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February 9, 2006

Making Light at Boskone
Posted by Patrick at 04:44 PM * 131 comments

I sidelighted an earlier version of my and Teresa’s schedule, but below the fold you’ll find the full schedule for all four of this weblog’s front-page posters.

Boskone is a science fiction convention held annually in Boston, Massachusetts. This year it’ll be over the weekend of February 17-19, and the guests of honor include Cory Doctorow and Ken MacLeod. If you’re one of our regular commenters (or even an irregular one) and you’ll be there, introduce yourself. Teresa will be carrying a camera and taking pictures of as many of you as can be induced not to run.

Friday, 5 PM, Gardner
Five Things You Should Never Say to Your Favorite Authors When You Meet Them
Jess Hartley
Parris McBride
Mike Resnick
Edie Stern (m)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Friday, 6 PM, Republic
Great Space Opera
David G. Hartwell (m)
Walter H. Hunt
James D. Macdonald
Steve Macdonald
Ken MacLeod

Friday, 7 PM, Hampton
Reading Series: By Internal Chronology, or the Order Published?
Ellen Asher
Sharon Lee (m)
Steven Sawicki
Joe Siclari
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Friday, 7:30 PM, Dalton
Reading
Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald

Friday, 8 PM, Republic A
How the Scots Invented the Future World
Vince Docherty
Ken MacLeod
Mark L. Olson (m)
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Charles Stross

Friday, 8:30 PM, Hotel Bar
Literary Beer
James D. Macdonald

Friday, 9 PM, Republic B
Grimm’s Fairy Cabaret (lyrics by John M. Ford)
John M. Ford
Ellen Kushner
Delia Sherman

Saturday, 10 AM, Kent
Online Writing and Online Communities
Lenny Bailes
Tobias Buckell
James D. Macdonald
John Scalzi (m)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday, 11 AM, Hampton
Space and Sensibility: Channeling Jane Austen
James D. Macdonald (m)
Beth Meacham
Sarah Monette
Delia Sherman
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday, 1 PM, Republic B
Political SF
Daniel Hatch
Ken MacLeod
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
John Scalzi (m)

Saturday, 2 PM, Kent
Why Graphic Novels (Sometimes) Work
Lenny Bailes
Geary Gravel
Teresa Nielsen Hayden (m)

Saturday, 3 PM, Commonwealth
Kaffeeklatsch
Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday, 4 PM, Republic B
Life Lessons from SF&F
John M. Ford
Esther Friesner
David G. Hartwell
Mike Resnick (m)
Eleanor Wood

Saturday, 5 PM, Gardner
Blogs, BoingBoing and Beyond
Kathryn Cramer (m)
Daniel P. Dern
Cory Doctorow
MaryAnn Johanson
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday, 5:30 PM, Exeter
About Viable Paradise
James D. Macdonald

Sunday, 10 AM, Gardner
Philip Pullman vs C. S. Lewis
John Farrell
Gregory Feeley (m)
James D. Macdonald
Faye Ringel
Mary A. Turzillo

Sunday, 10:30 AM, Dalton
Reading
John M. Ford

Sunday, 11 AM, Republic B
Homage To—or Stealing From—the Classics
John M. Ford
Ken MacLeod
Mark L. Olson (m)
John Scalzi
Karl Schroeder

Sunday, 12 noon, Republic B
Intellectual Property and the Public Domain
Cory Doctorow
Deb Geisler (m)
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Sunday, 1 PM, Kent
Nautical Novels
Darlene Marshall (m)
Beth Bernobich
James D. Macdonald
Jim Mann
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Comments on Making Light at Boskone:
#1 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:12 PM:

PNH: Teresa will be carrying a camera and taking pictures of as many of you as can be induced not to run.

Eeek.

#2 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:30 PM:

I'm going to be unable to make it.

I'd love to buy you guys dinner in NYC sometime, but if you want security around you'll have to hire them yourselves.

#3 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:37 PM:

What the??? I thought Boskone was last weekend. Wait a second, I gotta double check this... Cripes, it is this coming weekend. How the hell did I screw that up? Oh, never mind. I've been all bummed out because I couldn't go last weekend. Now I'm bummed out because I'm such an idiot that I can't read a calendar right. Oh narts. I don't even know what this weekend's schedule looks like. Gotta call the social planner and see if I can make it.....

#4 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:38 PM:

Well, not this coming weekend, the one after, but either way, I still might not actuall miss it. gotta breathe...

#5 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:39 PM:

breathe damn me!

#6 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 05:54 PM:

Well, alas, I won't be making it but I hope you and Ms Sassy are still coming for a visit.

Jane

#7 ::: Mike B ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 06:11 PM:

I am an extremely irregular commenter, but I'll be there. Thanks for the advance notice!

I may even dare to introduce myself this time. At Vericon last year, I lurked in the back, and I really enjoyed listening to the panels. I even came to the Viable Paradise presentation -- although I've never really aspired to write fiction, I do aspire to listen to writers as they chat.

My only problem: I won't be able to make it to "Five Things You Should Never Say to Your Favorite Authors When You Meet Them". I hope someone takes notes and posts them to the Web; otherwise I'll be afraid to greet anyone, lest I make a newbie mistake!

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 06:40 PM:

Will you be Making Light at LAcon?

#9 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 07:10 PM:

There will be a Fiendish Writer lurking about the halls and panels (and sometimes not so lurking!), but I am one who hides from cameras.

#10 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 10:28 PM:

Greg,

I made the same mistake....

