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To Raven I Shall Go

RavenCon approacheth (as it will be happening in just over a week) and yours truly is a guest this year, so let there be much rejoicing.

Seriously, I like RavenCon. If it wasn’t at the edge of the distance I’ll drive in a day, I’d treat it as my home con, especially since my other relatively close con (LunaCon) seems to have imploded, exploded, or maybe merely ploded.

At any rate, in a rare case of less than perfect organization, it’s taken until the last week or so to get my schedule finalized, but them that’s interested can find it on the RavenCon schedule site

I’ve got myself an oddball collection of panels this time around, largely because I didn’t reply to the initial email asking for expressions of interest right away. Still, they should all be fun, especially Harry Potter and the Glaring Plotholes. The number of plothole filling fanfics out there is mind-boggling, and there have been some wonderfully inventive attempts to fill them (as well as some that are rather less wonderful and much less inventive. But that’s life. Nobody’s chaining anyone down and forcing them to read the stuff).

I’m looking forward to it – even if I’m not looking forward to the drive down there. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to drive from near Philadelphia-ish to Williamsburg without dealing with the horrors of DC traffic. There’s a reason I’ve taken to driving down the day before the con starts and coming back the day after it finishes.

So, any of you folk who are headed in that direction next week, there’s a good chance I’ll be around to meet up with you, since I’m not likely to actually leave the con hotel.

 

46 Comments
  1. Have fun and safe travels.

    April 12, 2018
  2. Christopher M. Chupik #

    Have fun, stay safe, and give us some fun after-action reports.

    April 12, 2018
  3. I’m headed out to the edge of my own travel distance this weekend as well — to Houston, for the San Jacinto Symposium. (I was offered a table as an exhibitor.) Three-hour drive each way, two nights in a hotel … I am trying to think of it as a holiday, I really am. Houston is legendary for traffic tangles, so it is fortunate that the venue and my hotel are just a little off the IH 10 Access road.
    I’m trying to do more strictly book events – my daughter and I think we have tapped out local markets.

    April 12, 2018
    • TRX #

      I love driving. I hate *traffic.*

      April 12, 2018
      • Kate Paulk #

        Amen to that.

        April 12, 2018
  4. Draven #

    I’m now halfway tempted to drive down just to meet ya. When i looked, the guest list was mildly repulsive and the programming list wasnt complete.

    April 12, 2018
    • Draven #

      oh, and link no workie

      April 12, 2018
      • Kate Paulk #

        I shall edit funky link forthwith. In the meant time, well… RavenCon programming and guest list has a tendency to be kind of bipolar. They usually have guests from either end of the political spectrum, and it tends to cluster weirdly.

        I’ve heard of some programming disasters there, but never hit one myself (and hope I never do).

        April 12, 2018
        • Draven #

          imo guest list went downhill when John passed. 😦 😦 😦

          April 12, 2018
          • John’s dead. When did that happen!?

            April 13, 2018
            • Robin Munn #

              1. Which John?

              2. Did “passed” mean “passed away”? Or did it mean “passed on the honor of attending”, e.g., declined an invitation?

              I think if a famous Baen author had passed away recently, we would have heard about it from multiple sources, so don’t worry about your favorite author until/unless you get a much less ambiguous announcement than Draven’s dashed-off comment.

              April 13, 2018
              • BobtheRegisterredFool #

                Ringo, IIRC, has a known history of no longer attending RavenCon.

                He posted, or had someone post, an AAR of a RavenCon trip with an interesting programming choice involving a fairly hard feminist. I only vaguely retail whether or not he mentioned whether he would attend in the future in that post, so that detail may be memory fabulizing.

                April 13, 2018
            • Draven #

              Referring to the former co-chair of Ravencon.

              April 13, 2018
  5. Maybe 15 minutes from my house – traffic should be ok so long as you’re not on I-10 during peak hours 6-10 AM and 4-7 PM, assuming you’re coming in from the west. If you’re coming from the other directions, and gotta traverse Houston proper, you’re boinked. 😦

    April 12, 2018
    • Sounds like we’ve got a contingent of Houstonians and near-Houstonians here.

      April 12, 2018
  6. Sounds fun! Have a great time, and try not to force-choke any drivers (unless they really need it).

