A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon

Lo! The day was yet young when the warrior maiden, Mad Genius, and Charter Member of the Evil Legion of Evil, Kate the Impaler, did take up her raiment and Armor of Righteousness, and take her self and her trusty steed Ye Olde Camry (actually ye very young Camry, but who’s checking?) that she might make pilgrimage to that haven of Baen Barflies and their sworn enemies the Glittery Warriors of the Social Justice Hoo Haas, the Convention of Raven (RavenCon, okay?)

Though the journey was long and wearying, the fair maiden did not shrink from the task, slaying the dragons of Heavy Traffic as her trusty steed bore her along the dread I-95, ever closer to that wretched hive of scum and villainy known to those of lesser worth as Washington, DC.

But lo! Kate the Impaler’s mission this day did not require her to perform the Herculean task of cleaning the swamp of vile emissions of heated politics, and she did give thanks as she and her trusty steed skirted the dread city. Yea, and the tendrils of evil reached from the city in the form of useless HOV lanes and endless road works, but still Kate the Impaler held to her mission, for she must reach the shining gates of Richmond in time for an afternoon panel.

The dire Heavy Traffic did indeed cause the fair maiden some distress, for unbeknownst to her, the organizers of the righteous Convention did schedule their event to coincide with that mass entertainment known as Race Weekend, and so the hordes of NASCAR did make pilgrimage to the shining gates and clog the roads.

Long did Kate the Impaler bless her foresight in leaving these many hours ere her first panel, for the dragon of the traffic did consume a full extra hour of travel time (we won’t mention that unscheduled rest stop for biological needs: the fair warrior mislikes signs of aging) yet still she did arrive at the site of the Convention in good time.

And thus did her true campaign begin, for Kate the Impaler did not make such a journey lightly. Nay, she sought to learn more of the nefarious plans of the Hoo Haas of Glitter, and to perform reconnaissance for the Fourth Canine of Youth Engladdening, that she might avoid the snares the Hoo Haas of Glitter sought to lay in her path, for yea, the Hoo Haas did cry unto their lord Social Justice that the Canines of Youth were unworthy and must remain sorrowful until the day when they accepted the power of the Glittery Side.

So it was, as the hour of four approached, the warrior maiden did disguise herself in glittery mail that she might do battle in her first panel, “Playing God: Building Your Own World”, where she encountered fellow writers Lawrence Ellsworth, Kevin Kelleher, and Mike McPhail. Yet, the battle she feared did not eventuate, for lo! All were receptive to the notion that history contains much of value for the building of a fictional world, and that such a world may be far richer than one built without the references of such sources (She didn’t even have to be the first to mention this). Much laughter did ring from the audience as the warri… writers did jest about their craft, and the warrior maiden did count herself fortunate to have aided in causing such happiness – for as all Evil Legion of Evil members know, happy humans make puppies happier.

As the hour grew later (8 pm might not be late to you lot, but the narcoleptic warrior maiden had a long day) Kate the Impaler did gird herself for battle once more and join the mighty Harry Heckel and KT Pinto for the panel “Just like the Last Time, Only Different”, in which the ability of sequels to maintain their freshness and not become like elderly seafood (and one of the Guests of Horro… Honor, who, to the warrior maiden’s distress, seemed distinctly… not right).

Once again good humor and laughter did flow as the participants discussed techniques to write sequels and continuations without reusing their plots. All panelists did lament the difficulty of avoiding the traps of sequelae, most especially the seductive demon of Stakes Escalation, for lo! When thy character grows more powerful with every book, in time he becomes as dull as the Goo of Grayness for he can defeat all enemies with the least shrug of his over-powered shoulders.

As the panel drew to an end, the warrior maiden did bid her friends and fellow panelists farewell for the night, for she must be awake on the morn in order to once more battle the demons of boredom in the panel, “Writing Dialogue”…

(to be continued)

68 thoughts on “A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon

  1. You’ve got me wondering which GOH was ..not right… and for what reason. Tell us MORE, please!
    And was there a big fuss, little fuss, or no fuss over the photographer being asked to leave the session?

        1. There was very little fuss (or at least I wasn’t in circles that gossiped about it). And yes, the GOH who “asked” the photographer to leave the session was the one who came across rather strongly as “things are not right there. Avoid like plague carrier.” (Said GOH had no co-panelists at any point IIRC. Take that as you will.)

