Friday was our very first day at Sasquan, site of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, and a great start to our Worldcon.
After registration, our day kicked off with an interesting panel on creative bioengineering, well-curated by author Ramez Naam (Nexus).
But of all the panels we attended, by far my favorite panel of the day was “Writing about SF: Today and Yesterday,” which talked about science fiction literary criticism.
The panelists stated that explaining why something is good is always harder than explaining flaws— a good critic is determined by the strength of their positive reviews.
This was gratifying to hear as I struggle more to write reviews for books I enjoy than books that were only okay, or disappointing.
Reading literary analyses of books is also a way for readers to connect with other readers, in a sort of pseudo-conversation.
“All criticism is in some ways a celebration of the field. If the book is bad, you’re celebrating that the field is better than this book,” said panelist Gary K. Wolfe, to audience laughter.
Author Kameron Hurley also stated that mixed reviews are sometimes more desirable because they tend to have useful substance. Popular review sites like Goodreads and Amazon are filled with “knee-jerk reactions,” which lack any actual discussion of the book in question.
Site selection for the 2017 Worldcon closed on Friday, with a close race between four exiting locations.
— GeekyLibrary (@GeekyLibrary) August 21, 2015
Many fans supported Helsinki as well; the news from today’s Business Meeting is out, and Helsinki, Finland will host the 2017 Worldcon!
The Dealer’s room was packed with books, games and other fun stuff and I met Elizabeth Guizzetti in person, author of the sci-fi story Other Systems, who provided us with a review copy of the sequel, The Light Side of the Moon.
Auntie’s, Spokane’s independant bookstore, had a table in the Dealer’s Room, but we had more fun visiting their physical location, which is within walking distance of the convention. If you’re in town for the con, make sure to stop by! There’s a great game store, Uncles, attached as well.
If my to-read pile wasn’t large enough, we stopped by the “What’s new from Ace/Roc books” panel. There are a ton of interesting titles coming up, including Chapelwood by Cherie Priest, the sequel to PKD nominee Maplecroft.
Unlike the smoky haze from the wildfires that filled the sky yesterday, Saturday dawned bright and beautiful over Spokane. I’m looking forward to another day filled with great panels, and of course, the Hugo Awards Ceremony!