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Blogging Westercon – Saturday

This morning I met with a few SF Canada members for breakfast, at which we tried to convince Danita Maslan to join. Then, after helping my wife and daughter get up to the pool for some swimming, I returned to the room to blog about yesterday’s events and to do some last-minute research for the Year in Science panel.

My first event was the Writers At the Improv. This is a fun exercise in which teams of two create sentences based on words provided by the audience. Each member of the team writes one sentence; the team decides which sentence is better, then that sentence is offered to the audience. The audience votes on which team’s sentence is the best, and that becomes the first sentence of the story. Repeat until time runs out.

Writers at the Improv

This year’s Writers at the Improv session featured pros against IFWA members, and I was paired with Robert J. Sawyer. Edo van Belkom was also dragooned into being on the panel, along with Leslie Carmichael. It appeared at first that the van Belkom/Carmichael team would run away with things, but Rob and I made a valiant attempt, and got a couple of sentences into the story. I captured the much-lusted-after honour of writing the closing couple of sentences. Since this year’s story began with an exploding testicle and went downhill from there, this was a dubious honour, to say the least.

That was followed by a panel on teaching young people to write SF and fantasy, with Barb Geller-Smith, James C. Glass and myself. We had a grand total of three “audience” members, so it became more of an informal discussion, primarily with an interested young writer and his mentor.

The Year in Science panel followed, with Blair Petterson, James C. Glass (again), Karl Johanson, myself, and (a last-minute addition) Larry Niven. We talked about astronomical discoveries (extra-solar planets, organic compounds in space), developments in physics (quantum teleportation, etc.), and medical developments (advanced brain-scanning techniques, mind-controlled prostheses, etc.).

After that came a panel on school visits. Elizabeth Trenholm was the main panelist; I threw in my two cents’ worth; we had a moderator, and there were three people in the audience, at least to start. I got some good ideas from Liz for my own upcoming teen writers’ workshop in Regina.

A completely non-productive autograph session followed, and it was time to head off to the Locus Awards not too long thereafter, which I blogged in some detail below. Before I went, though, I sat in on Dinosaurs in Fact and Fiction with the science guest of honor, Dr. Phil Currie, Robert J. Sawyer, and Karl Johanson. Where is the new dinosaur science fiction? I’m not sure–maybe I should write some.

Dr. Phil Currie

After the Locus Awards, I briefly attended an SF Canada mixer. Then it was home to blog–and go to bed.

More tomorrow!

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