Monday, May 02, 2011

Post-EerieCon 13 Bloggy Stuff

I got back yesterday afternoon from EerieCon 13 feeling a little tired, but mostly satisfied and energized.

It was a great weekend spent with some amazing people, talking about writing and reading speculative fiction and related topics (technology, culture, society). And to boot I got to meet and hang out with yet another iconic writer whom I grew up reading: Larry Niven.

After trying not to gush over Larry while asking him to sign some books (among them a well-worn/well-loved mass market paperback version of Lucifer's Hammer) I got to sit with him on a few panels, learned more fun "behind the writing" bits from several of his novels, and sat beside him during the WHAT LINES' MINE panel, helping him along - as it had been his first exposure to this unique game (more on this panel/game below).

During that session, the EerieCon organizers surprised Larry with a large slab cake (April 30th was his 73rd birthday) with the entire Ballroom audience singing "Happy Birthday" to him. I snapped a couple of quick pictures of the moment.

Larry standing while the crowd sings & cheers

A view over Larry's shoulder of his cake & stage-right side of the audience

WHAT LINES' MINE is a unique EerieCon game where quotes from anywhere within the entire body of the panel authors' works are read aloud out of context and the authors have to guess which one of them wrote it by holding up name cards in front of them. The scoring is standard fare when you get one right, but if you get your OWN quote wrong, you lose points big time. 

There is a lot of fun-spirited cheating during this game (which leads to much amusement between the panel and the audience and lends to a lot of the game's fun). There are some great running jokes involving Anne Bishop's use of particular recurring subject matter in her writing, and references to long-running panelists, even when they're not there (like Josepha Sherman and Carolyn Clink who weren't physically there, but were in spirit)

I, of course, had the biggest advantage over the other panelists since I'm pretty sure I had the least amount of published material out there and was thus most likely to be able to recognize my own writing from within that smaller pool.

But it was a fun game. I came in first and my friend James Alan Gardner came in last, winning the Hal Clement memorial award for the lowest score. (The lowest score was given that name in honour of Hal, who absolutely adored sitting on this panel/game and cherished every moment of it, but consistently came in last)

I met and chatted with so many great people this past weekend.  At events like this, sure, the panel discussions are good, but the hallway and ConSuite chats can be just as illuminating and fun.

As I often do while sitting on panels, I jot down notes of interesting things that the other panelists say - I tend to take more notes when I'm moderator, which allows me to draw on things they've said, explore concepts they raise further and tie in things that each person said. I continually learn as much if not more as a panelist than when I'm sitting in the audience.

During one of the panels about writers using social media, there were so many great questions from the audience as well as so much interesting discussion from my fellow panelists that we ran out of time. I promised the folks who still had more questions that I'd do my best to sum up the things discussed as well as put out a blog post regarding that topic.  Thus, later this week, there'll be a few "follow-up" posts about EerieCon 13, in particular a "Reader's Digest" version of the social media panel, complete with links and other info I think would usefully answer several of the questions.

I wanted to extend my thanks to the volunteers from the Buffalo Fantasy League who, for thirteen years now have put together a great weekend filled with lots of fun, learning, networking and intimate, lively discussion. I look forward to being there again next year. Great job!


Chris Abbey said...

Just to say publicly that you were an excellent moderator on those panels!

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks, Chris. Glad you enjoyed those panels and I appreciate the kind words. It was good to see you again at EerieCon. :)