#11 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 11:04 PM:

We'll certainly be at LACon. Doesn't anyone ever look at the nielsenhayden.com home page?

#12 ::: John From Uconn ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 11:15 PM:

I think this is my first comment, but I'll be there.

#13 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 11:22 PM:

Five Things You Should Never Say to Your Favorite Authors When You Meet Them

I am praying daily that someone will post a panel report.

I'm still living down "Excuse me. Have you got a cigarette?"

In my defence, I had absolutely no idea that that was Steven Brust.

(And I still owe him three cigarettes and my abiding thanks.)

#14 ::: Leonid Korogodski ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:08 AM:

Oh, so the VP meeting will be on Saturday instead of Sunday? Or is it a different VP meeting? :)

#15 ::: Sarah M ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:09 AM:

Egads, the convention is next weekend! I may just have to find a car, some keys, and come for Saturday.

#16 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:52 AM:

Have a swell time. I'm sure it will be a splendid time.

#17 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:53 AM:

Have a swell time. I'm sure it will be a splendid con.

#18 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 02:07 AM:

Drat - I've been to Boskone once (also Arisia), but not this year. I just live too darn far from Boston these days to make it there.

#19 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 03:15 AM:

Well, no, I have to admit that I don't look at the nielsenhayden.com home page...I just come straight here where the action is.

So I'll hope to see you at LACon -- will you be doing a kaffeeklatsch, like you did at ConJose?

#20 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 05:24 AM:

Hmm, I've made an arse of myself in front of Famous Authors at both of the two Worldcons I've attended, the second time being the most embarrassing, as it was while meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. The kind of thing where you skulk off afterwards, thumping your forehead, swearing at yourself, thinking only then of all the sensible things you could have said.

Then again, there have been times as well when encountering Famous Authors, even ones whose work I greatly admire, and could think of nothing to say to them at all, other than, well, "hi!" Some authors just look very intimidating.

So, for those of us not attending Boskone, and could use some tips before this year's Worldcon, what are the sorts of things one should never say/do when meeting authors?

#21 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 05:45 AM:

I wish I was able to attend that first panel. Perth is proud to be the home of the three most embarrassing things ever to be done in front of famous authors, and of the two perpetrators thereof, and neither, Adrian, is you. Compared to these two, you are Cary Grant in a dinner suit.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 06:36 AM:

Like David Goldfarb, I usually go straight to your blog, Patrick. For some reason, I never thought of looking elsewhere on the site, in fact. Anyway, you will be at LAcon. And Disneyland? My wife and will definitely be there. That's where we had our first romantic time together, smack in the middle of 1984's LAcon, with the Pirates of the Carribeans our cool refuge from the heat outside.

But I digress.

About Boskone... I had heard that it was something of a relaxacon, but the programming you listed above sounds like anything but. Too far and too late to fly there this year, but something to think about for later.

#23 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 06:58 AM:

Ooh, it all looks so interesting!

Do people ever print highlights or transcripts from these conventions? I live halfway around the globe, so no chance of attending, but I would love to hear about some of the discussions.

#24 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 07:32 AM:

Hmm, I've made an arse of myself in front of Famous Authors at both of the two Worldcons I've attended, the second time being the most embarrassing, as it was while meeting one of my all-time favourite authors. The kind of thing where you skulk off afterwards, thumping your forehead, swearing at yourself, thinking only then of all the sensible things you could have said.

I managed to do it by proxy. I'd told a woman of taste and refinement about how I'd noticed an odd quirk in the books of a writer we both enjoyed: that in all his books to date the hero ended up with a maimed hand. (It's a good thing I didn't know about Langford's "Clench-Racing" game at the time or there would have been a lot of shouts of "Chapter Three!" or "Chapter Seven" in public places.) I must have been more emphatic than I thought, because when she found herself in a long elevator ride with the author in question she suddenly mortified herself by bursting out with "Why do all of your leads end up maimed in the hand?" (The author by the way was gracious about it: he said he hadn't realized it until someone mentioned it to him a couple of months previously.)

#25 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 08:23 AM:

I'm far from a regular commenter, but I see that I will, in fact, be at Boskone. I love it when a plan comes together.

Serge -- Boskone a relaxacon? Somebody was having you on.

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 08:57 AM:

Hi, Sharon!!!

I don't know where I read that thing about Boskone being a relaxacon, but it sounds like fun as, in fact, I prefer cons where there's lots happening. Is it always held at the hotel of the 2004 worldcon?

#27 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 09:50 AM:

Is it always held at the hotel of the 2004 worldcon?

Has been since ...2003, I think. Before that, it was held at the Sheraton in Framingham. The year I met the esteemed Mr. Miller, Boskone was at the Statler-Hilton. I know this not because I was at that Boskone, but because I was newly dating the aforesaid Mr. Miller, who was caught in a snowstorm coming home from the con and wrecked his car at the entrance to his apartment complex. That would have been the same snowstorm that shut down Baltimore City so hard that thirsty people were breaking into the liquor store across the street from my apartment, motivating me to dig out my car and flee to Mr. Miller's country place, barely avoiding wrecking my car at the entrance to his apartment complex, and spent a lovely three days in good company until the city got dug out.

Most of which has very little to do with Boskone...

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 10:00 AM:

Most of which has very little to do with Boskone...

...and everything to do with True Science-Fiction Romance Stories. Say hi to Steve from Sue and me.

#29 ::: Lowell Gilbert ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 10:20 AM:

Teresa will be carrying a camera and taking pictures of as many of you as can be induced not to run.

Fine. I'll just have to take a picture of her, then...

