The Short-Short Ravencon Report
Ravencon was a blast – as usual. The drive down wasn’t – again, sadly, as usual. There’s a reason I drive down on the day before. Leaving at 8 and not getting there until 3 is quite enough for me to be exhausted – the trip back took an hour less, just because the traffic was good.
At any rate, all my panels went pretty well, despite the moderator of Harry Potter and the Glaring Plotholes trying to turn it into a critique of the most recent material while ignoring the books that started everything. The rest of us managed to keep bringing things back to the actual topic by pointing out and discussing gaping plot holes.
Future Shock, Moore’s Law, the Singularity, and the End of the Future was a fun discussion about how technology and the rapid changes of the past hundred years have impacted our lives and made it much harder for hard science fiction set in near future times – Jules Verne and his contemporaries often weren’t disproven for more than 50 years, where someone who starts something set ten years from now could well see their ideas obsolete before the book sees print. When we were asked our favorite AI, I had to mention Hex. He might be magical, but he’s unquestionably an AI.
I moderated Medicine in Fantasy, which also included some science fiction medicine and some bits and pieces about general medicine, human biology and its limits, and a few other bits and pieces on those lines. The audience seemed to be enjoying it and the panelists all managed to get a decent amount of speaking time – and I had a few people mention to me afterwards that they really appreciated the panel and how it went.
I was totally outclassed in One if by Air, Two if by Sea, which was about how nautical and aviation tech influences science fiction (and, to a lesser extent, fantasy) – that topic very quickly became almost exclusively military shipping, aviation, and science fiction. With nuclear scientists and former military people as my co-panelists, I was more than a little out of my depth there and let the others carry the discussion. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more on civilian travel, but that wasn’t the way the panel went.
My last panel was Junk Science – all about using technobabble for good, as it were. We covered a range of ways technobabble worked, and had fun despite the panel being at the tail end of the con and a bit thinly populated for it.
Obviously, I’m getting old, because I was so exhausted by the end of it all that I didn’t even attempt to find the dead dog party – I just got myself an early night.
I’m still bloody exhausted, though. I swear, I need a vacation to recover.