    April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      Oh, most of them really need it, but alas the law enforcement folks take a dim view of it.

      April 12, 2018
  7. Zsuzsa #

    “Harry Potter and the Glaring Plotholes”:

    So what are your answers to:

    (1) If you can Fidelus charm your own stuff, up to and including your house, why (a) James wasn’t the secret-keeper for the Potter family, and (b) Voldemort didn’t just Fidelus charm the hiding places for his horocruxes?

    (2) Why, if even Death can’t see through Harry’s invisibility cloak, Dumbledore, Mad-Eye Moody, Mrs. Norris, and a toy made by four bored school children all can? Does Death simply need an eye-exam?

    April 12, 2018
    • I assumed the “Death can’t see through the invisibility cloak” was just a fairytale made up to explain the origins of a cloak of indiscriminate power.

      April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      To 1) a: This is one of the pointers of a crapload of “manipulative/evil Dumbledore” fanfics. They see the gaping plot hole and insert conspiracy. Some of the better answers include speculating that the people who cast it can’t be secret keepers for it (which nicely avoids the conspiracy theories that arise from the theory that it takes an uber-powerful wizard and Dumbles cast it so he knew all along Sirius was innocent). I’m kind of partial to the idea that the Fidelius is more of a ritual than strictly a charm and has specified roles for people who do it.
      For b: the most sensible theory I’ve seen has the Fidelius as a more recent piece of magic which post-dates Voldemort’s descent into madness – but I honestly think the “ritual that has specific roles and nobody can have more than one role when it’s cast” would answer that question as well – to hide his horcruxes with a Fidelius, Voldie would have to trust someone enough to cast it with him, and he didn’t trust anyone.
      To answer 2) well… I can see a couple of theories there. One is that the cloak doesn’t conceal *everything* – Mrs Norris can smell the wearer, Dumbles and Moody are looking at something other than visible spectrum, and the map most likely has a built-in exception for the makers and their descendants because the Maurauders wanted to know where they all were as well as wanting to avoid unwanted authorities. If the cloak really is Death’s invisibility cloak, then presumably Death does not have a sense of smell and has no ability to sense magic – which actually would kind of make sense.

      April 12, 2018
      • Zsuzsa #

        For 1(a), that theory works well as long as you ignore Book 7 where both Arthur and Bill were hiding under the effects of their own Fidelus charm. In fact, that was the reason I never had a problem with it in the first 6 books; I assumed that the Fidelus charm required trust, and trusting yourself not to betray your own interests didn’t count (also why I didn’t have a problem with Voldie not using it because he could never trust anyone else enough to do so). However, coming up with an explanation for why Arthur could be secret keeper for the Burrow and Bill could be secret keeper for Shell Cottage, but James couldn’t be for the Potter house requires either better mental gymnastics than that or the assumption that the Weasleys had much better resources than the Potters (something not backed up by anything in canon).

        For 2, I think it’s mostly a pet peeve of mine that the cloak went from “useful but limited tool” to “uber-powerful magical artifact” in a chapter. I’ve got my own fanfic explanation for it (short version is that it isn’t really an invisibility cloak, that’s just a side-effect of its real power), but I don’t think anyone will ever convince me that the cloak’s status was intended from the beginning and not just a random swerve thrown in for the last book.

        April 13, 2018
    • Tprice #

      My wife and I discuss the HP series huge plot holes somewhat regularly (and yes I think they are a big reason why there is so much HP Fanfic, the need to “fix” things or at least explain them).

      Our general conclusion is JK Rowling had a bad habit of coming up with new magical technology that “has always been there” so solve a current plot problem with no thought to how they would have effected prior plots and tended to forget them when writing future plots.

      Magical Travel and Communication for example.

      The entire end of Book1 hinges on “Dumbledore took a broom to London and it will take hours for an Owl to reach him and Hours for him to get back so Quirlmort has time to get the stone”. Floo Calls, Floo travel, Portkeys, Apperation, Patronis Messaging, the Knight Bus, Fawkes, Mirror Calling, and House Elf Popping (of messages or people) are all ways to completely avoid that plot.

      A number of other stupid plot points (usually involving getting Harry away from Privet Drive) could be solved the same way. Or even just using muggle car to the train/tube station since the magical spots in London, even Grimauld Place, are close to muggle mass transit.