#30 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 10:39 AM:

Leo -- the VP Brunch is on Sunday morning in the con suite. The Saturday thing is an informational presentation.

#31 ::: steve Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 10:41 AM:

Whoa...
the Statler-Hilton was years before we met, I'm afraid. In fact, I returned to Baltimore in a snow storm from the same Sheraton. That was the Boskone where I got to change rooms to a much nicer room late on Friday night because all the paint from the newly painted/sculpted ceiling fell in a shredded latex sheet.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:12 AM:

Sharon, Steve... You've been together for quite a bit, haven't you? I think Sue and I also remember certain things differently, and that includes the details of our first con together. Being with someone for over twenty years will do that.

("This is your brain. This is your brain on Marriage. Any questions?")

#33 ::: bonniers ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:15 AM:

I'm an occasional commenter, but I'll be there. Looking forward to meeting some people.

#34 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Sharon, Steve... You've been together for quite a bit, haven't you?

Only 28 years or so...

I think Sue and I also remember certain things differently

I'm OK with that; different processing units, after all. What weirds me out is the things that happened in my life before we met that he remembers better than I do, and vice versa.

#35 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:34 AM:

Sigh. I really, really should have signed up. It's going to be such fun. But without me.

Damn.

I wonder if Hillary Clinton will go? Teresa should photograph her under the same conditions as everyone else...

#36 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:50 AM:

The history of Boskone hotels, ignoring little issues of how long it was in each hotel, and a couple of times when we bounced back and forth, is roughly: Statler-Hilton (Boston), Sheraton Rolling Green (Andover), Sheraton Boston (Boston), Radisson Ferncroft (Danvers), Boston Park Plaza (Boston), Copley Marriott (Boston), Sheraton Boston (Boston), Sheraton Tara & Springfield Marriott (Springfield), Sheraton Tara (Framingham), Sheraton Boston (Boston).

Next year will be in the Westin Waterfront (Boston).

I'll be at Boskone, running the hucksters room this year, so I'll be fairly easily findable, and not constantly running off to get another kaffeeklatsche off to a smooth start.

#37 ::: Ellen Seebacher ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:20 PM:

Am I the only one who read "Five Things You Should Never Say to Your Favorite Authors When You Meet Them" as including "Teresa Nielsen Hayden"?

"Mr. So-and-So! I've always wanted to meet you -- it's such an honor. By the way: Teresa Nielsen Hayden."

"Eek!"

#38 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 02:52 PM:

Lis Carey: I had to look up the Westin Waterfront, that not being one I'd heard of before. Now I know why...it isn't open yet.

(Alas, it's enough farther away that the "walk home after the T stops running" approach to commuting starts to get impractical. This may be a problem for me next year.)

#39 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 04:30 PM:

Hey, we're a science fiction convention; we have the power to schedule conventions in hotels that don't exist yet!

Actually, I can oversee the progress of the construction from my office window, and although we'll be one of their earlier sizable events, they're scheduled to be open about eight months prior to that.

#40 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 04:39 PM:

"By the way: Teresa Nielsen Hayden" goes on my "what to say if I panic" list.

#41 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 04:39 PM:

I'll be there (but you knew that already). Had a panic this morning when we discovered that Feorag's travel insurance (a freebie from her bank) has changed underwriters, and I was no longer covered: I had to get on the phone and talk to brokers in order to get a new travel policy, and because my hypertension was diagnosed less than 12 months ago there's an exclusion for it, damn it. But I'm all set to travel on Wednesday again.

So much for a working day ...

#42 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 04:55 PM:

My first con! Most exciting. I am particularly impressed that Jim and Debra are going to do an entire panel on the topic of "Reading," by the way.

Teresa will be carrying a camera and taking pictures of as many of you as can be induced not to run.

No problem. Furthermore, if elected, I will not serve.

#43 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 05:06 PM:

This is my first (gulp) convention where I will be on panels and not just a mouse sitting in the corner...I'm excited about the Pullman/Lewis panel, though because I'm currently reading both for the first time at the same time, as a sort of test. (I read Lewis's Space trilogy years ago, which sort of turned me off his fiction).

Also Friday at 9PM--I'm supposed to talk about the development of Big Bang theory via my book on Lemaitre. This may not be a great session, as my wife won tickets to a wine-tasting festival the same early evening...so I could well be shit-faced by the time I have to talk.


I hereby apologize to anyone in advance who drops by....

#44 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 06:14 PM:

Speaking of Cory, when the book group read Down and Out..., we couldn't agree on how Doctorow should be pronounced. Is it DOC tor ow or doc TOR ow?

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 06:38 PM:

About things NOT to ask a writer... How does Gardner Dozois react when someone asks him about dinosaurs and sodomy?

#46 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 06:52 PM:

Marilee: the former pronunciation is, I think, correct. (Going by memory, haven't heard Cory pronouncing his name lately :)

#47 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 09:44 PM:

It's "DOK-ter-oh."

On the subject of things not to say to favorite writers, I've had more than my fair share of idiocies.

1. Do NOT tell Ted Chiang "I am looking forward to your next story."

2. If an author is clearly so tired that they can no longer maintain a coherent conversation, just get out of their way.

3. Do not tell anyone that you would cut out their heart and eat it if you thought it would make you write as well as they do. Laughing merrily afterward to show you were only kidding does not help at all.

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 11:51 PM:

Alex: Someone has expressed a desire to cut out and eat your heart? There are some odd people out there.

