Monday, August 3, 2015

Mythcon, part 2

My paper was first thing Sunday morning, which gave me at least plenty of time to get the AV set up. It was titled "How Do You Solve a Problem Like King Arthur?" (title echoing a line by that great American poet, Oscar Hammerstein II), and categorized various ways to tell an Arthurian story in the 20th and 21st centuries, with the weight of Malory (and, later, T.H. White) looming over you. I was told afterwards that I had been very entertaining. Biggest audience reaction at the time was the groan over the horrible pun I made about Jo Walton's Arthurians (a pun basically irreproducable in print, so sorry).

Presentation on the Music of the Ainur by a composer who's written an orchestral piece depicting it. The computer speakers weren't working properly, so it was hard to hear the file she played. I thought it came from online, but I can't find it either by Googling or YouTubing. Anyway, her name is Jasmine Edison and the piece is called "Sub-creation", so if you have better luck finding it, let me know.

This composer thinks that Iluvatar did Melkor a disservice by suppressing his dissonance. Maybe so - it would certainly have made for a different music, and it might have prevented the spoiling effect of Melkor's subsequent rage - but the audience member who commented on this by saying that you can't have music without dissonance any more than you can have a story without conflict was wrong on both accounts. I saw no point in objecting at the time, however.

Paper on post-9/11 interpretations of The Lord of the Rings. Quoted with some incredulity a writer who described Frodo as destroying the enemy using the enemy's own weapon. Um, didn't this person read the book?

Panel on "Fantasy and World View" in which lots of interesting things were said. Much discussion of what parts of the external world are mentally constructed and what parts are undeniable reality. Didn't quite engage with the question that most irritates me on this topic, the insistence of some people, mostly techies, that "facts are facts" and their inability to grasp that the framing, context, and extrapolation of those facts are subjective and open to interpretation. (Example: see Edward Tufte on the data that either should or should not have been a warning of an issue with Challenger's O-rings.)

Banquet, with Jo Walton's GoH speech discussing concrete specifics of how to convey elements of the fantastic in fiction when they either are or are not a surprise to the characters experiencing them. (What do you say after you see a dragon on the street? Well, if you see them every day and they're not bothering anyone, would you mention it at all?) Numerous food sculptures, better-constructed but less wittily titled than usual. Not Ready for Mythcon Players, unreadier than usual. And the Mythopoeic Awards. B. was on the fiction committees and approves of the winners. I was on the scholarship committee and approve of the winners.

1 comment:

  1. Jasmine's composition is not on YouTube, but on SoundCloud.

    -- David Emerson