First full day of the convention for me, everybody slept in and didn’t really eat breakfast.
Meanwhile, I was at the convention, where I saw some worthwhile panels. G. David Nordley gave a talk about the requirements of interstellar travel, what technologies would work and which wouldn’t, and how long approximately it would take to develop the missing pieces to do it. After that he was in another panel with Alistair Reynolds, Greg Benford, Walter Hunt and Sheila Finch about aliens, and what sort of aliens we might find (after we build the interstellar travel, or if they get to us first). I don’t usually go to too many writing panels, but there was one with Sheila Williams and a few others talking about how to rise above the slush pile and get your work noticed the first time. Then I saw a panel with the always entertaining Gardner Dozois (whom I haven’t seen for a few years), the always somnambulant Charles Brown and a couple of others go through all the Hugo fiction nominees and give their own votes and handicapping who they thought the winners should be. I was happy that they by and large agreed with my own assessments, and those where we differed I could concede (such as the McDonald story, which I’m sure is fine, but just not my favorite type of story). Brown was totally trashing Burstein, not just his two nominees but his general abilities as a writer, and none of the other panelists felt obliged to disagree. The last panel was a talk by Kim Stanley Robinson about the literary device of managing the pace of a story and how different authors would either write an entire novel covering one day (citing Mrs. Dalloway and Ulysses), or one that covered much of the life of the universe (such as Stapledon). He had recently help uncover a brief correspondence between Stapledon and Virginia Woolf, who apparently read The Star Makers and was impressed by its ideas, such that her last novel, which I can’t remember the name of, touches on some of the same themes. It was a great, though-provoking lecture, which was surprisingly well attended, too.
There was still one time slot to go, but we had other priorities. I met up with the rest of the family back at the hotel and we were off to Angels Stadium to see the Red Sox. Josh Beckett pitched a solid game into the 7th, then was replaced before he fell apart by Timlin, with Papelbon coming in at the end for the save. Got to see Big Papi hit a solo homer for the first score of the game. It came down to the wire, final score, Red Sox 2, Angels 1.