Why am I at this Con?

I recently attended LonCon3, the 72nd annual world science fiction conference. There were thousands of people there, all interested in speculative fictions, as fans, writers, readers, publishers and others who help get the fiction into the hands of those who want to enjoy it. Below is something I rapidly wrote after my first day at the conference. It gives a good idea of all the wonderful things I get out of a Con.

Random reflections from random panels and stuff:

I spend buckets of money and travel thousands of miles to attend Cons – speculative fiction conferences. So, I feel the need to justify why I’m here. I can hear the voices now : ‘If you have to ask that, you’re just not getting it’, but my analytical self needs to know. And the writer wants to write it down.

Here’s this totally stream of consciousness recollection of my day:

Waiting in line to get my badge and program, chat to a couple older than me and a uni student (much younger than me). Three different countries. Different lives. All here to have fun.

Figured out program. Sort of. Reminded of all the different reasons I’m here. To see old friends, meet new friends, meet new people who are good business contacts (i.e. agents or publishers), get information, get ideas, feel part of the community, go to Camden market. In other words, do a lot of different thinks with different agendas.

Went to panel more or less on the definition of urban fantasy. Wondered what ‘what’s urban fantasy’s about’ is about. Or, why do we need to define tropes? I think the answer is business (defining what you’ve got makes it easier to sell to agents, publishers and put it in the book store/search engine).

Then to Speculative Zoology session, with zealots as panelists. Fabulous. Mechanisms for predicting where evolution (and the imagination) will take animals and the constraints for life to evolve on other planets/ecosystems. Yeah, cool, but use your basic scientific principles (biology, chemistry and physics). This session also got me to ask the question: If I was to direct evolution of humans, what would I specify? Here’s the answer:

  • 360 degree vision. (yes, eyes in back of my head)
  • pockets (if kangaroos can do it, so should we)
  • make the entry points for the lungs and the stomach separate (no more things ‘going down the wrong way’)
  • redesign skin – it weathers badly, ages ungracefully, is altogether too reactive and generally should be thicker

Tea with fellow writer. Stimulated ideas of the crit group that meets regularly to discuss and collaborate on the business of writing – submissions and strategies to get published and market work.

Panel on rewriting gender. Much discussion about pronouns as related to respecting non-binary gender. I get it, but it seemed the tree in the diseased forest. There are thousands of things symptomatically wrong with the world. The choice of word isn’t meant as a judgement of lifestyle or anything else. Sometimes, words are imprecise.

Fabulous way to end the day – panel on ‘The human animal’ or animals in SF. My own pet theory, that underlies much of what I write, is the lack of distinction between humans and animals. Much science and opinion from panel to support this, but in such a way that it made me realize there is a vacuum in the area. We need more SF that explores who and what animals are to us humans.

Not quite over yet. Degaussing at the pub, looking at Facebook feed. Find a blog post about introverts at cons. Resonated well. Recognized it’s hard. But recognized it has a purpose. Networking. And that may be work. Goal setting is good. Made me realize why I like panels. They are a way I can be at the Con without direct interaction. Alone in my crowded room. Thinking thoughts to share through my fingers.

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