This post is going to be a bit of a whine. We’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues this year and it seems that things get better and then they get not so very much better — meaning things slide downhill. I was just congratulating myself that I’d made it through Capclave okay with only a minor headache and a few muscle spasms. Then, I felt up for World Fantasy Convention (WFC) in Columbus, Ohio. Had a great time at both conventions.

Got a lot of exercise as well as fresh air walking about within a 1/2 to a mile of the hotel while in Columbus. However, had a couple of severe muscle spasm and a low grade migraine the last two day which got worse on the drive home to Maryland. The day before we left to come home, our cat sitter texted that the cat, Dorian, had a few accidents but was still greeting her when she came to the house and didn’t seem lethargic.

Just after Christmas last year, Dorian had a severe downturn in his health but recovered and is known in the vet’s office as the miracle cat because they didn’t think he’d make it at all. He’s got a heart problem and only 1 half of a functioning kidney and is 14 years old going on 15 (so in cat years that mid-70s). We got home to number of accidents (from both ends – use your imagination) throughout the house. We called the vet and took him right in. He was dehydrated and with really high levels in his blood work that indicate his kidney may be shutting down. They did some rehydration and gave him anti-nausea meds along with some other medications. We took him home and had to bring him in again today. He was there all day for treatment. His tests came back today much better in some way and yet still worrisome. He’ll go in again tomorrow and then we may, depending on his test results, have to start making some very hard decisions about his quality of life. He’s more active and moving about but seems not himself. I’m cautiously optimistic but still worried.

Afterall, what can you be but cautiously optimistic when the cat sits and stares at the bubbling water bowl for extended period so time. Maybe it is cat meditation. Currently, he’s crawled under the lowest level of the cat tree and is not sleeping but probably contemplating the universe and his place in it.

Meanwhile, the magazines (SFRevu.com and GumshoeReview.com) went up as planned on November 1st. However, I still have some things to do — essential the reviews I was doing still need to be finished and added to the contents as well as writing the overview editorial for each magazine. Hoping that a good nights sleep will finally vanish the migraine — it is really hard to think clearly when someone invisible is using your head for an anvil.

If the headache finally eases off with a good nights sleep, I can finish up tomorrow while Dorian, the cat, is again at the vets. But, with so much stress my allergies and asthma have kicked in. This puts a bit of perspective on the migraines — though on the whole, lots of pain vs difficulty breathing seem to be in a tie.

Life goes on so far.

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Cover of A Jane Austen Devotional by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
A Jane Austen Devotional by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Compiled and written by Steffany Woolsey. Cloth bound hardcover. ISBN: 978-1400319534. 224 pages. Thomas Nelson; Gift edition (January 10, 2012). (Amazon: $10.76 / Kindle: $8.79)

Each day of the year has a quote from one of the novels of Jane Austen or from one of her letters to family. If you love all things Jane Austen then this is a lovely volume to have. It’s not a calendar but more of a jumping off point for meditation on family, friends, society, expectations, and daily life.

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Slept in this morning so didn’t get down to our first panel until 11. But feeling much better today with a bit more sleep last night.

11:00 a.m. Beyond Strong Female Characters.
Panelists: Ellen Kushner (leader), Terri Bruce, Kathleen Howard, Delia Sherman, Natalie Luhrs. (No Photo)
Description: In a 2015 post on Tor.com, Liz Bourke puts forth that “volition and equal significance are better ways to think about, and to talk about, women’s narratives and storylines and presences in fiction,” rather than agency or strength. Bourke goes on to discuss the possibility of different types of heroism, and the possibility of a character being able to make choices in one form or another. The essay ends with the questions “Is the female character represented as having a will of her own? Does the narrative respect her volition? Does it represent her as possessing an equal significance with everyone around her, even if people around her don’t see her as equally significant? Does it, in short, represent her as fully human? Fully human, and not a caricature or a type?” Panelists will discuss ways to give women equal significance beyond physical strength.

NOTES:
Some comments in no particular order.
Need true well-rounded characters that come alive on the page. However, most writers are also readers and we all have some shorthand phrases to sketch characters and indicate a type or trope and most overcome that handicap when writing.

Noted that there’s never a program on going ‘beyond the strong male character’ which says a lot about how men and women are viewed when the term strong comes up.

Strength does not need to be physical — sometimes it is endurance, logical response to situation cues, or other non-aggressive reactions. Need mental as well as physical abilities — to think outside the box sometimes.

One way to tell if you have a well written character is to think would this anger me if written by someone else.

