Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ream of Paper Mistaken for iPad

This BBC News reporter grabbed a ream of paper, thinking it was his iPad, and went on the air with it. 

This is the thing to do with bonehead mistakes:  Just brass it out, as if you meant to do that.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Worldcon Blog Supplemental—Saturday

On my last day at Worldon in San Antonio, I listened to Lou Anders give his workshop on taking tips from screenwriting and applying them to novels.  Although I took copious notes, instead of summarizing them, I’ll give his surprising way of defining antagonists.  The antagonist is not necessarily the villain, but is the person who puts obstacles in front of the protagonist. 

In Casablanca, Rick is the protagonist, but the Germans are not the antagonists.  The antagonist is Laszlo, Ilsa’s husband, because he is the one who puts roadblocks in Rick’s way.  Laszlo is undoubtedly a good guy, so in the end Rick deals with him and with his love interest Ilsa in a way that is appropriate. 

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Khan is not the antagonist, at least not for much of the movie.  For much of the movie Lieutenant Saavik is the antagonist, quoting regulations against Kirk. 

This different way of looking at the antagonist is helpful, especially when the villain is not interacting with the protagonist for much of the story. 

Speaking of Star Trek, this woman who had a couple of young children with her wore the uniform sheath from the old Star Trek, even though the temperature could be over 100 degrees in San Antonio. 

Very impressive.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Worldcon Blog Supplemental—Friday

First, to continue with what happened Thursday night at the convention, I attended a Literary Beer with Lou Anders. 

photo by Catriona Sparks
He’s the editorial director of Pyr Books.  The Kaffeeklatches and Literary Beers are opportunities for a small group of people who sign up early to meet with a professional in the business to talk about whatever strikes their fancy.  This is much more satisfying than going to a typical workshop. 

Lou Anders continues to be of the opinion that mass-market paperback books will die out soon, just as he said at a Norwescon I attended a couple years ago.  He also said he does not think New Adult (with protagonists aged 18 to mid-twenties) will become a legitimate category.  However, he also said that Young Adult readers are growing older and want something more mature.  Although he knows much more about the industry than I do, perhaps I can put these statements together in an optimistic way. 

So on Friday itself, a number of booksellers put on their presentations of their upcoming new books.  Tor had several, of course, but one in particular stuck out to me:  Antigoddess by Kendare Blake. 

It features characters from Greek mythology such as Athena and Hermes.  My Athena stories feature these characters, so this was of particular interest to me. 

Baen Books had their usual dynamic presentation, hosted by the publisher, Toni Weisskopf. 

photo by Dravecky
As usual, she gave out free books to anyone who was active military or a veteran.  When that happened, someone in the audience got up and walked out.  It’s like there are two different worlds out there.  I remember in one of the airports I was in, the airline had early boarding for people who were active duty military.  When a woman walked up for that reason, some people spontaneously applauded, while a young punk looked sulky.  But way to go, Toni Weisskopf! 

Toni also believes that “in time,” e-books will supplant mass-market paperbacks.  These are not the larger paperbacks—called trade paperback—or the hardcovers, but they are the most common sort of paperbacks.  For more on this topic, look at my previous post here.  

And here’s the entrance to the exhibition hall, where booksellers and lots of memorabilia are on display.  Worldcon really is a professional convention, and convention goers must show their badges to security to enter the exhibit hall. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Worldcon Blog Supplemental—Thursday

So the sessions began on Thursday, and I attended the ones on writing.  A standout one was on self-promotion.  Gini Koch, author of the Alien series, and Genese Davis, a video game personality, were among the panelists. 

They really deserved a picture that was more in focus 

They all gave interesting advice, but Gini Koch said something that was immediately practical: Business cards have no perceived value to prospective readers.  Bookmarks have some value.  But the postcard-sized promotions (often featuring the book’s cover) do have value for readers.  Also, postcards can be mailed, can be signed—only do promotions that can serve multiple duties.  Don’t fill up the postcard with words.  Think in terms of the simple Nike ads.  She speculated that it might be the shape of the postcard that is attractive.  I would second that, since they have golden rectangle proportions. 

I also took the time that morning to visit the San Antonio Museum of Art.  They have an impressive collection of ancient Mediterranean art, including ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pieces.  I decided to focus on the Roman sculptures of Greek and Roman figures. 

Here is an ancient portrayal of Achilles, famous for his role in the Trojan War.  As you can see, though he kept his shield, he lost his head. 

My favorite among the ancient Greek gods and goddesses is Athena.  Of all the Olympians, she is the only one who is noble, which is why I like to write about her.  Here’s a life-size statue of her in the museum. 

You have to imagine her holding a spear. 

Below is an excellent sculpture of a Roman matron.  Not sure what she was so mad about. 

This next one is rather unusual.  The Greek youth has a laurel wreath on his hair, and his arm draped on top.  The rest of the arm has broken off. 

For some less than fully-clad sculptures, read on. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Worldcon Blog Supplemental—Wednesday

On Wednesday I flew to San Antonio for Worldcon, the big science fiction convention.  I made a point of seeing The Alamo as my first tourist site. 

It contains memorabilia such as Davy Crockett’s leather wallet, and also his long gun, including two powder horns!  They do not allow photographs inside, and they ask men to remove their hats.  I approve of the formality.  The interior walls must not be touched, and they still show names and initials carved into them from that period. 

This view shows more detail of the architecture, as well as one of the grottos up front. 

This grotto has Davy Crockett’s name carved in it, but this is acknowledged to have been done by someone else. 

And what would The Alamo be without cactus?  I touched the side of one of the thorns, and I’m sure if I had touched the point, my finger would have bled. 

The Alamo is easy to find—near Crockett Street and Alamo Plaza. 

Below is a historic church, on the way to and from The Alamo, which preserves the old mission style. 

Here’s a building near the City Hall that shows the beautiful old architecture. 

This building really is as red as the picture shows—no retouching. 

More sightseeing to come, along with reports on the convention.  


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