This was initially part of the previous entry, but I split it for length and thematic reasons.
This weekend was Boreal, a local French-language convention. This year it was also the French National SF Convention, which meant there were more people. There was an anglophone program track (there's a francophone program track at ConCept, the local English-language con) which I was on.
I had a terrific time.
I got there just in time to make my first panel on Saturday, which was "Vernians vs Wellsians" -- which turned out to be a discussion of what hard SF was, in a historical context, and science vs fiction. David Hartwell, Claude Lalumiere, Glenn Grant (grimmwire) and I got into that for an hour. It was fascinating. Afterwards we continued it over lunch, with the addition of rysmiel and zorinth and James and Kathy Morrow. Verne introduced the idea of having one speculative scientific innovation. Heinlein brought Kipling's idea into the genre of doing the second order implications of that innovation. Hard SF got politicised in the odd way it is in the eighties.
I had a couple more panels after lunch, one on "Does it have to make sense" (on which Geoff Ryman disconcerted me by assuming that as a fantasy writer I'd be in the "no" camp, when in fact I was by far the firmest in the "yes" camp at the table) and one on different versions of alternate history, with Kathryn Cramer, James Morrow and Geoff Ryman, in which we ranged very widely indeed.
One of the great things about a small con with only a relatively small number of program participants is that they put you on things where they wouldn't if they had people more qualified. I've got a lot more to say about SF as a genre than about fantasy, despite writing fantasy and winning the WFA. This was all brilliant.
Then, after dinner, we went to Claude and Geoff's reading -- Claude read some good very sharp funny stories, and Geoff read some heartbreakingly brilliant stories. After that, Z having gone home, we went to the pub and talked all night -- well, until about midnight -- largely about POV. Jim Morrow revealed that he'd been told he hadn't earned the right to write in omni, so I made him a certificate saying that he now had. Geoff Ryman revealed that some people say there are 14 genders. We tried to figure out what they were four dimensionally.
I wasn't going to go in yesterday. There wasn't any program in English except for the GoH speech, and it was raining and I was tired and my back hurt, and rezendi was arriving, and rysmiel couldn't go because of needing to be on call for work. But rezendi got in fairly early and after hanging out a little had things to do, and zorinth wanted to go in so much that I gave in, and then was very glad I had. After the GoH speech (see next rock) I hung out with David Hartwell and Jim and Kathy Morrow and grimmwire and Donald Kingsbury and Z, all terrific people to talk to, with foms and Kathryn Cramer there some of the time, and talked my revelation about Mundane SF and talked about books and SF history with some fascinating reminiscences coming out.
I love conversation with really intelligent people. I love it more than chocolate, more than sex, and almost as much as reading.