Character must learn and grow not be TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Must be able to change and be adaptable.

My husband attended the panel on Colonization….
Colonization and Beyond Panel Members

11:00 AM Colonization and Beyond: The Fiction and Science of Exoplanets.
Panelists: Diane Martin, Gregory Feeley, Jeff Hecht (leader), Vandana Singh, Ian Randal Strock.
Description: In the last few years NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered over 2,000 real planets around other stars (exoplanets). But can we ever reach them? This panel will explore the differences between science fiction’s portrayal of interstellar travel with the reality of such a journey. Speculative concepts for humanity’s eventual settlement of distant planets have been the stuff of science fiction for well over a century. How has science fiction addressed exoplanets, and what technology—now in place or still fictional—will get us to those worlds some day?

NOTES:
While the panel was billed as discussing exo-planets, the discussion really ranged over the more general topic of planetary exploration in general, based on the idea as one panelist put it: Exo-planets are the new mysterious thing to look at because we’ve explored the solar system and found it boring. There are no canals on Mars, and no jungles on Venus.

Several tried and true topics were rehashed, such as whether or not we have the right to explore other planets, and if so, how much care should we take to not contaminate any indigenous (most likely microbial) life we might find there. Do we have the technology to reach other planets? Most science fiction is still wrapped around fantasy elements like warp drive and wormholes which, while scientific in concept, still have no basis in currently workable scientific theory. Colony ships were mentioned, but dismissed with the warning that they’d either fail due to extreme complexity, or that the people that arrived wouldn’t really be us. An interesting point was that it may be impossible (or at least extremely difficult) for a pregnancy to come to term outside the normal gravity of Earth. The panel was divided into two primary factions. One that seemed to take the view that we either can’t do it (too expensive, too difficult) or that we shouldn’t do it (ethics). The other that we can and should. We may not be able to do it now, but that’s never stopped us before, we just need a bit more bootstrapping. A final topic discussed was on the tone of science fiction. Strock believes that we need SF to recapture some of the old fashioned feel of going out and having adventures … proving that humans can be a force for good, if for no other reason that to stop it from being so depressing. Others on the panel disagree, feeling that the current SF, as dreary as it is, is a more accurate portrayal of the foibles of humanity that still need to be overcome, not just waved away with magically diverse and accepting Federations.

NOON. Engineering in Fantasy.
This sounded like such a good panel and I went to the room and found it had been moved next door which was a smaller room. It was packed with a triple line of people standing in the back and already warm so I moved to another Noon panel.

Colonization and Beyond Panel Members

NOON. Red Planet Rover, Red Planet Rover, Will Humans Come Over?
Panelists: Ian Randal Strock, Jim Kelly, Sioban Krzywicki (leader), Jeff Hecht, Lisa Cohen.
Description: With talk of private space flight and one-way trips to Mars, is any of it really likely? Is it achievable in the near future? Is there any real demand and is it possible to ensure it isn’t only for the fantastically wealthy? What would it take to make Mars a round trip, even if it is a very, very long layover? We’re discovering that the void of space is far more hostile to humans than we’d thought; can problems like radiation, weightlessness, and boredom be solved for the near future?

NOTES:
Strong agreement that money is always an issue.

Yes, we can go technically on all issues but should we since it is very likely to be a failure on many points?
Personally, I felt that they panelists were unduly negative, but I could see their points. It is highly likely that not all possible variables can be pre-planned for because for a first try there will be a lot of unforeseen problems and deaths are highly likely and probably inevitable to some degree, possibly for everyone sent.

Other issues discussed was the medical problems of weightlessness and effects on the body and balance/coordination, radiation, and boredom. Again, lots of negativity when, in reality, all of these items can be overcome, even if they haven’t been yet.

Lots of time spent on whether we have the right to go to another planet at all whether or not indigenous life exists or not. We’d be terraforming it just by being there and do we have a right to do that. Should we wait until we’ve done a better job searching for indigenous life? Frankly I think that part is overstated. Mars is a big planet. A colony in one spot will not destroy evidence on the rest of the planet.

What about children born on Mars or on the trip out? Could they survive back on Earth if that became necessary. Again, lots of frowning, but very little research has been done on these points to determine if they’re truly a problem or not.

Lots of interesting issues to contemplate.