      Oh yah, 5th year, why didn’t they fly/walk out of Hogwarts down to Hogsmead and just use the flue from there since they were to young to apperate? Or take the Knight Bus? Why did the adults who had access to the faster transport methods show up at the ministry an hour or so AFTER the kinds who took the multi hour long flight there?

      April 13, 2018
      • Kate Paulk #

        Oy, yeah. And all of this is why there are so many fanfics of the “manipulative Dumbledore” stripe. They “explain” the plotholes by them being effectively the result of Dumbles being a manipulative evil bastard.

        Honestly, if I ever felt like playing that trope, I’d play it with him and Grindelwald working together to play off each other as Dark Lord and Light Lord, setting up all the idiot wizards to follow one or the other of them. Of course, that would mean the old boy in Nurmengard is a fake of some sort, but nobody ever really sees what’s going on up there anyway, so why not?

        (Which turns Voldie into a tragic victim, manipulated into driving himself around the bend, and makes canon a hell of a lot darker than it actually is – which, given how crapsack Rowling’s world is is pretty damned impressive).

        April 14, 2018
        • Tprice #

          I’ve seen a few fics where the author pulls the switcheroo so Dumbledore is actually Grindelwald who won back in the famous duel and took Dumbledore’s place. Sort of a ‘well outright war/force didn’t work so let’s try the long game of manipulation and molding the next few generations’ plan.

          Helps explain why Dumbledore is an evil manipulative jerk. It’s not _really_ him…

          April 14, 2018
  8. Ben Yalow #

    Enjoy the con; sorry I won’t be there.

    You might want to think about Heliosphere, with Lunacon going away. It’s in almost the same place (the last Lunacon hotel and the current Heliosphere one are about a 5 minute drive apart), and most of the people working on Heliosphere used to work on Lunacon. The art show is mostly non-existent (although it’s been improving from a really negligible start), and the con itself is smaller (although Lunacon had been shrinking, as well, while Heliosphere has been growing).

    It’s hard to say what the program is like, since it’s only been around for two years, and this past year, it included a 1632 minicon, which brought in a number of program participants (there was a full track of 1632 stuff) and a bunch of them were part of the non-1632 program, as well.

    It’s been good enough that I’ll be going back for their third year, next April.

    Disclaimer: I’ve been friends with the people who started Heliosphere for many years, and I’d like them to succeed. And I think the New York City area should have a local convention, and it’s unclear if Lunacon will recover from its second “hiatus”, so I’d support it unless it were really boring — but it’s not, so I can give it a qualified recommendation (anything that new can go really well, or really badly, so I need to include that qualification in my recommendation).

    April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      I’ll have to check them out – they’re certainly a viable trip for me.

      April 12, 2018
  9. “Harry Potter and the Glaring Plotholes”

    I can’t be there, but if I could suddenly develop teleportation, this might be enough incentive all by itself. 😀

    April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      Hehe… There are many, many impressive glaring plotholes in that series, much as I love it.

      April 12, 2018
      • Mary #

        A shocking number.

        April 12, 2018
  10. Christopher M. Chupik #

    And I mean it when I say to stay safe. The Seriously Judgmental Weasels are targeting John Ringo: http://archive.is/RGxZK

    April 12, 2018
    • Draven #

      oh god i want to go to that con… lets see them try to shout down Ringo and Miriam. 😀

      April 12, 2018
      • Draven #

        Besides, John Ringo owes me a beer.

        April 12, 2018
    • TRX #

      Riiiight…

      Someone needs to make a buttload of “Oh, John Ringo, No!” shirts, pins, and posters to take to the con…

      April 12, 2018
    • Someone else made the statement yesterday that basically amounted to “you can’t be everybody’s friend and if you’re not resigning in solidarity, then you’re not an ally.”
      That pissed me right the hell off.
      See, I’m usually pretty quiet on political and social issues. I’m not a political creature. If I were, I’d be in politics. I’m a freaking writer. I use words to entertain people. Well, mostly myself, but anyone else who happens to come along can enjoy them, too. I’m also not the type to use my books as a sociopolitical platform. That isn’t what I do.
      Do I have opinions? Oh, yeah. Loads of ‘em. But I choose to conduct myself in a more or less professional manner because my opinions should have absolutely no bearing on my book sales.
      So a fellow author piping up and telling me I’m suddenly not good enough because I’m not pissed off enough? Yeah, no. Bullshit.
      Why am I required to be outraged just to satisfy the outrage of others? Why can’t I just be a good person? When did being a good person go out of style? Because let’s face it…some of these “allies” are just as horrible as the people they’re fighting against.

