If I’m getting swine flu I want it NOW

Not that I think I am getting it, but that’s what worries me. If I can have it now, it should be out of my system this time next Monday: when, if all goes to plan, I should be at or at least near Heathrow for my flight to Montreal … Whereas if I start sniffling and aching around Thursday or Friday, that could really screw up a decent holiday.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Worldcon here I come. H1N1 permitting.

Proof of what a civilised people the Canadians are lies in the timing of flights. Previous flights to North America have all involved getting up at oh-my-god-o’clock and perhaps watching the sun rise over the M25. Next Monday’s flight is at 15.30. How did that happen?

The programme has been published and looks pretty good. And unlike last year, when they put me on two items and cancelled one, this year I feel quite decently used. As well as a reading and signing session (expected attendance … well, who knows):

  • When: Fri 11:00
  • Title: The Golden Duck Awards for Children’s and YA Science Fiction
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, Cathy Petrini, Helen Gbala, Henry Melton, Janet McNaughton, S.C. Butler, Michèle Laframboise, Jean-Pierre Guillet, Lindalee Stuckley
  • Description: For picture books, the Eleanor Cameron Award for middle grade books and the Hal Clement Award books for young adults, this award is designed to encourage the people to write those books that capture future SF fans. Lindalee Stuckey introduces the award, and is joined by a number of current authors for children and young adults for discussion.
  • When: Fri 21:00
  • Title: Just A Minute
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, David Clements, Pat Cadigan, Paul Cornell, Steve Green, Tom Galloway
  • Moderator: Paul Cornell
  • Description: Only sf/fantasy panelists in this Worldcon version of the venerable British quiz show, in which panelists must extemporize for a minute on a given topic without hesitation, repetition or deviation.
  • When: Sat 10:00
  • Title: Archetypes Without Stereotypes
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, Pat Rothfuss, Nalo Hopkinson, Doselle Young
  • Moderator: Pat Rothfuss
  • Description: Thanks to culture and convention, every reader carries a built-in cast of characters requiring little or no explanation. Is there a way to use this built-in knowledge without writing stereotypes or poorly-defined stock characters? What happens when readers don’t share those assumptions?
  • When: Sat 20:00
  • Title: Size Doesn’t Matter
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, Bob Neilson, delphyne woods, Karen Haber, Jacob Weisman
  • Moderator: me!
  • Description: Design in SF&F publishing is often better in books produced by the smaller presses, which have fewer resources than their larger counterparts. Is the small press the last refuge of beautifully designed books?
  • When: Sun 11:00
  • Title: Writing for Teens
  • All Participants: Anne Harris, Ben Jeapes, Fiona Patton, Eoin Colfer
  • Moderator: me again!
  • Description: How is writing for YA/teens different? Do you just leave out the sex and long exposition, or is there more to it?
  • When: Sun 15:30
  • Title: The Napoleonic War from Both Sides
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams
  • Moderator: Walter Jon Williams
  • Description: One of the most important, worldshaping conflicts. A rich source for both fantasy and science fiction. Our panellists try to explain it to you.
  • When: Sun 17:00
  • Title: Science Blogging – The New Science Journalism?
  • All Participants: Ben Jeapes, Daniel P. Dern, Mur Lafferty, Sumitra Rajagopalan
  • Moderator: Daniel P. Dern
  • Description: Touted as a new way of reaching the public, has science blogging matched its initial promise? Has it caused more problems than it solves? [Hell if I know …]

I may not come back with any answers to any of these questions, but I’ll have fun establishing the boundaries of my ignorance.