            1. and if that were me, I’d have a short conversation with the former con co-chair’s wife wanting to know exactly which con rule i had broken.

                1. who did? he tweeted a picture. Sorry, i find the requirements of her programming onerous and i bet she wouldn’t have gotten away with it prior to March.

            2. Did she ever ask herself What Would Asimov Do? Asimov is said to have always been gracious with fans, regardless of how they might have interrupted what he was doing at the moment.

              1. The Good Doctor would have told a dirty joke, made a risque comment or three, and proceeded onward. At least, that’s what happened when I met him after a lecture in 1979. . ..

            3. And I’m still wondering how word of this vile and terrible offense reached the vile and terribly offended party but moments after the vile and terribly offensive deed was done. Especially since lo! the vile and terribly offended party’s likeness is well-represented in Wikipedia, that iron-walled bastion of personal privacy.

          1. And after watching the video clip, I clicked on to some other background information, and am appalled that human beings can act in such ridiculous ways.

    1. Unless we were both in BFC at the same time, not really. I’m pretty sure we waved at each other in passing as somewhat familiar-ish faces.

  2. Yay! An after-action report!

    I suspect the Con went just fine, because there was no massive social media explosion to report otherwise, but it’s always nice to know!

    …and Kate, should you ever find the time, I am terribly interested in the traps of sequelae and how to avoid them…

    1. I need a time mine so I can dig out more as I need it.

      From my perspective it went well.

    2. I use the lazy gardener method: Loose ends, often seeded by some character’s offhand remark, grow like weeds, no two alike. *Planned* sequel? whatever are you talking about??!

  3. Yea, and a certain Canine of Extreme Youth (well, as a Canine, anyway). upon hearing the noble exploits of the warrior maiden, Mad Genius, and Charter Member of the Evil Legion of Evil, Kate the Impaler, did rejoice to observe that the dreaded Warriors of Social Justice, the Hoo Haas of Glitter, did appear to fewer in number and less ferocious in the flesh than their amplified voices upon the Interwebs would cause the Canines of Youth to believe. And his heart was gladdened.

    1. I suspect they’re a bit like nightmares, actually. They seem big and scary, but up close and in the light, they wither away.

  4. Apparently the presence of the Dread Warrior Maid and the Loremaster of SciFi (John C. Wright) exorcised any aggression from the Forces of Folly (aka SJW inclined who might have been looking for a spat). That and good Con planning.

    1. RavenCon is usually well planned – and usually has a pretty substantial Barfly contingent. That on its own tends to discourage excess SJW-ish behavior.

  5. And the warrior maiden doth leave us all grasping at the edge of a mighty precipice, desperately enquiring of passers by “and yet, doth the mighty Kate triumph?”

  6. Speaking of SP4, when are you going to take suggestions? I have two authors I’d love to put out as recommended reading for this year’s consideration. Also, GRRM has expressed interest in making a few suggestions regarding authors who have never been nominated but are Hugo worthy.

    1. When = after the Hugo awards for 2015 are announced. I don’t want to detract from them.

    1. If all her con reports read like this, perhaps a compilation of all her con reports as a best-related-work should be assembled. I’d read it!

      1. Alas, no, they don’t all read like this.

        And I will not be putting myself on SP4 in any categories. If you’re that desperate to nominate me you’re going to have to do that on your own bat.

  7. This is too rich. -wg- I look forward to seeing the rest.

    I-95 eh. Aye, know it. Know its evil spawn, “the Beltway”, even more. Loath them. (The feline has been known to go out of her way to avoid the belt.)

    Wish I could have made down but circumstances made it unfeasible. Ah well, try again next year – maybe.

    1. I keep telling people here in L.A., when they say it has the worst traffic, they have never been on the DC beltway during rush hour.

      1. The belt has two speeds, below 10 mph and Taladega Superspeed way – with the inevitable multi-car pile ups.

        According to my sister, using your turn signal is a sign of weakness there. -eg-

        1. yes, and its partly trackable to one of the same causes as out here.. the infamous ‘in the fast lance and one mile from his exit’ mergers.

            1. I liked “fast lance” better. Alan Dean Foster’s short story, “Why Johnny Can’t Speed” popped up in my head.

    2. When we came back from a Florida trip, we changed our mind at the last second and did not go way around DC. And yes, it was a mistake.

      Even with an update to the GPS map, the changes to the roads kept the GPS in a state of confusion.

