Friday, August 03, 2007

Archon 31 - St. Louis

For a total change of pace from what I've been blogging, we're now at a science fiction convention. I've been trying to blog this kind of event as we attend them, so . . . .

While Archon 31 which is also this year's NASFIC (North American Science Fiction Convention) started yesterday, today was the first day I went over there. I have a photo submission due early next week that I must get out. So I spent yesterday at the RV working on it. While I continued working on that submission today, I did it at one of the tables at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville, Illinois - a suburb of St. Louis.

As we drove up, I noted to myself: "yep, people in costumes and fanciful artistic SF t-shirts - yep we're at a con!" One of the first things I do at a con is to take the pocket program book and start marking it up. As I go through it, I mark panel titles that look interesting, I mark writers and panelists that I either know or whose books I read, and I check the Kaffeklatsch list. Now you may be thinking, "What in the world is a Kaffeklatsch?" (And one of the workers at the convention gave me a funny look when I asked where the sign-up was for the Kaffeklatsch's.) A Kaffeklatsch is time spent with an author around a table (coffee can be part of the picture) talking informally. You have an hour of time to get to know your favorite author with you and perhaps 6 or 7 other people. You can ask questions, you can listen, you can tell them what you like about their work. I signed up for one today - with Sheila Finch. We met her a number of years back at one of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Banquets. I have found her to be an interesting person - so I try to attend some of the her events at the cons I attend. I also picked up her new book The Guild of Xenolinguists.

Even though I did not attend many panels because I knew I needed to get my work done, I really enjoyed looking up from my computer and watching the people pass by. I called out to a few friends as they went by.

I did go to three panels today:
Is there room in an SF universe for God?
From the Other Side of the Text - editors and agents give insights into publishing
Steel Magic

I have been pleased to see that many of the science fiction cons now have a "religion" track - including worship services on Sunday morning. The panel, " Is there room in an SF universe for God?" was made up of a fairly typical cross section of Science Fiction people - from an atheist, a Catholic, a Christian Taoist (I think I got that one right), and anthropologist, and a couple of others that I think were Christian but I don't remember the details of their introductory statements. Sheila Finch was the moderator. Her first question was whether humans have an innate need for religion. That one sparked a great debate that covered all the bases. However, one thing that came up was the discovery Google "gene study transcendence" and you will find several links. The Brain Chemistry of the Buddha was the first one I opened. I need to study the article, but this is definitely what was mentioned on the panel.

The other two panels deserve their own blog. So. . . . I'll close for tonight.

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