Monday, November 11, 2013

November is Nuts - From Cons to Composition to Comets

Comet ISON
November is nuts.  This one moreso than any previous November because both NaNoWriMo and the Tucson Science Fiction Convention overlapped.  This was the first time I'd been to a TusCon, and even though I had to spend a lot of time working on my science presentation for that venue, I still refused to give up on my yearly encounter with NaNo.  Which means I am way, way behind 'composing' my latest novel.  (In this case, the third in the 'Voidspace' trilogy).  I am writing this at the airport, taking a break from NaNo noveling.

This recent adventure started in October, since I had to spend time getting my science talk pulled together.  And worrying about it on the side, which is a pursuit unto itself.  This meant no prep for NaNo this year.  I was also giving two different versions of the same talk - one for the science institute I call home, and the other for the Con.  And THEN I was also invited to be on a writing panel at the Con.  Wow.  Fun, but a lot of work to get it all done. 

So November started, I traveled to Tucson, gave the firs talk, and then the second.  I am very, very happy to say both went well.  I received a lot of positive feedback from both talks, and generated a lot of questions and good discussion at the Con.  I have to admit I was a little surprised, since I had intentionally taken myself out of my comfort zone and talked about a topic upon which I have done very little study - astrobiology.  I'll be posting a review of the material in another blog post.  Can't really get the whole feel of the talk down unless I post a youtube performance, and I am definitely not going there.  :)

The panel was sort of 'eh'.  I enjoyed the panels I attended but the one I was on was too 'combative.'  It's the first time I've been a member of a writing panel instead of a science panel, and I was disconcerted by how there was no structure.  The panel chair said he would poll the panel with questions, but by the time things would have gotten to me, we were on whole 'nother subject or question.  Once or twice I sort of wedged myself into the conversation so I could make a quick comment or two, but for the most part felt unneeded and superfluous.  Still, it was a very good experience for me.  There always has to be a first writing panel, and it was good to have something of a learning experience.  Hopefully next time it will be a smaller panel with a more definite structure.  They are probably all very different from one Con to the next, and even one subject to the next.

Certainly giving the science talk was my cup runneth over, so I maybe I should focus my efforts on that area when offering my services at a Con.

And of course, one cannot forget that we have Comet ISON in our skies right now, screaming it's way towards the sun.  For the moment, it appears that ISON will survive its close approach with our star.  But it is always possible for a comet, especially one like this, to disintegrate completely as it endures both the heat and the flux of particles.  It might get quite bright, might stay mostly the same, might disintegrate - it's definitely worth watching to see how things evolve.

More posts to come with details about TusCon, my astrobiology talk, and naturally, NaNoWriMo.

Image Credit:  Photographer Michael Jäger via Sky and Telescope Magazine

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