After a quick lunch, my girlfriend had hoped to take in the panel on “Montreal Local History”, but it was apparently cancelled. I headed to “Building Realistic Worlds”, but it was so full that there wasn’t even space to stand at the back of the room, so I went to my other option, “How Are We Getting on Towards the Singularity Then?”. This was also quite full, but I could still find room. It was a decent panel, exploring the different ways we are approaching the Singularity (or not).
The next panel we both went to was “Online Magazines Represented HERE: A Good Market”, in which several people who work in various capacities at online fiction magazines discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the format. Advantages were mostly in the negligible cost of distribution and international reach, but the downsides were the lack of a business model and combatting obscurity—how does your magazine get found among everything else online? The panelists were all good and played off each other well.
Then there was a panel on “How to Pitch Your Novel… and how not to”, which was good at offering practical advice from publishing professionals on how you can get someone to look at your novel. Thankfully, I had encountered most of the information before, so it seems like my research into publishing in the field has been successful.
Next up was a panel titled “Aunts in Spaceships”, which my girlfriend was interested in seeing. She was hoping it would more be about why aren’t there more characters with extended families (or families at all) in SF literature, but it was concentrated more on older women characters, and became something a chance for the panelists and audiences to list examples of such characters. Given that it was a 90-minute panel, and wasn’t quite what we were looking for, we ducked out a bit early and visited the dealer’s room again.
At 6:30, there was a short event, featuring author Karl Schroeder and his Tor editor David G. Hartwell talking about the process of working together, and how their relationship and working approach has changed over the course of working on 7 novels together. It was really interesting, and actually felt like it ended too soon.
Then we went looking for dinner, but found a large number of places were closed, so we ended up going to an Italian place that was fine, but a bit slow because they were overwhelmed with other Con-goers. As a result, we were late getting back, and missed the first hour of the Masquerade costume show. We saw a few minutes of it, but I was interested in another event, “Gaiman Reads Doctorow”.
As an experiment, Cory Doctorow is releasing his next short story collection as a self-published Creative Commons title, and using it to explore a number of different ideas a business models, including a free audiobook read by friends (in this case, Neil Gaiman, star of the Worldcon), print-on-demand, and high-cost hand-made limited editions. Gaiman read quite well, as he is wont to do, and then they both fielded questions after the recording was done. Gaiman and Doctorow were both gracious, funny, and passionate speakers, and I felt the event was well worth missing the Masquerade.
The last event of the night was a fireworks display that we could watch from the top floor terrace of the convention centre. The fireworks were not part of the Worldcon (it was for the Festival of Fire, I think, being a South African entry), but it was a nice way to end a very long day.