Cara at the World Science Fiction Convention

The first week in August, as soon as I returned from the Romance Writers of America conference in San Francisco, I flew off to Denver to attend the World Science Fiction Convention, a gathering of authors, artists, fans, agents, editors, costumers, musicians, and more, all to celebrate science fiction and fantasy. Whee!

The Guest of Honor this year was Lois McMaster Bujold, who’s won award after award for her science fiction and fantasy novels (and who’s one of my favorite authors ever.)

First, I read through the program to see which panels and events I didn’t want to miss.

On the first day I attended a reception held in Bujold’s honor, called Summerfair on Barrayar.

(In Bujold’s science fiction books, Barrayar is a planet recovering from centuries of a semi-medieval existence (complete with lords, duels, horses, and arranged marriages), and joining a much more sophisticated, modern galaxy in which — gasp! — starship pilots are often women, and sometimes hermaphrodites or clones.)

Some of us came in costume — and there was dancing. (Both are shown in this photo taken by the official Worldcon photographer, Keith McClune. Todd is the ghem lord in the makeup, and I’m the Vor lady on the left.)

The next day was Bujold’s Guest of Honor speech — and she made lots of interesting points about science fiction, fantasy, and romance.

Bujold also was on plenty of panels, and had two signings and two readings. (More on those later!)

One of her panels that I found particularly interesting was a discussion between her, SF author Lillian Stewart Carl, and fantasy writer Patricia Wrede (Regency fans may know her as the author of the Regency-set MAIRELON THE MAGICIAN books or as the co-author of the SORCERY AND CECELIA series.)

Pictured here (photo also by Keith McClune) with moderator Peggy Rae Sapienza, they talked about how they had come together as a critique group back when only one of them was published, and how they’ve stayed friends through all the ups and downs of their three very different careers.

By the way, Bujold herself has a Regency link — her A CIVIL CAMPAIGN is dedicated to Georgette Heyer, among others, and is a romantic comedy in the true Regency style (with science fictional twists, of course!)

When I wasn’t worshipping at the altar of Bujold, or buying way too many books and pieces of elvish pottery, I could often be found attending the panels of a bright young fellow named Todd Brun.

Here are two more Keith McClune photos:

(1) photo of Todd explaining quantum computers…

and

(2) photo of the rapt audience.

(Rapt.)

(Completely.)

(Some in cool costumes.)

(Or with other accoutrements.)

(Don’t you wish you’d been there?)


Todd was on several panels…

including one in which he explained how to build a time machine in your basement.

(See how serious he looks?)

(Because time machines are serious things.)

(You wouldn’t want to mess up and accidentally delete the human race or something.)

Todd, of course, is hard to equal…

But I must say the high point of the convention for me was when Lois McMaster Bujold read the first several chapters of the next Vorkosigan book!!!!!!!!

Even her editor hadn’t yet laid eyes on it.

And it won’t be published for something like two years.

And we got to hear it!!!!!

Here she is…

reading from her manuscript…

Ah.

What more could a fangirl ask?

So…that was me at Worldcon.

How about you? Have you ever been to a SFF convention, a fan convention, or similar? Have you ever read any Bujold (or Wrede or Carl)? Ever bought any elvish pottery? (I LOVE this stuff. The artist, Peri Charlifu, does AMAZING work.)

All answers welcome!

And be sure to visit us next Tuesday, when we’ll be discussing the film MASTER AND COMMANDER as part of our Jane Austen Movie Club!

Cara
Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester and fangirl extraordinaire

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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23 Responses to Cara at the World Science Fiction Convention

  1. Lois says:

    Oooh, so very cool! πŸ™‚ And good job there Todd! πŸ™‚ I would have loved to be at the how to make a time travel machine one, because I’d love to do that. . . . the basement’s nice and big, and sure would love to go back to last evening to try to get more sleep with a second go-around. Then maybe some other time work on the ship that’ll get me to Mars. πŸ™‚

    Lois. . . yep, she’s pooped, she’s even more nuts today. LOL

  2. janegeorge says:

    Back to back conventions and you still manage to be a fab Vor lady! Impressive.

