Friday, October 28, 2011

World Fantasy Convention: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of the World Fantasy Convention.  To be honest, I didn't have too much con stuff to do, but I figured I'd tell you about it anyway.

I arrived at San Diego yesterday around 1 pm, and immediately made my way to the hotel, the Town and Country Resort, where the World Fantasy Convention is being held this year.  Kristin had already flown out the day before to spend some time with her Clarion West class.  I arrived at about 1:45 pm, only to be told that the room wouldn't be ready until 3 pm, so I went and registered for the convention and got lunch before I could check in.  This might have been a mistake.  As part of registration, I picked up my "book bag"--a big bag of free books every participant gets.  It's about twenty pounds of books that is not a lot of fun to carry around.  (I've since gone through the books, and separated the books I'm interested in reading from the ones I'm not, so it's now a more manageable weight.)  Once I was able to check into the hotel room, I settled in to wait for Kristin.

Kristin arrived around five, and after some time together, we went to get dinner, and finally to the main event of the con, at least as far as we were concerned: Kristin's first ever con panel: "Magic and Metaphysics."  The main idea being, "How do you design a believable magic system?  Why is it important?"  Kristin's already written about it, but it was fun to see her talk it out with some other big name authors: Ted Chiang, Mark Teppo, and Peter Orullian.  Of course, the panel, like most con panels, tended to stray off topic, mostly discussing whether there really is any such thing as magic, and when they did get asked the question I was really interested in, they didn't seem to understand it.  The question, as it was asked, was "Is it more important to define the magic system when it is the protagonists using magic?"  The way I would have phrased it would have been: "How do you use a defined magic system in order to show the reader what the limits of your characters are, so it's clear what situations and conflicts are actually a challenge?"  There's more to the question, of course, but I hate it when people asking questions of panels talk and talk rather than just asking a question.  Instead of addressing the question, the panel (and the audience) talked about quantum physics, in ways that made me, with my Ph.D. in quantum computation, cringe from time to time.

Kristin was much better than the others at staying on topic, by the way.  But you could tell that she was jet-lagged.  So afterward, we went to bed.

So, really, we didn't do much con-related stuff yesterday.  Hopefully there'll be more con stuff to report after today.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 World Fantasy Convention

Kristin and I will be going to the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego next week.  If you've seen Kristin's blog, you already know that she's going to be on a panel this convention.  It's one of the panels I thought sounded most interesting, on the metaphysics of magic, at 10 pm on Thursday evening.  As I'm arriving on Thursday afternoon, I suspect that I'll probably be badly jetlagged.  Which won't stop me from going.

I applied to participate as well, although I indicated a preference for giving a reading.  That may have been a mistake (there appear to be fewer slots for readings than for panels), as I wasn't scheduled.  That's disappointing, but since I did an unofficial reading at the last World Fantasy Convention, I guess I can't be too jealous of Kristin.

In any case, I expect it will be a fun convention, and I'm looking forward to it.  If you're going to be there, let me know.  And do go to Kristin's panel.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kindle Fire Battery Life

I've read some of the information available on the Kindle Fire, and I've come to the conclusion that the Kindle will live or die by its battery life.  This is because the Fire is placed directly at the high end of the Kindle line.  Since the Kindles are e-ink screens, with little in the way of interaction, they have a battery life of days and weeks.  With an LCD screen and a touch sensor, as well as a browser and video playback, the Kindle Fire will not be able to compete with them.  However, if it does not have at least the battery life for a full day of reading, then it will fail to successfully live up to its market niche.

From what I'm hearing right now, the Kindle will have enough juice for 8 hours of continuous reading (slightly less for watching video).  That is what I consider the absolute minimum.  If it fails to live up to that duration, then it will soon find itself going the way of other fancy, but less than useful, gadgets.

This has not stopped me from adding the Kindle Fire to my wish list, of course.  If anyone's interested in giving me one for Christmas, I'd be happy to test out the battery life for you and report it here.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Story now online

I announced last week that my story, "Her Majesty's Guardian," was out.  That was the e-mail version, which you received if you're subscribed to Daily Science Fiction.  Yesterday, it went up on the Daily Science Fiction website.  Now everyone can read it here