Lunacon 2009 (1): Friday

Well, Lunacon is officially underway. So far I’ve tried out a new card game (Fluxx) and attended one session (“Those Terrible Middle Ages”). I’ve also discovered that I can walk out my room (418), down two corridors, around a bend, and directly onto the 7th floor. It’s no accident they call the Hilton Rye Town “the hotel that Escher built”.

Fluxx is an odd little game. It’s a card game whose rules are simple: Draw 1 card, play 1 card each turn. But… some of the cards are simple actions (“Steal a card from another player”); some are Keepers (like “Chocolate — hold onto this card”); some are Goals (like, “The player with Chocolate wins”); and some cards Change the Rules (like “Draw 2 cards” or “Discard all cards at the end of your turn”). It was pretty fun and pretty funny, and will most likely appeal to members of the World Domination League — especially if we buy the version called Zombie Fluxx. Truth be told, though, it’s more than a little random. I don’t see how you can develop anything resembling a strategy, though there are clear tactics.

“Those Terrible Middle Ages!” was an impassioned defense of, well, the Middle Ages. The panel leader clearly carries a chip on his shoulder about how down people are on the medieval world. Unfortunately, like many taking the side of the underdog, he felt compelled to enhance the stature of his special period by snarking about a different one — in this case, the Renaissance. About 35% of his comments were more “Look how silly those Renaissance guys were” rather “Look at what’s neat about the Middle Ages”.

Most disappointing: He raised the supposedly-widespread allegation that the Church didn’t recognize that “women have souls” until the 15th century. Bosh! He rattled off quite a number of medieval women who not only owned property but charted the course of nations — not to mention became abbesses and saints — and pointed out the absurdity of baptizing a soulless thing. What he didn’t do, alas, was provide any context or nuance to the claim. Since it’s so clearly crazy on its face, there is most likely an interesting root to the claim. It might tell us more about the people making the claim than about the medieval church, but it would be interesting. Sadly, he didn’t actually address that.

I ducked out about 3/4 of the way through the hour-long session, when it turned into a lecture from my Aristotelean Studium course from college twenty years ago. I already know the outlines of medieval thought on form and nature. I’d hoped for a better explication of the culture and politics, but it wasn’t overall a bad session.

Leaving this, I caught the last half of a 1940s Superman cartoon, which was amusing. I can’t imagine watching more than one or two at a time but it was fun.

I wanted to volunteer an hour or so (it’s a con thing) but the volunteers table is apparently more mobile than would be expected. I was told it was in several contradictory places. Perhaps it’s reciproexclusive and can be found only where it is not…

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