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The Cloud Roads

ApolloCon, the Actual Convention

Yesterday I spent catching up on everything, finishing off a couple of blog posts that I owe, worked on my Doctor Who essay a bit more, and got about 775 words toward my Clarion West Write-a-Thon goal. I didn't try to count any of the re-writing I did last week, since I took out almost as much as I wrote. I'll do another snippet post later today.

One of the highlights of the con for me was the little girl who won the masquerade. She came as the Book Fairy, decked out in book covers, and had the cover of The Cloud Roads around her neck:

The Book Fairy

This is me and Kim Kofmel, at my guest of honor interview.

Friday I had the Opening Ceremonies, plus:

Not So Happily Ever After - Alexis Glynn Latner (M), Derly Ramirez, Martha Wells, Rhonda Eudaly, Stina Leicht
We talked about the real endings of fairy tales and the variants, the one where Hansel and Gretal are actually captured by the Devil and he tries to bleed Hansel to death on a "sawhorse," the real story of Sleeping Beauty, etc. I tried to remember the one which has a second half that was taken out over time, that when the princess is saved by the prince and taken back to his kingdom, she has to defeat his evil (mother or stepmother or wife) and got through various trials to save him. And also what lessons they were trying to teach, how the changes effected that. I also recommended Thorns, the first short story I ever sold back in 1995, and is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the witch's perspective.


No WEMs Allowed: Multiculturalism Steampunk - Alexis Glatner, Kathy Thornton, Martha Wells, O.M. Grey (M), Mel White
We talked about setting SF or fantasy steampunk in other countries, other cultures, other times. I'm still a big advocate for Ancient Egyptian steampunk. I think it would be awesome. And we also got into steampunk set in India and Ancient China, and talked a bit about the exploration fleet that China sent out at one time, pointing out that steampunk is often about adventurous exploration, and that a steampunk fantasy or alt history starring Zheng He would be awesome.

I also did the Guest of Honor interview, an autographing, and a reading (I read from The Serpent Sea, so it was a pretty full day.


Researching Things That Don't Exist - Alexis Glynn Llatner (M), Martha Wells, Linda Donahue, Julia Mandala
We talked about research as a way to help you create fantasy settings and cultures, that knowing what the real thing is like makes the flights of fancy more real, and how research spurs your imagination. I recommended Atlas Obscura as a great place to get ideas and get your creative thinking going.

World in a Box, Just Add Water - Martha Wells (M), Kerry Tolan, Linda Donahue
This was a panel on worldbuilding, and we talked about where you start, how far you go (leaving spaces open for later development), not putting up boundaries to the reader's imagination. That again knowing how real things work helps you learn how to build fantastic things. About having a structure that is logical and internally consistent, even though that logic is not our Earth logic and does not use our physics, and bears no resemblance to the way things work in the real world.

And that was it!

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When we were discussing research, I completely forgot to suggest the Foxfire books. The set has amazing descriptions of how things were done in the "good old days," (like I wanted to split my own shingles from cedar trunks)

Oh, that's right! I think we have copies of those somewhere.

Book Fairy! With wings made out of WORDS!

She was fabulous! It was a great concept and she really deserved the win.

I firmly believe that "Avatar: The Last Airbender" was steampunk and will not be dissuaded. I stand firm.

Oh, you're right, that's true! The Fire Nation ships, the flying things, all the neat stuff in the Earth Nation cities, that's very fantasy steampunk, isn't it? I'll have to start using that as an example.

The Book Fairy is amazing! What a terrific costume.

The panels sound great and it sounds like you really got into them. Good discussion all around I assume? :)

Re: Not So Happily Ever After: I think that might be Beauty and the Beast; as well as being one of the fairy tales with a known author, the first written version of it has a long convoluted second half, which i think does invovle Beauty getting to do some rescuing, but which also indicates that the Prince and Beauty are in fact first cousins, and she's thus Secretly Royal, which explained why all the magical beings were rooting for her, and why it was okay for a relative nobody to marry a prince at all. I rather thought it *deserved* removal because of those elements, even though at first I was interested to see where it was going from there.

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