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FOGCon 2018 Recap

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 17:57

I know I've mentioned it before, but I do love having a local book-centered convention that is literally a ten minute drive away. Bonus points for the Walnut Creek Marriott having a lobby-cum-bar that is absolutely ideal for socializing in. Except for one brief, minor bout of social anxiety when I didn't have a dinner group lined up for Saturday evening. ot was all good. (Note: I will leave some meals deliberately not pre-arranged to give myself the opportunity to meet up with people spontaneously who I might not feel comfortable approaching for specific arrangements. And that's exactly what happened in this case, once I'd determined to bluff it out and settled myself into an empty table in the lobby traffic zone.)

Great high-energy presentations from Honored Guests Andrea Hairston and Ada Palmer. This year I got to the late night comedy "liars' panel" (improv tall tales in response to moderator questions) which was a hoot.

I was on three program items. The early Saturday morning panel on Faust and his literary offspring had great attendance (given the time) and (if I may say so) great synergy among the panelists. We talked about the various versions of the Faust story itself, its uses in other works, what the parameters of a "Faust-type story" might be, and what the various versions of the story say about attitudes towards knowledge and/or pleasure. Was Faust the hero of his own story? And in the end was he damned or redeemed?

My first panel, on Friday afternoon, was on meta-fiction: the use of narrative within the narrative, or of cross-boundary interactions between audience, author, and content. Lots of examples of different types of meta-fictions (including a discussion of whether 1st and 2nd person narrativion is itself inherently a meta-narrative). I got to talk a little bit about meta-narrative in Mother of Souls and how the creation of the Tanfrit opera enabled the characters to critique and analyze their attitudes towards their own invisible character arcs.

My third panel was a fairly open-ended discussion on the romance genre as an antidote to the despair of living in a dystopic society. (It was one of two romance panels, the other being the somewhat misleadingly named "Bonkers Romance" talking about plots and tropes that would be hard to get away with anywhere other than that genre. I was in the audience for that one and got to hear my own books being recommended--in all sincerity since the recommender hadn't connected them with me!) I did feel a bit out of place on occasion in the "Romance for the End of the World" panel because the discussion routinely slipped into the assumption that every romance plot has a man in it somewhere (either as m/f or m/m), as well as a regular conflation of romance with erotica. Still a fun discussion, just occasionally a bit alienating.

I've kept meaning to volunteer to be more involved in the running of FOGCon, and since they put out a plea for more people to get involved at the closing roundup, I put my metaphorical hand up once more. (I triedt to volunteer a few years ago and nothing came of it, but they may have had plenty of people back then.)

And then here I am back home, with no jet lag and another hour of daylight.

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