If Thor Can Hang Out with Iron Man Panel Members

1:00 P.M. If Thor Can Hang Out with Iron Man, Why Can’t Harry Dresden Use a Computer?
Panelists: Elaine Isaak, E.J. Stevens, Gillian Daniels, Andrea Phillips, Alex Shvartsman.
Description: In a series of tweets in 2015, Jared Axelrod pondered “the inherent weirdness of a superhero universe… where magic and science hold hands, where monsters stride over cities.” This is only weird from the perspective of fantasy stories that set up magic and technology as incompatible, an opposition that parallels Western cultural splits between religion and science and between nature and industry. Harry Dresden’s inability to touch a computer without damaging it is a direct descendant of the Ents destroying the “pits and forges” of Isengard, and a far cry from Thor, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch keeping company. What are the story benefits of setting up magic/nature/religion and technology/industry/science as either conflicting or complementary? What cultural anxieties are addressed by each choice? How are these elements handled in stories from various cultures and eras?

NOTES:
Someone made the point (and I don’t remember who and I’m paraphrasing anyway) that SF is about the futures that we don’t want or are afraid of while Fantasy is about possible wonderful pasts that we wish we’d lived in. Personally, I think we have a lot of SF that is about futures we wish we’d achieve also, but that’s just me.
There’s a lot of fear of old ways of life being driven out by new ways — makes people nervous and afraid.
Fear that technology will take away our humanity — becoming cyborgs or robots.
I believe it was Phillips that said: Whether something is science or magic depends upon whether you deploy the word ‘quantum’.

Isaak said sometime along the lines of magic tending to be a limited resource and not everyone could do it. Science on the other hand was something that everyone could do if they learned how — once the machine was set up anyone could turn the crank and make it work (flip the switch and you get lights).

Daniels made and interesting comments about why Iron Man, Thor, and Scarlet Witch could all co-exist. To paraphrase: It’s like Marvel bought up a lot of different properties with completely different rule sets and mushed them into one universe.

There was also a fair amount of discussion on whether magic really remains magic if it’s been reduced to reproducible, controllable, science-like principles, rather than the older philosophy of wild and unpredictable forces, or if it just becomes a less-explained replacement for science.

Tim Powers Interviewed by Gary K. Wolfe

5:00 P.M. Tim Powers Interviewed by Gary K. Wolfe.
Photo Order: Gary K. Wolfe and Tim Powers.
Very interesting conversation where Tim Powers explained where some of the bit of information joined to give him the start on several of his books. He also talked about finding the fantastical/off-kilter bits of biographical information where you could hang a plot within the actual events of a historical person’s life.

We took the rest of the evening off.

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Thursday: July 7th, 2016

We drove up yesterday (Thursday). We’d planned to leave early but decided to stop at Patient First to check out the splotches that had appeared after clearing brush in the side yard. Result: long delay and poison ivy. Nothing looks, or looked like, poison ivy but there it was. So, prednisone to the rescue and the usual weird side effects. It also meant we didn’t get into the hotel in time for the Thursday night programming — again — even though the GPS saved us from several huge backups along the way so that it ended up only taking 11 1/2 hours.

Friday: July 8th, 2016

Registration opened at 10:00 a.m. and was in an area that allowed lots of free movement. So it took surprisingly little time to get a badge, schedule, map of the programming rooms, and the program book.

Programming started at 11:00 a.m. but unfortunately, we were slow at checking our schedules and figuring out what to attend.

Using Real Historical People in Fiction Panel Members

Noon: Using Real Historical People in Fiction.
Panelists: (left to right) Jeffrey Ford, Steve Rasnic Tem, Tim Powers, Phenderson Clark, Sarah Smith (leader).
Description: From Byron to Philby and beyond, Tim Powers’s secret histories use real historical characters to do things they never did, and say things they never said. What is the author’s responsibility in this situation, to the historical figure, to history, and to the character?

NOTES: In no particular order, the panelists talked of:
Don’t letting the research take over the story
Make sure that you don’t do anything out of character or people will be pulled out of the story (and write to you about it). People have expectations of historical people and you have to make sure that you give reasons that mess with those expectation, unless you’re really writing outside the box of what was.
Google books may help you find original source material dealing with the historical figure.
Google Earth can be very helpful in visualizing places that you haven’t been to or can’t remember details about.
Writers are concerned with authenticity; but, if a fact is going to sound/appear/be unbelievable to the reader don’t use it. Tim Powers gave an example of finding usage of the word groovy, in the 1960’s context, in a book from 1910. It’s a fact, but readers will never believe it.
Readers have an expectation of truth when dealing with historical characters so you must lead them along if you’re going to diverge with information that makes your story plausible.

