At 4:00 I went to the panel “Understanding Casino Gambling” with Dave Cantor, Susan Casper, Chris Garcia, Joan Slonczewski, and Connie Willis. I’m not a casino gambler, but I’m interested in the mathematics and psychology behind gambling. I did learn several tidbits about which games are better than others and other interesting facts about gambling.
Convention Guest of Honor Tim Powers did a signing at 5:00. I have been a big fan of his ever since reading one of his early novels, The Anubis Gates. Somewhat disappointingly, his line was not very long and it didn’t take long to see him. He signs his books upside down; I don’t know why. So then I had time to see the last half of “The Works of Tim Powers” with John Berlyne, David Cake, Ian Tregillis, Andrew Wheeler, and Gary Wolfe. The panel talked about how Powers researches and writes his wildly convoluted yet engaging historical fantasies.
After that I went to the Wondermark presentation by writer/artist Dave Malki. Malki gave the audience a real-time demonstration of how he creates his web comic. The strip repurposes photoshopped 19th-Century book illustrations into silly and surreal comics. I was amazed at how quickly Malki was able to compose a tableau and figure out a punch line; perhaps he had preplanned some of it, but he was certainly a whiz at manipulating the images to suit his purposes. The final comic can be found here.
At 7:00 I went to see “Many Ways to Tell a Story: Narrative and the Visual Arts.” George R. R. Martin was originally scheduled to participate, but he dropped out for some reason. But because of his anticipated appearance, the panel was scheduled for the large auditorium where the Opening Ceremony had been held. So the smallish audience that stayed was dwarfed by a lot of empty seats. That’s too bad, because the two panelists who did participate, Paul Cornell and Bill Willingham, were very entertaining and informative. Cornell has written for theDoctor Who TV series and is a noted comics writer. Willingham is the writer for the award-winning Fables comic.
My final panel of the day was the Liars’ Panel with James Patrick Kelly, Jay Lake, Bill Mills, and Connie Willis. Basically, this was just a chance for these talented folks to riff on whatever they felt like, true or made up. They didn’t disappoint; this was a hilarious hour.
By the time I got back to the hotel, it was after 9 pm and I hadn’t eaten anything substantial since breakfast. Remarkably, I hadn’t felt hungry with all the stimulation of the day. Leslie and I went to Wendy’s down the street. Then it was back to the hotel to check out the parties. All the parties were on the 15th and 16th floors of the Atlantis, so at least they were convenient to get to. There were parties for Texas in 2013, London in 2014, and a few others, but none of them were really that exciting, so we got our badge stickers to show we had been there, and didn’t hang around very long. The Texas party featured what looked like some good BBQ, so in retrospect we could have gotten a good dinner there.
All in all, a very good day.