Saturday, July 08, 2017

NorthAmeriCon ’17 - Saturday

For my wife and I, today's programming was far more interesting than yesterday's. While our children "held the fort" in the ConSuite, we took in the panel discussion The realities of living in an extreme climate. Many science fiction stories are set on worlds with extreme climates or on a future Earth where the climate has run amuck. This panel explored how these stories compare with living in the extreme cold of winter in Alaska and northern Canada.

We also attended a panel on The Legacy of Star Trek in science fiction, general fiction, television and real life. One of the questions: if it was not for the Star Trek communicator, would we have cellular telephones today? Similar questions revolve around personal computers, wi-fi, the solar powered medical instruments now in use in the third world and a whole host of other ideas and technologies we take for granted today.

One important aspect of fiction, especially science fiction, is the setting. One of the panels was entitled World Building as more than Background. They explored how the setting – the land, the buildings, the weather and climate, the history and even the furniture effects the characters and the action of the story. Few science fiction stories are set with the characters sitting around a table in a room for the whole story — they are out and about, interacting with each other and with the environment. This creates a need for a consistent, well structured environment for them to interact in. Opening the door to the left of the fire place and finding a closet in one scene and in the next, opening the same door to walk out onto the veranda does not usually make for a good story.

In addition to panel discussions, various authors read from their works. Because of our duties in the ConSuite, we missed Reading by Mike Substelny that we wanted to attend. However, Mike dropped by the ConSuite during the dinner break and was convinced to do another reading – this one was not for "general audiences."

Of course there was a costume competition! It was held in Laguna 1 and was one of the best attended events. I wish they used a larger room – it was hard to see the costumes and taking photographs was almost impossible.

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