Mild tragedy has struck, and the limitations of volunteer power mean that OR-eCon 2020 has at least three fewer Zoom rooms than projected. So, the ultimate dream panel scheduling from two postings ago is all, yes entirely gone, EXCEPT: my book reading, which is definitely a good one to save. That’s a short list of spotlighted authors, and I’m glad to be on it.
Science fiction fantasy book conventions are almost entirely volunteer-run, in case you weren’t aware! These are amazing idea exchanges, hotspots of creator support and genre fueling. I arrived at these events later in life, but I heartily endorse the good company that may be found here, amidst lots of humanity and imagination. When I realized what kinds of discussions can take place, I dove in headfirst and fulltime volunteered for my first SFF convention, Sasquan/WorldCon 2015, and have now held five-to-several separate volunteer department positions subsequently – if I wasn’t or even if I was presenting, because they’re such wonderful forums. Volunteering is absolutely a great first-timer entry point, and anyone interested in a whole new world need not be intimidated.
General Claymore made some sensory fumbling in the direction of the blue beam before feeling the cool, breezy contact. It wasn’t immediately easy to do things without a familiar corporeal form. How does one grab without hands? Just… grab. When the connection was there, he felt the extent of its channels – by way of the Signalman’s internal pathway to receptive Vedani counterparts, branching toward their frontline programming into a fractally multiplied magnitude of connections to the variety of entry points in their targets. There was a fresh tingle at these ends, like they had literally just now repurposed this technology for what they were about to attempt; yet there was a solidity of competence. While they may have just now done this, this is exactly the sort of thing they can do.
He let go and grabbed on to the tether, let go and grabbed on, like fiddling with a microphone, feeling the difference of connection and disconnect. The bare technical details were rapidly discussed with Sturlusson and a forthcoming Vedani presence, who merely and quickly stated themselves as Vedani – a new enough concept to General Claymore. He now knew what to say to the soldiers, and was feeling those distinct breaths that come before telling people what to do with their lives in the face of risk.
Coming to a decision, he addressed Raev Sturlusson first. “I want you to send me with them. Can you do that?”
“You have this connection… we, they, could actually do that. From ‘here’.” Sturlusson paused. “Your body would go, too. You know there’s a chaotic element to this emergency rescue which precludes us knowing exactly where you will end up, besides in relative safety. Are you sure you want to do that?”
“I’m sure that I’m sending them with little other option. I think this is the only way that I can choose to do so. Wherever we go, however we go, I will help them from there. And then, I think they’ll go.”
“Okay, then we will do that. I hope you’re wearing something.” Sturlusson sounded as though he knew this kind of situation.
Hot on the heels of WFC, here’s a favorite local convention. It was the first to feature me as an author, after WorldCon, though Seattle’s NorwesCon followed as soon as the calendar would allow. Portland has been my sometime home, and among my foremost friendship cities.
Due to the pandemic, this will be available to everyone everywhere this year! I’m looking forward to sharing a virtual table with some panelists who I’ve attended for a while. Also, I’m finally on the Space Opera panel, and the Genre Hybrid panel, plus a Worldbuilding panel, with a reading – this is the dream panel schedule I’d been wanting since the very beginning, and better. My OryCon / OR-eCon schedule is as follows (I find this pasted block formatting to be novel, so I’m leaving it this way):
Building Your World in Science Fiction
Zoom 2 – Writing
Fri Nov 13 1:00pm – 1:50pm
Where we will discuss how to research, plot, and develop the setting in science fiction literature.
Eva L. Elasigue, Lee French, David D. Levine
Losing Track of Reality
Zoom 3 – Science
Fri Nov 13 2:00pm – 2:50pm
Whether from belief in magic exploited by hucksters, false news stories created and exploited by politicians, disinformation promulgated for profit, flat Earth and young Earth dogmas, and entertainment fantasy taken too seriously, reality in history and science seem under attack. Is this actually getting worse? Could the inability of a faux-news fed public to deal realistically with the scientific issues of diseases, overpopulation, and climate change pose an existential threat to humanity? What, as writers and readers, should we do about it?
April Aasheim, Eva L. Elasigue, Joyce Reynolds-Ward
Zoom 2 – Writing
Sat Nov 14 12:00pm – 12:50pm
Stories that incorporate core concepts and elements of more than one traditional genre offer something particularly satisfying for those drawn to them. A discussion on these with writers who create them.
April Aasheim, K.G. (Karen) Anderson, Eva L. Elasigue, David D. Levine
Zoom 6 – General
Sat Nov 14 1:00pm – 1:50pm
What is space opera, and what draws people to the macroscopic, multivaried saga? Scope, scale, narrative, and humanity in expansive storytelling.
Eva L. Elasigue, Rhiannon Held, David D. Levine
The Reality of Gender in Space-Themed Science Fiction
Zoom 3 – Science
Sat Nov 14 2:00pm – 2:50pm
When encountering new species on distant worlds, science fiction writers can think up the most brilliant of cultures and colors and tech, but too often resort to ‘male’ and ‘female’ genders. Chat with a PhD in mycology (the study of fungi) on how uncommon binary genders are even on earth, and how to broaden your worldview, both as readers and writers, into the potential richness of different evolutionary tracks.rnrn(TLDR: how to make better aliens using science)
Eva L. Elasigue, Joyce Reynolds-Ward
All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again
Zoom 6 – General
Sat Nov 14 5:00pm – 5:50pm
In the aftermath of 9/11, Battlestar Galactica was reimagined as a means of helping us understand how we had arrived at and how we might cope with a radically changed world. This discussion focuses on the road narrative in BSG and other SF and how ancient archetypes, hero’s journeys, and more can help us learn from the past and create a different future.
As Draig was guided to examine each viewpoint more carefully, he received internal estimates of each force brewing, its points of focus and the knowledge base directing it. The grips of power and chains of collapse. Most of this came in the form of wordless understanding, but the Dragon Mbarx also whispered.
…so much of this might is new… but what is new comes from the old. we know these workings, now. i know my part… the others know theirs. your shield of disharmony was elegantly woven… but we forged another frequency, and now we are present with the powers needed to remove you of yours…
Gaining knowledge of the forces in conflict also gave General Claymore awareness of how they would behave in the dismantling, and he stopped himself from considering the manner of imminent fatalities. These explosives were lit. The overview folded itself away from him, and he was approached again by the consciousness of Raev Sturlusson. Signalman? Draig was surprised by the moniker which floated into thought. That must be what they call him.
“You know that there’s next to no time. We have an escape hatch option. This wasn’t planned, and it’s never been done before. This is via the combined abilities of concerned parties who you have never met, but you are the one who has to tell your soldiers to save themselves. There’s no time for detailed explanation. The attack won’t wait. It’s for you to decide that it’s worth the risk to try to save as many as you can. If they do as you say… they’ll live. We don’t think they would have listened to us. There’s a good chance they’ll listen to you.”
“What do they need to do?”
“They need to link hands and touch the orbs that appear inside their windows.”
“Where are they going to go?”
“I don’t know. Somewhere.”
“I’ll tell them. How?”
A clean, glowing blue beam extended from Sturlusson’s point of awareness toward General Alisandre’s. “Connect. Then you can speak, and your voice will be sent into every vessel you just sighted.”