Today was the day to go to Disneyland, so we got up and got going earlier than we otherwise would have, considering how late things went last night. Spent the morning there and by 12:30 or so it was time for me to take off back to the convention for the afternoon, so I left Beth and the kids and went back to the hotel to gather my stuff. For the convention, LASFS has published a collection of original stories based around the old Tom Corbett Space Cadet show, which I’ve never seen. Originally Tom Corbett himself was doing to be a guest, but he died several months ago (as did the fan guest of honor, Howard Devore). If I was Connie Willis I’d be a little jumpy. What was nice was that they arranged a signing featuring all the authors at the convention who wrote or edited for the book, all in one package. The line wasn’t terribly long but went pretty slow since a multiple-signers line is only as fast as the chattiest author (read: David Brin). Besides Brin, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Greg Benford, Harry Turtledove, David Gerrold and a bunch of others were there, and I got them all except for Larry Niven, who had to leave to go to his next event before I got that far. So it was pretty much an hour by the time I was done going through the line, worse than any of the rides at Disney, but at least it was inside. I hadn’t eaten lunch and it was pushing 2:30, but I went to the next panel, which was a talk by Anne McCaffrey, whom I’d never seen before. She’s 80 years old and doesn’t move too well, but still sounded totally together and just talked extemporaneously for a while telling stories, then took some questions from the audience. I ate my lunch (a sandwich from the 7-11) during the panel.
Before the next panel started it was my last chance to vote on the site selection for the 2008 worldcon. For the first time in a while, there were 3 candidate cities on the ballot: Chicago, Columbus and Denver. I would have to expect that Chicago will win, but I voted for Denver, both because it’s somewhere other than Chicago and Columbus, and because it was the only bid that was not on Labor Day weekend, which is a feature I kind of like. Worldcon bid voting is very cliquey and people get all worked up about convention hall specs and the solidarity of the bid committee, instead of just picking a city that sounds nice. The only exception to that is if there’s a non-North American bid, which will almost always win no matter what the competition, but then hardly anyone will actually attend it. I’ve never figured that out.
The next panel was the annual “killer B’s” variety show, featuring Bear, Brin and Benford, with special guest Vernor Vinge, whom I don’t think I’ve seen since the ’96 Worldcon. The topic was the “bullets” we don’t see, i.e. things that could either impede or destroy a society or civilization that we haven’t thought about yet. Sometimes when these guys get together, Benford acts as the referee while the other two try to out-pontificate each other. This time they were more serious more of the time, Brin as usual did most of the talking and didn’t have much to espouse that he wasn’t already talking about the last time I saw him a couple of years ago.
After that was a surprisingly interesting panel considering the relatively trite question of “Can SF change the world?” Brin was on this too, along with Cory Doctorow, Sean McMullen and the founder of Craigslist, moderated by Cecilia Tan. Brin would have it that SF can change the world but we need to elevate the rest of the public that isn’t paying attention to it. Doctorow felt that more people than ever were engaged in SF, it just was taking on new forms, particularly with young people and online gaming and anime, etc. While the two of them weren’t necessarily diametrically opposed, Doctorow took exception to some of Brin’s pearls of wisdom, and Brin got kind of defensive, sniping a little bit back at Doctorow. The general tone of the discussion ended up on a bit of a downer, but it was still food for thought just because there was obviously different opinions on the question and what to do about it.
After that last panel it was back to Disney to meet up with the family, although it was after 7pm by the time I got there. Now tomorrow they’re off to Legoland, which seems ambitious although I suppose its no different than going back to Disney for another day. Since Legoland is a ways away from here, I’ll be spending the day at the con, there’s still plenty of people to see and stuff to buy.