Fantastical Dystopias Panel Members

3:00 p.m.: Fantastical Dystopias.
Panelists: (left to right) Sabrina Vourvoulias, Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, T.X. Watson.
Description: Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base
their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past
atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as “love is now
considered a disease” rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or
the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?

NOTES: Discussion was wide ranging covering such ideas as:
Can you only have dystopias in fiction or do they exist in reality?
Whether it is a dystopia or utopia is often in the eye of the reader?
There’s a difference between stories that have a dystopian background but are about other issues and stories that are about the dystopia itself.
Much discussion over whether “Huckleberry Finn” was dystopia on just a story of reality? Does time make the difference?
If some things are better and some things are worse and some haven’t changed, is it utopian, dystopian or neither?

We then spent an hour or so in the books room and what with talking to many of the booksellers, people we knew, and publishers, we only saw half of the tables. Of course, we also bought several books and will have to go back again this weekend to see the rest. This year the aisles are wide and the atmosphere is very conducive to browsing and shopping. Good for the dealers but not for budgeting buyers.

Unfortunately, we’re beat. I’ve got a head start on a migraine and we’re turning in early.

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This past month has been one thing after another. It seemed like I spent half the month in doctor’s offices or waiting for someone who was in for a procedure to drive them home.

I’m now taking an extra antihistamine and, for the last few days, it’s been making me feel like a zombie. When asked a question there’s a significant pause while I have to parse the sentence and retrieve the answer. May make you drowsy. May make you sleep through your day with your eyes open and minimal functioning. On the plus side the itching is nearly bearable but the headaches are back.

The upshot is that the two magazine (SFRevu.com and GumshoeReview.com) are going to be up online on time but missing the reviews assigned to me. Those reviews will be added in over the next few days as they’ll take me longer to draft, write, and edit. It helps if you’re awake — or so I’ve been told.

I missed Balticon this year also. I got email with my program schedule and I wasn’t on anything as far as I could tell so, since I was feel crappy I decided not stay home and sleep. Hopefully, next year May won’t jump on me with both feet.

Enough whining from me. But hopefully, I can get back to updating my blog regularly.

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Manga Classics: Emma by Jane Austen; Adapted by Crystal Silvermoon, Edited by Stacey King. Illustrated by SunNeko Lee. ISBN: 978-1927925355, Udon Entertainment (June 18, 2015). List Price $19.99 / Amazon $16.93.

Continuing their Austen classics in manga format, Udon Entertainment has released Emma by Jane Austen, adapted by Crystal Silvermoon. The story stays true to the original plot.

Emma’s governess turned companion, Miss Taylor, has just married a local gentleman, Mr. Weston. Emma feels that the marriage proves her ability as a matchmaker and she sets her sights on finding a marriage partner for her new friend, Harriet Smith. Emma believes the new cleric, Mr. Elton, would make a good match for Harriet. Unfortunately for Emma, Mr. Elton has a totally different idea for the role of his wife-to-be.

Emma, as it soon becomes obvious, isn’t as astute an observer of the people around her as she believes she is. Even with warnings from her brother-in-law and close friend, Mr. Knightley, she forges ahead with her plans. There’s a few other plot lines involved in the story as Mr. Westin’s son, Frank Churchill, visits the area about the time a local widow’s niece, Jane Fairfax, drops in for a visit.

Misunderstandings, confusion, embarrassment, and of course a few twists and turns as well as a surprising and a few not so surprising matches between various characters occur. Austen’s books often, or should I say always, end with a wedding or at least a proposed happily ever after to follow the last page.

The artwork is lovely, as you can tell from the cover image. As with most manga, you read from the back of the book to the front and there is a short tutorial explaining how to read the pages (top to bottom but right to left). For those who have never read manga before this is a nice touch so you get off to a good start.

For true fans of Austen’s works you will find some liberties with the social conventions that existed at the time of the story. Women could not write to unrelated men — but, this does take place in this book. There’s also several other social convention that would not have happened to the characters due to their positions in society so some scenes are a bit jarring.

This adaptation will give readers the storyline and the characters with much of the same delightful tone as the original work by Austen. This is a great series and a wonderful way to introduce readers to these classics.

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A Shooting Star Hydrangea with Pointsettias

I love Christmas. It’s the best time of the year as far as I’m concerned. No matter what is going on in my life, Christmas always energizes me and makes me feel alive. I fall in love with my world and the people in it again. That spirit keeps me going for the next 12 months until it is renewed the following year.

