Thursday, September 25, 2014

Loncon 3 notes and quotes

Notes from Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held August 14-18, 2014, in London.

Thursday panel: "LOLcats in Space: Social Media, Humour, and SF Narratives."
Panelists: Andrea Phillips, Jean Johnson (m), Adam Roberts, and Charles Stross.
During introductions: "I'm Charles Stross and I tweet too."
Adam Roberts on the Culture novels of Iain M. Banks: "You'd much rather be a Mind than a meat person."
Charles Stross: "The modern human condition is a cyberpunk dystopia ."
Adam Roberts' T-shirt read: "I may at any point turn into my superhero alter ego."

Thursday panel: "Loncon 3 Guests of Honour Discuss Iain Banks."
Panelists: John Jarrold, John Clute, Jeanne Gomoll, Malcolm Edwards, and Bryan Talbot.
Asked to recommend an Iain Banks book:
John Clute named A Song of Stone.
Malcolm Edwards named The Wasp Factory. Edwards said he had seen an editor's note rejecting the novel: "Very well written but far too weird ever to be published."
Bryan Talbot named The Crow Road and Whit.
Jeanne Gomoll named Look to Windward and The Player of Games.
There was some consensus among the panelists that Use of Weapons was one of Banks' finest science fiction novels.

Thursday reading: Kim Stanley Robinson.
Robinson read from his forthcoming novel Aurora (due from Orbit in May, 2015), a generation starship story. The passage that he read concerned a woman teaching the ship AI to write a narrative of the journey.

Thursday panel: "Ideology versus Politics in Science Fiction."
Panelists: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Martin McGrath, Laurie Penny, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Jon Courtenay Grimwood.
Several panelists discussed the point that science fiction novels frequently focus on a revolution, then skip the important next step: the formation of a new system of government. Martin McGrath recommended Eleanor Arnason's Ring of Swords as an exception includes the negotiation of a new system after the revolution. Other panelists cited Robinson's Mars trilogy as another positive example.

Friday panel: "Interview of John Clute."
Jonathan Clements interviewed Guest of Honour John Clute.
On how authors react to negative reviews: "I think authors like to be screwed in the right way," said Clute.
On reading a novel: "Any house you've entered, you've broken into," said Clute. Authors are surprised by criticism.
"It is intellectual treason to ignore endgame," said Clute. It's essential to talk about what the book is about. The phobia about spoiling the ending is nonsense.
The SF Encyclopedia (follow here) now at 4.5 million words. Clute wrote about 2 million of those.

Friday panel: "A Conversation with Malcolm Edwards."
Chris Evans and Stephen Baxter in dialog with Guest of Honour Malcolm Edwards.
Malcolm Edwards said that in his best six weeks as editor he was able to acquire these three novels for publication: Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock, Neuromancer by William Gibson, and Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard.
Among his accomplishments, he published Paul McAuley's first novel.
The worst ever books he published: Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee's Cradle and A Man of Two Worlds by Brian and Frank Herbert. Frank Herbert wasn't much involved in the book, Edwards said.
He published the first novel by Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, which was also the last time he published Terry Pratchett, the co-author.
On the Gollancz SF Masterworks series: "The Forever War and The Stars My Destination were out of print. Well, I thought, there's a list there. I think that will be my legacy," Edwards said.
Another accomplishment: Gateway a vast ebook collection available online.

Friday panel: "Evolution of Encyclopedia of Science Fiction."
Panelists: Jonathan Clements, John Clute, Neal Tringham, David Langford, Graham Sleight, and Rick Wilber.
All cover images are first edition covers. Part of the argument of the SF Encyclopedia is to capture how books were presented at the time they were first published, according to Clute.
The Encyclopedia is different from a Wiki. It is curated and opinionated, making an argument, possibly including original research.
The most often accessed theme articles are "aliens" and "near future," according to Langford.

Friday panel: "Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"
Panelists: Stephen Hunt, Anne Lyle, Ian R. MacLeod, Robert Reed, Rebecca Levene.
Fantasy and SF are trading places a bit. "We're much more likely to create a dragon than to explore even the outer solar system," said Ian R MacLeod
Robert Reed described billionaire Warren Buffett as a magician. Money makes the trains run. "Money as magic."

Saturday panel: "The Politics of Utopia."
There was concensus that Iain M. Banks' Culture novels are utopian
"Utopia is a process not an end state," said Kim Stanley Robinson. 
Robinson asserted that Abraham Lincoln was an SF author. "That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" uses the phrase "shall not perish" as a future imperative, a science fictional declaration.

