Wow! Lots of interesting questions about contacting extra-terrestrial intelligence. While there was a massive amount of smarts on the panel, it was really cool to learn Vatican City has an observatory, and the director of the observatory, Guy J. Consolmagno, was on the panel.
“We’re always looking for ourselves.”
How do we not anthropomorphize aliens?
Maybe we should warn them about us?
What are we not including/asking?
What is our motivation for searching for extraterrestrial intelligence?
What are the consequences of contact?
Will aliens be truthful? (Based on human history, there’s been a lot of dissembling.)
Should we just remain quiet?
Should we be more powerful?
The must do event was the KaffeeKlatsche with @Mary Robinette Kowal and @astroKjell (Kjell Lindgren) . MRK has written two of my favorite books ever, her Lady Astronaut series. (Reviews coming much later when I get caught up with stuff.)
Getting to sit at a table and talk to the woman who wrote a fantastic book whose protagonist is strong, smart and an advocate for women in the space program knocked my socks off. Oh, and a real live astronaut. What a great way to start the day.
Mary and Kjell are some of the best people I’ve ever met. They were kind and generous with their time, and allowed the 10 of us at their table to ask questions. I’m grateful to for the opportunity to meet and engage with them.
1001 Nights is the first anthology ever.
“Fiction gives voice to the voiceless.”
Science fiction writing is booming in the Middle East now. Yasser Bahjatt started a publishing house so that these voices can be heard. One of his goals is to work with translators so that English readers get to hear the voices too. It’s a really exciting development for world science fiction/fantasy
I left fandom years ago because I wasn’t really enjoying myself. Old friends have died or moved on and I wandered off to figure out me. Early cons are where I realized I was “too freaky for the mundanes, and too mundane for the freaks.”
While WorldCon76 was my second worldcon, it was my best con ever! Big backpack stuffed with con survival gear (food, books, journals, pens, etc.), bowler hat squarely on my head, I wandered the convention center with a big smile on my face. Thank you Richard for insisting I go.
My recaps are an effort to wrangle my notes into one accessible place. Notes are incomplete because there’s no way I could keep up with people like @MGallowglas or Shayma Alshareef and Yasser Bahjatt. Mistakes are mine, not theirs.
Panel: Geeks Guide to Literary Theory – M Todd Gallowglas – @MGallowglas
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publisher’s Blurb: Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab-Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. Calling themselves “the Zeroes,” they must spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, at a secret complex known only as “the Lodge.”
… North Korea is like the crazy little brother that keeps kicking over the neighbor’s potted plants and dropping flaming bags of dog shit on their doorstep. You protect them because they’re your brother, but in private you drag them over the coals for acting like such an epic asshole. (p. 274)
I came to Chuck Wendig through the Miriam Black series. Miriam is one of my very favorite urban fantasy protagonists with her dark secret power which has driven her to a life of self-sabotage which makes most of us look sane and normal.
None of the characters on Zer0es come even close to being as interesting. Not even the AI called Typhon.
And while I enjoyed Zer0es as the perfect mind candy getaway, the story of five disparate hackers forced to make the choice between prison or hacking for a unknown government project read like a Michael Crichton thriller without all the horrifying deathly side effects.
I really wanted to like this book on a level other than a Lord of the Flies-esque survival of the best hackers against each other, conspiracy minded players with a cult like belief they’re on the righteous side, and a terrifying Ai which could have come from any wetware scenario.
The writing is smart, and often times thrilling. And as I said farther up, it’s a great afternoon read. But for me, it read like “been there, read that.” That’s not Wendig’s fault, I’ve probably been reading voraciously longer than he’s known how to string words together.
There are other books written by Wendig which interest me. I’m looking forward to catching up on Miriam Black. Zer0es just sort of missed the mark for me.