- Reassessing Heinlein. You know something’s gone a bit pear-shaped when the panel starts debating, “which is morally superior: Starship Troopers or Ender’s Game?”
- With Friends Like These, aka the “is fandom too aggresively hegemonising” panel. I was moderating, and John Jarrold, Christopher Priest, Caroline Mullan and Chris Garcia were the panellists. I think it went pretty well: Caroline Mullan talked about the nature of literary conversations, Chris Garcia talked about differences he saw in the US market, Christopher Priest talked about pressures on writers, and John Jarrold utterly failed to rise to the bait to re-iterate his objections to this year’s Clarke shortlist, and instead made useful comments about how the UK market worked. So it was all very civil, and we agreed (I think) that it would be nice if Jeanette Winterson et al were generous (per Le Guin) about their sources, but that we should recognise they’re in their own conversation.
- When it Changed. Five women writers discuss their experiences. Lots of interesting ground covered, and certainly a better panel than last year’s “is SF publishing overly masculine?” effort, but I did sometimes feel the panellists didn’t delve as deeply into some of the issues they raised as they might have done. (Oh, and yes, Jaine Fenn was on the panel, and yes, she talked a bit about the marketing of her book.)
- The UK Short Fiction Market. Another panel that I thought might be a bit controversial but wasn’t; I wasn’t moderating this time, but I was on it, with Jetse de Vries, Colin Harvey, Gary Couzens, and John Meaney (who, while entertaining, did tend to run away with the discussion a bit at times). There was one conversation about the technical/economic aspects of the market — where we agreed that markets will probably Find A Way, even if we can’t quite see what it is yet — and another about the creative aspects of the market — where we agreed, to my surprise, that British short fiction is in something of a creative slump, relative to say fifteen years ago. New writers aren’t coming in through short fiction, and short fiction is in no way setting the agenda. But having more or less agreed on this, we didn’t really have anywhere to take the conversation.
What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid
The Reef by Mark Charan Newton
The Coyote Kings o the Space Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust
A Tour Guide in Utopia by Lucy Sussex
The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford
The Patron Saint of Plagues by Barth Anderson
- I would have bought a copy of Celebration, the BSFA 50th anthology, but they ran out of hardback copies at the launch party before I got to the front of the queue. So an early trip to the dealer’s room is in order today.
- The hotel is labyrinthine! And there’s no second floor, which is confusing. But I do like the atrium area.
- I saw someone wandering around with badge number 1243. This is a big Eastercon.
- Went out for a Friday Curry with a large contingent of third row and hangers-on, which was thoroughly pleasant, except for the walk from the hotel, which was bloody cold.
- Geoff Ryman is still taller than me, the bastard.
- The Independent’s view: “Orbital 2008, Britain’s 59th annual National Science Fiction Convention, which started yesterday, is dominated by the death of Clarke last week. And that has meant a hastily re-arranged programme to celebrate the legendary figure’s achievements with a series of talks and lectures. So, there is no place in this year’s programme for Klingon language seminars…” and then they talk about the bondage workshop and the slash panels.