Sunday panel: "Becoming History."
Panelists: Graham Sleight, John Clute, Peter Higgins, Elizabeth Hand, and Christopher Priest.
What novels exemplify the use of a science fictional or fantastic gaze on the history of the 20th Century?
Peter Higgins named Declare by Powers, Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis, the first of a trilogy, and The Land Across by Gene Wolfe.
Elizabeth Hand named George Saunders, for his "funny and savage" stories.
John Clute named Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald.
Others mentioned: The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins, and The Adjacent by Christopher Priest.

Sunday Filk.
"A Child of the Library" a moving song by Piers and Gill Cawley protesting library closures (follow for lyrics and video).

Sunday panel: "The Darkening Garden."
Panelists: Lisa Tuttle, Paul March-Russell, Paul Kincaid, Nina Allen, and Helen Marshall.
John Clute's The Darkening Garden (2007) argued for horror as a core mode of 21st Century fiction.
Horror is an emotion not a genre, according to Douglas E. Winter.
Kim Newman says you need an element of the irrational in horror. The panelists generally agree.
Nina Allan recommended The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
Clute used the term "vastation" to describe the reaction to the holocaust. The term comes from Swedenborg.

Related links on this blog:
2014 Hugo Award winners
John Clute kaffeeklatsch
Loncon 3 panel photos
More Loncon 3 panel photos
Still more Loncon 3 photos
Yes, more Loncon 3 photos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Yes, more Loncon 3 photos

More photos from Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held August 14-18, 2014, in London.

 Kathleen Ann Goonan, writer,
"The Politics of Utopia"

 Kim Stanley Robinson, writer,
"The Politics of Utopia"

David Farnell, scholar,
"The Politics of Utopia"

Worldcon Philharmonic Orchestra

Broadway at the ExCel London convention center. 

Fan Village

George R.R. Martin
reading from his forthcoming book.

David Langford, writer and editor, and Jonathan Clements, writer and editor,
"The Evolution of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"

 Neal Tringham, writer and editor,
"The Evolution of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"

 John Clute, critic and editor,
"The Evolution of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"

 Graham Sleight, critic and editor, and Rick Wilber, writer and editor,
"The Evolution of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"

 Kim Stanley Robinson, writer,
reading from his forthcoming novel.

Ian R. MacLeod, writer,
reading from his forthcoming novel.

Related links on this blog:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Still more Loncon 3 photos

More photos from Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held August 14-18, 2014, in London.

Nina Allan, writer,
"The Darkening Garden"

Lisa Tuttle, writer,
"The Darkening Garden"

Paul Kincaid, critic,
"The Darkening Garden"

 Helen Marshall, writer,
"The Darkening Garden"

 Paul March-Russell, critic,
"The Darkening Garden"

 Anne Lyle, writer,
"Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"

Ian R. MacLeod, writer, 
"Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"

Stephen Hunt, writer,
"Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"

Robert Reed, writer,
"Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"

Rebecca Levene, writer,
"Fantasy vs. SF: Is the Universe Looking Out for You?"

Related links on this blog:
Hugo Award winners 2014
John Clute kaffeeklatsch
Loncon 3 panel photos
More Loncon 3 panel photos
Yes, more Loncon 3 photos
Loncon 3 notes and quotes

Sunday, August 31, 2014

More Loncon 3 panel photos

More photos from panel discussions I attended at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held August 14-18, 2014, in London.

Christopher Priest, writer,
"Becoming History" panel

Elizabeth Hand, writer, 
"Becoming History" panel

Graham Sleight, critic,
"Becoming History" panel

John Clute, critic,
"Becoming History" panel

 Peter Higgins, writer,
"Becoming History" panel

Kate Nepveu, reviewer,
"The Canon is Dead. What now?"

Connie Willis, writer,
"The Canon is Dead. What now?"

Joe Monti, editor.
"The Canon is Dead. What now?"

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, writer,
"The Canon is Dead. What now?"

 Chris Beckett, writer,
"The Canon is Dead. What now?"

Related links on this blog:
2014 Hugo Award winners
John Clute kaffeeklatsch
Loncon 3 panel photos
Still more Loncon 3 photos
Yes, more Locon 3 photos
Loncon 3 notes and quotes

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Loncon 3 panel photos

Here are photos from some of the panels I attended at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held August 14-18, 2014, in London. Starting with "A Conversation with Malcolm Edwards" an editor and critic, as well as one of the convention's Guests of Honor. Click to enlarge.

