Martha Wells (marthawells) wrote,
Martha Wells

WorldCon Saturday, Books of the Raksura, and ArmadilloCon

Between a brief informal Twitter poll by me and a consultation at the publisher, the Cloud Roads books now have an official series title: Books of the Raksura I'm still plugging away on the third book.

I'll be at ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX, this weekend, and my schedule is here.

And if you haven't heard, San Antonio, Texas, won the bid for the WorldCon in 2013.


(Reports for Wednesday and Thursday and Friday)

WorldCon Saturday was when I really started to mentally and physically crater. Got up early again, finally found the one breakfast restaurant that wasn't exposed to casino smoke, then while my roommates went to the gym, I went swimming in the pools.

The Atlantis doesn't have as elaborate pools as the big one in the Caribbean, but it was still pretty nice. They had a round indoor pool in a glass enclosure with a two story boulder-strewn tropical waterfall. Very neat. Plus an outdoor pool and a hot tub. After that, I finally shopped more thoroughly in the dealers' room, signed books for another book dealer, and then did my reading. Panels were running late so I started out with only a couple of nice people, then looked up at one point to realize the room was much more full of nice people, so that was good.

After a quick break, this was the next panel:

Sat 1:00 - 2:00, The Comeback Genre: Sword & Sorcery (Panel), A16 (RSCC)
Sword and Sorcery has a rich history, going back to at least Howard and Smith. And it's making a comeback. Our panelists talk about its rich history and why it's back and better than ever.
Lou Anders, Dale Ivan Smith, S.M. Stirling, Martha Wells

This was in one of the smaller rooms and was crowded to pretty much standing room only. We talked a bit about the history and current books, and made a lot of recommendations. I recced Charles Saunders' Imaro and Dossouye books, Tanith Lee (Her early sword and sorcery like Vazkor, Son of Vazkor and Cyrion, plus the later Night's Master and Death's Master which feel like you're reading Robert E. Howard while dropping acid.), Howard A. Jones' The Desert of Souls, and Jessica Amanda Salmonson's Amazons anthologies. Someone in the audience also recced Salmonson's Tomoe Gozen books, set in feudal Japan.

After that I went to late lunch (it was after 2:00 by then) with my roommates and Courtney, and was so tired I was calling people by the wrong name. I only had one more panel to go and revived enough for:

Sat 5:00 - 6:00, Designing Believable Archeaology and Anthropology (Panel), A03 (RSCC)
Using anthropology and archaeology to build realistic SF and fantasy worlds.
Martha Wells (M), Jessica Axsom, S.M. Stirling

We had a really good talk for being so late in the day, in one of the big rooms with a large audience. Jessica is a working archeologist, so that added a lot to the discussion. (My degree was in anthropology and I've been on an archeology field camp, and Steve Stirling had done some extensive reading in it.) We talked about things that should inform your decisions while world-building, and I actually have my panel topics I prepared as moderator, so I'll copy them here:

1) cultures in the real world interact, borrow from each other, are influenced by each other's language, food, clothes, art, music, literature, etc. This isn't just a modern thing, but has been happening all through history. Do you think cultures in fantasy worlds can be too isolated, as people do extensive world-building but don't take these things into account?

2) cultures also evolve constantly, grow and change, cities, religions grow and change, and it's also hard to show that.

3) cultures can also evolve into behavior that is self-destructive, either from internal causes (behaviors that were needed for survival earlier but are now counter-productive) or external (European Rye blight), or working systems that get temporarily thrown out of balance and can't readjust (pueblo witch hunts) - it's easy to see from an outsider, historical perspective, but not so much from the inside. Examples of fantasy novels that pull this off?

There were a lot of good questions and comments from the audience, and since it was the last panel of the day in that room, we didn't get the five minute warning or the notice to stop, so people could come up to the table and discussion went on for a while afterward.

That was my last panel of the con, and we were leaving Sunday morning, though the con programming actually went on to late in the afternoon. We went to dinner in downtown Reno with one of my roommates' family, looked at the river and the park there, then came back and read Hugo results online and decided we were too dead for parties.

Next day they dropped me at the airport, I flew home with Amy and Paul, and then drove an hour and a half home from Houston, through once green and now drought-dead countryside, watching a tiny rainstorm dance around in the distance.

Now back to work.
Tags: armadillocon, conventions, worldcon
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