Stone of Remembrance

August 15, 2011

Worldcon 2011 in Reno

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 19:22

Here’s my schedule for Worldcon, which begins here in Reno in just a few days:

Thursday, August 17

13:00 – 15:00, Writers Workshop, Section G (Workshop), Naples1 (Peppermill)
with Gerri Balter, Elaine Isaak

We’ll be reviewing and commenting on some novel excerpts we received in advance.

18:00 – 19:00, Online Networking Before Social Networks (Panel), A09 (RSCC)
with Tom Negrino, Brad Templeton, Lynn Gold
I am the moderator for this panel.

Before MySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook, there were CompuServe, AOL, GEnie and USENET. Yes, people were married, divorced, friended and unfriended (remember kill files?) online before 2005.

19:00 – 20:00, 1632 and Beyond (Panel), A04 (RSCC)
with Eric Flint, Chuck Gannon

What happens when a West Virginia town is transported through time and space to 1632 and finds itself in the midst of the Thirty Years War? The panel discusses the challenges of writing such an alternate history and how they collaborate to bring the universe to life.

Friday, August 18

11:00 – 12:00, Autographing: Fri 11:00 (Autographing), Hall 2 Autographs (RSCC)
with Brad Beaulieu, Jim Young, Kay Kenyon, Jean Johnson, Ellen Datlow, Greg Bear

13:00 – 14:00, Who is this Robert E. Lee person? — How Much Background Information is Really Needed in Historical SF (Panel), A05 (RSCC)
with Harry Turtledove, Connie Willis, Caroline Mullan

Writers of SF based set in historical periods or of alternate histories have to maintain a fine line between supplying enough information that the reader understands the situation but not so much as to insult most of the readers. Does a writer need to explain what Gettysburg was? How about the Little Round Top? How about who Robert E. Lee was?

Saturday, August 19

13:00 – 13:30, Reading: Walter H. Hunt (Reading), A14 (RSCC)

14:00 – 15:00, KaffeeKlatsch: Sat 14:00 (KaffeeKlatsch), KK1 (RSCC)
with Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Harry Turtledove

July 14, 2011

Readercon 22

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 07:34

Here is my schedule for Readercon:

Thursday July 14

9:00 PM, ME Bookaholics Anonymous.
Michael Dirda, Walter H. Hunt (leader), Jennifer Pelland.

The most controversial of all 12-step groups. Despite the appearance of self-approbation, despite the formal public proclamations by members that they find their behavior humiliating and intend to change it, this group, in fact, is alleged to secretly encourage its members to succumb to their addictions. The shame, in other words, is a sham. Within the subtext of the members’ pathetic testimony, it is claimed, all the worst vices are covertly endorsed: book-buying, book-hoarding, book-stacking, book-sniffing, even book-reading. Could this be true? Come testify yourself! We especially encourage anyone new to Readercon to attend.

Saturday July 16

10:00 AM F Book Inflation.
Tom Easton, Leigh Grossman (leader), Walter H. Hunt, Rosemary Kirstein, Howard Waldrop.

For decades, SF novels had an average length of about 200 pages, and to write an SF novel of 450 pages was exceptional and A Statement. Now, 450 pages seems average. What are the forces that caused this change? Why, in an era when attention spans are supposedly shorter than ever, are big books the norm? What are the effects of longer books (and longer sequences of books) on our experience as readers? Have writers lost the art of economy? Is there more immersive pleasure in long books than short?

Sunday July 17

10:00 AM G Great War Geeks Unite, Part 2.
Walter H. Hunt, Victoria Janssen (leader), Barbara Krasnoff, Alison Sinclair, Howard Waldrop.

Last year, the Great War geeks filled a room; there were so many that we barely had time to introduce ourselves before the time ran out. This year, let’s try to focus on a single topic: What makes the period of World War I so fascinating to speculative fiction writers and readers? Is it because The World Changed or is there some other reason? Let’s chat and maybe get some future panel topics out of our discussion.

11:00 AM E Autographs.
Walter H. Hunt, Alexander Jablokov, Rosemary Kirstein.

1:30 PM VT Reading.

2:00 PM Vin. Kaffeeklatsch.
Walter H. Hunt, Rosemary Kirstein.

June 11, 2011

Tree Lobsters!

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 11:53

Thanks to David Brin, I recently started reading Tree Lobsters. It’s amazingly funny. I even added it to the links over there —-> for your easy reference.

Funny stuff, and skeptical/scientific. Besides, they have commentary checkboxes for ‘rock’, ‘paper’, ’scissors’, ‘lizard’, ‘Spock’. If you don’t get that, look here or here.

May 27, 2011

Balticon 2011

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 06:54

I leave this morning for Balticon. This is my schedule for the convention:

  • Friday, May 27: 1930 (Pimlico) – Reading.
  • Friday, May 27 – Saturday, May 28: 0000 (Salon A) – Eye of Argon, The Reading
  • Saturday, May 28: 1300 (Salon D) – Fantastic Books Presents. Note: this is the presentation by the current publisher of A Song In Stone.
  • Saturday, May 28: 1600 (Belmont) – History as a Source of Fantasy (panel)
  • Monday, May 20: 1100 (Maryland Foyer) – Autographing

I will also have a copy of the just-published Rails of New England with me.

Hope to see some of you there!

April 8, 2011

Manifesto

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 17:22

If only I’d had an instruction manual, I could have gone about overthrowing regimes earlier. Who knew? Mark Jackson, that’s who. Mark is a gamer and pastor, and I always enjoy reading his game reviews. This one was just funny.

It’s apparently original to this site.

March 14, 2011

Japan Before And After

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 22:42

There is a fascinating display here.

Drag the sliders to the left and right to show before and after pictures of the sites devastated by the recent quake and tsunami. They’re very striking.

Thanks to Ted S for sending this along.

March 10, 2011

Josh Beckett and Star Trek

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 15:19

Courtesy of Steve S., friend, fan and fellow baseball nerd: how Josh Beckett and Star Trek Films parallel each other.

“Josh Beckett’s tenure with the Red Sox is in sync with the quality of the Star Trek movies. Don’t believe me? Don’t understand me? Follow along… it is logical.”

And, surprisingly, it is. . .

March 5, 2011

Goodnight Dune

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 12:53

“Goodnight sardaukar and goodnight gom jabbar.”

I don’t think I even need to provide more wiseass commentary. Read this. It’s hilarious.

March 1, 2011

Usually, the process and will be lost.

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 14:45

This is something my daughter found.

Try inserting a phrase into the Bad Translator and it will perform a series of consecutive translations.

I tried:

“Do not meddle with wizards, for they are fickle and quick to anger,”

which is (I believe) Gandalf’s admonition in Lord of the Rings. It gave me the phrase in the title. The process is deterministic – it always processes the phrase through the same set of languages in the same order – but it’s like a big game of Telephone.

My hovercraft remains full of eels, by the way. In case you were wondering.

February 28, 2011

Gamer Brain

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 08:47

Stuff floats by all the time, and sometimes it’s intriguing. Consider this concept, that certain parts of the brain are stimulated by certain kinds of gaming experiences:

  • Socializer
  • Conqueror
  • Achiever
  • Mastermind
  • Seeker
  • Daredevil
  • Solver
  • Survivor

Worth a look. Originally found here, credit to Eric Martin for posting it to the Geek.

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