sylleptic: Ada Lovelace from the 2dgoggles webcomic, posed with her pipe and a giant cog behind her (comics; 2dgoggles; Ada fights crime!)
[personal profile] sylleptic
I had a lot of fun! Despite being in a tired and antisocial state most of the weekend. I missed a bunch of panels that sounded cool, but I bought some new books and the Guest of Honor stuff (Seanan McGuire!) was awesome. And being surrounded by geeky people for the weekend is never bad.


Hotels/Friday
The con was held at a hotel out by the airport, so despite being local, I decided to go stay at a hotel for the weekend. This was absolutely the right decision -- making that half-hour highway drive repeatedly and late at night would have been a pain -- but next time I'm going to shoot for the con hotel itself and not wait so late I have to stay at the one next door. It didn't make much difference, except for Friday night when it was bucketing rain by the time I arrived, so I didn't end up going over to the con hotel at all. *shrug*



Saturday
Saturday I slept in, which was lovely but meant I missed things. I also cosplayed Ada Lovelace from 2dgoggles (the lady in my icon). Nobody knew who I was supposed to be, and there was very little cosplay going on, but I did get a bunch of compliments on my steampunk and my hat (costume top hat with steampunk goggles). A few people thought I was doing Girl Genius, and the best reaction was the guy who quoted me "any plan vere you lose you hat iz a bad plan." Jägers!

I went to one panel on SF/F/H in TV and movies. The blurb was "It holds a special place in our hearts and even inserts the fingers of geek culture into the hearts and minds of mundane culture, but do those Hollywood folks really know what they're doing? Comic books are one thing, but can they do justice to a real SF story?" So that gives you some idea of what it was like. I didn't know any of the panelists, and they mostly didn't seem to know each other, either. It was generally pretty snooty, about both storytelling media and mainstream audiences. I think there are interesting conversations to be had here about both what kinds of stories may be better suited to different media and also how adaptations can succeed or fail, but that wasn't really happening.

But then I went to Seanan McGuire's Guest of Honor talk and it was utterly delightful! It was a Q&A rather than a prepared talk, and ended up being mostly about the Feed and InCryptid universes rather than the Toby Daye books. I had just bought myself the first InCryptid book in the dealers' room and started reading it, or I would have been totally lost for a lot of it. (I do recommend that series, by the way -- fairly standard heroine urban fantasy, but lots of fun.) One of the most interesting questions/answers was about the Aeslin mice, and gave me a totally new perspective on them. Generally, Seanan is wonderfully funny and bubbly and great to listen to, even when she's being bubbly about horrifying wildlife. "Seanan, I'm having a bad day, tell me something that makes you happy." "Have you heard about the Tyrannosaurus leech?!?" (Don't Google it. Trust me.) Also, for the record, it's pronounced SHAWnen, and her alter-ego is MEEra, not MYra.

I also went to her signing table afterward, so [personal profile] maat_seshat, you need to tell me how to mail you things.

In the evening, the Parallax Second Players put on their annual musical thing, a pun-filled play combining some SF/F thing with some musical. This year it was SupermAnnie, in which young Clark Kent ends up in Miss Braniac's home for orphaned superheroes with Bruce Wayne and Wonder Girl Young Wonder Woman. It was very funny, even if I didn't know Annie well enough to get a lot of references. (Last time I went they were doing Avatar and I recognized even less.) They had a lot of great jokes, but I have to admit the funniest bit for me was actually a mistake. They only rehearse for about a day, so there's a prompter backstage giving lines over the loudspeaker, and at one point Lex Luthor paused portentously, the prompter thought he'd forgotten his line and cued him, and Lex snapped back at the disembodied voice, perfectly in character, "I know!" And then everyone in the audience lost it, and everyone onstage fought really hard not to, with mixed success.



Filk
After that, Seanan McGuire, in her other hat as Featured Filk GoH, gave a concert. This was also really cool, though overall a little darker than I like my music. At one point, midway through the concert, she described it as "mad science and fuckin' stuff," which was...pretty accurate. Also, they have a wonderful sign language translator for these concerts, which I remembered from last time -- she sort of dances the translation, and it's really neat to watch her. There were a few songs I really loved: one about dinosaurs that is basically that one scene in Firefly set to music (the translator did T. rex arms and was clearly having a blast), and one called "My Story Is Not Done", which Seanan did as the last song and called "My Story Is Not Done (But This Set Is)".

I also really adored Wicked Girls Saving Ourselves and have been singing the chorus ever since.

Dorothy, Alice and Wendy and Jane,
Susan and Lucy, we're calling your names,
All the Lost Girls who came out of the rain
And chose to go back on the shelf.


It's a great message, about not being the girl who goes to Fantasyland and then demurely returns to reality. It's also a really interesting take on the Problem of Susan. Unfortunately, it runs up hard against my Oz Issues, so I'm still struggling with it a little. Look, okay, here's the Dorothy verse:

Dorothy just wanted something that she could believe in,
A gray dustbowl girl in a life she was better off leavin'.
She made her escape, went from gray into green,
And she could have got clear, and she could have got clean,
But she chose to be good and go back to the gray Kansas sky
Where color's a fable and freedom's a fairy tale lie.


Just as a song, I really like the last line, but then I start thinking about the story. Is this movie-verse or book-verse? I can't tell. Because the black-and-white to color transition is a movie thing, but the movie also suggests it's all a fanstasy. But if it's book-verse, then as far as I'm concerned, it has to be series-verse, because there's more than one Oz book. I have an entire shelf of them at home! And if it's series-verse, then, a few books down the line, Dorothy ends up in Oz permanently. By choice. With her family. So....