      We got pulled over towards the end of the ordeal and an older officer walked up, chatted a bit about Pennsylvania and asked the “Do you know why….” question. I avoided profanity but in the space of a few seconds I told him I hated driving in or around DC, our plan has been to bypass, I mentioned I was worse than a fool for thinking it would be OK, then I listed the possible things I could have done wrong including HOV errors, lane changing, speeding, and the horror of a GPS that can only say “recalculating.” Then I took a deep breath and asked how his day had been. He laughed and said it had been way better than mine, he advised me to slow down a little and walked away giggling.

      John in Philly

    3. Grin. Having come through Atlanta recently on I-75 . . . in the words of Crocodile Dundee “That isn’t traffic. This is traffic.” Worse is heading south in rush hour. The traffic starts to pick up; you think you’re in the clear; then you’re in another near some place the billboards call Eagle’s Landing.

      Nineteen years ago, Atlanta hired bus drivers for the Olympics, only to have many quit after one day due to traffic. The traffic’s gotten much worse since then.

  8. Oh, FFS. Now, you have me imagining a rather pedestrian modern novel told completely in the style of an Old Nordic Viking saga.

    Goddammit. I need to be working on final edits for my novel. I don’t have time to be beguiled by an idea for yet ANOTHER new book.

    1. What, like this?

      Although that’s more short stories, including the mighty battle of the Unclogging of the Drain. Good for reading and giggling in the span of a lunch break…

    2. Well, when you have the time, you can always do this. Or just parody other posts in Old Nordic Viking Saga style.

    3. Check out Poul Anderson’s Uncleftish Beholding, a straight-up science essay in a language that might have been had the Saxons, Danes, and Normans never came to England.

    1. Thank you! I had way too much fun writing it.

      If I hadn’t had to go to bed to get up for work (etc…) I’d have finished it, but now I’ll have to get the rest done and posted.

  9. I for one am most relieved that you survived, hopefully relatively unscathed. I was somewhat concerned that our social justice bullies would try a Honey Badger move on anyone associated with the SP movement.

  10. Of course now, the other side will be outraged that one of the Bad Puppies infiltrated* RavenCon cunningly disguised as a woman. 🙂

    *Note to humourless CHORFs: Not an actual infiltration.

    1. Of course it was a real infiltration. Starting with a conniving choice of two X chromosomes, continuing with underhandedly developing as the resulting sex, and finally dishonestly presenting herself at the convention as a woman—when we all know she’s really a white Mormon man.

      And you’d thought the HBB’s disguising themselves as fans by means of decades of fanac and fannish enthusiasms was a cunning plan: this scheme of Kate’s took real dedication, and was no doubt intended for some nefarious purpose.

      1. Guys, you’re under-syllable-ing. Every progressive scion of academia knows you need extra syllables to disguise fear and loathing. For someone like Kate Paulk, by this time next year It’ll have to go from “White Male Mormon” to full-out “raciss sexiss bigoted heteronormative cisfemale supporter of the Patriarchy”.

        1. Well, damn. It’s going to be hellishly difficult to get all of that on a button and keep it readable.

    2. Kate the Impaler does not infiltrate. There’s just something anti-infiltratish about the rows of impaled SJWs.

      1. I dunno. Succumbing to penetration of the dermal membrane via sharpened cellulose would seem to qualify as “infiltrated”, in my book.

        (Grins, ducks, and runs for cover.) 😛

      2. Impaled? Is that similar to how men use their “male tool”? [Very Big Evil Grin While Flying Away Very Very Fast]

  11. Part two should be written in the style of a British historical after action report

    Part three, if there is one, written as a modern AAR


    1. Sam, the demons are afraid of Kate the Impaler. [Very Big Evil Grin]

  12. Scariest thing that ever happened to me on the Beltway back in the early 90’s:
    I was astride the Iron Mule (a ’78 Honda CB550K – too small to be an Iron Horse).
    I was at about 70 MPH, traveling er, Counterclockwise, right at the point where 270 merges, and I was in the now center of the 6 merging lanes.
    My younger sister was on the back.
    The rear tire blew.

    I had learned that in such a situation, never touch the rear brake, because the tire may depart the rim, and then you’ll REALLY be in the shit. So I kept it steady, pulled the clutch, managed to coast through three lanes of speeding traffic to the shoulder as the rear of the bike pitched back and forth a foot in either direction, where I stopped, safe and intact.
    My sister didn’t even know what was wrong when we got off.
    I promptly fell to my knees.

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