Lunacon 2009 (4): Sunday

After the hectic pace on Saturday, the con wound down somewhat before concluding on Sunday. I attended a panel on Galileo, another one on world building, and one on World Domination. Then I attended the dead dog filk and went home. Along the way I finally met up with someone I’d been on the lookout for all con.

The first panel was “Galileo: Guilty as Charged!” Calling it a “panel” is perhaps overgenerous, as there was only one “panelist”: Mike Flynn, who was also the expert from “Those Terrible Middle Ages” on Friday. I had been looking forward to this one because I thought it might have useful bits for my Space Science & Astrophysics course. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not compatible with Mike Flynn. I don’t know why but something about his approach to and presentation of history just turns me off. In this case, he was — once again — trying to rehabilitate the reputation of persons from history. I think his schtick is telling people how everything they think they know is wrong. Since this was a topic about which I actually know something, his mistakes and his misleading emphases struck me peculiarly hard. While the traditional “Galileo is good, church is bad” narrative is admittedly a bit oversimplistic, his correction suffered from much the same problem.

After the history panel, I attended another panel on World Building. Although I feared it would retread the ground from Saturday, it was in fact much better and far more useful for me. The panel included two editors and two writers (Barbara Campbell, Wendy Delmater, Jude-Marie Green, and Kate Paulk). Despite speaking from their own experience, the panelists never made the talk all about them, and were quick to praise other authors about their successful work. Their advice was related to craft, not marketing: Find something worthwhile to say, and make your world help you say it. Though light on the specifics (necessarily so), their comments offered some path through the murk that surrounds any effort at serious world-building. They made me think more seriously, which is a recipe for a successful panel.

Perhaps appropriately, after a panel on how to build a world, I attended one on how to take it over. 🙂 This wasn’t terribly useful but that’s OK because it wasn’t terribly serious. In fact, it largely was an opportunity for the moderators to riff off one another, which they did with speed and wit. Really, at this stage, what more can be said about world domination and cartoonish supervillainy? Although apparently the key is to have a plan…

The “dead dog filk” is “An event held after the formal end of programming at a convention” (definition courtesy of the Filk Glossary) It’s the last chance for the filkers to assuage the pangs of their addiction before the con breaks up. This was billed as “Dead Dog Filk / Gripe Session”, and it was actually far more the latter than the former (though I get the impression this is not the usual case). There weren’t too many specific gripes, except that some of the panels were scheduled too early.

This was explained as being due to the need to reserve the room; otherwise the ConCom (Convention Committee) would have slated something else in that space. Having non-filkers invade the filk room apparently messes with its feng shui. One of the interesting observations I had is the filkers still struggles with being a small, somewhat misunderstood community lurking within and looked askance at by the con at large — which is funny, as con goers are themselves a small, somewhat misunderstood community lurking within and looked askance at by society at large. 🙂

At the dead dog filk circle I finally ran into Merav Hoffman, who befriended me when I looked lost at last year’s Lunacon. Merav convinced me to attended Contata, which I ended up enjoying immensely, so I was glad to cross paths with her and catch up. One of my motivations in going to Lunacon every year is to attain a sense of community, and Merav has been very kind in helping me fit in.

After the dead dog filk, it was time to head home. Although NJ Transit once again let me down (two hours to go from NY Penn Station to Princeton Junction — and this was after they abruptly canceled the express I had been literally about to board), it was far from the ordeal from Monday and I got in before too late. Looking back, I’m really glad I went again. Lunacon has really turned into an event I look forward to, and it has yet to disappoint.

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