Tomorrow I am off to attend the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention (VCON) which involves three bus trips and one ferry trip (this is when living on an island becomes a pain in the ass!). I'm going because a) they asked me and promised me attention (I'm vain, so very, very vain) and b) because there might be goodies! The guest of honor for this year is Barbara Hambly, though notable writers like Dave Duncan and Robert J. Sawyer are also attending as panalists.
I will be on three of the writer’s panels. The first is on Friday called “How Stories End” which is about endings and whether stories need to end happily. I think anyone who reads this blog knows my position on that. I mean, how can we count mere survival as a “happy” ending if there hasn’t been a lot of pain, sorrow, loss and potential disfigurement leading up to it? I’m on that one with the prolific author Edward Willett and the erotic and horror writer Arinn Dembo, so I can imagine it will be....different.
Saturday afternoon I am on two panels; the first is on mystery/science fiction hybrids with a gang of people including Dave Duncan and Barbara Hambly as well as Cynthia Ward (who writes for Garden of the Perverse: Fairy Tales for Twisted Adults). I imagine that any comments I make will only make audience members wonder why I am up there with such notables, so I will be spending my time trying to steal pens and stuff from “real” and important authors in order to sell later on ebay.
The second panel is on the future of “Perfect People” ala genetic engineering. I am mostly going as a wet blanket, to point out that technology is usually only developed or used to do some pretty horrific things. For example last week India came up with a new way to tell the gender of a fetus at only 7 weeks. While using gender typing to determine abortions is illegal in India, it hasn’t stopped the ½ million female fetus’ aborted in that country already. Another example is how genetic mapping is already being used in the US by health insurance firms to deny coverage. Welcome to our cool new future! Unfortunately for me, Bridget Coila, is also on the panel (a Molecular Biologist), so while I have the history of human atrocities going for me, she has science. For some reason, people at a Science Fiction convention seem to trust science...bummer.
I am not sure what I will be doing the rest of the time. As they had announced they were adding GAMING to this VCON, I had plans to play Halo and the like. No, no Beth, you have not understood the true geek nature of GAMING. This is gaming which requires 20 sided dice and where calls have gone out if you want to volunteer to be a GAME MASTER. Two weeks ago I was asked, with some mockery, whether I had played Dungeons and Dragons in school. Though I think I had the geek cred, I had not played D&D; primarily because the religious school I went to believed it to be a gateway drug to Satanism since D&D leads to Ouija boards leads to sacrificing goats at midnight. Of course, they also believed teddy bears with red heart shapes on them were pagan (as the red valentines heart predates Christ coming from the Greek & Roman green leaf symbol) since Care Bears leads to swearing which leads to prostitution (or something like that). Anyway, I am not versed in the ways of being a Game Master or Mistress, though if there is a whip and black corset involved, I might be persuaded.
There is also a Masquerade, which sounds like a costume party but turns out it isn’t. To participate requires a plot and up to six people (and optional music) and probably a lot of stagy entrances. There are also going to be costumes and performances from the Rocky Horror Picture Show from ENTIRELY STRIAGHT people (I really do shudder to think, what’s next – non-lesbian Xena's?). The rules are strict, very strict and include rule #7: Costumes with electric power requirements must be self-contained. Also rule #4 eliminates projective weapons, working firearms AND live flame and flamethrowing devices. I mean, with rules like that, it’s hardly worth going, right?
So, I think I’ll probably be drinking during my off times. Or like Clive Barker did, I’ll be offering to sign my book in blood. If you pay me enough, I’ll even sign in it my blood, or the blood of handy people nearby (another reason you might want to steer clear of me when I have a drink in one hand and a scalpel in the other). Can't wait to let you know what loot I've “liberate” when I return.
5 hours ago