May 30, 2011

BayCon Report 2011!

BayCon was awesome. It started Friday night when my husband and I engaged our lovely babysitter and absconded to Meet the Guests. I felt very special because I knew the writer Guest of Honor, Mary Robinette Kowal. I was able to introduce her to my husband, and meet great people including artist Guest of Honor John Picacio, Chaz Brenchley, blogger Sandra Tayler, and toastmaster Martin Young. It feels nice now to have people I recognize from previous BayCons, so I'm not entirely a newbie - great to see Tom and Sandra Saidak, Deborah Ross, and Kent Brewster, among others.

Saturday I headed down with the whole family. My kids got their faces painted, and I was on two panels. The Analog Mafia panel included Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff, Paul Carlson, G. David Nordley, C. Sanford Lowe and Lori Ann White. We discussed Analog and its principles, editor Dr. Stanley Schmidt, and also definitions of science. After that was Alternate History which turned out to be more exciting than I'd feared (since I don't write alternate history myself). The panelists were great - Madeleine Robins and Mary Robinette Kowal were there, along with Kent Brewster, Berry Kercheval, and Martin Young - and we got into language and culture issues surrounding alterations in history, so of course I had things to say!

Sunday was another family day, with more kisses and hugs in between my appearances! I just loved the "Our Mythological Roots" panel, because Hilary Ayer, Emily Jiang, Diana Paxson and I didn't just cover traditional myths, but looked across cultures and even went meta about what is considered mythology, and about how use belief systems respectfully where you aren't a native. The audience was a fascinating group and I'm hoping to hear from some of them for my Culture Share. I had an unattended autograph session but ended up really enjoying the company of Madeleine Robins, Deborah Ross, and Margaret McGaffey-Fisk.

Monday I got to hear Irene Radford read from her work, and got to read my own story "Smoke and Feathers" to an audience of four that grew to six. Readings always get me jazzed, and everyone seemed to enjoy it! I had a great lunch where I ran into G. David Nordley and his wife Gayle Wiesner, and also my friends Lillian Csernica and Pat MacEwan. My last panel, with Martin Young, Sandra Saidak, and Anders (who wasn't listed on the program so I missed his last name!) discussed "Lovable Rogues and Prissy Heroes," but we covered more than just Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. We got into how heroes and villains are defined, and all kinds of issues with a very engaged audience. The unexpected treat was a great conversation with Martin and Anders after the panel. I always love meeting engaging people in this business!

I hope I haven't missed anyone in all this name-dropping - in some ways I feel as if I should have been taking anthropological field notes! It was a great weekend.