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The Magic of Lowered Expectations, and Other WorldCon Notes

Anticipation World Con 2009I’m not sure if it counts as liveblogging if you’re not actually blogging while it is happening, but I thought I’d share a few notes from Anticipation, the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Montreal this week.

First the lowered expectations

I was thrilled to see that I would get a chance to read from MARVELLOUS HAIRY at the Con, which is, of course, why I’m here – to help spread news about the book and the excellent publisher, Crossing Chaos.

I was a little less than thrilled to see that I would be reading at 9 am, but so be it: in the hierarchical world of SF, an eccentric novelist reading chapters from his Indie-published book hardly ranks. I set the bar low – if even one person showed up (barring my bro, who is acting as my social/SF wingman and expletive-double here). And lo, there were all of six! (Not counting me and the other author reading, Susan Forest.)

Susan read from her Aurora-nominated short story, Back, and another piece, who’s title has slipped my mind, but which I enjoyed quite a bit.

A special thanks to Sherry Ramsay for showing up and bringing her daughter, who apparently enjoyed the chapter I read from Marvellous Hairy

Absurd thoughts: artists are plumbers!

I went to a couple of new media panels, which had a bit of crossover this morning. The panel on Intellectual Property and the Creative Commons covered ground that I was mostly familiar with, but two things struck me:

I continue to admire Cory Doctorow’s evangelical attitude towards CC and the ethos of “free content” in general, and I’m now kind of thinking about how it is inevitable. The consensus seems to be that DRM – digital rights management – is a dead duck. Change your business models everyone.

One of the comments of the editor on the panel (from Tor, and I think it was Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and I hope if I’m wrong someone will correct me) struck me as delightfully absurd. I’m afraid I’ll have to paraphrase, but basically he likened artists to plumbers; I hope he meant that everybody’s work should be respected, and that artists should be given special consideration. Mike and I had a great time riffing about how artists might actually improve their economic circumstances if they got paid in the same way as plumbers, and how bad it would be for plumbers if the situations were reversed: “Okay, we’ll pay you a little bit up front so you can work on this toilet, and then we’ll give you two cents per flush!”

After the riffing, Mike went off to discover what was new in astronomy, while I attended a thought-provoking panel on future of new media.

More on this when I have a chance!