Sunday, February 21, 2016

Boskone 2016

Boskone was this weekend and I was determined to see as many Saturday panels as I could. I felt that pinch of too many awesome things to take in and not enough time to do them all. As a consequence, sometime around 4 pm, I noticed I was hungry. Not peckish. Not ready for a gnosh. Hungrrrrrrry.

I left the panel I was in early and walked down Westin’s atrium, considering vague possibilities. I wondered if there were food trucks at Boskone (no, sadly), or maybe I could go across the street to the burger joint. Was it worth sitting down at one of the restaurants? Even as I considered these abstractions, my feet were already on their way to Starbucks. Arriving in line, still mulling possibilities, my hand reached out and snagged one of these soggy paninis they keep in the juice and drink shelves. “Well, that’s strange,” I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy a panini today. I wonder how much one of these things are?"

“$11,” the barista informed me.

“Oh, I see,” already thinking maybe it would be better to get a scone or something.

Instead the panini snatched some cash out of my wallet and leapt into the barista’s hands.

A few moments later, peeling the package open, I chided myself. "I really could’ve waited for some decent food. Now I’m stuck with this disgusting, greasy, late-in-the-day panini I didn’t even want."

I took one reluctant bite and I have to say, when you are hungry, a soggy panini can be the most delicious thing ever. I fell upon that sandwich like a starving dog. I briefly considered eating half of it and then wrapping up the rest for later. What I did was find a dark corner while I messily devoured every last tongue-scorchingly hot, greasy bit of that panini. 

Okay, end digression. I had a lot of fun at Boskone. I was great to catch up with friends. I saw Gillian Daniels and N.A. Ratnayake tearing things up in media and science panels respectively. From the discovery of gravity waves, to the expanded understanding of our own solar system, 2015 was a very big year for science. I saw the fan-made “Star Trek New Voyages” episode 'Blood and Fire,’ which aside from pacing issues is a perfectly watchable Star Trek episode that happens to feature an all new cast. The back story of this episode is that it was meant for Next Generation as the fulfillment of Gene Roddenberry’s promise to include gay characters in the Star Trek Universe. Behind-the-scenes politics blocked this episode from coming together and instead it found new life adapted for the fan-made original series. It’s free to watch and worth the effort to track down.

Towards the end of the evening I finally got a more or less respectable meal, catching up with N.A. Ratnayake over a few drinks. I’ve already talked up his first novel “Red Soil Through Our Fingers," but it was enormously inspiring to talk about the struggles of finding one’s voice in writing fiction. Writing is at once one of the easiest things imaginable and one of those most terrifying. At some point, during the process, you’re going to be alone with all of your fears of inadequacy and humiliation. You’re going to have to face the fact that everything you’ve written down is completely ridiculous and trivial and has been said a million times already. Then you’re going to think back to an $11 panini and somehow find the strength to keep going.

Thanks Boskone! I will see you next year. 
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