    I wish I could have heard Bujold’s points on SF, fantasy and romance. Thanks for mentioning Patricia Wrede and her Regency-set fantasies. I shall check them out.

  3. Cara King says:

    I wish I could have heard Bujold’s points on SF, fantasy and romance.

    You can, Jane! I just checked, and found out her speech is on her myspage page:

    Bujold Blog

    (Just scroll down a bit.)

    Cara

  4. Is it possible to make the time machine in, say, a garage? If one doesn’t have a basement. πŸ™‚

  5. Diane Gaston says:

    I am in serious envy that you saw Bujold. She didn’t look at all like I thought she would, although I’m not sure what I thought. More like Ekaterin or Miles’s mother.

    I LOVE the photos (which are a little wonky, however. The audience is nearly hidden unless you click on it).

    I wonder if Todd talks about quantum computers and how to build a time machine at home all the time. If so, is that the expression of interest you’ve practiced? The one you use while you are really plotting your novel? It’s great.

    But not as great as you dressed as a Vor lady!

  6. Mademoiselle,

    I read with great amusement your diverting account of your trip to a festival for the celebration of the latest alchemical romances. To think, one of these vagabond natural philosophers should be so bold as to propose a vessel for voyaging in time! The thought astounds. If you have read Voltaire’s Micromegas or Le Reve de Plato, or such tales of the hollow earth as Niels Klim’s Underground Travels, you could very well believe in such outlandish ideas as traveling through the heavens, or a hollow earth. Indeed, I would say that it is the supreme gift of these writers to make these clearly ludicrous ideas plausible. Thank you for your most excellent account of this gathering, which for all the bizarre theories and radical ideas, sounds quite entertaining.

  7. If you don’t have a basement or a garage, could you build the time machine on the roof?

  8. Cara King says:

    Sorry about the photo glitch, Diane! I fiddled with the pics for the longest time last night, and finally got them looking good on both my browsers — but clearly I need to fiddle more!

    BTW, as to building time machines in the attic or roof or garage, I will leave that question to Todd. (Todd?)

    Cara

  9. Janga says:

    I’m delurking to say thanks for posting the link to Bujold’s speech. I always find her remarks worth reading. I go back from time to time to reread her speech when she accepted the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Fantasy in 2002. I think anyone who ever loved a particular book would cherish those remarks.

    And I love Patricia Wrede’s books–the children’s fantasy even more than the Regency books. I’ve lost track of how many times I have given the Enchanted Chronicles to children I love, and I have recommended them even more often.

  10. Diane Gaston says:

    Stokington, you have called again! How very gracious of you. You must return for Cara’s take on Master and Commander, if you have a naval bent.

    Janga, so nice to have you back. We’ve missed you!

  11. janegeorge says:

    Thanks, Cara!

    I have it bookmarked.

  12. Deb Marlowe says:

    Looks like a lot of fun, Cara and Todd, but Cara, you must be exhausted!

  13. Todd says:

    Well, traditionally time machines are built in the basement, while rockets are built in the garage and the attic is generally reserved for the storage of mad wives. (Ours mainly stores stacks of boxes. But it’s pretty cluttered, so for all I know there might be a mad wife there from a previous owner.)

    On the other hand, this is the 21st century. Why should we be bound by the short-sighted notions of the past? So I say, if you want to build a time machine in the garage, go for it! Store mad husbands in the grandmother house, or even better, the self-storage unit! The roof, however, may have problems with rain.

    Of course, when we’re dealing with time machines, maybe we should be bound by the short-sighted notions of the past…or is it the future? I’m so confused…

    Todd-who-knew-he-was-going-to-say-that-even-before-he-decided-to

  14. M. says:

    I am completely entranced with the description of Bujold’s regency scifi romance. I must find it!

