OK, I’m terrible at taking pictures. I don’t mean I’m a terrible photographer, just not so good at actually taking my camera out of my purse. I promise to be better over the next couple days.
Took the MegaBus from Austin to San Antonio and chatted with Patrice Sarath while NOT dealing with traffic, which I have to say was awesome! We hiked from the bus stop to the hotel, checked in, freshened up, and got registered. Then we checked out the vast dealers room filled with books, T-shirts, art, displays of astronaut suits, a TARDIS, and one lonely electric bull in an inflatable ring. He was decommissioned after a few hours. It seems the SFF crowd and bull riding aren’t a thing. The thought just makes me want to write a short SF story featuring a bull – Oh wait, I’ve done that with Cattle Futures, which Stupefying Stories will be publishing soon. I guess it will have to be a story featuring an animatronic bull… I know I’m talking nonsense but the poor guy just looked so lonely rolled in the corner of the dealer’s room like that.
I signed up for a “Beerklatch” with Gary K. Wolfe, which is a kind of informal roundtable with writers and editors. The ones held in the afternoon actually called “Literary Beers,” but I think Beerklatch has a much better ring. I was jazzed to let Mr. Wolfe know that I’m a fan of The CoodeStreet Podcast, which he hosts with Jonathan Strahan. Everyone at the table had something interesting to say, we talked about his American Library project, Neil Gaiman’s celebrity, and the state of the novella today.
I sat in on a talk by Sam Scheiner of the National Science Foundation titled All of Biology in One Hour or Less. He went over a kind of Grand Unified Theory of Biology, along with the major principles with the added ingredient of “SFF Implications.” It was a fun talk and he nimbly handled all the questions the audience could throw at him.
“Why does life manage to persist?”
-- biology’s core question.
One of his principles is that life requires a system to store, use and transmit info (for us it’s DNA). He noted that, yes, computers can be alive by this definition – although right now systems don’t self-replicate on their own, which is another way we define life.
He wound up with the deliciously contradictory set:
All living systems come from other living systems (SFF implication: make sure all life on a planet is related to each other in some way). And conversely, life originated from non-life. And from that a million stories were launched.