      This person, whoever he or she is, sounds so surprised that this standard is being applied to him/her. On a bit of reflection if that person has never been subjected to this kind of standard being applied, then I understand and sympathize with the shock, and personal outrage.

      I wonder how long those principles will stand though, in the face of increasing ragey demands though. I hope s/he is strong, for their own sake, because that kind of thing really erodes one’s spirit.

      April 12, 2018
      • BobtheRegisterredFool #

        I’m a Ringo fan, and I can certainly be an obnoxious twit.

        As bad as she says? I don’t know what her criteria would be in practice.

        I do remember meeting Ringo at a Con in the run up to the 2008 election. This may have been at a point when Obama’s qualities were obvious, but it was before the Democrat convention. IIRC. Anyway, the election came up, and among a few other things, he mentioned friends who were Obama supporters. And not while insulting them for having such opinions. “If you don’t support Obama, you must be racist” I think didn’t generally start burning bridges until after the convention.

        April 13, 2018
  11. sam57l0 #

    LunaCon is now in Earth’s shadow?

    April 12, 2018
    • Ben Yalow #

      Lunacon had generally been an annual convention (it started in 1957, and skipped 1964, officially because of the World’s Fair) through 2014. It then announced it was going on hiatus, and there was no Lunacon in 2015. It then started again in 2016, and was again held in 2017. It then announced there would be no Lunacon in 2018, and made no statement about Lunacons in the future.

      So it’s unclear what will happen to it.

      April 12, 2018
      • Kate Paulk #

        I always found Lunacon to be a friendly convention, if rather more prone to chaotic influences on the programming than any other con I’ve been to. It seems to be a Lunacon curse, because it continued even after they decamped from the H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Hotel.

        April 12, 2018
        • Ben Yalow #

          Programming is one of the three hardest jobs at a convention (hotel liaison and treasurer are the other two, I believe). And it’s both an art form, requiring lots of creativity, and a technical one (ensuring that people aren’t overprogrammed, or underprogrammed, or on two items at the same time, or having the only two panels on be opposite each other, …).

          And then throw in the constraints of rooms, and who you have available as panelists, and ….

          We have tools to assist on some of the ministerial parts of putting together a program, but it’s never easy.

          If you’re planning on coming, be sure to let the programming people know that you’d been on the Lunacon program. That’s one of the departments that has fewer of the past Lunacon staff working on it.

          April 12, 2018
          • BobtheRegisterredFool #

            Setting up programs is hard even if it is one speaker for a regularly heard event.

            Promoting events and wrangling attendance is also, it seems, a perpetual endeavor. But maybe that’s just me being dumb. 🙂

            April 13, 2018
          • Kate Paulk #

            Yes, programming is a hard and often thankless job. It’s remarkable that so many cons manage to pull together interesting programming with everything they’re trying to work around. Some just have a different… style of doing it than others.

            April 14, 2018
  12. Philly to Williamsburg? Take a boat? Or maybe hike down the Appalachian trail? (Having lived in the Washington area for years, and then in the Philly area, I understand your pain.)

    April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      Honestly, if I could, I’d teleport. Alas, I can’t, and geography parks the DC megapolis and its horrific traffic right in the middle of everything waiting to suck all pleasure out of the drive.

      April 14, 2018
  13. Steve #

    Not a guest this year. But Mike Pederson performed our wedding, so we will ALWAYS make time to show up for Raven. ALWAYS.
    Looking forward to seeing you again. 🙂

    April 12, 2018
    • Kate Paulk #

      Awesome! I’ll look forward to it!

      April 14, 2018
  14. Ben Yalow #

    I’m also a bit surprised that Philcon isn’t a regular part of your circuit, since it’s just outside Philadelphia (it used to be inside the city, until the prices got too high; it’s in Cherry Hill now).

    April 14, 2018

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