MidAmeriCon II, Day 4 (Saturday, August 20, 2016)

Arrival today was a bit before 11. Party size was also doubled. Both the son and daughter came along today, to experience one day of a WorldCon. I dropped them off, found parking, and got to the registration desk while they were getting their badges inscribed with their Con Names.

We then took them up to the Exhibit hall, shwed them the con suite and free food, and left them to wander as they would, and attend the panels that they would. I didn’t expect much panel attendance (too much like school).

12 p.m. — Bogus Science in TV Shows

The panelists for this discussion were: Alistair Kimble, Susan BetzJitsmir J.D., Diana Rowland, Dr. Helen Pennington and Lucy Synk.

CSI was agreed upon as the worse for being true to science. Diana pointed out two peole typing on the same keyboard to hack something. Susan noted the claim of 99% DNA match — when we share 99% with chimps.

Lucy had the thing about a pixel only having so much data. No way can you blow up the eye of a person in a security camera picture and see the reflection of another person.

When asked about the problems in how they did science, Helen detailed the speed at which they get experiments done. Diana noted that the labs have backlogs.

Susan noted that the fingerprint databases aren’t connected to make searches that easy. And computers don’t make fingerprint matches, people do.

When asked which shows do science really well, The Expanse was mentioned by Diana for doing physics right. Susan mentioned the Forensic Files. Lucy mentioned MacGyver, though not everything was right.

TV shows have Eureka moments. When asked, the panel agreed there are Eureka moments, but Alistair noted you run into them in the middle of processing a crime scene and have to finish before running off to catch the bad guy. Diana noted running through 8 hours of surveillance video to find the few seconds she needed.

The final main question was what element of real science would they think should be used that was dramatic? Susan wanted the poor ability of people to identify suspects. Alistair wanted the rolling surveillance in cars to be shown more rigorously.

But they wrapped by noting these shows don’t make it on the science, but on the story being compelling.

1 p.m. — Editors: Not Just a Single Job

The panel consisted of: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, James Minz, Liz Gorinsky and Anne Sowards.

Following this panel was difficult. Most of the panel members didn’t speak close to the microphone, and their projection wasn’t exceptional. Minz and Anne were the exceptions. They also rambled around so quickly that someone who didn’t understand the terms got quickly lost.

They defined a lot of editor titles: acquire, copy, proofreader, managing production, but I didn’t catch much. The chief principal is how one slides into another, the amorphous nature of the positions.

JIm mentioned how he wears tons of hats, including selling subsidiary rights. And he also gets to be the public face of Baen.

A lot of discussion went around the slush pile. Baen has a serious person going through the slush, which few publishers do. Jim noted that the slush pile keeps getting better, which makes it harder and harder to decide.

But it isn’t just the editorial end, but marketing. Editors prepare materials for the sales department, being advocate for the book. Editors are the consistent advocate for the book through the course of its life.

Jim noted that while the editor lobbies for the author, when negotiating for the book purchase, they are lobbying for the publisher.

One of the thing they all seemed to enjoy is going to the cons, representing their company and authors to the fans, getting to hang with “my tribe”.

2-6 p.m.

We went back to the con suite, where the boy had been doing DnD in the gaming area, and the girl had been roaming the floor and playing in the Lego area. We picked up pizza for everyone and went back to the private suite, where we discussed private politics, before heading back to the Exhibit Hall for the eruption of Olympus Mons.

6-8 p.m.

We watched the eruption of Olympus Mons, which was rather underwhelming, as my son noted — candy tossed out a hole  dropped the teens back off home, and spent the time conversing in a private con suite before heading to the Con Hospitality suite for the awards ceremony.

8 p.m. – The Hugo Awards


We watched the awards ceremony from the Con Suite, streamed to its screen from the Pat Cadigan Theater.

Pat Cadigan ran the Pat Cadigan show. She even said, “Yes, I am a drama queen.” Despite that, it was a generally good evening, whenever she got out of the way. Her jokes, her obvious favoritism for certain winners, her disrespectful treatment of presenters, all hyped her and downplayed the awards themselves.

But overall the staff went overboard to make sure the ceremony was not a slam at anyone. Some of the winners weren’t as gracious in their decision to slam the people who read and supported them.

I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the Best Semi-Prozine winner, Uncanny Magazine. Their “Proud day for the Space Corps Unicorns” and “Love is real” was very appealing.

Naomi Kreitzer , in her acceptance of the Short Story Hugo, gave an excellent tip of the hat to Chuck Tingle for giving us something to talk about with his piece of performance art. Again, one of the many classy acceptances.

So, overall I would say I enjoyed the evening, except for the people too stuck on themselves (like the the Toastmaster), and those intent on bashing anyone who disagreed with them in their acceptances (which were fortunately few).


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