Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ConDor 14


I haven't seen 24 either, but Linnea Sinclair put her finger on it in her blog entry previous to this one. The daily do-list doesn't include writing and if you dare waste any time actually creating prose, you are considered to be failing in your responsibilities!

But the time-honored solutions to Linnea's writer's dilemma have been having an Agent to do part of the "business of writing" chores and the publisher's publicity department to do the rest, leaving you to do your office accounting and business expenses and write.

Today they have not increased (in many cases they've reduced) the writer's paycheck and added Agent and publicist's duties to the writer's load. In the past, publishers understood that it was the editor's job to protect the writer from non-writing time-consuming tasks. The writer's job is to write! And writer's should make enough to pay others to do many of the household chores.

Since Big Business bought out publishers, all that has changed. The real question is how long will this last before some new (perhaps tech based) solution has to be invented?

One thing writers won't ever be able to get out of though is the personal appearance. And if you're lucky enough to work in the Romance or SF (or both!) fields, you have conventions and gatherings of all kinds to go to which can be counted as work (for income tax purposes) but which are almost as much fun as actually writing!

I had the great joy of doing one of those this past weekend -- the convention ConDor in San Diego where I talked non-stop for 3 days!

Before ConDor started, I rode with the con's Guest Liason to pick up Eric Flint (the Guest of Honor) and his wife at the airport. He is as interesting in person as his books are and we talked non-stop in the car on the way back to the hotel.

I handed out flyers with this blog's URL and talked about Alien Romance at this little San Diego science fiction convention -- and guess what? An amazing number of people knew what I was talking about!

I did my two panels on Friday -- there were actually people there at 3PM and 4PM -- grabbing examples from all kinds of subjects (anthropology, archeology, sociology, mythology, even some hard sciences), and the weekend went on like that.

On the Harry Dresden round table (one of my 4 panels on Sunday), we discussed Harry Potter and the similarity between these two universes and characters.

I decided that Harry Dresden is Harry Potter grown up, and nobody in the audience could refute that. Yes, the universes are different -- but that's a copyright issue not an artistic issue.

Harry Potter has an extreme talent or power -- and so does Dresden. Potter had a muggle upbringing, to be sure -- but Dresden was brought up learning the Dark Arts first. Both Potter and Dresden have hereditary issues with those who police and control power users.

Potter lives through childhood to adolescent personality and plot issues. We pick up Dresden when he's finally settled the issues of his adolescence and has dedicated himself to using his power to help others. He's just barely making a living as a private detective.

But Dresden faces adult issues. His girl gets turned into a vampire and true to 21st century womanhood refuses Harry's help dealing with that and takes herself off to learn how to live. She turns up later among the "good guy" vampires, but she's changed.

Dresden is accustomed to carrying the adult responsibilities that Potter is only experimenting with. But there's still a rebelious child in Dresden, defiant of authority, determined to do things his own way. However, he has a self-sacrificing attitude of personal responsibility, very reminiscent of Darkovan nobility.

So other than a couple of bits of universe-structure and power-politics, the two Harries are extremely similar -- and I like them both!

On several panels, we also talked a lot about worldbuilding -- the use of biological sciences to extrapolate what the world will be like in a hundred years, and the place of psychology and mythology in extrapolating the future.

All together, it was a very well programmed convention. There was an entire Harry Potter track that brought in a hoard of little kids, too. There's a future for this genre.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. Anonymous1:31 PM EST

    I suppose, having come late to the world of Harry Potter (3 books were already out), I should go and enter the world of Dresden too. *ducks the hail of incredulous looks* Yup, totally un-initiated as yet, but I'm dipping my SF-wetted feet slowly into the paranormal pond, much as I have in the SFR pond. I'm not into horror and gore, but a good action adventure is always enjoyable. Do you reckon Harry D. is up for another reader?

  2. Okay, so this means I belong to the club which has never read a Harry Potter book or watched a movie AND Dresdin files too. Truthfully, neither premise has ever interested me.

    Conferences, on the other hand, are a load of fun. The Star Trek conference I went to was great. The actors who played Dr. Bashir and Garak on Deep Space Nine were amazing. Polite, endlessly patient. At one point an intellectually challenged person asked them a question and no one could understand his garbled speech, but those two actors simply made something up which made that man feel paid attention to, respected, and happy. Utterly amazing. The perfect gentlemen.