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September 2003

Space Opera Discussions

Jonathan Strahan has blogged our essay on Space Opera in SF Revu. (Sorry, folks. I meant to mention it myself, but there were certain messes that needed to be cleaned up before I could leave for Canada.) Strahan also created a topic on his Nightshade discussion board which has attracted Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, M. John Harrison (my favorite Mad Hatter), and Alastair Reynolds. The posting there on Space Opera is fast and furious, though not terribly deep. Good fun, however. We said our piece and have a Space Opera book to finish, so I'm going to stay out of this one, though I will lurk.

Peter Starts First Grade, Torcon, etc.

Today Peter rode the bus to school for his first day of first grade. He was very excited and took off out the door without his backpack before I was quite ready to send him. We took a couple of pictures at the bus stop. David intended to take his picture as he boarded, but he bounded onto the bus like a deer, too fast for David's camera to capture.

I had a September 11th moment this morning when looking for something in the bathroom. Not the media's 9/11, but my own. Two years ago, 9/11/01 was Peter's first day of pre-school. For half a second, I was there again, walking down the halls of the pre-school holding his hand, learning for the first time that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Today will not be like that, but I expect every year on the first day of school -- which carries stresses and anxieties of its own -- I will never be quite sure.

We are, of course, back from Torcon, the World Science Fiction Convention held in Toronto. While I did manage a single, short post from the Torcon Internet room, throughout the convention I was in the constant company of at least one child with very little relief except for my scheduled program items. My one post was accomplished by parking Peter at the computer next to me with and letting Elizabeth loose on the floor.

I'm planning to write a piece about WorldCons, children and childcare, though it will have to wait a few days.

Andy Porter, deposed editor of SF Chronicle, back from exile with a new fanzine, tells me I look like a 12-year-old and need a make-over. Always the flatterer, Andy.

Special thanks: to Greg Ketter, Lisa Freitag, Lorna Carlson [Logan-Edwards], and Mrs. Carlson (Lorna's mother) for assistance with children; to Rob Sawyer for extended hospitality and for putting up with Peter's interest in his toys; to Terry & Merle Green and Karl & Janice Schroeder for soothing dinners at their homes; and to Danita (whose last name I've spaced) for assistance getting the stroller up and down the stairways in the Royal Ontario Museum when the elevators were out. You made my WorldCon more humane.

SF bloggers seen at the WorldCon: Tobias Buckell (waved at in the halls), Cory Doctorow (looking lean and mean [not really mean, just smiling a little less than usual], and rumored to be on the Atkins diet), John Dupuis (at the kids' play area in the exhibit hall while we watched our kids; we talked while the kids hit each other with inflatable hammers), Lisa DuMond, Terry Green whom we visited in his new house, Neil Gaiman (who won a Hugo), Janis Ian (who availed herself of Canadian law and married her partner of 14 years), Mary Kay Kare (who accepted Sue Mason's Hugo), Joshua Kronengold, Claude Lalumire, Derryl Murphy, Laurie Mann, Cheryl Morgan (more WorldCon bloggage than the rest of us combined, I think), Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Ferag NicBhrde (with maroon braids instead of the usual purple), Mary Anne Mohanraj, Lisa Padol, Eric Raymond, Anita Rowland (in the reef of people with laptops in the Crown Plaza's WiFi zone), Charles Stross (who was only a little impressed with the expensive robot dog cavorting in the Exhibit Hall lobby), Karl Schoeder (carrying his Aurora Award still swaddled in bubble wrap, baby Paige in tow). (Apologies to anyone I missed. Feel free to let me know if I skipped you in the comments section.) Apparently Elaine Normandy and Jack William Bell were at Torcon, too.

I didn't get to attend much of the program. Except for items in children's programming the only panels I was able to attend were my own plus the Hugos (I was a nominee). Of the items I did attend, the one I enjoyed most was Isaac Szpindel on writing for Rescue Heroes (attended because Peter loves the show and the toys). Isaac, a develpmental-neurologist-turned-writer is an interesting person whom I'm glad I got to talk to. NOTE TO SMOFs: There's something wrong with your con if the only items I can attend that aren't my own are in children's programming, and I'm not just talking about Torcon. This has happened to me a lot this year.