Everybody else seems to have got their Worldcon schedule through (and subsequently stuck it up on the web), so I guess it's time I got the finger out and put up my finalised list of 'stuff I'll be doing when I'm not falling over from lack of sleep'.
Thursday 12:00 noon: Reading (0.5 hrs)
Now here's my first lesson in abject terror at Worldcons: a reading. Kind of makes me think of the look Martin Sheen has on his face for much of Apocalypse Now: if I can just get myself through this alive, everything will be fine.
Oh, I don't mind doing readings at all. In fact, I wondered out loud a couple of times about the idea of getting some (inexpensive) voice coaching, something along the lines of those music teachers who claim to be able to teach you to sing in a day. In my experience, most authors - usually because of the understandable degree of stress and nervousness involved - tend to read their stuff too quickly, primarily because they're afraid of having any brief moments of silence in there. Which is, in fact, precisely what's necessary for people to be able to absorb what's being read to them. Listen to an actor doing a reading on the radio, then compare it to your experience (unless it's Garrison Keillor) of hearing an author read his own stuff. Not that you can really blame the author: their job is to write the stuff, after all, much more than it is to create a performance piece.
Saturday 2:00pm:Building a Future World and Blowing it Up: The Pleasures of Destruction (1.5 hrs)
Keith Brooke, Jay Caselberg, Gary Gibson(M), Larry Niven, Martin Sketchley
Is there anything better than watching a world you've constructed word by word, blow up in super nova or a nuclear war?
Two days after I got my provisional Worldcon schedule through, I woke in a sweat of Lovecraftian horror and realised what that bracketed 'm' meant: I'm the moderator. Makes me feel like Bogart in the African queen, eyeing the hungry crocodiles while piloting a boat stuffed with gelignite towards the rapids. You mean I'm in charge? You mad, mad fools. I have not got a fucking clue what I'm going to do with this one, except twitch a lot.
I do, however, have an inner sense of preservation which at the most unexpected moments bootstraps me into 'excessive chattiness' mode, usually while drowning in the inchoate horror of being at a party with only three other people there, none of whom you know, and none of whom appear to be willing to speak. I haven't, in other words, come up with anything to say, nor any even vague concept of how I might frame this panel, but I continue onwards in sanity safe in the knowledge that sometime between now and the time of the panel, righteous panic will set in and hopefully inspire some, I don't know, creative inspiration. Or something.
Sunday 3:30pm: Improving Your Writing (1.5 hrs)
Gary Gibson, Simon R Green, Jay Lake, Rowena Lindquist, Steve Nagy(M)
Authors discuss ways to improve plot, character, description, and other matters of technique
Okay, this one I think I can handle, maybe just because I'm not the moderator. I can blabber on eternally about the act (or art? 'act' seems more honest somehow) of writing.
Gary Gibson, Ellen Kushner, Jo Walton
I was at the launch of Michael Cobley's new fantasy novel, Shadowmasque, at Glasgow Ottakar's a week or so ago, and Ian McDonald - an old friend of Mike's - came along. I mentioned to him I'd spoken to him briefly at the Eastercon, while he'd been on his way to a 'kaffeeklatsch'. I took this opportunity to ask him to tell me precisely what these entail.
Except I can't remember what he said now. I do, however, hope there's lots of coffee involved, as I think I'm going to need it by the time Monday afternoon rolls around.
Apart from all that, there's also going to be a party for Tor UK writers or summat held at the big Borders bookshop in Glasgow city centre on the Friday evening. It's also going to double as the launch party for Hal Duncan's first novel, Vellum, which is released on the same day (and which I need to get round to trying to blag a copy of from Pan while I'm at it). Naturally, I'll be there.
Other stuff: a script editor who works for a local tv company has been coming along to our writing workshop over the past couple of months: after a brief chat which included my jaw dropping when she told me how much money you can make writing a one or two hour script for someone like the BBC (assuming they go for it, of course) I agreed to drop by a scriptwriter's workshop which operates out of a West End bar sometime next week. I've actually got a couple of books on scriptwriting by people like Syd Field, but never really did anything about it. However, maybe I see things differently now, and it's an area of creative (and financial, natch) pursuit that's at least worth checking out. We'll see.