the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘panels

This weekend, I attended my first fully virtual SFF convention, Flights of Foundry.  In fact, at the moment that I started drafting this blog post,  panels were still happening!

 

 

Fresh from the experience, I can say without a doubt- if you have the opportunity to attend and online convention, DO IT.   Flights of Foundry had a suggested donation, but you could register for free.  I did a donation for my registration, and for how much enjoyment I got out of my experience (and no travel expenses!), I plan to send them another donation to show my gratitude.

 

Are there some negatives to a virtual convention? yes, but in my opinion the positives far outweigh the negatives.    Keep in mind I have no idea what technological things were happening behind the scenes,  what I do know is that the volunteers kept the Go To Meeting feeds and Zoom feeds running smoothly,  and there were Discord channels for chats and asking questions in panels (I didn’t register for discord, so I can’t really speak to that).

 

The panels and presentations were done through Go To Meeting, and audience members could hop in an out as they chose,  and the readings, workshops, and other smaller events were done through Zoom. (If you’ve not used those platforms before:  GoToMeeting means the audience can see the speakers but the speakers can’t usually see the audience, and in Zoom everyone has the opportunity to see everyone else, if you have 9 people it looks like The Brady Bunch grid.)

 

The vast majority of panels had sound and video,  but that didn’t mean I was shackled to my desk while I was listening to a panel.  The experience felt like watching a live twitch stream,  or listening to a live radio show.  I was listening on a wireless headset,  so I could wear my headset and walk away from my desk.

 

Here are some  more positives, and this list is long!

– Didn’t have to pay for a hotel room,  didn’t have to put shoes on, didn’t have to wait for a table at a restaurant at dinnertime, didn’t have to drive anywhere or worry about flights or worry about traveling/bad weather. all the stresses and costs of travel were gone.  I literally attended in my pajamas. (and at this point, haven’t we all forgotten how to wear shoes?)

– Registering and getting into the live feeds was super easy.  This convention must have had some tech wizards working behind the scenes!

– Panelists seemed more relaxed, since they also didn’t have to rush around a hotel looking for their next panel room.

– if I’d thought to use two devices, i technically could have listened to two panels at the same time!

– I could fidget to my hearts content because no one could see me.  Those chairs in the panel rooms at hotels? my legs are short, those things are hell for me, I’d rather stand or sit on the floor (and have, on occasion). I was listening to the panels on a wireless headset, so I could walk around the living room, go to the kitchen for snacks, do some light excersize. I could even *whisper* leave a panel that wasn’t what I expected, without being disruptive,  or hop into a currently going panel, without being disruptive.

– not only could I hop in and out and fidget without distracting others, I didn’t have the distractions of an in-person convention. No loud panel rooms next door, no squeaky panel room doors opening and closing constantly, no disruptive audience members.

– I saw that many panels were recorded so people can watch them later. I didn’t register for this service, but I saw that some panels had closed captioning for the hearing impaired!

 

the few negatives were:

– no people watching.  I just had to be OK with the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to people watch or compliment people on their outfits.  I do love me some people watching.

– no socializing, no parties, no “omg how are you!”‘s in the hallways, no random encounters, no thanking people after a panel for doing such a great panel or a wonderful reading, no autograph session. Had I registered for the discord chat rooms, i could have had a more social experience. But also? no awkward social encounters either!

– there was something about a Dealers Room, but I didn’t explore this.

 

I “registered” for a ton of panels ahead of time, which meant those showed up as super convenient links in my email that morning.  But like every con I’ve ever attended, I made last minute decisions about what panels I would go to, and ended up skipping some that I expected to attend.  I did love getting those links on Saturday and Sunday,  they were really convenient!

For those of you who enjoy After Con Reports,  here’s some very brief comments on some of the panels I attended.

Read the rest of this entry »

at least until next year.  Here’s my write up on the panels I attended.  Good thing I wrote up notes while I was there, and typed up a draft of this a few days after returning. It’s been a few weeks now, and my memory is starting to get fuzzy!  If you’ve seen my previous Confusion posts or the after action report I did over at SFSignal, some of this might be a repeat.

tldr: Panels at Confusion were full of awesome. Lots of surprisingly deep conversations happening.