  15. Oh I envy you, Cara and Todd, as the convention looks fantastic to say the least. I agree, you must be exhausted. I love Bujold’s books. It must have been incredible to hear her read the first chapter of the next one before the general public.

    I went to a Star Trek Convention when I was in high school and it was terrific! I still have Leonard Nimoy’s autograph framed next to the framed autograph I got from Vincent Price. I think I was a bit odd as a teen! LOL

  16. Santa says:

    You guys really know how to have a good time! Those costumes are gorgeous. I love fangirl moments when, not only do you get to meet your idols, but they share tidbits with you about their work. Ultra cool.

    Equally ultra-cool are discussions about time machines in basements. I always think of Jerry Connelly and the show ‘Sliders’.

    Well, alright, most;y about Jerry Connelly but still.

    I went to the final convention for the soap opera ‘Another World’. That was a blast. My eighty- something year old aunt came along with my mother and was just thrilled to meet the people she spend so many afternoons with. She moved like a flash of light as she race walked through the room, thumping her cane at people’s heels.

  17. Cara King says:

    Lois, if I remember correctly, part of the procedure for building a time machine includes capturing the end of a wormhole, throwing radiation into it to make it bigger, throwing charged particles into it to make it charged, then towing it (via the charge) with a ship going near the speed of light.

    Voila! Easy peasy.

    (Then again, don’t quote me on it. I’m probably remembering wrong.)

    Diane — I do think all authors look different than we think they will! It’s bizarre how we get these images in our heads… And it’s the same with voices — when I see someone from the radio, they never look right! πŸ˜‰

    I wonder if Todd talks about quantum computers and how to build a time machine at home all the time.

    Yep. That, and jitterbugging.

    If so, is that the expression of interest you’ve practiced?

    Unfortunately, no! That seems to be the default expression on my face. I always assume I look interested, but then I see pics of myself and think “boy, I look sour! My default face sure is grumpy looking!” πŸ˜‰

    The one you use while you are really plotting your novel? It’s great.

    Oh, good. Glad someone likes it! When I was a kid, my best friend would say “Cara, what’s wrong??” And when I told her “nothing,” she’d say “you look so sad!”

    Ah well.

    Cara

  18. Cara King says:

    Thank you for your most excellent account of this gathering, which for all the bizarre theories and radical ideas, sounds quite entertaining.

    You are heartily welcome, my lord! And we are honored by your august presence.

    I go back from time to time to reread her speech when she accepted the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Fantasy in 2002.

    Thanks for mentioning it, Janga — I hadn’t known anything about it, so now I know to go find it!

    I confess I’ve never actually read anything by Patricia Wrede (except the first Sorcery & Cecelia book), but I’ve owned the Enchanted Forest Chronicles forever, and always *meant* to read it! (I love middle-grade and YA fantasy.) So now I’ll bump it up to my TBR shortlist!

    Cara, you must be exhausted!

    I certainly was when I got back, Deb. Actually, the back-to-back cons weren’t as bad as they might have been — I didn’t do a lot of late nights at Worldcon, and it’s a very laid-back con (at least, it was for me!) so it wasn’t overly stressful.

    I am completely entranced with the description of Bujold’s regency scifi romance.

    It is a brilliant book, M, but it’s fairly late in the series, so it would probably be even better if one first reads all the earlier books. πŸ™‚ However, Bujold did say she always writes her books with the idea that a person doesn’t *have* to read the earlier books, so who knows… πŸ™‚

    Louisa — yay! Great to know I’m not the only one with Leonard Nimoy autograph. πŸ™‚ And yes, it was utterly fabulous to be able to hear Bujold read the beginning of the new book. And, wow, even her drafts are amazingly gripping! (I keep itching to read the rest now!)

    I went to the final convention for the soap opera ‘Another World’.

