I had a great time at ConDFW. It was an extremely enjoyable convention, though circumstances kept me from circulating and networking as much as I’d like. I thought the new hotel was a great location for the Con — I particularly liked being able to stand on one of the upper floors and gaze down over the central courtyard and the rest of the hotel; being able to pick out all the room parties at a glance as I did so was a wonderful side benefit.
I was on two panels at this convention, and I can’t say as much as I’d like about what went on during them. I think I might take to bringing my laptop or a notepad to panels I am on as well as panels I simply attend, so I can start jotting down interesting things my fellow panelists said. During the first panel I was on, ‘ePublishing: Dealing with the Internet’, I noticed panelist Michael Finn during just that with his iTouch as I shared some of the details of the 21st-century storytelling research. Everyone on the panel was good, with Priscilla Spencer acting as an excellent moderator and Teresa Patterson making an excellent voice of caution amongst the rest of us starry-eyed enthusiasts, without ever reducing herself to being a luddite.
The other panel I was part of was Erotica vs. Pornogaphy, and it turned out to be one of the most entertaining panels I have attended since Fourth Street Fantasy Convention last year. It probably helped that Steve, one of the masterminds behind 4th Street, was a very active member of the audience — essentially an adjunct panelist as Amanda Rush mentioned in her blog entry on the con.* The panel opened with a steamy reading by our moderator, which delightfully set the tone for the raunchy and laughter-filled conversation that followed. Being the umpteenth iteration of this panel, the actual topic of ‘porn vs. erotica’ was discarded in favor of a wide-ranging discussion of sex and writing. Although often silly, there was often a lot of thought-provoking commentary. My admission that I hoped my more erotic works would be found by underage readers and show them the breadth of sexual possibilities, as my early explorations of erotica had done, launched us into an interesting discussion of the educational potential of the erotic. While many of us on the panel agreed this potential was strong, Steve added a worthy cautionary note: that authors should think of their stories, and the erotic first. If one became too concerned with depicting a ‘realistic’ or ‘healthy’ sexuality, one might very well lose sight of the fact that stories are fantasies and fantasies can depart from reality. When asked for book recommendations I got to namedrop M. Christian, Polly Frost, and Cecilia Tan, who are basically my go-to authors for that kind of thing these days. And, along the way I also confessed to giggling inappropriately when kinky things are being done to me, shared my desire to see the cast of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in an ‘Endless Orgy,’ and emphasized that sex in sf can involve speculation about sex itself, as well as sex for the sake of character development, plot, or titillation.
It’s been a ridiculously long day (yes, I am ending my day at 7 am, so what?) so I am going to break this into two parts. In part two, I will share my notes from the panels I attended as a spectator and whatver else I feel like sharing from the con.
*I saw her pink haired head around the con; I never got to meet her, but found her entries via twitter search. It was fun to follow the twittering from the con, though there was not as much as I expected.