Skip to main content

Arisia Wrap-Report

My first thought, heading into Arisia, was to do a little daily report on what I was up to, panels I'd attended/participated in, that kind of thing. But I personally find it hard to sit down and write when there's a glut of things to see and do.

So instead, recorded for posterity, are my observation from three and a half days of convention:

Friday: mostly hung out with friend +Alex LaHurreau, visited a number of panels, including Science in Politics and World-Building through Soft Sciences. I appreciate a certain type of con panel: knowledgeable people discussing familiar topics in weird ways. I'd say that both of these panels were fine, they talked about the sorts of things I would imagine talking about myself if I was on the panel, but there wasn't much new. I enjoyed Alex's pick of "When Comic Creators Go Off the Deep End," but in retrospect they should have broadened the topic to include other mediums. It turns out there are plenty of crazy comic book artists (go figure) but the conversation never reached ignition point.

Saturday is the day most folks come to Arisia, I caught up with a number of friends in the panels before the Belly Dancing show, and then felt very proud watching my wife do her number to the song "Allure," by Beats Antique. In addition to performing it, she choreographed it and did the costume design for herself and her dance partner Baseema. Great job!

Beyond that, the panel I most remember was the "Cyborgs, Identity, and Ghost in the Shell," which was that happy mix of a great creative work (movies, television series, and manga) and a panel willing to explore the weird consequences of the technology the series portrays. What happens when a downloaded consciousness lacks a subconsciousness, when there is no 'deeper self.' Could a Stand-Alone Complex actually exist? Has it already happened? Anyway, the mark of a great panel isn't always the answers offered, but the questions inspired.

In general that's why I go to Arisia, to find new things to check out or explore. I was part of two panels on Sunday and both filled me with ideas to try in my own campaigns. I wrote preview postings on both earlier this week, but both panels were a surprise. Both were well-attended for one thing, but people genuinely interested in the topics, which is greatly encouraging. On the basis of this experience, I will absolutely try to join a few more panels next year. I wrapped up that day with a reoccurring panel on DARPA's 100 year starship project, which was kind of a mess but a really informative one. The sentiment I most appreciated hearing was a (paraphrased) quote from Buzz Aldrin: At the core of the risk-free society is a ... failure of nerve." Who knows if this species will ever leave this solar system, let alone colonize the Moon and Mars, but I honestly sense the pendulum has begun to swing back. Human beings need something to drive towards in order to progress, why not space?

Today I watched a bunch of movie trailers. The "How Do We Pay for the Future" panel was also pretty good, but my energy was beginning to flag by that point. Anyway, Arisia is something I look forward to each year, and 2013 was no disappointment.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski

Even 23 years later, I remember 1994 and Kurt Cobain's death. I experienced that moment as a kind of inside out personal crisis. I felt ashamed by his death. As though his exit in someway indicted my own teenage miseries. "I wish I was like you," goes the verse in 'All Apologies,' "Easily amused." I felt as though a check I hadn't remembered writing had just been cashed. 


SP Miskowski's book, named after the first half of that line, is in the words of another reviewer, a novel that shouldn't work. The narrator is unlikeable, unreliable, and dead. The plot is almost entirely told as a flashback and long sections of the novel concern the inner processes of the writer. The daily grind to summon up enough self-esteem to carry a sentence to its logical conclusion is a real struggle, people, but it ain't exactly riveting.

But the thing is, this novel works. It is one of the best things I've read all year and a real achievement in weird ficti…

What I Read in 2017

The third in my series of year-end lists is literature. As in past years, I've divided this post into two categories: Novels and short stories. Each of these stories made 2017 just a bit brighter for me and I hope this list includes at least a writer or two new to you.


Novels:
I Wish I was You by SP Miskowski: This was the subject of a review earlier this year. The way I feel about this novel, the tragedy of a talented person crippled by anger and regret, transformed into a monstrous avatar of wrath, has not really left me. Beyond the perfection of its prose and its preternatural subject matter, I feel like this is one of the best evocations of the mid-nineties I've seen published. There's something about this book that lingers with me long past the concerns of its plot and characters. I guess what I'm trying to say is this work moved me. 2017 would have been a lot dimmer if I hadn't read this work.New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson: Robinson writes next-level sp…

Review of "Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste

Part of the reason American Gods works is that it offers a kind of reward to folk lore mavens and religious study majors. Do you have a working familiarity with obscure Northern European mythologies? Are you able to describe what Neil Gaiman got right and what he fudged a bit in terms of the Egyptian religion? Then the guessing games of that novel - just which Middle Eastern Goddess is this? - magnify its other charms. 
"Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste (released by Broken Eye Books), is a novella for people, like me, who are waiting impatiently for the next season of Bryan Fuller's show. It's not set in that universe, certainly, but approaches the question of folklore from a similar perspective. Namely, that myths have a definite, physical explanation and your knowledge of such things will expand your enjoyment of the work. In the case of Pretty Marys, the stories are urban legends and nursery rhymes about young women. The main character, Rhee, is named…