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World Fantasy Report, Day 3

Day 3 went well. We had breakfast in the hotel this time, in order to make it to the 10:00 am panel on steampunk. I missed the start but heard enough to decide that everyone on the panel seemed to have their own definition of steampunk, and to like it for their own reasons. One panelist pointed out that there was "steampunk in literature and steampunk in everything else." Ann Vandermeer read a list by Stephen Segal, that outlined some reasons for steampunk's popularity, including that it masculineinzes romance (adding dirigibles to Victorian lace), it's a way to stand out without scaring your parents like going Goth does, and it has an eco-friendly side.

At noon there was a panel on readers' tendency to confuse the author with his or her characters. The entertaining panelists pointed out this was sometimes to the author's benefit, although in the case of letters from fans in prison, it could be scary.

The panel on balancing the need to sound different (less modern, more formal) with the need to be understandable and consistent made the point that there were no rules that could not be broken if the writer did a good enough job.

Just for fun, I also went to the multi-author reading of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven." Garth Nix, Michael Swanwick, and Donald Sidney-Fryer each gave his own interpretation of the lengthy narrative poem.

After a yummy dinner at House of Siam with scottedelman, we headed back to the hotel to go to the panel on the future of publishing and bookselling. All three panelists were owners of small bookstores (one in Australia) and they had decided not to talk about ebooks! How could they discuss the future of publishing without mentioning ebooks? They said it would take over the panel— which was undoubtedly true— but still, it was like planning to talk about social security reform and not mention that people live a lot longer now. Instead they talked a little about POD but more about return policies.

I wanted to stay up for the liar's panel but I could feel my energy level fading fast, so instead we took a quick look around the Orbit party celebrating the launch of Soulless, where a number of folks were costumerd as characters from the book.

Good thing the banquet and awards tomorrow is at 1:00 pm. Otherwise I might need a nap first!






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