RavenCon Recap

(Another version of this recap is on the Feature page of my website.)

Last weekend’s trip to RavenCon went very well. The con was in a more spacious hotel this year, and as usual was superbly organized and the con staff was excellent. It felt good to be immersed in science fiction and fantasy again, even for a short time.

I was pretty busy during the con, as you can see from the list below:

  • Making the Science Fit the Story — This was an enjoyable panel with a surprisingly large audience, very well moderated by John Cmar and featuring the multiple Nebula Award nominee Bud Sparhawk.
  • Pitching Your Work and Writing a Query Letter — This was a mini workshop with Michael Kabongo and Kalayna Price, and it took a slightly different direction from the original intent. The three of us did, however, take the opportunity to drill into the participants what it takes to write a professional cover/query letter.
  • The Pen is Mightier Than The … — I called this panel the “Baen Books World Domination Panel”, since the panel opened with an entire slate of Baen people: authors Julie Cochrane and Steve White, plus me. Later we were joined by Barbara Friend Ish, publisher of Mercury Retrograde Press. I moderated this panel, which explored the selection and treatment of weapons in science fiction.
  • Will there be BBQ’s in Space? — This panel turned out to be much more interesting than we imagined it would. Julie Cochrane, Chuck Gannon, and Hugo Award nominee Lawrence M. Schoen were my fellow panelists, and we discussed cultural celebrations and how writers incorporate them into various types of science fiction stories.
  • What does the future hold for space travel? — For a 10 p.m. science panel, this one was well-attended and we had a lot of fun with it. Laura A. Burns moderated, and Chuck Gannon, John Cmar, and Butch Allen were the other panelists. We covered everything from the current state of affairs at NASA to some far-out propulsion possibilities, and Dr. Yoji Kondo provided some expert commentary from the audience. (Afterward, I talked for awhile with Dr. Kondo about our work at Edwards AFB, and about science fiction luminaries such as Dr. Robert L. Forward and Charles Sheffield.)
  • Blogging, Twittering, ___ings: Are They Productive Time or An Addiction? — I moderated this panel, which had the widest variety of people on it: Nebula Award-winning Baen author Catherine Asaro (sitting in for her keyboard accompanist Donald Wolcott), literary agent Michael Kabongo, and artists Chris Flick and Bryan Prindiville. We had quite a lively discussion, despite the fact that we outnumbered the audience (one of the dangers of a late-day Sunday panel).

In addition, I also attended a few panels, including “Not Your Mommy’s Star Trek, or is it?” and “The Rise of Young Adult Dystopias.” More important and more enjoyable, I enjoyed some long and fruitful discussions with Lawrence M. Schoen, Bud Sparhawk, and Amy Sturgis, and even made some time to work on a short story.

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