Last weekend, I was busy at Boskone, the annual February convention sponsored by the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA). It was a smaller convention than Boskone of years past, but was friendly and good fun, and a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances I hadn’t seen in a while. I spoke on a panel on “Faith in the Future” with a number of other writers, including James Morrow, with whom I have locked horns on questions related to faith and religion on many previous occasions. Jim’s a good guy. We disagree on just about every aspect of faith, God, spirituality, and application to life, politics, and fiction. But it’s a good-natured disagreement, and we’ve always stayed friendly. This year I enjoyed attending his book publication party for his new book, Shambling Toward Hiroshima, a Godzilla story (at least on some level; I haven’t read it yet). I’m a Godzilla fan from way back, and I happily left his party with a wind-up, spark-breathing Godzilla toy.
As moderator of a panel called “Angels and AIs,” I got to be the herder of cats trying to keep things moving in some direction resembling the discussion topic of whether sufficiently advanced artificial intelligences would come to seem like angels to us—or maybe like Cylons. With voices as disparate as Karl Schroeder and Charles Stross, among others, I’m not sure how well I succeeded in keeping the conversation on track. But one audience member told me afterward he thought it was an awesome discussion, so I guess it went okay.
I had long, enjoyable conversations with fellow writers Ann Tonsor Zeddies and Rosemary Kirstein, both of whom share my struggle with getting new books written in something less than geologic time frames. (They’re both good, too; check out their books.) My literary beer brought together many past members of the Ultimate SF Workshop that I teach with Craig Gardner, as well as local fan and writer Dan Kimmel, and in a surprise appearance, math professor Bruce Burdick of Roger Williams University, who—although neither of us knew the other at the time—graduated just a few years after I did from Huron High School, in Huron, Ohio.
A small world. Lots of passing conversations with others: Jane Yolen, Greg Bear, Tom Easton, Jo Walton, Mark and Shirley Pitman, people from Tor…ah, I’m sure I’m leaving out a bunch—sorry. I finally got to meet the artist who produced the lovely cover for Sunborn: Stephan Martiniere. He does good work!
As do they all.