I really, really appreciate how supportive of the military Baen books is. I know they have a program for sending boxes of books to deployed troops, but was very surprised when they kicked off their roadshow by asking anyone active duty to come up and grab a free book. Then they invited reservists, veterans, schoolteachers, first responders, and librarians. It gave me a warm fuzzy. And of course I enjoyed getting to see all their new books, new covers, etc. I wish Tor was here doing the same!
The “Designing Military Spacecraft” panel yesterday was simply awesome. We had a highly capable moderator, a very interesting mix of panelist backgrounds, and an enthusiastic audience that gave us some great questions to work with. Best panel I have been on, and I hope I can do as well with my two panels today: “Women in STEM” at 2:00 and “Military SF” at 7:00, just before the awards ceremony and masquerade, followed by ’80s dance with John Scalzi as DJ. I can already tell this evening will be epic.
The best panel I have been an audience member so far was yesterday’s “Gender Roles in Genre Fiction.” The panel discussed the past and current limitations on gender roles, and ripped apart some of the most damaging tropes out there (rape as a plot device or character-defining feature, the one strong woman who stands out among a society of weak and suppressed women). Jim Hines made me want to hug him for his righteous indignation and rage over how often and how horribly these tropes are used.
They also talked about who isn’t well-represented in the currently conservative mainstream market (strong men who don’t have to show that strength with violence, minorities and people of color, and LGBT characters, to name a few). Overall a great panel and I walked away with some new book recommendations to check out and hopefully find something new and different.
Due to our kid-free status at this con, this is the first time I’ve been able to check out the late-night con party scene. About what I expected, except I actually had fun. Normally I’m way too antisocial and awkward for that and end up bored and/or terrified in a corner, but I am among my people here. Meaning it doesn’t matter if I can’t dance and don’t fit the mainstream media’s definition of pretty. Rather, I found people who appreciated my Uhura impression, walked around showing off their lovingly and carefully made costumes. and didn’t care what anyone thought of their dancing.
At the Helsinki in 2017 bid party I enjoyed their spread of Finnish food and beverages, spent a few minutes mesmerized by the club lights at the Barfleet party, and observed the fireworks after the Tigers came from the 69th floor Con Suite while pigging out on cheese and crackers. Fireworks viewed from above are awfully cool.
Ok, enough writing, I am off to hunt down breakfast and more panels to attend.