In any case, the last time I went to Confluence, the filk GoH was Peter S. Beagle and he did a song called "The Ballad of Mary Read", the chorus of which I am still singing two years later and which I can't find a recording of anywhere, so I think there's always one song that just gets into my head. This year it was "Wicked Girls", issues and all.



Sunday
I only went to a few things on Sunday, but they were excellent. The first was a reading by Tamora Pierce. She was reading an excerpt from Battle Magic, which apparently is just finished and will be the next Circle/Emelan book. It's set between Circle Opens and Melting Stones/Will of the Empress and she says deals with that war Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy were in, which gave them all PTSD. She also says that the next thing she's writing is Numair's book, covering from when his friendship with Ozorne blows up to when he's settled in Tortall, and incidentally showing us Tortall immediately after Lioness Rampant. So hurray for those!

She also told some stories about working with Bruce Coville and Full Cast Audio doing audio recordings of her books. And about what constitutes "family friendly," because they wanted something the whole family could listen to on a road trip. She insisted that the Circle Opens books weren't family friendly, Bruce Coville wasn't so sure. Then he called her months later: "TAMMY!" "Yes, Bruce?" "TAMMY, I READ THE END OF MAGIC STEPS AGAIN." "Okay?" "I WAS EATING LUNCH, TAMMY!" (They eventually opened a teen division and recorded the series.) She also said she initially based Kyprioth in the Trickster books on Bruce, but then had to apologize when Kyprioth did the awful thing he does in Trickster's Queen.

After that, I went to a panel called "I Wasn't Always This Awesome" about negative reviews. The panelists were Seanan McGuire, Tamora Pierce, Michelle Sagara, and Jonathan Maberry (apparently mostly horror, so I didn't know him). They were all hysterically funny, and there was a lot of joking and teasing each other. Miscellaneous things I remember: how the author's name influences your expectations for a book and why that sometimes means pseudonyms are a good idea for different genres; "How I met Sarah Rees Brennan" stories (Seanan's involved Veronica Mars fanfic, though she didn't give any details); a serious note about threats and how being a woman on the internet is not the same as being a man on the internet; objections to people claiming you were ripping off something that was published after your book (Tamora Pierce said that, if anything, Mulan was ripping off her, except for how Mulan was a real person. Seanan piped up that actually she knew the guy responsible (?) for Mulan when she worked at Disney and "he's a big fan of your work!" which completely floored Tammy for a while); and the panel almost getting completely derailed over Twilight (Tammy was extremely vehement that it was "very prettily wrapped, sugar-coated poison," which was an argument the only guy on the panel had apparently never heard before). Also, I want to check out Michelle Sagara's latest book, which everyone said was really good and also has a character with ASD.

After that, I got lunch and hung around in the con suite for a little while. I managed to successfully insert myself into a conversation by saying, "Wait, no, you mean the median, not the average," which is as good a sign as any that I was among my people.


And then I went home and collapsed in a happy heap.

Date: 2012-08-07 06:48 am (UTC)
maat_seshat: Hakkai with green ball of magic, looking sneaky (Hakkai)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
You're alive! I completely forgot about Confluence and wasn't sure why you'd disappeared off the internet last weekend. :-) It sounds like it was awesome! Pity there weren't more people cosplaying, but I really liked the version of that Ada Lovelace costume that I saw.

I like the first InCryptid book, too, and I love Verity's determination to keep dance in her life while at the same time being an effective protector. What was the revelation about the Aeslin mice? I thought they were cute in a deeply irritating kind of way, so anything that develops them more is exciting.

Also, Wicked Girls Saving Ourselves must have been so fun in person. I've seen it on Youtube, but scratchy, shaky camera just isn't the same. I always thought the Dorothy bit was movie!verse, with a refusal to buy into the way the movie tries to shut down imagination (and Dorothy tries to give up her adventure) by calling it all a dream. Because book!Dorothy, from the bit that I remember, was both goofier and more daring than movie!Dorothy.

New Emelan book, exciting! And, yes, Magic Steps is not for children. So disturbing, but in an effective way. And Mulan's treatment of hiding one's gender and proving oneself resembles Tamora Pierce's books a lot more than it resembles traditional stories of Mulan, which seem to go more in the direction of how it wasn't about Mulan hiding her gender so much as it was her adhering to the codes of masculine soldier to the point that her gender was irrelevant and indistinguishable. Honestly, I spend way too much time thinking about cultural dialogues of gender construction, and it's only going to get worse.

That Parallax Second Players show sounds awesome. Portentous villains are always the most fun to play and direct.

As for mailing things, um. Let me get back to you on that? At the moment, I have a job lined up and am in the middle of a visa application so that I can start and get paid for said job, but I may wind up back in the USA for a week and a half if I can manage it, which would be most convenient for mailing things. And even if I don't, I have to move in the next two weeks, which means I don't know what my address will be. (I'm kind of torn between terror and exhilaration.)

Date: 2012-08-09 08:40 am (UTC)
maat_seshat: Honor with a sword, standing in front of a burning protective dome (Honor Harrington)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
Memory is a creepy, creepy thing.

I don't know if you've ever seen the Ballad of Mulan (this page includes an English translation), but one of the things I find most fascinating about it is the emphasis on domestic activities. When Mulan is a daughter, she weaves and sighs. When she leaves, she "doesn't hear" her parents calling and "crosses passes and mountains like flying". When she returns, she fixes her hair and puts on yellow flower powder. The focus on how she signifies what she is, as it were, is pretty strong.

Date: 2012-08-08 04:01 am (UTC)
monopoli: cam ward smiling and wearing a black hat and shirt (Default)
From: [personal profile] monopoli
That sounds awesome! I cannot wait for the new Tamora Pierce books, tbh. I've loved her forever.

Glad you had fun :D

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sylleptic: Ada Lovelace from the 2dgoggles webcomic, posed with her pipe and a giant cog behind her (Default)
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