November 20th, 2011


WFC Wrap-up (finally!)

I had this all written up immediately after WFC, and then Chrome crashed on me!  LJ is usually great at saving the draft but this time it let me down and a bug chunk was missing.  I always take longer to rewrite than to write, so here you go at last, my wrap-up of the con.

WFC 2011
Except for the Dead Dog party, the World Fantasy Convention is over for 2011. In the interests of continuity, I will pick up with where i left off with my last post.

The one event I left out on Friday was the artist Guest of Honor panel with Ruth Sanderson showing some of her work, illustrations as well as covers. I liked one painting so much I bought a print of it in the dealer's room.

Saturday started with coffee and a muffin from the very well run con suite, and then continued with a panel on the importance of speech and language in fantasy, featuring our very own bogwitch64, who did very well at speaking up, especially when moderator Ellen Kushner wanted to just read aloud from Ursula K LeGuin's treatise on the subject. This being WFC, the audience contained people every bit as knowledgeable as the panel, including the inimitable Carol Berg, who pointed out the exposition in a first person book is really just internal speech by the narrator.  I wished they had used mics, though, because I could not hear well for all of it.

We took a break and went to the nearby shopping center for lunch, and really enjoyed the visit to Stacked, where every table had an iPad with a custom app that function as the menu/order interface. It was actually easy to use and very efficient. It doesn't replace wait staff; liver servers bring your food to your table, but not always the same one.

The afternoon held readings, specifically Daryl Gregory, who read a really nice not-really-SF story about a woman with a brain injury, and a shaggy dog story/dirty joke.  After that was Connie Willis reading the first chapter of her Roswell novel (working title: The Road to Roswell) which was flat out hilarious.

Sunday the big event is the banquet, but first I went to the fantasy artists' panel where John Picacio, Todd Lockwood, and Tom Kirk talked about how they create art. I loved that they were all so different.  John Picacio creates components, some by hand, using paper and similar media, and then assembles the parts in Photoshop.  Todd Lockwood works almost entirely digitally now, and users an application called Painter to draw/paint his art on a tablet using a stylus.  Tim Kirkwood is, among other things, a Disney animator and had some examples of how a Tokyo theme park was designed and created.

Thanks to Rani Graff, I also went to the panel titled Intellectual Property Rights versus the Free Web, which I had not planned to go to, but he pointed out it would be mostly about ebooks, so I was hooked. The panel was interesting partly because literary agent Ashley Grayson pointed out that intellectual property battles are as much about the relationship between authors and their publishers as authors and ebook pirates. The panel also debated the fundamental difference between pirate sites that provide copyrighted books for free and pirate sites that sell books. The second group are much worse partly because customers may not realize they are buying an illegal copy. It was mentioned that geographic restrictions on the sale of ebooks make such sites ubiquitous. 
After dressing up for the banquet, we met up with scottedelman and found a wonderful table right in front of the speaker's podium. The food was okay, and hearing all the award winners announced was very exciting. 
All in all, it was a lovely con. The time zone change hit me more than it ever has, but San Diego is a really nice palce to visit. After the con, we changed hotels and went to some tourist destinations like the zoo, the USS Midway and toured the town by bus and the harbor by boat. 


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BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

Originally posted by write_light at BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

From the flist: 

Spread the word, even you're not a US citizen, it is important for everyone!! It easy to do and it can change everything. More info by clicking on the banner.

Website Blocking

The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.

Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users

It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.

Chaos for the Internet

Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn't be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.

Read this analysis from

Get on the phone and call your representative. Express your disapproval. Tell him or her exactly how you feel, and that you don't support this. Tell your friends to call their representatives, their Congressperson, and complain. Mention that you are a registered voter that takes your civic responsibility seriously and that you will use that vote to express your feelings about this.

“We support the bill’s stated goals — providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting,” the Internet companies wrote in Tuesday’s letter. “Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites.”  The chamber-led coalition in support of the bill includes Walmart, Eli Lilly & Co. and Netflix.

Google and other opponents of the legislation argue that restricting the Internet in the U.S. sets a bad international precedent and that the language defines infringing too broadly.