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.
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.
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.
different way of looking at the antagonist is helpful, especially when the
villain is not interacting with the protagonist for much of the story.
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.
to continue with what happened Thursday night at the convention, I attended a Literary
Beer with Lou Anders.
photo by Catriona Sparks
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.
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
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.
features characters from Greek mythology such as Athena and Hermes. My Athena stories feature these characters,
so this was of particular interest to me.
Books had their usual dynamic presentation, hosted by the publisher, Toni
photo by Dravecky
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!
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
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.
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.
really deserved a picture that was more in focus
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
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.
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.
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
have to imagine her holding a spear.
is an excellent sculpture of a Roman matron.
Not sure what she was so mad about.
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.
some less than fully-clad sculptures, read 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.
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.
view shows more detail of the architecture, as well as one of the grottos up
grotto has Davy Crockett’s name carved in it, but this is acknowledged to have
been done by someone else.
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.
Alamo is easy to find—near Crockett Street and Alamo Plaza.
is a historic church, on the way to and from The Alamo, which preserves the old
a building near the City Hall that shows the beautiful old architecture.
building really is as red as the picture shows—no retouching.
sightseeing to come, along with reports on the convention.