Jul 24 2017

Back from Readercon. And from post-Readercon.


And I had a lovely time — except for the usual problem of having more people I want to hang with than time to hang with them. There are some people with whom I was able to have an actual conversation; and some with whom I was merely able to greet and exchange a few words; and more who I waved at from across the hall.

I’m naturally introverted — which doesn’t mean that I don’t socialize, merely that I get burnt out more rapidly than your average extrovert. I have to retreat to a neutral corner to recharge at random intervals.

I enjoyed the the panels I was on, and was not too intimdated by the fact that a Guest of Honor was on each of those panels.

I had never met Nnedi Okorafor or Naomi Novik before, and was very interested to hear their Guest of Honor interviews (this seems to be a trend: interviewing the GoHs onstage instead of requiring them to make some sort of speech). I found Nnedi to be a wonderfully graceful, poised and intelligent woman. And Naomi seems to be made of pure, bubbling enthusiasm.   They are quite different from each other — almost opposite — and it was nice to be able to put faces and voices to the words they write.

In the panel on the commonalities between science and magic, I did have to step up and defend science a couple of times.   As one sometimes needs to.    Get a big enough crowd, and there will always be someone who wants to express “Science Bad; Magic Good,” in some fashion.   But science generally wins in those moments because (ahem), science actually exists.  And works.

Magic is a wonderfully expressive and useful and beautiful literary trope, and can be used endlessly to explore all the corners of human nature.   I don’t need to tell you that it can inspire brilliant, ageless works of art; you’ve read those books.

And  you can also use science in literature, in exactly the same way, to the same end.   But if you raise your hand and put forth the idea that science diminishes us, and magic augments us — then you don’t know what science is, nor what it does.

It’s science that augments us — gives us greater understanding of the world around us, helps us live longer, survive disease and injury, and extends the reach of our hands and the scope of our minds.   Whereas magic … is imaginary.

I’m not a hard-SF snob.   I love magic in stories, books, film.   (As long as they’re well-written, that is!)   But my heart belongs to SF.

Hm.  Getting late.   I’ll say more tomorrow.