I had originally planned to attend Boskone face-to-face, but when Omicron caused Arisia to cancel, I decided to wait to see how conditions were before deciding about Boskone. In the end, I decided to attend only virtually. These notes are pretty scattered but I wanted to get down my recollections as best as I could.
There was very little information about what the “virtual” conference would entail. A day or two before the convention, a discord server was made available and the schedule showed which panels would be streamed virtually — usually just one or two per session.
Boskone started on Friday afternoon, but I was still teaching. So I missed the first several sessions and could only start attending Friday evening.
The first session I attended, about “unhappy endings” was interesting to me. Having written a story that is a tragedy (A Bitter Lesson), I was interested to hear what the panelists had to say.
As that was winding down, I noticed that Ada Palmer was holding forth in one of the voice channels of the Discord. So I hung with them for a while before heading to bed kinda early — it had been a very long week.
On Saturday, I came to my computer early and started streaming programming from Boskone, though I mostly left it running in the background while I worked on other stuff. I listened to the panel on Island Fiction — this topic resonates with me having visited St. Croix — and having set my current serial Revin’s Heart in an archipelago of islands. I tried to listen to the presentation about Quantum Computing but I found I wasn’t getting anything out of it to just have it in the background. The Craft of Writing Conversation with Max Gladstone and Ada Palmer was enjoyable. And it’s always fun to hear readings by Charlie Stross & Cory Doctorow. The panel “Writing the Naughty Bits” was fun. I was pleased to learn about Circlet Press.
I got up early on Sunday morning for Do it Again: The Pains (and Pleasures?) of Rewriting. The money quote:
“Being too stupid to know when to quit is a real asset in this business.” —@TamoraPierce
Unfortunately, it was at the same time as the session about inclusive cons. So I switched back and forth between the two a bit.
The Ask the Editors session was interesting — it’s always useful to know what the enemy is thinking. Although that was one of their key points: the editor is not the enemy. But that’s just what they’d want you to think, isn’t it? The money quote:
“It’s frustrating because sometimes editors can be RIGHT!” —David Marshall
The panel on Social Media had Cory Doctorow and had some interesting stuff. I’ve been watching social media for a long time, so it was interesting to hear where things may be going. I enjoyed the panel about Scientists Who Write Science Fiction mainly for getting to see Larry Niven, who wrote so much amazing stuff I remember from my youth. The panel Monstrous Façade: Disability and Disfigurement as a Villainous Trope had the amazing John Wiswell who said, roughly, whether you have an artificial leg or a tattoo, the moral equivalence of your body modifications are equal.
Finally, I had fun with Impossible Cities in Speculative Fiction. There was a bit about the evil side in Star Wars. I agreed with the guy who said that the original Star Wars movie (not IV, but the original) was the only good Star Wars movie. To be honest, the only bit I really paid serious attention to was a kaffeeklatsch with Neil Clarke, for which I took detailed notes. I’ll post that in a separate blog post