Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A guy with a light saber. And his slave girlfriend on a leash.

One guess as to which of those elements I found hotter.

Yup, there's a whole different clientele that shows up at these Polaris things compared to, say, the more literary (those red-staters among us might say "effete") affairs like Readercon. Out of the ten panels I sat on, only three had a literary focus; the rest were all media. And because books is what I do, I'm guessing that such panels figured far more heavily on my schedule than they did on most. (And even most of the literary panels dealt with authors whose books had been adapted for the screen: Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher, that Reeves-Stevens couple. Oh, and some chick called Rowling.)

So, not exactly the joyous reunion of rarely-seen friends that characterizes the usual cons I attend, although there were a few familiar faces: Christian Sauvé, Doug Smith, Derwin Mak (who for some reason spent Friday night dressed up in some kind of historical naval garb, which I strangely found more disquieting than the usual retinue of droids, Daleks, and Klingons wandering the halls). Dave Nickle of course, but hell, I seem him pretty much every day; we clung to each other for comfort over by the marshmallow fondue, when nobody paid any attention to us at the blast-off party.

And there were new faces to scrutinize: the statuesque adrienne everitt, who lives just up the street from my dad, and who rode shotgun on our vampire panel dressed like Milla Jovovich from the Resident Evil flicks (she pulled it off, too). Timothy Carter, who wasn't a completely new face because he did beat up a six-year-old to bring me a can of Coke back in 2002, when he was but a fan and I was a Mighty Author. (He's a mighty author in his own right, now). Declan Dennehy, who hasn't been able to get past the first chapter on Maelstrom in seven years of trying. And Shelly Li from Nebraska, a teenage wunderkind who, despite not having actually published anything yet, is beating off agents with a stick (including a certain former, unlamented agent of mine). I've been in intermittent e-mail contact with her for a few months now, and was just relieved to find that she was pretty much who she claimed to be online (albeit with the social skills of someone fifteen years older); I'd been half-expecting some 43-year-old chain-smoking potbellied dude with a fetish for role-playing.

I met her parents too, briefly. They didn't seem in a great mood for some reason.

And the panels, for all their geeky obsession over the significance of Giaus Baltar's nosebleed in S04E04*, were a lot of fun, and actually got better as the weekend progressed. I do remain mystified, however, by the unconscionable fact that a panel on The Starlost — easily the Plan 9 of televised sf — somehow drew twice the audience of one on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Someone's going to pay for that.

*Admittedly, it was me who introduced that particular element into the mix…



Blogger Mac said...

You're a braver man than I. The geek geek factor scared me away from the con scene a while back.* Then again, I might not be so cynical if I had something as cool a "Maelstrom" to brag about.

*I don't remember any hot leashed slave girls, either.

July 16, 2008 12:07 AM  
Blogger SpeakerToManagers said...

Someone's going to pay for that

If you have to exact retribution, let it be from Ellison. He's been bellyaching about that show since it first went on the air. Anyhow, he's overdue for a little grief; I haven't heard that lovable(?) roar in a long time.

July 16, 2008 1:44 AM  
Blogger AR said...

I realized something a few days ago. You remember how somewhere you wrote that vampires have longer limbs because their body temperature is higher? I think that's a bit backwards. A higher operating temperature would let them get away with getting rid of less heat, not needing to get rid of more.

July 16, 2008 2:13 AM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Ar -

If vampires had a higher metabolic rate, then they would produce more heat energy, and might have both a higher core temperature and the need to eliminate MORE heat energy than a human instead of one or the other. I think you're assuming the vampires have a metabolism that's similar to a baseline human...in which case, yeah, needing a higher core temperature with thermal energy being generated at the same rate as humans would mean increasing volume/surface area ratios, i.e., shorter limbs. But with a higher metabolism, more heat to eliminate, decrease volume/surface area ratio, longer limbs.

Of course it's all contingent on what PW SAYS about vampire metabolism. I wouldn't think that they'd be terribly fast on average given all that trouble they had with prey shortages. It might be something where the BMR is increased hugely during active periods and then suppressed to almost nothing during inactive periods.

July 16, 2008 12:02 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...


Pretty much what Nicholas said. We're dealing with something that alternates between long periods of dormancy and brief periods of metabolic overdrive (to catch up on overdue cellular maintenance and repair); that means excess waste heat production (There's a reason Kleiber described metabolism as "The Fire of Life".) If you don't dump that excess heat it builds up in the core, which is real bad for enzymes optimised to work at a specific temperature. Not to mention the more extreme consequences of just cooking in your own juices if you keep it up too long.

July 16, 2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

mac said...

I don't remember any hot leashed slave girls, either.

I'm not surprised. Otherwise I can't imagine the geek factor being sufficiently scary to drive you away.

July 16, 2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger AR said...

I think I see. I thought you had meant that they just had a higher operating temperature.

July 16, 2008 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows Peter can answer the question themselves.

1) Peter is freakishly tall and long limbed.
2) Peter makes a hummingbird look lethargic.

I rest my case.

July 17, 2008 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You writer boys need to man up a bit. There's potential slave girls at all your cons though we're not collared till we find the right master...Peter.

*looking for a hand on the other end of my leash*

July 26, 2008 1:14 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Hey, you gotta cut us some slack. Some of us grew up being told that such people didn't even exist, and that only sexist misogynist assholes would dare claim otherwise. Some of us were so thoroughly indoctrinated that these days, every time anyone kneels before us with lowered submissive gaze, we're still half-convinced it's some sort of trap.

Of course, it doesn't help that so many of those who'd claim otherwise call themselves "anonymous". And don't show us pictures.

July 29, 2008 6:03 PM  
Blogger unleashed said...

*picks up gauntlet, impish grin flits across her face*

What private addy would you like pictures sent to, Lord?

July 31, 2008 2:14 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Well, let's see. RevCan@rifters.co is pretty empty — it's set up for dealings with the Tax Man, so matters of bondage, sadomasochism, and the endurance of pain would be right at home there.

August 2, 2008 10:13 AM  
OpenID bec-87rb said...

I go on vacation and miss the good stuff.

unleashed said...
*picks up gauntlet, impish grin flits across her face*
What private addy would you like pictures sent to, Lord?



*thinking* Okay, unleashed, I got one! Wanna hear me I tell you about my adventures sexy-ly rinsing worn-out grannie panties in the kitchen sink? *purrs* I got pictures. Consider the hot girl-on-bubble-on-cotton action ...

No? Well, anyone holding out for that famous smokin' hot video of me clipping my toenails - it ain't free. My paypal website is:


August 13, 2008 12:41 PM  

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