Of course, one should note that writers can also do bad things to readers. One of my favourite (non-sf) writers once (a) tried to seduce me (but I was young and naive and missed the signals), but succeeded in (b) giving me a bad case of diaorrhea.

#49 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 12:14 AM:

See you at the cabaret. I'll be the piano player who's not Gary McGath. (He'll be the piano player who's not me.)

#50 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 08:30 AM:

Do people ever print highlights or transcripts from these conventions?

Sure. Here are mine:

http://kate-nepveu.livejournal.com/tag/cons

and

http://kate-nepveu.livejournal.com/tag/cons?skip=20 (because the navigation is broken)

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 08:36 AM:

Do people still come to authors at cons and ask them where they get their ideas?

#52 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Serge: when someone asks me that question, I cut out and eat their heart. That way, all their ideas become mine.

#53 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 12:19 PM:

Alex: Someone has expressed a desire to cut out and eat your heart? There are some odd people out there.

A friend of mine is a professional translator. She was chief translator on a project that over 90% of you probably will never hear of and since then an obsessed Canadian fan has spent years abusing her on every newsgroup or forum where her name comes up as well as bringing her up on those where she hadn't been mentioned so he could blacken her name further. He's advocated having her drowned face-first in a toilet bowl filled with fecal matter as well as other fun stuff you don't want me to mention here, and has a lengthy webpage about how her mistranslation of four lines at the end of the work totally destroyed it for all time for anyone who ever is unfortunate to see the translated version.

This is flipping psychotic. I mean, I've not bought the new DVD version of Metropolis because they used the wrong frame rate when they transferred the restored print and I haven't bought the big DVD collection of Buster Keaton's films because it's been reported that some of the title cards in Sherlock Junior have been cut, so I can understand being displeased with a work that's been jerked around with, but this is worlds beyond normal.

My friend doesn't use newsgroups or forums much anymore.

#54 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 12:26 PM:

Charlie Stross: and this benefits you how? I mean, beyond the obvious compulsion to go up to total strangers and tell them how wonderful your life is and if they write it up you'll split the profits with them 50-50...

#55 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 12:37 PM:

Charlie: when someone asks me that question, I cut out and eat their heart.

I guess this means that when you offer to show off your obsidian knife collection, wise fans run away.

#56 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 12:58 PM:

There's a nifty knife store in the mall attached to the con hotel (unless it's moved since last year) and indeed, a new leatherman was on my shopping list (seeing as how the importers over here tend to convert price in US dollars to price in pounds sterling at a 1:1 rate before adding sales tax).

Obsidian is so passé when you can have titanium alloy instead, don't you think?

#57 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 01:00 PM:

Well, if you don't have to pry at something Ceramic might be the best of both worlds...

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 01:19 PM:

So, THAT's where you get your ideas, Charlie. I'll keep that in mind along with some chainmail under my shirt.

I think it's David Gerrold who, when asked that question, said that he gets his inspiration from the Book of Ideas. The tricky part is that one couldn't gain access to the Book without first being a writer, but one couldn't become a writer without first having an idea.

I may be misquoting him, but that seems less messy than a cardiac-based diet.

#59 ::: Glenn Grant ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 02:59 PM:

Will be there! Looking forward to see you all again. Can't believe I've never been to it before. Those program topics look terrific.

Where do you get your ideas? -- I've been asking myself that question for decades.

#60 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 05:04 PM:

Bruce: That is so far beyond loony I have no words for it.

#61 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 06:04 PM:

Oh, I have words for it, but I'd like to avoid a disemvoweling. It brings to mind the time I mentioned to someone that I liked fanzines and he let a guy in Europe who was starting a fanzine know that I might be interested in reading it. The first issue was O.K., but the second issue had a lengthy section about how he'd read a piece that mentioned "the old gods" without enough respect and how he'd like to have the author involved (for some reason I remember the offence being part of a mention of the Yggdrasil, which pretty much makes it From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet and means that Harlan has another looney out there to deal with) dragged out to an appropriate mountain, stripped naked, and be repeatedly buggered by the Old Gods and their followers. Survival depending on the strength of the victim's rectum, of course.

I tried to be as unresponsive as possible after that to make sure I was dropped from his mailing list.

My, what lovely weather we're having!

#62 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 07:21 PM:

John Farrell,
you wrote: I read Lewis's Space trilogy years ago, which sort of turned me off his fiction.

You could not ask for a worse introduction to Lewis' fiction*. Try one of the Narnia books.

-r.

*though in the third book of the space trilogy, which by far was the least comprehensible, Merlin (yes Merlin) gets some truly excellent lines about the aesthetic values of 20th century. The third book really could have benefited from being re-written in a Lovecraftian style.

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 07:46 PM:

Bruce: I look at it as keeping them off the streets.

#64 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 09:00 PM:

Charlie: Stoddard's? That's still there; the downtown location closed a while ago (for all the usual downtown-retail-store-closing kind of reasons), but the mall locations are still open. (Technically, it's in the mall connected to the mall connected to the con hotel. The Back Bay Arcology Complex is mighty.)

#65 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2006, 09:44 PM:

rhandir, yes--I'm reading Lion, Witch and Wardrobe now and enjoying it.

Not to worry.

#66 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2006, 01:27 AM:

Sharon Lee: if you met 28 years ago, you were at the Sheraton Boston in one of its most appallingly decorated phases (carpet patterned with 6-foot-high neon-orange and poison-green fleurs de lys). The Statler Hilton was last used under that name in 1972 (Lis's list leaves out that appearance, between the Sheraton Rolling Green and the Sheraton Boston), although it was reused as the Park Plaza in the early 80's.

