NatCon #2

One thing I had to decide was how many panels to attend. I knew that at least Alisa and Tansy weren’t planning on going to many, but I figured that since I had paid the money to be there – and it was my first con – I should try and get as much out of it as possible. Plus, I was still feeling a bit nervous about all the new people I had met and whether we would manage to keep being friendly for the whole weekend, so I figured I need somewhere to go for refuge, should it come down to it!

I went to one of the first panels of the day… on Second Life, of all things. People who… go on? play on? use? utilise? Second Life fascinate and bewilder me. I found out that people really do make money from it, and was fascinated that they had an in-world funeral for someone because – and these are the dude’s words – the avatar’s player died in the real world. Eventually, though, I got bored, so I left and went to the end of a panel discussion on cliche in fantasy – and wished I had been there for the whole of it, because it sounded like they were actually having a fun and intelligent conversation.

Rachel and I then went along to Richard Harland’s “HIstory of imaginative fiction for YA/children,” which was really more a history of childhood/changing perceptions thereof, rather than the books that have been part of it (someone actually asked him whether Gulliver’s Travels was meant to be for kids… hello!! Are you kidding?!). It would have been more interesting if I didn’t already know pretty much everything he was saying.

Rachel then left because she didn’t want to hear Isobelle Carmody talking about the next book in the Obernewtyn series. I stayed, because I’m a bit of a sucker. She was interesting enough – and she confessed that The Stone Key will, in fact, be the penultimate book, not the ultimate, because she couldn’t fit it all in… it’s meant to be out in November, and then the last should be out next year.

I will now take some time out to whinge about the programme of Convergence2. It was Convention Lite. I understand there were some problems with the guests of honour, but… the panels were not what I expected. I wasn’t interested in the ‘how to be a writer’ panels, but I understand why they were there and was happy for writers to get that forum for dicussing ideas. But there weren’t that many of them, and there weren’t many others either. I was expecting more like the panel I went to in the afternoon – “IS fantasy really all about good vs evil?” – which I was interested in and had to attend because Tansy was on the panel…. But surely this is the very place where these sorts of genre questions can be discussed? Like what makes things fantasy (which I know has been discussed previously), how science-y should scifi be, etc…? Maybe all of these things have been discussed at previous cons and everyone else is just jaded.

This has turned into a long post, and I am tired. I shall leave it here and continue anon (where anon = tomorrow, or any time after that).

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