Thursday, August 4, 2022

Mythcon, day 3

Sunday was as busy as Saturday for me. I was on two panels, having suggested both topics - I'm not an old Mythcon programmer for nothing - and persuaded the committee to exploit its Guest of Honor. But first I had to drive B to a nearby church for mass; fortunately traffic is pretty light at 7 a.m. on a Sunday.

Busy but pleasant as the day was for me, it was pretty blustery for the committee, for this was the day that the rented golf cart died, probably from an overdose of shuttling large numbers of people back and forth between the hotel and the meeting space for 2 1/2 days; and it was also the day that one of our senior members, having undertaken the walk, fell down and was discovered lying there and bleeding along the way. Off to the E.R. she was taken, CT scan revealed nothing wrong, and she was OK by the end of the day (many sighs of relief), so why she fell remained a mystery.

Returning to programming, I hadn't realized when I walked into a paper in the first time slot that the presenter would be on a screen, and physically in England I think, while we auditors were in another box on the screen. We heard a discussion of aliens in Lewis's space trilogy which argued that Weston and Devine are the real aliens: can't argue with that.

Next was my first panel, on New Mexico (or "NM" as it's informally spelled locally) speculative fiction authors. I'd been thinking mostly of imported power hitters like Zelazny and Martin (and Walter Jon Williams, who actually showed up in the audience), but I heartily endorsed the pre-con discussion suggestion that we also cover native authors like Rebecca Roanhorse. So we ran the gamut: I made quick introductions to Zelazny and Martin novels with NM or SW settings, and the panelists ran through others, culminating in Author Guest of Honor Rivera Sun's thoughtful meditation on how residence in a landscape changes your perspective on it.

My other panel was "Aliens and Others in the Inklings," and as moderator all I had to do for this one was read off the topic statement from my e-mail recruiting panelists, introduce the three distinguished scholars we got, who each gave a 10-minute mini-paper, and wrangle the question session.

At the voice auction I was less interested in buying anything - I'd gotten a few items from the silent auction - than in seeing how much the extra copies of Tolkien scholarship I'd donated went for (gratifyingly much). Though I don't know why the auctioneer kept insisting that Clyde Kilby's reports on helping Tolkien edit the Silmarillion are unreliable; once the book came out they turned out to be quite accurate.

Sunday evening of Mythcon is the banquet. The hotel wasn't holding it, the meeting site couldn't hold it, so we got a little coffee vendor down the street. Not regularly open for dinner, they will cater private parties, so scattered about at tables both in and outside, the latter under an awning but fortunately tonight's thunderstorm was less severe than Friday's, we dined on a generous buffet serving of NM cuisine, huge lasagna-style trays of red and green chile both meat and vegan, plus pozole, with a little plain food on the side as an alternative, assuming there was any of it left.

Food sculptures, possibly influenced by the new Amazon trailer, tended towards reproductions of post-battle scenes from Tolkien with hominy kernels from the pozole standing for skulls.

Rivera gave her Author GoH speech as is traditional in this spot, her skill as a public speaker partially compensating for the low-powered pocket-sized p.a. system in a slightly noisy outdoor environment. She promoted her cause of non-violent political resistance and urged its representation in fantasy fiction, with plenty of examples illustrating where it's been done.

It was a successful event but tiring, so once more we opted for early retirement.

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