#67 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2006, 01:59 AM:

Reporters do that all the time, I think it was Stephen King who in an interview answered Idiot TV Reporter asking that question, "Poughkipsie."

#68 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2006, 08:31 AM:

The Annual Great Boskone Blizzard appears to be a week early this year (12-18 inches expected).

#69 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2006, 02:34 PM:

Jon, we work hard to schedule things that way. Doesn't work every year, but, ideally, yes, the Annual Boskone Blizzard is long enough before the convention so that people's travel plans aren't disrupted, or else after everyone is already at the hotel.

(What, you thought Snokone was an accident?)

#70 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2006, 05:52 PM:

At the Worldcon in Boston I attempted to introduce myself to you but you looked a bit annoyed, so I felt out of place and retreated. I shall endeavor to do better next time our paths cross.

#71 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2006, 05:55 PM:

And I have a question: to what extent is the crowd of Making Light commentors a bunch of people who already know you and each other, and how much is it a bunch of people like me who happen to have found you on the web and otherwise never saw you before?

#72 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2006, 07:02 PM:

Erik Nelson: ...to what extent is the crowd of Making Light commentors a bunch of people who already know you and each other, and how much is it a bunch of people like me who happen to have found you on the web and otherwise never saw you before?

I first "met" Patrick and Teresa in rasff and knew them only that way for quite some time, and then... hmm... I guess the first time I met them in person was...? At one of the old get-togethers NYC raseffers used to have?

I'd try not to take your somewhat unsuccessful first face-to-face meeting with Patrick too personally. He's actually a very good guy. You can't always know when someone is under an avalanche of things that have to get done, especially in a convention situation. I'm absolutely certain he didn't consciously intend to make you feel shunned. We all get swamped sometimes.

#73 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 01:55 AM:

"At the Worldcon in Boston I attempted to introduce myself to you but you looked a bit annoyed, so I felt out of place and retreated. I shall endeavor to do better next time our paths cross."

Ay yi. I'm sure I did one of the many things I do that convince friendly strangers that I hate them. To say that this pains me is to understate the case. I'm sure the fault is mine.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 10:18 AM:

That probably wasn't Patrick, Erik, but his counterpart from Star Trek's Evil Universe...

I've never met most of the people who post here. Sure, I've seen some of them on panels, but not to the point of actually talking to them. Exceptions would be Sharon Lee and her Mr.Miller (Mr. Miller? Sharon must have been on a Jane Austen trip when she wrote that.) I doubt that Faren Miller remembers me. Or that I made such a vivid impression upon Lisa Goldstein from that 10-sec intro at 1990's ConDiego.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 10:20 AM:

Another question not to ask authors would be: Why don't bookstores carry your books?

#76 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II. ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 02:13 PM:

Another question not to ask authors would be: Why don't bookstores carry your books?

Because if they did they'd be so ashamed at the other stuff they carry that the only answer would be for the staff to beat themselves to death with copies of The DaVinci Code.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 02:56 PM:

Of course, Bruce...

Another question not to ask: why does your book have such an inaccurate cover? Which is better than: why does your book have such a crappy cover?

#78 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II. ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 04:07 PM:

I know an author who has a foreign edition of one of her books with cover art so bad that when she pulls it out it stops other authors from complaining about what happened to their books. Now that's bad.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 04:20 PM:

What country was that foreign edition in, Bruce? Eastern Europe? France usually has good covers, although different in style and in how much actual blatant T&A they'll resort to.

If I were a writer and someone asked me why my book had such a crappy cover, I'd say I asked the publisher to hire Vermeer and that they tried to, but that he was booked solid.

#80 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 07:55 PM:

Actually, Serge, I have a hard time remembering pretty much anyone I'm introduced to. The only person I remember from ConDiego is the author who took one look at my name tag and said, "Oh, I don't write that literary stuff. I write to entertain." Leaving me to wonder what the hell it is I do -- write to put people to sleep? Anyway, I'll be at LACon, so please introduce yourself (again).

#81 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2006, 11:51 PM:

Lisa Goldstein writes: ...the author who took one look at my name tag and said, "Oh, I don't write that literary stuff. I write to entertain."

I think I can help make sense of this.

Deep in the back of my authorial lizard brain, there is a deeply childlike troglodyte of a man who minces no words when he offers his opinions of my work. (As an unpublished author, this guy is often my only reader— and he's not a very likable fellow. Very difficult to please.)

Anyway, this guy pretends to read a lot of literature. Of course, he's only a mirror of me, and I know his reading habits. He's been scarred ever since he went looking for Catch-22 in the fiction section of a bookstore. When he didn't find it on the shelf and he worked up the courage to ask for help from the staff, the clerk responded by saying (was she sneering?), "Oh, that. It's not fiction. It's literature." Sure enough— there it was, in the literature section. All this time.

My inner troglodytic writing critic is convinced that I'll never be capable of literature. The best I can hope for is to be able to call myself a "pulp fiction" writer and not be laughed out of the room by people who actually make their living do it. He's probably right, but he's an uncouth bastard who never picks up a book.

I try very hard not to let the troglodyte speak for me, but it's difficult. He's not really a separate person, you know. He's just one of Marvin Minsky's little "agents of mind" that serves to keep me from turning into an egomaniacal authoritarian little shit. Occasionally, he'll get a chance to control the speech center at exactly the wrong time. That's when I'll say something like what you heard from that author at ConDiego.

