Orycon Whirlwind

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There was a plan, at one point, to arrive at Orycon bright and early in the morning, help set up the Westercon 65 table, and spend a mostly relaxed first day at the con. This lasted until Phosphor found just the right timing to duck out with me as I was leaving, and after a few seconds of confusion, attempted to return to his ancestral home under the porch.

Five hours of coaxing and a triumphant capture later, we headed out to arrive with half an hour to spare before my first panel.

The rest is my fault. Having agreed to more panels every year at Orycon, I finally found my limit: seven was a bit much. I'd already had qualms about four in one day, and in fact had said on the progam form that I didn't want to do more than three, but the four I wound up with all looked so interesting...

Friday, though, started out comfortably in the "Executive Meeting Center", or as we know it, the small panel rooms, which are furnished with lovely padded executive swivel chairs for panelists and audience. The particular room I was going to had added a couch sometime in the last year, on which the panelists sat, leading to a very relaxed panel.

Friday evening of course featured the Endeavour Award, a charity auction, and the infamous Not Ready For Sidereal Time Players, this year presenting "Alice in Oryconland: Episode 1: A New Hop".

Ironically, this was the one on fannish health. "Perceptions of health, illness, intelligence and mental disability in fandom," said part of the description, and we proceeded to prove that fandom is fiarly accepting as the conversation turned into a bunch of geeks swapping interesting medical facts we had learned from our encouters with health care.

Saturday, I started the day moderating a panel on religion. No, actually, it went very well. It was one on good, bad, and downright terrible depictions of religion in sf, and you can guess what was mostly discussed. Guy Letorneau in particular covered some of the same hilarious ground as he had for the similar panel at Kumoricon. The description asked "Is the future atheistic?", but the closest we got to that were mentions of highly dubious methods of making the future atheistic. (My top prize still goes to The Fountains of Paradise, where an alien probe produces a perfect logical proof of the nonexistence of God, whereupon the entire human race promptly drops religion.)

Next up was a discussion of novels of manners and and why fandom likes them so much. Many book suggestions were made and noted. Someone was going to post the whole list, but I don't think it ever made it online. Still, a substantial audience was there to hear the suggestions.

Next: urban fantasy. This was my third consecutive panel, it was lunchtime, and I was starting to flag. Luckily I was the moderator on this one, and could adapt a stance where I threw out questions and the other panelists could do the thinking.

After a refreshment break, it was time for "SF awards - What are they?". Here a well-prepared 5-person panel faced an audience of two, one of which was already an Endeavour Award reader and well-versed in the Hugos. I guess this just isn't a topic that much of Orycon is that interested in.

I think it was Saturday night that the Endeavour reception happened. Like my memory of much of the rest of the con, it was exciting but very, very crowded. I don't know when I would have managed to escape if I hadn't found my way into the wake of a determined Nisi Shawl.

Sunday dawned with a fanzine panel, back in the room with the couch, which had now been moved to the audience as someone had located a table to put at the panelist end of the room. With two panelists and a small audience, it looked like it would be a stretch to fill an hour, but it turns out people are still very curious about the fanzine world.

Finally, there was "The best graphic novel you're not reading - titles that deserve a wider audience". My co-panelist was Scott Allie from Dark Horse, so I gave up trying to sound like any kind of expert early on and let it turn into an interview. I think the audience learned a lot. My brain was melting down. I've learned my lesson!

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