It is indeed possible to run a SFWA business meeting within one hour. President John Scalzi kept things moving, and civil. To one who remembers 3 1/2 hour meetings marked by fierce contention, personal recriminations, and on at least one occasion, a threatened fist fight, this meeting was a revelation. It also included a haiku by Ellen Klages, as SFWA's new, unofficial motto:
We write spec fiction.
Some make a lot of money.
Others get nothing.
The hotel is being shared by WFC, a teenage-and-younger cheerleading competition, and a bridal party. This makes for some interesting elevator rides. I can report that the bride's dress is lovely and that the fashion in cheerleaders is for large bows directly on the tops of heads.
I ended up being on the panel on "The Moral Distance Between Author and Work," after all, mostly because I whined so much about not being on it. We discussed if, and how, knowledge of an author's life and political beliefs affected how one reads his fiction, particularly if one finds the life or beliefs objectionable. Opinions ranged from "It makes no difference -- life and works are separate," through "It changes how one sees the work," to "I won't read authors who are (pick one) pedophiles, liberals, Republicans, murderers, Nazis, sexists, into torturing small animals." The entire panel was videotaped and is now (somewhere) on the Internet. Here are (left to right) Scott Edelman, Eric Flint, Nancy Kress,Paul Whitcover, Kathryn Cramer, and Jack Skillingstead dissecting morality:
The bar was, as usual, the general gathering place for the con (I never even found the green room), and a good place to hold business meetings before dinner. I had dinner at the not-so-good-but-very-convenient hotel restaurant with a group that included Kij Johnson, who reported that she loves both grad school and North Carolina. She has recently composed a 317-line poem based on Chaucer's chicken. Ah, academe. Here are Seth and Barbara Webb, Paul and Deb Park, Leslie Howle, Ted Chiang, John Kessel, Jack Skillingstead, and Kij:Paul Park suits up for a Halloween party:I had a final panel on T.H. White's THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING. The Tor party, as always, had a surfeit of people and a shortage of oxygen, so most of it eventually ended up in the bar.