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Good Omens! - which is going to become a TV show!! Woohoo!

At the opening ceremonies they made a big deal about if you hadn’t already planned on attending the Good Omens panel you ought to reconsider. But I already planned on attending. Still, I figured maybe they had an actual clip from the show to up the excitement. It was definitely exciting. NEIL GAIMAN! Surprise trip, unannounced, unadvertised. He truly was there for just the panel and then to hang out a bit with Pterry afterwards, so no autographs or other panels. Still, it was really amazing to be in the same room as the guys who wrote Good Omens. I didn’t have a good spot for viewing, but we could hear just fine. They talked about how the book came into being, going back and forth with memories and correcting each other or adding on to anecdotes. Monkeys taped it, so I won’t try to do a transcript. I will say you could tell they enjoyed either other and that they had been friends for a long time. They also called each either other “You Bastard” quite a few times. Ha! Due to Terry’s condition, he kept getting louder and quieter as he moved towards and away from the microphone. So Neil and Pterry’s assistant Rob kept adding more microphones and moving them around. He also bumped into them once or twice. With all the moving and bumping Pterry made a this is getting damned annoying style comment that was pretty funny. Mentally, however, Pterry was performing perfectly. He even reminded Neil of a few things. So that was lovely to see. After the chat about the book Neil stood up to present Pterry with the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science (http://www.sfwa.org/2011/02/2010-nebula-nominees/ ) for I Shall Wear Midnight. When he turned around to go to the podium and pick up the award he saw the left side of the room and exclaimed, “Have you been there the entire time? Just looking at the back of my head?” We all yelled and waved – he waved back with a cute smile. When he presented the award to Pterry, Pratchett’s was short and to the point. It went something like “I am not at a loss for words. It’s about damned time.” The crowd went wild.

The Science of Discworld I ought to record these things. You never know when it will be amazing and brilliant and fun or when you will feel trapped and sit for an hour cringing and longing for the door. This panel was extremely fun. The lady next to me took notes! That’s usually me! The room was standing room only and the floors were a mass of bodies. I can’t remember the panelists, but one worked for NASA, one was a kind of microbiologist who went into seriously considered detail about the dried frog pills, and the other two had real science credentials, as well. The moderator managed to keep everyone on topic, get the audience involved but not dominating the discussion, and kept a nice mix of real science and it’s just a book, I should really just relax. Plus, everyone was laughing a lot. Monkeys got two great big laughs, one for a well-timed “horse of a different color” remark. Otherwise, I cannot remember a single specific detail from the panel, darn it. But they got into weighty scientific issues like parallel universes, string theory, and stuff I hadn’t heard of before. I wish I’d been the one taking notes.

Steampunk and Discworld After the science panel being so awesome we were optimistic about the Steampunk discussion. It was very interesting, but not quite as well moderated so someone in the audience took over a few times. The panel was a nice blend of artists, steampunk costumers, engineers (one older gentleman was a railway engineer who also designed something with the Time Square ball), and an author who worked with Pratchett but also wrote Steampunk novels. I loved the train engineerer, he should have talked more. The author tried to talk, but everyone kept interrupting. Several times he raised his hands up in the air and politely said something like “please just let me finish my point.” It was only because everyone was really excited, not because anyone was mean or rude, but it did make it a bit disjointed. Because the Steampunk and Science panels had several similarities in content I don’t know who to attribute this to, but I think this came from the Steampunk panel or was elaborated upon in that panel. The books started out in more of a medieval setting but with the invention of the stamps, money, clax they are progressing at a more rapid pace than Roundworld. Sir Terry is conscious of this and is trying to include society’s reaction to the changes – having to adjust mentally and socially, the ripple effects – along with the actual change. And with any new technology he includes in the book he considers the wide reaching affect of it before including it because if it would change other areas of society he doesn’t want affected then he wouldn’t go there. There was also some discussion about how steam could only go so far because of size limitations (the tubes to carry the steam to run the device can only get so small). He has more leeway because of imps and magic and because of golems, so things don’t have to proceed exactly how we did in real life. It was a really interesting discussion. That concept was more expanded and better phrased at the panel, but over a week has passed, so I’ve forgotten some of it.

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