ICFA: the first two days

Ok, I’m going to try an actual con writeup here, before I forget everything.

We got into Florida on Tuesday evening, collapsed into bed around 11pm, got up at 8am, and as I kept telling people all week, “I’m doing really well right now, but as of about 6pm, I make no promises for the rest of the evening!” Which was pretty prophetic: I hit a wall hard around 6pm every night, but also usually had a dinner or other activity planned, and since I can keep going forever as long as I have an audience, it went all right.

My family and I were basically there for completely different weeks: I was at the con, and they went to Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and comic shops. :D But my mother-in-law, who was in North Carolina visiting her own in-laws, came down for a day with one of Ted’s aunts, and while I only saw them at dinner one night, it was so very lovely to see them at all, and the boys got to spend a whole day and a few meals with them, so that was really good.

So while they were doing that…

Wednesday was the opening ceremonies and stuff (a formal term, that), where I met my fellow GoH Mary Turzillo and the guest scholar, Mame Bougouma, with whom I immediately had a panel that I remember no details of except we had fun. laughs The topic of the convention was ‘whimsy,’ and I know we discussed what that meant and how we worked with it, but yeah, the details are already lost to time and a lack of sleep. But that’s okay, because in many ways the whole thing is really more about connecting with the people than the actual panels, and we had a great connection.

I know I had lunch with my friend and birthday twin Novella, and with another of the organizers, an American man named Andrew who lives in Berlin and who, somehow, was informed almost immediately that I make terrific fudge and may now be coming over at Christmas to get some or something. laughs I hadn’t seen Novella in…a very long time…and it was wonderful to catch up with her. And that afternoon I went to a reading by (among others) Geoffrey Landis, who read two equally terrific pieces–The Chat Bot and the Drone, and Cowzilla–both of which were funny in very different ways, but the Chatbot story was also, like, wow. I felt like it had some real digs in it. Augh, it was so cool, guys!

Wednesday evening was the welcoming reception, where Ellen Kushner recognized me (ELLEN KUSHNER RECOGNIZED ME, GUYS!!!!) and, realizing I knew basically no one, introduced my around, including to, excuse me while I try to contain my squee, Gay and Joe Haldeman (I think, actually, that I’d met Gay before at a Worldcon, perhaps), and upon learning I lived in Ireland, Gay said, “Oh, I have to introduce you to my niece, she’s going to Ireland in a few weeks!” and brought me over to introduce me to her niece, who I will hopefully be meeting up with for an afternoon in a couple of weeks. :D So, you know, THAT was a wild success. faints with joy <3 <3 <3

Thursday morning I managed to go to an actual presentation (this is technically an academic conference! there were all these intellectual nerds around! it was great!), the topic of which was “Aging Women and Corporate Personhood,” and all three papers were TERRIFIC. The first focused on a couple of Asian films and how they dealt with aging women (I’ll get the titles, I don’t have my notes with me right now, but the presenter thought the first did badly by its protagonist and the second did well by her, and her argument seemed solid and I want to watch them both now).

The second was quite specifically about Linda Hamilton and the Terminator franchise and how she was aging and how that reflected through society. The presenter actually ran out of time on that one, which was a pity because I really wanted to hear all of it, and I need to contact her to see if I can get a copy of the paper so I can read what she didn’t have time to present.

The third, which tied in because the presenter focused primarily on the concept of corporate personhood as delivered through the Terminator franchise, started out strong, got bogged down in plot details, and just as I was wondering if it was going to come together at all, came together TERRIFICALLY as a thesis on the shift from Cyberdine as the evil faceless corporation presented in the 80s and 90s into the most modern variation of it (minus, arguably, Dark Fate), which presents a charismatic individual as the face of the corporations, thus reflecting a social shift from Evil Faceless Corporation to Charismatic Icon Leadership that helps to take the teeth out of corporate evil, and I was like WHOA. GOOD JOB! at the end of it.

I could genuinely have stayed there listening to all three of them all day; they were really great presentations, and I saw the second two presenters during the rest of the con and was able to tell them how much I’d enjoyed their papers, so that was really great.

We had an official luncheon on Thursday (the food at this thing was SHOCKINGLY good!); Mary gave a plenary speech on whimsy, and I went to more readings in the afternoon before having my own later in the evening. I read from Somebunny to Love, which was a pretty funny thing to do at an academic conference :D, and from Roses in Amber, which was perhaps more du jour. :D

The second half of that event was a Q&A, which I felt went pretty well, and certainly Novella, who was interviewing me, and I had a good time. Hopefully everybody else did too. :)

And then I collapsed into bed and now this is already One Million Words Long so I’ll stop with Thursday and try to do Friday and Saturday in another post. :)

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