 Malcolm Edwards, Guest of Honor.
"A Conversation with Malcolm Edwards"

Chris Evans, author. 
"A Conversation with Malcolm Edwards"

Stephen Baxter, author.
"A Conversation with Malcolm Edwards"

One of the books that Malcolm Edwards championed early in his career.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, writer, and Alisa Krasnostein, editor, 
"The Review is Political"

Kevin McVeigh, editor,
"The Review is Political" 

Elias Combarro, scholar,
"The Review is Political" 

Abigail Nussbaum, reviews editor,
"The Review is Political"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eaton Collection receives
$3.5 million gift

Science fiction fan and photographer Jay Kay Klein left his $3.5 million estate, as well as thousands of photographs, to the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy at the University of California, Riverside.

Klein began photographing science fiction conventions in the 1940s. His collection includes photographs, slides, and glass slides, as well as other memorabilia, including correspondence with Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert A. Heinlein, and others, over a period of 40 years.

According to the news release from UC Riverside:
Klein agreed to donate his collection to UCR after developing a friendship with Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections and University Archives, “who greatly admired his encyclopedic knowledge,” according to the memorandum of understanding establishing the Jay K. Klein Endowed Fund for the Support and Preservation of Science Fiction and Fantasy Collections of the UCR Libraries. 
The Eaton Collection is the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy in the world.

Related link:

Edited to add, related link:
UCR's sci-fi collection gets $3.5 million gift (The Press-Enterprise)

Related link on this blog:
Gardner Dozois papers will come to UCR
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

John Clute kaffeeklatsch

At the 10 a.m. Monday (18 August) small-group kaffeekatsch with LonCon3 Guest of Honor John Clute one of the convention members collapsed. From the floor he said that he was in distress. A LonCon3 representative was summoned, who in turn summoned a paramedic, who arrived in just a few minutes. After some private conversation with the paramedic, the distressed convention member was able to leave under his own power, escorted by the paramedic. While LonCon3 was in many ways a surprisingly successful, fun, and interesting convention, I mention this incident to illustrate that real life does not take a holiday.

John Clute at the Guest of Honor Interview, LonCon3.
John Clute recognized the potential seriousness of the incident above, kept an eye on the situation throughout, and delegated one of our small group to get help. He nevertheless was able to continue with aplomb to weave together a discussion that incorporated many threads of topics he raised at his Guest of Honor Interview Friday (15 August) and other appearances at the convention. Some points that were touched on:

  • Herbert Marcuse, a philosopher whose work, according to Clute, is underrated and should be reconsidered and appreciated.
  • Marcuse's notion of "Repressive Tolerance" (1965), where he describes how capitalist democracies have totalitarian tendencies, using techniques so subtle that the majority embrace their servitude. Clute holds that this analysis is even more valuable and true now than when it was written.
  • Clute offered a rigorous definition of "fungibility" and its relationship to critical thought.
  • A discussion of prehistoric thaumatropes, used both as flip-disks made of images etched on bone or ivory, and the light of flickering flames on France's Chauvet Cave drawings.

Related link:
How prehistoric artists make their paintings move (Daily Mail)

Related links on this blog:
2014 Hugo Award winners
Loncon 3 panel photos
More Loncon 3 panel photos
Still more Loncon 3 photos
Yes, more Loncon 3 photos
Loncon 3 notes and quotes

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Hugo Award winners

The 2014 Hugo Awards were presented tonight (17 August 2014) at the ExCel Center in London during LonCon3, the World Science Fiction Convention. Click photos to enlarge.

Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie 

Best Novella: "Equoid" by Charles Stross 

Best Novelette: "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal

 Best Short Story: "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" by John Chu

Best Editor - Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan 

Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink by Aidan Moher

Best Editor - Short Form: Ellen Datlow 

Best Graphic Story: "Time" by Randall Munroe (not present).
Cory Doctorow (above) accepted the award for Munroe.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were present to accept their Hugo Award (Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form: Game of Thrones, "The Rains of Castamere"). They both left before the photo session. No other award winners were actually present to accept their awards.

Related links:
For a complete list of 2014 Hugo Award winners, follow here.
For all the voting statistics, follow here for the PDF.
(Note: In the nominating stats, on page 19 of the PDF, I see that Neil Gaiman withdrew his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was the second most nominated novel.)

Related links on this blog:
John Clute kaffeeklatsch
Loncon 3 panel photos
More Loncon 3 panel photos
Still more Loncon 3 photos
Yes, more Loncon 3 photos
Loncon 3 notes and quotes