Forget the food and paper quality, you’re probably thinking. What about the conference? Well, I could have done a better job investigating it beforehand. I went expecting a workshop for writers, where in the science fiction panels I would learn about worldbuilding and how to get ideas for stories from current science. Instead, it was a venue for librarians, fans, and writers to hear writers talk about their work and their lives, get books signed, and meet other book lovers.
For what it was, it was a lot of fun. Elizabeth George and Janet Fitch each spoke about their lives as writers to the whole group. Despite my knowing almost no one in Southern California, I bumped into several of the few people I do know, and we sat together for these talks and lunch.
In-between these talks were panel discussions. I attended the two science fiction panels. Thus, I was lucky enough to hear David Brin and Vernor Vinge discuss Dr. Vinge’s concept of the Singularity and how every science fiction novel now has to either assume the Singularity has occurred or explain why it has not, as well as Gregory Benford and Larry Niven talking about the space elevator, among many other fascinating topics (about which I would go into more detail if I had not displaced my notebook—I wasn’t kidding about needing a personal librarian).
These four guys have won a lot of Nebulas and Hugos, and I was in awe to be sitting only a few feet from such giants of science fiction. They were all quite gracious during the booksignings. I talked to each for a few minutes, so I can now brag I’ve met them all.
I finished the day at a panel that included screenwriter Stephen Cannell, whose hand you’ve seen ripping a page from his typewriter and flinging it away hundreds of times.
Will I go to Literary Orange again? Maybe, if I'm flush with funds or my favorite writers are there . . . . or, dream of dreams, I'm invited to be a panelist.
For a different take on Literary Orange from science fiction writer and editor Jude-Marie “Kelly” Green, visit her blog.
Just a reminder that my Mitzvah Madness: Pay It Forward contest is still going on. You have until April 30 to enter and possibly win free books. Rules are in last week’s post.
For those who’d like to enter but need an idea for a good deed to do, here are five.
1. This one is fast, easy, and costs you nothing. Each day you “click here to give” at the following sites, sponsors contribute money to a good cause. (Note added 28 April 2008: Please see Lana Gramlich's comment and the Website she recommends.)
- Save the rainforests: http://www.therainforestsite.com/
- Feed the hungry: http://www.thehungersite.com/
- Help animals in shelters: http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/
- Give books to underprivileged children: http://www.theliteracysite.com/
- Provide healthcare for children: http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/
- Fight breast cancer: http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
3. Help rebuild New Orleans’ homes, culture, and environment by donating time or money to one of these organizations:
- New Orleans Habitat for Humanity: http://www.Habitat-NOLA.org
- Preservation Resource Center: http://www.prcno.org/
- Tipitina’s Foundation: http://tipitinasfoundation.org/
- Women of the Storm: http://www.womenofthestorm.net/
- Voice of the Wetlands: http://www.voiceofthewetlands.com/
5. My niece Amber will be walking 60 miles in August to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust. If you would like to be one of her sponsors and help fund breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment, her site is at http://08.the3day.org/goto/amroberts. Donations are tax deductible.
Check out the Daily Mitzvah blog for more ideas.
Oh, and once you've chosen your good deed, please don't forget to come back and enter my contest!