I can't speak for the person you are quoting, but if it had been me who said something like that to you, I would now be tearing my own guts out with a rusty clawhammer for having insulted someone else when I was trying to be self-deprecatory. (I suppose it's possible the person you met was saying that as a deliberate putdown, but I don't have any evidence of that.)

One of the life lessons it took me the longest to learn was why it's important to learn how to accept praise gracefully— sometimes self-deprecatory humility is insulting. More often than not, it's insulting in the situations where you can least afford it. Oh, how I wish I had learned this lesson when I was twelve years old. Where would I be now?

Anyway, if that writer is introduced to you again at LACon, please consider my story and try to figure out whether to cut some slack. The person may have just let their inner troglodyte loose at the wrong moment.

On the other hand, there are a lot of purely malevolent assholes in the world. Feel free to stomp the little rat-bastard into a greasy spot for me if that's the case. If there's one thing I hate, it's pretentious mewling gits— like my inner troglodyte— who think that "literature" is only the fiction that people read because it's supposed to be an important cultural artifact, not because it's actually any good.

#82 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 12:53 AM:

I had, for one blinding, horrifying moment, the thought that it was me who said that. It sounds exactly like the sort of terminally idiotic thing that I would say to someone when what I meant to imply was that I would never consider myself remotely in their league. Something I would say to f'r instance Ursula Le Guin or Harlan Ellison, meaning (in my mind) that I write in the genre they grace and dignify with their presence, but am acutely aware that this by no means makes me their colleague in any sense.

Then I had the immense comfort of checking the location again, and realising that I have never been to a ConDiego, so it couldn't have been me. Nevertheless, there but for the grace of God go I, and God has not always seen fit to provide me His grace in this matter, no doubt for excellent reason.

Vicariously, therefore, but with certainty that I have done as bad or worse, I beg your forebearance. Most likely it was not meant the way it came out. On the other hand, if it were meant that way, the bum should be moidered.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 07:27 AM:

Thanks, Lisa. I'll do that.

That person's question reminds me of its mirror image, which was inflicted upon someone who writes in a genre even further down than SF/fantasy on the totem pole of literature. No, not novelizations based on videogames. Romance. Anyway, that question is: when are you going to write a REAL book?

With a question like that, or with the question YOU were asked, I'd respond with the lyrics of the song that's entertainment in the musical the bandwagon where Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray and Jack Buchanan tell us:

Jack :
Everything that happens in life
Can happen in a show
You can make 'em laugh
You can make 'em cry
Anything
Anything can go....

The clown with his pants falling down
Or the dance that's a dream of romance
Or the scene where the villain is mean
That's entertainment!

Nanette : The lights on the lady in tights

Oscar : Or the bride with the guy on the side

Jack : Or the ball where she gives him her all

All : That's entertainment!

Nanette : The plot and the hot simply teeming with sex

Oscar : A gay divorcee who is after her ex
Fred : It could be Oedipus Rex

Jack :
Where a chap kills his father
And causes a lot of bother

Nanette : The clerk who is thrown out of work
Oscar : By the boss who is thrown for a loss
Fred : By the skirt who is doing him dirt

All :
The world is a stage,
The stage is a world of entertainment.
That's entertainment!
That's entertainment!

The doubt while the jury is out
Or the thrill when they're reading the will
Or the chase for the man with the face
That's entertainment!

Nanette : The dame who is known as the flame
Jack : Of the king of an underworld ring

Oscar and Fred :
He's an ape
Who won't let her escape

All : That's entertainment!

It might be a fight like you see on the screen
A swain getting slain for the love of a queen
Some great Shakespearean scene
Where a ghost and a prince meet
And everyone ends in mincemeat.

The gag may be waving the flag
That began with a mystical hand
Hip hooray!
The American way
The world is a stage,
The stage is a world of entertainment.

#84 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 09:01 AM:

Serge: A librarian who had read my first novel said to me, quite kindly, that it was very well written and I should write a real novel, I was clearly capable of it.

It was very difficult to respond to, because it was a weird axiomatic problem -- I think fantasy and SF novels are just as real as mainstream novels -- and she had no idea in the world that her intended compliment had just insulted me.

People are very odd.

#85 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 09:50 AM:

Jo, if it's any consolation, last week I gave The King's Peace/Name to a grad student I know. She's already submitted an abstract to a conference on modern reception of the matter of Britain.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 09:53 AM:

How DID you wind up responding to that librarian, Jo?

By the way, is it my imagination or do mystery writers reside higher on the totem pole of Literature? It may be because, Verne, Wells and a few others notwithstanding, SF really came to be in the pulps, while mystery had more honorable roots in the 19th Century. But that wouldn't explain fantasy being in the same position as SF.

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Serge: I would have said it was because in the minds of many SF is associated with Buck Rogers and comic-book characters like Superman and the Flash. C'est à dire, as fodder for children rather than for grown-ups.

I can remember being told by a writer (a very fine published poet and critic) that reading SF would rot my mind (he also warned me against admiration for T.S. Eliot, for other, but worthier, reasons).

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 10:16 AM:

True, Fragano, there is that association with comics, and with cheesy serials. While the mystery field got the likes of The Maltese Falcon and Bogart to associate with, most of what SF had to show was Flash Gordon and Buster Crabbe.

As for what that writer said to you, he/she was right, wasn't he/she? SF (and comics) rotted MY brain anyway.

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Serge: Not just your brain, I assure you! (The writer was a he, btw.)

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 11:55 AM:

Hmmm... What's THAT supposed to mean, Fragano? That being said, I am reminded of a comment made by David Gerrold in the early Eighties to the effect that Saturday morning TV was a communist conspiracy to destroy young American minds. By then I was too old (legally anyway) so I can't blame the Reds for the state of my gray matter.

