This was the only panel I was on at Worldcon--and indeed my first ever. The description was exactly the same as the Bittercon panel:

"Stories about stories. When can the teller of a story successfully interact with the story, and when is it a cheat?"

This may have been a mistake--it may have attracted more people if it had been more detailed.

Read more... )

Anyway, I had a really great time, for which I am *abjectly* grateful to the audience, who contributed so much and kept the conversation flowing in a way that just two panelists could never hope to do. The audience really made this panel work and I hope they enjoyed it half as much as I did.

As I said then, if anyone there has more to add, or wants to tell me what I've forgotten, please do. And I welcome further discussion from everyone else, as always. I'm temporarily turning off screening of anonymous comments to faciliatate the discussion--though from Wednesday through Friday, Japan time, I'll be offline.

Oh, and if it's a spoiler, either ROT13 it or put it between <span style="color: #999999; background-color: #999999"> </span>. Thanks.

Somewhat to my surprise, Worldcon has e-mailed me asking me to fill out a program participation questionnaire. (I thought maybe they were sending to everyone, but Chad hasn't got one and I was given to understand that as an actual scientist he was much-desired by programming.) Anyway, I have some ideas about topics I might volunteer to talk about, but it's often illuminating to get outside perspectives on this: so if I were on a Worldcon panel, what would you want it to be about?

(I'm going to offer up all of my Bittercon panels as ideas, too, though I wouldn't volunteer to be on any of them but the Risky Narratives one. Did I mention how much fun that was? Even if it took way more time than I expected, keeping up with the discussions; can't type as fast I talk and all that. Wicked cool.)

Really last one:

Wish Fulfillment

A wish-granting entity shows up and tells you that you can have, be, do, etc., any one thing in science fiction or fantasy. What do you pick?

Me, this is a no-brainer: I join the Culture.

This post brought to you by another half-hour of my life wasted doing stretches for the bursitis in both hips, not to mention all other minor medical stuff, and the ever-present knowledge that I will never have enough time to read all the books I want to.

Last one; I really hadn't meant to spend my night doing this.

Thieves Guilds and Other Criminal Societies

The Thieves Guild is a common staple in fantasy novels. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books parody it; Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora critiques it; and Steven Brust's Taltos novels examine a more modern Mafia-style version. What's good, bad, interesting, boring, otherwise worth talking about when it comes to this idea?

Bittercon panel number three. And dual-purpose of getting something off my to-write list!

Levels and Limits of Metafictionality

Stories about stories. When can the teller of a story successfully interact with the story, and when is it a cheat?

Examples that I think work (how they do is spoiler-protected and cut for length): Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, in which kids cross into another world and it looks like their "let's pretend" game is real; the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, where a fan of a musical plays a record, imagines the production, and talks to the audience about the songs, staging, artists, and story; Katherine Blake's (Dorothy Heydt) novel The Interior Life, in which a housewife has detailed daydreams about a secondary fantasy world. What else? And is Dream of the Endless automatically disqualified?

(Don't spoil people, please: ROT13 spoilers or put them between <span style="color: #999999; background-color: #999999"> </span>.)

spoilers )

Bittercon panel number two. Yes, my personal biases are showing; what of it?

Risky Narrative Strategies

Sarah Monette's Mélusine sends one of its two first-person narrators into a tailspin on his third page and drives him crazy before the chapter's over. It certainly doesn't play safe, but it's also risky because it gives the reader very little baseline for the character—particularly since the POV is so tight and he doesn't cross paths with the other narrator for a while. What other narrative strategies are risky, and how? Is information flow the principal kind of risk? In what books do risky strategies work, and in what don't they—but in interesting ways?

Presume that there will be spoilers for Mélusine and The Virtu within; for any other works, ROT13 spoilers or put them between <span style="color: #999999; background-color: #999999"> </span>.

Seen various places: panels for Bittercon, the virtual con for those of us who'd like to be at any of the cons this weekend. I'm going to toss out several in a row, starting with:

The Napoleonic Wars in SF/F: What's the Appeal?

Space opera's been using the naval parts of the Napoleonic Wars as models for a while. Susanna Clarke and Naomi Novik have recently set fantasies in slightly alternate versions of the Napoleonic Wars. What's the appeal? Is this just the influence of Patrick O'Brian and Georgette Heyer showing through? Why are the tactics so fascinating to space opera writers? And what's so interesting about society of the time that both Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the Temeraire series make an effort to fix it?

References: prior LJ post asking for suggestions to propose a Readercon panel that never went anywhere; Crooked Timber's seminar on JS&MN; my booklog posts on the Temeraire series (bonus: an old LJ post on platonic romance as the second book's structure).

May 2017

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