Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Smell of Fear

So. A mere four days before Polaris is scheduled to begin, I drop them a line to ask what events I'm scheduled for. Oops, say they, I guess we forgot to tell you. You're scheduled for ten events. You're moderating five of them. Guess you'd better start preparing, huh?

It gets better. Some of the panels I'm moderating only have one other panelist. Normally, you'd think that any subject that couldn't reel in at least three enthused geeks would get taken off the table. Not at Polaris. So now, as things stand, looks like I'm gonna be the main guy responsible for an hour's worth of free-for-all on subjects as diverse as the Sarah Connor Chronicles, BSG, and the plausibility of vampires.

All of which I'm more than happy to tangle over with a decent-sized panel, or hash out over beers with one or two confidants. Not so pleased at the prospect of trying to keep things going for a solid hour at the front of an empty room, with one other conscript. So if any of you folks are gonna be showing up at these festivities, you might want to drop by and liven things up. Especially since I'm not going to inflict a reading or a signing on anyone this time around. (If you're really into masochistic appeasement, you might even show up for the BSG:Razor panel, which is scheduled for one fucking a.m. on Sunday morning!)

Anyhow. This is my current Polaris schedule, which might be subject to change but is probably pretty solid at least in its broad outlines. I'm moderating the panels with the enboldened titles. Titles in red are those for which there are presently only two panelists scheduled — that's over half of mine, if you're counting — and which will probably end badly.


  • Minimum 400 Pages (07/11/08 07:00 PM)
    The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is not a long book. A World of Ptavvs is not a long book. Today, it's not certain that a book under 400 pages can even get published. What has changed? Is it us, or the publishing industry? Panelists: Douglas Smith, Peter Watts, Tanya Huff (M), Shannon Butcher, David Nickle
  • Blast Off Party (07/11/08 08:30 PM)
  • Battlestar Galactica: The New Series (07/11/08 11:00 PM)
    What makes Battlestar Galactica so great? How do we feel about it coming to an end? Panelists: Brian Kierans, Geoffrey Gard, Peter Watts (M), David Nickle


  • Battlestar Galactica Season 4.0 Review (07/12/08 10:00 AM)
    A look back at the first half of the last season. How will everything wrap up? Where could the franchise go after it's all over? Panelists: Diane Lacey, Janet Embury (M), Peter Watts, Sheena Callighen
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles (07/12/08 04:00 PM)
    While far from a perfect show (and in some cases downright dumb), T:SCC has a surprising depth and literacy to it. It routinely riffs off various literary, historical, and scientific precedents ("The Turk", "Lord of the Flies", The Manhattan Project, and even Vinge's Singularity, which is astonishing more for the fact that other shows *haven't* done this than for the fact that this one has.) They're also smart enough to have subtly worked solutions to some really arcane technical problems in a way that makes us geeks go "Cool!", yet avoiding the kind of infodump delivery that would kill the pacing for everyone else. Come and discuss this spinoff from the hugely popular Terminator films. Panelists: Peter Watts (M), Declan Dennehy.
  • The Slow Apocalypse (07/12/08 08:00 PM)
    20th century stories often had the world ending with a big bang and a mushroom cloud. Global warming, over population, crop/fuel failures and diseases are slow catastrophes. How might our world slowly crumble during the 21st century? Panelists: Peter Watts (M), Ian Stuart
  • Plausible Vampires (07/12/08 11:00 PM)
    This one doesn't seem to be on the official program list yet, so let's just hunker down and hope no one notices. If you're reading this blog, you pretty much know what it's gonna be about anyway. Panelists: Peter Watts (M), adrienne everitt.

  • Battlestar Galactica: Razor (07/13/08 01:00 AM)
    The TV movie filled in the gaps from the series, introduced new characters and fleshed out minor ones, and showed a different perspective on humanity's reaction to a Cylon attack. Were you satisfied with the film's contribution to the story? Did Razor raise more questions than it answered? Panelists: Geoffrey Gard, Justin O'Donnell (M), Peter Watts
  • BSG: For the Greater Good (07/13/08 11:00 AM)
    Battlestar Galactica has always been about making decisions for the benefit of humanity that may be to the detriment of individuals' rights. Use of bioweapons, seizure of supplies for military needs, torture of prisoners, the Circle — is it really for the greater good? Panelists: Diane Lacey (M), Peter Watts
  • Science Fantasy? (07/13/08 12:00 PM)
    Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Has cutting edge science gotten so far beyond the understanding of most readers, and writers, that any story is essentially science fantasy? What makes something "Science Fiction" and how much science does it have to contain to qualify? How have attitudes toward the field changed? Panelists: Peter Watts (M), Timothy Carter



Blogger sardonyx said...

I was contemplating showing up but the price of admission scared me away! Good luck with your panels :)


July 10, 2008 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I was contemplating coming for the 1AM Sunday panel, just so you'd have an audience. But I'd rather spend the money buying you beer while you talked about whatever you felt interesting :-)

Dunno if there's room in the con schedule for that, though :-(

July 10, 2008 9:02 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...


I really hope you didn't show up for that 1a.m. panel — they let me off the hook for it because I had no wheels, and public transit shuts down in the boons around 0130.

Did you make it in at all? Too bad we didn't meet up— I ended up buying pretty much everyone else's beers.

July 16, 2008 4:09 PM  

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