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 12:04 PM:

Does anybody know if LAcon will have kaffeeklatsches? One thing is sure, if Gardner Dozois has one, I'm signing up. Even if it's coffee-less like it was at Seattle's NASFiC last year. Coffee or no coffee, I don't know if I should ask Dozois about dinosaurs and you-know-what.

#92 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 12:17 PM:

I suppose someone must have trolled Ellison in the past with asking where he gets his ideas, and then when he does that thing about mail ordering for them they could reply "so that's why they're all crap!"

I bet he'd take that well.

#93 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 12:54 PM:

Serge: I meant my brain had been rotted too.

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 01:44 PM:

Just pulling your leg, Fragano... (I will resist the temptation to make jokes about rotting anatomical parts in conjunction with what would happen to one's leg when pulled.)

#95 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 01:55 PM:

j h woodyatt, Dave Luckett -- Your explanations never occurred to me. Now I have to wonder -- after all these years -- if this person was trying to say something different after all. I do remember a kind of sneer in his voice when he said "literary stuff," but my memory could be wrong there. What if he's been beating himself up about being rude all this time? The mind boggles.

Anyway, no one here should worry -- the person who said this doesn't post to this blog.

#96 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 03:15 PM:

Erik:

FWIW, the only people who post here who I've met in person were in a totally different context. I ended up here because I followed a Boing-Boing link, and said to myself "Hey, the style of this place is just like the GEnie SFRT where I used to lurk!", and indeed there was Yog Sysop, and Mitch Wagner, and and... Realising that Charlie Stross was the same charlie@antipope I'd known from Usenet years ago was the icing on the cake.

I did eventually end up meeting some of the SFRT people in person but it was a different bunch than here, some of the West Coast fantasy crew (Teresa Edgerton and the infamous Borgia Sisters, ...) In any case, it was the same process - getting to know people online and then wanting to follow up in person.

It is very difficult to overcome native shyness or introversion, but the rewards can be substantial.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 03:53 PM:

Lisa, would that person be someone who used to write a science-fact column for a now defunct magazine that went by a title that means 'Milky Way'?

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 05:29 PM:

Teresa Edgerton and the infamous Borgia Sisters...

Hey, Clifton, I knew Teresa. I met her a few times thru her buddette Yoko Olsgaard, but it was ages ago. (Meaning around 1990.) But I never heard of the Borgia Sisters. I expect I would remember ladies thus named.

#99 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2006, 07:03 PM:

Serge, I'm afraid I don't remember meeting you (where was it?), but then my memory is terrible -- the over-50 "ah yes, I remember it well" syndrome compounded by what Anna Tambour calls "memory lace".

Now Lisa, I do remember you (and Doug), since I used to see you quite often. But a combination of budgetary matters and introversion means I'm unlikely to get to a con where I can see you or other "Making Light" posters in the foreseeable future. Oh well....

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 08:44 AM:

So, Faren, that "...combination of budgetary matters and introversion..." means you're not going to LAcon, even though it's within easy driving distance from Arizona? That's too bad.

#101 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 10:47 AM:

Nope, Serge. Sorry. There's also the factor of a Northern Californian's traditional aversion to L.A. (I've rarely been there), plus the neuro problems mentioned in other posts, which mean I don't have a car -- could presumably get the license back, thanks to my meds, but working at home doesn't require a vehicle and civilization is finally moving to north Prescott so I can walk to my bank, UPS, and the grocery store when Kerry's not here to drive me downtown.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 11:50 AM:

Sorry to hear about that, Faren. Somehow I had missed your posts about your medical condition. I feel quite gauche.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 11:55 AM:

So, how was Boskone?

#104 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 09:06 PM:

Serge: Tiring. I'm slowly putting together a con report for my Livejournal.

#105 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 09:18 PM:

If Boskone was tiring, Christopher, then I guess it did what a good con is supposed to do. Let us know when your report is available.

#106 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2006, 11:37 PM:

Boskone - i didn't get to meet as many of you all as I wished, because we are still working a Worldcon Bid for KC in 2009. Due to our hellish flight there Thursday night, both Margene and I were in bed by midnight Friday. and Saturday we held our party for the bid. But i did get to give Teresa a sympathy hug over Arthur, and then talk a bit at the Tor party.

I'm working on a LJ report. It may take a day or two.

#107 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 01:13 AM:

Serge: part 1, which gets me through Friday. At this rate, I'll finish the Boskone report in time for Minicon.

(It's on my LJ because I've moved most of my social blogging to LiveJournal; I find its social-networking features appealing and useful, and it makes the namechecks more visually interesting.)

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 06:01 AM:

Thanks, Christopher. Feeling envious I wasn't there. About David Hartwell, what does WINOLJ stand for? I'll probably be sorry I asked.

Say, didn't I see your blue shark on Beam Jockey's web site? I think it was in the comment section of the aircar thread. (Speaking of which, can you imagine what would happen if functional aircars did exist? Especially in LA? Hugh Laurie works there because of House and he describes its drivers as acting like baboons on crack. What if they were allowed to drive in a tridimensional environment...?)

#109 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 09:30 AM:

Who is not on LiveJournal, I believe.

My partial report (panel-free, for reasons explained in the post)

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Oh, that's what WINOLJ, Kate? Too obvious. Then again, the subject of David Hartwell usually comes up because of his fashion sense and so that's what I was looking for in the acronym.