With a heavy emphasis on genre fiction and literary tracks, panel topics included everything from trends in urban fantasy to worldbuilding, to using (or avoiding) bad language, finding an agent, polishing your manuscript, characterization, researching vs making-it-up, and about a gazillion author reading readings.     There was also a large science track of programming,  gaming, anime, weaponry demos and lots of Doctor Who.  Guests and Attendees included many from our community – Cherie Priest, Mike Carey, Saladin Ahmed, Tobias Buckell, Ian Tregillis, Myke Cole, Wesley Chu, Jacqueline Carey, Peter V. Brett, Bradley Beaulieu, Seleste deLacey, Sarah Zettel, Brian McClellan, Lucy Snyder, Sam Sykes, Laura Resnick, Justin Landon (of Staffer’s Book Review), Peter (of Odd Engine) Steve Drew(of reddit/r/fantasy) and more.  Cons are where friends meet up, and where new friends are met. I got chatting with new author Matthew Thyer, and went home with a signed copy of his novella, The Big Red Buckle (it takes place on Mars and is very cool, btw).


During the daytime, confusion is a family affair, and there was full programming for the 10 and under crowd, and the 10-15 crowd as well. This year had a few special events. Saturday morning was Author D&D which took place in the atrium. So long as you weren’t distracting the D&Ders, anyone could observe.  Watching the authors roll their characters in the bar the evening before was pretty surreal as well. I am in a bar. Surrounded by famous people. Who are also drinking, but they are rolling dice and filling out character sheets. Absolutely surreal.  Another special event was the live reddit AMA. we were lucky enough to have elquesogrande, aka Steve Drew, who runs the Reddit Fantasy subreddit.  For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, about a dozen authors were furiously typing away on their laptops, answering your AMA questions.  Convention attendees were welcome to stop in and ask questions, say hi and take photos. there was also Scotch in that room.  it smelled magnificent.  although they are out of date now, you can read all the AMA’s here.

Authors at the Reddit AMA see those gauntlets at the front of the table? no, not the bottles of Scotch, the gauntlets.

Authors at the Reddit AMA

I’m one of those geeks who loves going to the panels at conventions. Hearing experts discuss something interesting for an hour? um YES.  Here’s a few words on the panels I attended (and by “a few words”, I mean more than you ever wanted to know).

Read the rest of this entry »

I heard this cold war era joke all the time when I was a kid:

Under a totalitarian government, a man is able to smuggle his wife out of the country. He promises to write her a letter every week. He knows the government reads everyone’s mail, so he tells her if the letter is written in black ink, everything is the truth, if the letter is written in red ink, everything is a lie. The weeks progress, and she receives letters in black ink telling her how much he loves her, and discussing the weather, and letters in red ink talking about how wonderful the government is and that he never wants to leave. until one fateful letter arrives in black in:

My beloved wife: My life here is complete,  the government sees to my every need and is taking such good care of me that I can not imagine why anyone would ever want to live somewhere else. Therefore I will not be joining you in your new home. By the way, we have run out of red pens.

 

I recently had the honor of being on a MindMeld panel at SFSignal, along with Nick Mamatas, Ian Sales, Bob Reiss, and John Stevens, among others. Here’s what we were asked:

 Recent events have caused the resurgence of George Orwell’s classic 1984. Ever since its original publication, however, genre has tackled and wrestled with the themes of dictatorship, totalitarianism, total war, and more. What works of genre since are worthy of exploring these themes?

Here’s what we said

the responses were kicked around twitter a bit this morning, with discussions touching on dystopian war books, and that not all war book are dystopian, and not all dystopian is totalitarian, etc. It’s complicated and fascinating.

Let’s keep the conversation going: tell me about some fictional works you’ve enjoyed that deal with surveillance societies, dictatorship, totalitarian governments, and such.  No one wants to live that way, so why do we so enjoy reading books with those themes? Have we moved so far past George Orwell’s 1984 that we need to start referring to other works as “Orwellian”, or “somebody-else-ian””

All old jokes aside, with all the NSA stuff that’s come out recently do you see the post office suddenly getting much more popular? I do.

 


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.