We drove down to Pasco Washington last weekend for RadCon. It is the Science Fiction Convention closest to Calgary (Calgary’s SF Con was lost some years ago and has been replaced with a Writer’s Festival – When Words Collide). It was a very good convention.
As usual, we stayed at a cheaper hotel (About half the price ATI). Drove down Thursday and slept ourselves out Sunday / Monday (and a damn good thing too – I had to let Karen drive from Cranbrook to Crows Nest Pass I was too tired even then). It was snowing at the time and she had trouble seeing the lines on the road. The result is we drove most of an hour at 60 Km or 40 mph.
RadCon is a big surprise. It is a huge convention in a relatively small town. In part that is driven by the nearness of Hanford Washington and the intellectual hub that represents. And as I said before it is the closest con to Calgary. It is also only 3 or 4 hours from Seattle and Portland.
At the panel on Writing, I attended AN IMPORTANT lesson was learned. In order to survive as a writer, you need 1000 True Fans. True Fans are those who will buy all you write. They also form the nucleus of the Fan Club and artist’s support groups that provide alpha readers and fact checkers.
This is an important lesson and one that I need to start working on – pronto! At a Saturday night party, I talked about Bight of the Lamprey to a young man and gave him a card and told him I had a Pay Pal Account. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it, but I figured I should start getting sales of ‘pre-print’ version of my stuff out there.
Also since Harshest Journey is now at DAW, and unless it sells I’m planning on self-publishing the rest and my ongoing production, I will get started offering “Pre Print’s” of stuff not at a publisher. (I don’t expect major sales, but enough so that I can claim more writing expenses from Rev. Can.)
Thus I have decided to publish a list of all titles, and mark those available as ‘pre-prints’. I can thus make more use of my Pay Pal Account. Note I’m not putting “Imperial Shorts” on sale because I’m still looking to get them ‘sold’ to regular magazines for advertising purposes.
I dragged along “A Bard’s Tale” against the chance I’d write on it. That didn’t happen, but I saw clearly the 2/3rds scene (which I hadn’t had before). An act of unnaming would be repugnant to Lou who is in contact with Alex and Doogie, and who fully comprehends the gravity of the act. The point is that ‘silent girl’ hasn’t been ‘unnamed’ she’s had ‘her name taken’. So the central conflict of the story is not so much ‘silent girl’ getting back her name as it is her getting of one. This supports the last line of the novel, “I’m Jennifer Campbell.” This is a surprise line in that that isn’t what Lou named her – He called her Joyce Campbell after his mother.
RadCon also supplied almost half of my ‘formal class’ Professional Development Hours for my engineering associations for the year. There were excellent panels on a variety of science subjects and on scientific ethical legal issues. These ranged from the Science guest of honor speech on ‘incoming’ asteroids and what we can do about them now (and what might be possible soon) to what everybody but the US was doing in space the last year.
The high (or low) spot on the ethics was the discussion about drones and privacy issues. I was surprised to learn that some states have made it a misdemeanor to film a peace officer in the performance of his duties. I know I’m a bit ahead of the curve when I apply this to the upcoming issues of ‘button cams’ that I talk about as ‘happening’ in the past in Dearth of Eagles (but the lawyer is a teenager when that happens), but they are coming, and likely a little sooner than that would suggest (the ubiquitous camera on the cell phone is an issue now with law enforcement – because it identifies officers doing their job for good or ill). The FAA has made shooting down a drone a felony, as is flying it over people (some drones can go to 55 pounds and the legislation on a drone covers from 50 grams to 55 pounds in a fine mix of units!)
I’d been surprised that the flight from Calgary to Pasco was 4 hours on google Maps so I looked it up. There is always a 3:15 layover in Seattle. The cheap flight (at 6 AM) is 6:15 not 4 and costs 302 $US/person which means it is 7 hours. That is just 3 hours less than actual driving (w/o meal stop) in good conditions, and about 2x the gas cost at 4 x 10 USG tanks (return).