#111 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 09:44 AM:

Serge: I just mumbled and rolled my eyes. Because she really did mean it kindly.

Txanne: Wow, again.

#112 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 09:45 AM:

Kate Nepveu wrote in her Boskone report... Mr. Ford is the only author (so far as I know) who turns me into a stammering incoherent embarassed mass of fangirlishness...

What's your secret, Mike?

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 10:00 AM:

What's that, Jo? Oh, you're talking of Kate's explanation for the Hartwell-related acronym. I wasn't offended by her response. My 'too obvious' comment was me hitting myself on the forehead for not figuring out the answer on my own.

#114 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 11:09 AM:

I did wonder aloud whether the Saturday night party theme, "Space Cowboys on Hawaiian Holiday," was in honor of David's ties, but I was told it was a coincidence.

It took me a very long time to figure out WINOLJ (I was trying to get "without", which I usually abbreviate as "w/o", in there somewhere), so I'm happy to pass it on.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 11:20 AM:

David Hartwell - Space Cowboy...

That, Kate. sounds like something from the Skiffy Channel, preferably starring Bruce Campbell.

#116 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 11:32 AM:

Serge said: What's that, Jo?

I believe Jo Walton was responding to the following question, Serge -- the one that you asked a little way upthread: How DID you wind up responding to that librarian, Jo?

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 11:44 AM:

Oh, that's what Jo meant. I guess I'd have said the same thing to that librarian. Cluelessness isn't a stoning offense. (Good thing too otherwise I'd need a biker's helmet myself.)

#118 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 12:45 PM:

Space Cowboys. I have nothing to add.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 12:52 PM:

Yes, there is that movie, j h... But the Skiffy Channel has been known to come up with movie titles that cash in on big-screen releases. I don't know about you, but I would go out of my way and watch something called "David Hartwell - Space Cowboy". I'd even buy the later DVD release.

#120 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 01:27 PM:

Space Cowboy, eh? Cue trailer narrator:

In zero-G, the hangin' tree don't work.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 01:33 PM:

Argh, Larry...

And do we get Sam Elliot to play David Hartwell? We'd have to convince Elliot to shave off his handlebar mustaches. Or someone could suggest that David Hartwell grow his back?

#122 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 01:44 PM:

I would go out of my way and watch something called "David Hartwell - Space Cowboy"

I think I've already gone out of my way to do that!

#123 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 02:03 PM:

Boskone was fun.

I didn't ask about D&S because Gardner Dozois was not in evidence, in spite of the many panels for which the program listed "Gardner" in big type at the beginning of the list of participants. I don't imagine I'm the only one who took that double take.

One thing not to tell your favorite author is just about anything when she's taking a phone call about the panel she's supposed to be at right now. Especially since I knew about that panel, and was planning to attend, until my plans got distracted. Sorry, Teresa.

Going to the autograph session with an author's early novel and mentioning how much more I liked it than her other stuff has since struck me as a possibly infelicitous remark.

And when I saw Susanna Clarke's lecture at the Smithsonian, I was moved to ask about her wonderfully amusing use of footnotes. I started out with "What possessed you...", but a fortunate stammering fit gave me time to reformulate the question.

#124 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 03:10 PM:

Serge: Kate beat me to it; I too took some time to figure out what it meant, so I can understand why you might take it as some comment specific to David...especially since I think he was the only namecheck in that post that wasn't an LJer (or in Kathryn's case, an LJ encapsulation of an RSS feed).

Yes, my blue shark has shown up on many a fannish LJ comment thread, including that one. Aircars in LA? Bah, imagine aircars in Boston! This is a city where people drive down one-way streets in reverse, because it doesn't matter which way you're moving if your car is pointed in the right direction....

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 03:24 PM:

Or worse, Christopher... Take someone who's used to driving his aircar around the sticks... er, I mean, around the Albuquerque skies, then have him go on a trip to LA's...

#126 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 03:47 PM:

Boston: 'the only laws governing motor vehicles are Newton's' - Frisbie
LA: pedestrians waiting on streetcorners for lights to change so they can cross, when there's no traffic on either street

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 03:55 PM:

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, people cross the street en masse at the intersection, even if a car has the right of way.

#128 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 06:32 PM:

Whereas in Seattle, cars will stop for you mid-block if you look like you are about to jaywalk. That took a bit of getting used to for this Torontonian/Bostonian.

#129 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2006, 06:42 PM:

debcha - In Seattle, the cars will stop most of the time, but pedestrians will run without warning into speeding traffic if they're magically protected by zebra stripes.

#130 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 11:53 AM:

Apropos of what not to say to authors, I just ran across a copy of Anthony Haden-Guest's cartoon collection The chronicles of now (Allworth Press, 2002). I hope it is not too much to copy the captions from the section entitled "I LOVED YOUR BOOK And Other Good Stuff to Say to a Writer at a Book Party".

... I saw it in Barnes & Noble and it looked great.
... I'm going to save it for a rainy day.
... I've heard great things about it.
... Who's your agent? I've decided to write a book too.
... I thought it was a selling review actually.
... This is the same book you were working on five years ago?
... Who is it about?

That's three pages--and not the funniest--out of 218, and the cartoons are also worthwhile.

#131 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 02:47 AM:

The infamous Borgia sisters....

I forgot whose Round Tables that there were the things going on in, but there was I'm-not-sure-how-to-describe-it interative fictional adventures in which there were the Borgias, who tended to take on the name of poisonous plants.

Esther Friesner on her Round Table did riffs on Grand Opera with hamsters and such, and that was part of the genesis of Cheeblemancy.

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