At least, that’s how it used to be. This year, well I’m just not feeling it. I’m watching my collection of Christmas movies and for a while I feel the start of that uplifting spirit and then I read the news — or go out shopping. That’s when the spirit just sort of drains away.

It’s little things. The cashiers at the stores smile but it doesn’t reach their eyes. They don’t look at you. I’m obviously female but I’m usually called ‘Sir’ — really. It you can’t be bothered to look at your customer perhaps you can come up with phrases that don’t rely on gender identification.

It’s being cut off in traffic, for a parking space, having doors let go when you’re just a few inches shy of being able to take over. I always make a habit of holding a door for the person behind me or open it for the person in front if they are having problems. It’s just manners. What’s happened to us?

People just seem so angry all the time now. I understand the feeling; I really do. It’s hard when you listen to the talk of hate and bigotry being spewed on the airwaves lately. But really. All humans share this world and we really should strive to make it a better world. We can’t do much but we can take the time to hold an elevator for someone coming toward it when we’re right there by the button. To open a door for someone — male or female. To smile and wish someone a good day.

Life is a series of moments and if each of us will make the effort to smile and do a bit of kindness every day, to think of the things we’re thankful for each night before falling asleep, maybe you’ll help someone else have a good thing happen to them they didn’t expect. They’ll pass on that good feeling and maybe inspire someone else.

Small acts of kindness can build until maybe, just maybe, the Grinch-y feeling will go away for more of us.

Now, I wish each of you a good day, and restful evening, and an even more joyous tomorrow.

Yesterday, we finally decided to do something to decorate for Christmas. The Shooting Star Hydrangea surrounded by Poinsettias has brightened up my living room. Now maybe I can begin to get in the Christmas spirit — I think I’ll put another movie in the player and believe that everyone is looking to make the world a better and kinder place for humans of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

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We had planned to leave early on Sunday but, when we looked at the program for the morning and early afternoon we knew we’d be stay ’til 2 pm. So we got up early, packed, took everything out to the car, ate breakfast, and checked out of the hotel. And just made it to our first panel.

Wish Fulfillment for Happy Adults

9:00 AM – Wish Fulfillment for Happy Adults.
Panelists: John Benson, LJ Cohen, Ann Tonsor Zeddies, Sheila Williams, Betsy Mitchell.
Description: Wish fulfillment for teenagers and wish fulfillment for adults with happy stable lives are necessarily going to be different. Speculative stories are great for navigating the trickiness of coming-of-age, but there’s precious little for those who are already of age and have started to prioritize comfort over adventure. Female readers in particular often turn to romance novels for stories about families and love and kindness, and to mysteries for stories about grown women with agency and purpose. Can speculative fiction draw in those readers by fulfilling different sorts of wishes?

One of the participants said something that struck a nerve with me. As we grow up, we make choices and the choices we make narrows the field. We chose to work for good grades or not. We chose to go to college. We choose a mate and marry. We choose to have or not have children. We choose a career. Each choice narrows the possibilities of the field for the next choice point. Thus, perhaps adults read to see what different choices or different lives than are own would be like.

On the other hand, young people may read to see what might be the results of various choices that they face.

There was the discussion that adults read for comfort and young people read for adventure. I think both — yes, both are true and not true. Personally, I read for my job. But I read for adventure, a change of scene, to gain new ways of looking at things, and for more adventure. I also — when under high stress — turn to stories for the comfort they offer — knowing how it will turn out, enjoying spending time with characters that I like, spending time in a world/time/culture/universe different from my own.

Palantir in Every Pocket

10:00 AM – A Palantir in Every Pocket.
Panelists: Chad Orzel, Daryl Gregory, Ted Chiang, Jeff Hecht, Ken Liu, David Shaw (leader).
Description: In Charles Stross’s “Not a Manifesto,” he writes that the 21st century is “by turns a cyberpunk dystopia and a world where everyone has access to certain kinds of magic. And if you want to explore the human condition under circumstances which might plausibly come to pass, these days the human condition is constrained by technologies so predictably inaccessible that they might as well be magic. So magic makes a great metaphor for probing the human condition. We might not have starships, but there’s a Palantir in every pocket.” This suggests that urban fantasy, which literalizes the “magical” aspects of modern life, provides valuable tools for examining and reflecting the experience of living in the simultaneously glorious and terrible present day. But to what extent does urban fantasy fall prey to uncritically accepting key elements of the here and now instead of exploring and debating them? If urban fantasy is a mirror of the present, are we standing too close to that mirror to see ourselves clearly?

