Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.
Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)
- We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ
- Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)
- The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)
- Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)
- Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear
- River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey
- Pantomime – Laura Lam
- Killing Gravity – Corey J White
- Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)
- “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz
- Rose Lemberg
- Foz Meadows
- A Merc Rustad
(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)
- Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan
- Culture series – Iain M Banks
- Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer
- The Postman – David Brin
- A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
- Hospital Station – James White
- Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)
- Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)
- The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
- All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre
- Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan
- Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon
- Barbara Hambly
Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.
- Praxis – John Williams
- Black Wolves – Kate Elliot
- Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham
- Isabelle Yap
- Ken Liu
- Stephanie Lai
- Zen Cho
(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)
Things I attended included...
- Appeal of the Bland Protagonist. I remember only that Robert Silverberg was fairly entertaining.
- The Long Term Future of the Universe & How to Avoid It. I don’t think we got as far as proton decay. Entertaining but I don’t think I learned much.
- Polyamorous Relationships in Fiction. I think a fair few examples given but I don’t really remember much about this.
- What Science Can Tell Us About Alien Minds. This was largely a very well-pitched survey of what we know about minds and brains and their development here, with the implications for the alien underlined. Excellent.
- New, More Diverse Superheroes. Something that’s been improving lately. Many of the examples were familiar. Slightly surprised that Vimanarama wasn’t mentioned, it can’t be that obscure?
- How to Tell the Ducks from the Rabbits. This covered some unpublished research modelling some perceptual effects we find in human vision. Ian Stewart is a good speaker.
- Cyberpunk and the Future. Fairly rambling but quite entertaining and IIRC avoided the trap of falling into a laundry list of recommendations which can sometimes happen.
- New Publishing. A couple of models I didn’t know about (though ‘run publisher as a co-operative’ doesn’t seem conceptually new) but I didn’t get a sense that any particular model was about to set the world on fire. Apparently ebook sales are declining as a proportion of the total, which surprised me.
- Supermassive Black Holes. A quick survey of how black holes work (which didn’t contain many surprises) followed by some new stuff: the GR-aware visualization of a black hole made for Interstellar, corrections to it involving red/blue shifting and the spin of the black hole, a further visualization of what you’d see as you flew into one (assuming you destroyed by any of the many hazards) and a project to radio image out galaxy’s central black hole. Another excellent science talk.
- Hugo Awards. Very glad to see Monstress winning Best Graphic Story.
- Beyond the Goldilocks Zone. Panel about the possibilities for exoplanets that sustain life. One point I’d not previously been aware of was that although Europa-style bodies might (hypothetically) have life in sub-ice oceans, there’s no realistic way of detecting this from a distance, meaning that more earth-like planets are a better bet for analysis. (The “goldilocks zone” is the range of distances from a given star in which planets can support liquid water on their surface, making them a good bet for life.)
- Gender and “Realistic History”. The panel largely surveyed past examples of groups and behaviors sometimes thought to have been absent or rare in the past. Interesting listening.
- Exoplanetary Zoo and The Search for Earth 2.0. Another excellent science talk, this time on the detection strategies for exoplanets and the results they’ve had so far. There are a lot of exoplanet discoveries awaiting confirmation.
- Language Creation. David Peterson (famous for the conlangs from Game Of Thrones) described the basics of making a convincing sketch conlang. A very entertaining speaker.
- The Singularity: Transhuman Intelligence in Fiction and Futurism. An opportunity for Charlie Stross to steal the show. Fun.
- Bullets in Space. Basic orbital mechanics, done fairly well. The basic proposition is that ballistic projectiles are a terrible idea when fighting in an orbit; if they miss the target they are probably going to hit something you didn’t want them to.
- Tomorrow’s Cool SF Physics. Enjoyed it but don’t remember anything else about it.
- Designing Life. Fun discussion of biotechnological possibilities for modifying and creating life.
- Ideas Crossing the World: Japanese Adaptations of Western Fantasy. In practice I think this mostly amounted to an opportunity for the panellists to entertain with their encyclopaedic knowledge of manga and anime.
...there were other things but I can’t remember enough to say anything about them.
I have been consumed by this book. From the principle players' early scholarly beginnings, their childhood acquaintance becomes an adulthood alliance - intimate but fragile. Scarred, shady lawyer Georges Danton, lascivious journalist Camille Desmoulins and hypocritically pious Maximilien Robespierre clever themselves a bloody revolution and are shocked - shocked, by the consequences! I read this like a person possessed, because just when I thought it all kicked, off, it kept kicking off and went and then went insane.