one. Everyone knows what an Achilles heel
is, for example.
CJC’s use of survivals to enhance
EM - I didn’t
copy CJC’s prose style, but I did look
at CJC’s techniques to see how
she’d try to adapt
DJN - CJC doesn’t really have good
versus evil. She
has shades of gray. Seems so much more real.
It’s not just black&white, and there’s not just
shades of gray.
(Evil is real, conflict between
good&evil does happen in the
real world.) Stories of
good versus evil can be complex. CJC, on the
hand, has ethics and morality, but not really any
PL - disagrees, there are indications of
in Chanur (as background?)
GDN - Heinlein’s "Revolt
in 2100" - the Prophet is
EM - Heinlein’s epilogue -
essay says the book is a
prediction of what happens if things go on
way they are.
PL - of course, Heinlein had to be more
because look at the culture/times he was writing out
and fighting among. What would CJC’s books look
like if she’d been
writing in his era and suffered
the restrictions he did?
- went late to "Fantasy in the Real World" panel
Lawrence Watt-Evans (M), Brenda W. Clough,
Brett Davis, Jody Lynn
All I can remember is a comment from Lawrence
was going to say something about
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" but it
came out as "BUCKY
the Vampire Slayer." Re-member, the con mascot is
the Crab. So this slip drew a big laugh, and I
had this hilarious
mental vision of a little blue
crab wielding a cutlass in one big
claw and a stake in