When does technology become so advanced it is considered magic? Or, does all technology we don’t understand seem like magic. Most of us can’t explain how the internet works, but we use it. Does not knowing how something works necessarily mean we’re afraid of it? I don’t think so.

One panelist said something that resonated with me. When I first use some new app or technology, I often try to figure out how it works. I come up with a scheme that makes sense to me with my technical background. Sometimes later I must do some actual digging into code and learn more about it — that’s when I begin to think it’s magic — because a lot of the code doesn’t make sense for what the output is. Eventually, I may have a deeper understanding of what’s under the hood, but in the in between space where my schema and the actuality doesn’t match and the real digging into the bits/bytes begins that where it all looks like smoke and mirrors.

Good panel that raise a lot of interesting ways of looking at technology and our relationship with it.

[Paul’s addition] Both a GPS unit and a pair of 7 league boots are items that anyone can use. Most people have absolutely no idea what goes on inside other than “satellites in orbit” and “spells” respectively. So exactly why is one accepted as Magic, and the other is blithely dismissed as mere technology?

Who Owns SF

11:00 AM – Who Owns SF?.
Panelist: Jim Freund, Diane Weinstein, Kathryn Morrow (leader), Judith Berman.
Description: Writers, fans, and reviewers can all feel a sense of ownership for the genres they love. But different feelings of ownership from different perspectives can clash, leading to litmus tests, competing definitions, and unresolvable arguments about what lies at the heart of a genre. We’ll examine the ways that social power structures influence the question of who gets to define the genre, and discuss paradigms other than ownership—such as exploration or collaboration—that might help readers overcome their differences and learn how to share.

This panel was an interesting discussion of who has ownership of SF. Nothing was solved but some of the history of SF was brought up to lay some ground work for the discussion. The teapot tempest of the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies and the Hugo Nomination Process was touched on also.

Concepts of Privacy in SF

12:00 PM – Happy Goldfish Bowl: Concepts of Privacy in Speculative Fiction.
Panelists: Jim Freund (moderator), Tom Purdom, Meriah Crawford, John Benson, Ian Randal Strock.
Description: Speculative stories and novels have explored and challenged the concept of privacy by positing technology, magic, laws, and societal changes that bring shadowed parts of a person’s life or thoughts into the spotlight—or help them stay hidden. Some portray universal openness as the goal (Spider Robinson’s Telempath) while others dread it (Isaac Asimov’s “The Dead Past”). How have depictions of privacy changed over the decades, and how have those depictions influenced the development of privacy-challenging speculative elements such as telepathy and the omnipresent AI?

This topic has been popular lately at conventions and, while the basic topic is the same, the discussion around that base topic seems to differ from convention to convention.

Our privacy is being eroded by technology and ourselves. Some people use all kinds of tactics to avoid others being able to track them on the internet, while others don’t seem to care what is out there in the wild about them. One member of the panel, said that you shouldn’t make it too difficult to find you because if another ‘naughty’ person that has the same name and you can’t be separated from that person by available data you get tarred by the same brush.

On the other hand, it is fairly easy to hide in plain sight as there is so much data that sifting through it for a specific person or item is time consuming and difficult. Aggregate data for groups is easier to deal with — or not.

All in all, a nice discussion with no real conclusions as you’d expect from the topic.

Transformative Works and the Law and You

1:00 PM – Transformative Works and the Law and You.
Panelists: Sarah Smith, Toni Kelner, Adam Lipkin, Max Gladstone.
Description: Let’s discuss the state of transformative works today. Copyright law and case law in this area is changing rapidly, as is the way big publishing treats transformative works. Remix culture is the cutting edge of 21st-century creativity, and we are all postmodernists. Is the law finally catching up with that, or lagging far behind? Will the fate of copyright and transformative works ultimately be decided by the whims of corporations and powerful literary estates?

This was basically a panel on copyright. Some of the history of publishing and the differences between European and US copyright was touched on. Also touched on was the issue of using items that are no longer under copyright protection (in the public domain).

Somehow, the discussion veered to a discussion of literary executors and how to protect your works after your death. Some interesting examples of where things can go wrong were pointed out. Suggests that a writer’s literary executor should be one person and that person should be someone familiar with your work and what you want done with it. (Cautionary tale was an author whose family didn’t like what he wrote and will not allow reprints.)

Again, a good discussion that opens up new things to think about.

All in all, we had a good time at Readercon and signed up for next year before we left. Next year is in a new hotel.

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