Laura is back on US soil! Granted, in San Francisco, but it makes me happy nonetheless. She’ll be visiting with some of her NASA peeps at Ames over the next few days, before heading back here, and us proceeding on to Dragon*Con.
I’m sure she’ll have some experiences and images to share, now that she’s back from behind the Great Firewall and done with intensive coursework, so keep an eye on her feeds over the coming days and weeks.
We leave for Dragon*Con in a few short days, and I am quite stoked. It will be wonderful to reconnect with tribemates, both old and new, as well as to decompress a bit from the New Job, and properly (and belatedly) celebrate that employment transition.
Speaking of the New Job, it continues to be excellent. That said, between making daily on-the-fly changes to the evidence-based medicine course, as well as covering for other people to ensure adequate coverage for Dragon*Con, I haven’t made time to pass on some fun and interesting stuff in this forum.
This will be remedied shortly…
Did I ever have a wonderful part 2 of my Balticon post-mortem for you! Then, through a series of events that could only happen to yours truly, I somehow deleted it prior to posting.
It will see the light of day… just not until after this weekend. It is coming, and will contain many entertaining and confounding anecdotes, such as how the above cry has become immortalized as my new moniker.
As to this weekend, I am about to head out to meet up with Laura (on the way back from Ireland) and catch a plane out to Phoenix for the Wingin’ It pool party, which should be quite fun and interesting, given recent developments.
Tee is unable to make it. I have been deputized by him to say something in his absence. This could be dangerous.
Balticon 41 was, hands down, the most interesting convention I’ve yet attended. As I am greatly fatigued and need to rise in a few short hours to put on a good face for orientation at the new job tomorrow – ignoring the fact that I just worked at this same place for four years, and only left two years ago – I’ve decided to save my personal thoughts on my Balticon experience for another day.
Some of the excellent people I hung out with there have posted some great insights elsewhere, which are worth your time to read – a few of these belong to Steve Eley, Christiana Ellis, and Matt Wallace.
By virtue of it being “her” camera, Laura has quite the number of images up in her Flickr account.
All that said, Matthew Wayne Selznick‘s retrospective is truly a home run. It’s been hard for me to put some of my feelings about our convention experience, and this community we’ve found ourselves in, into fulfilling words. Matt did.
My words, soon.
Balticon was great, and interesting, and fun. Then Real Life (TM) had a few things in store for me when I got back, between work-related fun and car repairs, so this has been quite the distracted and slow-to-recover week. I’ll have my own recap of Balticon and related excellence on the ‘morrow.
Laura finally has her visa for the China trip to ISU, so things are finally falling in to place. Last night and today fall under the category of “socializing with peeps before Laura leaves for months,” with us departing for Williamsburg, VA, and the company of friends shortly. As Laura will be doing some events with the incoming NASA academy crew tomorrow, I should have some time to play catch-up with those I haven’t yet from this past weekend.
Then again, sometimes I’m a bit of an optimist.
I’m leaving for Balticon today, with a plethora of gameage and libations in tow. Laura will be joining me this evening, upon return from her Colorado trip, and some degree of gibbering madness will ensue.
If you’re not going, be sure to peruse the website to check out some of what’s going on. Things I’m looking forward to? The biggest, for me at any rate, is going to be hanging out with people both podcastery and authory. Michael and Evo are special guests this year, and there’s a whole podcasting track lined up. Notable things include on-site recordings of Wingin’ It and Geek Fu Action Grip, among many others. I have the pleasure of contributing an “evil” voice to the Mr. Adventure episode being recorded there, as well!
Other notables include author guests of honor Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, as well as events surrounding our favorite sculpturist Lisa Snellings-Clark, and her PoppetPlanet project. The science track is pretty stacked as well, which is great to see.
It will also be great to see Ronnie and his wife Lora again, as they are coming out for the convention as part of a vacation trip. Hopefully we’ll get some of his local gaming friends to make the trip up as well. Not that there will be any massive time for gaming available, but one can always hope… I think we’ll try to get a group together to see the glorious mess that will be Pirates 3 on Monday evening, as well.
If you can make it out, do so! If not, we’ll be in touch on the other side…
Before going to Balticon, I’ll recap a bit of RavenCon for you.
RavenCon was this past April 20-22 in Richmond, VA. It is a convention focusing on “genre” fiction – sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery – in literature, as well as other media. This year was only its second year, but it has already been highly praised for the quality of its content and it’s organization. Guests of honor have included Terry Brooks (New York Times bestselling author, most noted for his Shannara series) in it’s inaugural year, and Robert J. Sawyer (Hugo and Nebula award winner for Best Novel) this past year.
Laura and I have had the pleasure of doing science panels during the last two conventions. Unsurprisingly, Laura’s focused her talks on NASA and space science, while I’ve been doing medicine and infectious diseases. These seem to have gone very well, and been excellently attended. I have been asked why a “science fiction” convention would have panels dealing with science; if you really need me to tell you that one needs to have a good understanding of objective scientific fact in order to write great fiction, then you’ve got a bit of life-pondering to do.
Here are some of the things I found great about RavenCon, in no particular order:
- Although I was unable to participate, the high school outreach, organized each year by Tee Morris, is brilliant on so many levels. A group of convention guests goes to Monacan High School near the convention to visit with the students. Laura had the opportunity to talk NASA with an astronomy class, which was very cool. She documents her experience here.
- Laura did two space-related talks, and I did a pandemic influenza panel entitled “The Once and Flu-ture Plague.” We also did a kaffe-klatch together, which was interesting and different and good. Everything was well attended, and everyone came with plenty of questions, which is the whole point, of course.
- Meeting Robert J. Sawyer was excellent. His latest novel, Rollback, sounds fascinating, and it’s going to get prioritized near the top of my “to read” list, I think. If you want to hear an great interview he gave Tee at the convention, check out the Special Edition #010 episode of the Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy here.
- Getting a chance to hang out with many of our favorite podcasters and authors is always a treat. I finally got the chance to meet the Geeklabel guys, and catch up with Tee Morris, Tony Ruggiero, “podcasting’s own” Rich Sigfrit, Paul Fischer and Martha Halloway, Rich White, and Stuart Jaffe, among many others.
- Laura has Flickr photos from Ravencon here.
Overall, an excellent and successful experience! Laura and I both look forward to participating again next year, and hopefully work with the convention organizers to expand the science track a bit more.
But now, Balticon looms…