    Oh, I bet that was way intense, Santa! And it must have been so neat. And thanks for the costume compliment! πŸ™‚ And there were certainly great tidbits…

    Cara

  19. Lois says:

    Well, no Leonard Nimoy autograph, though I did get a little Christmas fanfic I did in a Leonard Nimoy fan magazine that I didn’t know existed until they contacted me to put it in there. Asked for a copy of it and they sent one! πŸ™‚ But I do have. . .

    from CNN –

    John Roberts
    Miles O’Brien
    Jack Cafferty
    Wolf Blitzer
    Anderson Cooper (unsigned pic)

    David Duchovny (still not sure if it’s a real sig or stamp LOL)

    from Another World (another fan here too!) —

    David Andrew MacDonald (Jordan Stark)
    Steve Schnetzer (Cass)

    from Guiding Light –

    Bradley Cole

    Star Trek —

    William Shatner (alas, it’s not a real sig, but still I try to delude myself into thinking it is LOL)
    Patrick Stewart (and it’s oh so real!)
    Jonathan Frakes
    Brent Spiner
    Gates McFadden
    Nana Vistor
    Terry Farrel
    Alexander Siddig (when his name was Siddig El Fadil)

    Astronauts –
    Buzz Aldrin
    Kathryn Sullivan
    Sally Ride (my prize one here!) πŸ™‚
    John Glenn

    and that’s it. Nope, no Gerard Butler, sorry. πŸ˜‰

    Lois

  20. Lucky you, Cara. I loved Bujold’s Sharing Knife series.

    Cara, did you realize that one of the audience members is dressed up as you? Now that’s a cool costume.

    Todd, hope we’ll get a full time machine report when you have it up and running and let us know if we have to search the archives to read it.

  21. Cara King says:

    Lois – WOW! You have BUZZ ALDRIN’S autograph??? And Sally Ride’s??? And John Glenn’s????

    That’s amazing.

    I mean, the rest are way cool too, but those are the ones that make me drool! πŸ™‚

    As for me, I have most or all of the original Star Trek cast… And I have a group signed photo of Next Generation, second season, plus a few individual pics. And a handful of DS9, Babylon 5, and I don’t even remember who else… πŸ˜‰

    And then of course a fair number of signed books, both in the romance and SF genres.

    And my biggest treasure — I have A. E. Van Vogt’s autograph on a scrap of paper.

    Cara, did you realize that one of the audience members is dressed up as you? Now that’s a cool costume.

    Very true, Janet! And yes, she captured my hunched posture perfectly! πŸ˜‰

    Cara

  22. Elena Greene says:

    Todd, hope we’ll get a full time machine report when you have it up and running and let us know if we have to search the archives to read it.

    Depending on which theory of time travel you believe in, there should already be a report there…if his time machine were to go backward. Now if it goes forward, that’s another matter, but it wouldn’t be half so useful to a group of Regency writers and fans. Going back to the Regency, we could verify if they actually used dance cards during the Regency, or if women really damped their petticoats, or any number of issues that have been avidly discussed on Regency-oriented listserves.

  23. Todd says:

    Cara wrote:

    Voila! Easy peasy.

    (Then again, don’t quote me on it. I’m probably remembering wrong.)

    Actually, that was pretty much exactly right! Except that the radiation you pour into the wormhole has to have negative energy.

    Janet wrote:

    Todd, hope we’ll get a full time machine report when you have it up and running and let us know if we have to search the archives to read it.

    I refer you to the comment I already made about it next year. (And just to clarify, the remark about Prinny dressed in drag and dancing with Napoleon is just a joke.)

    Lois, wow on the autographs! I am so envious! I do have a photo of me with Alan Bean (4th man on the moon), and I attended a colloquium given by Sally Ride, but that’s about it.

    And I don’t have Vincent Price’s autograph either, but a waiter once told me I looked like him. (Like Vincent Price, that is, not like the waiter.) Which is basically the same thing–I can take a photo of myself and sign it.

    Todd-who-will-continue-this-conversation-last-week

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