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Aussiecon 4: Day Four (Sunday)
pseudo-me
parkerstrahn
I'm home now and have forgotten amazing amounts of what I actually did in Melbourne, so I'll be sticking to talking about the panels (which I took notes on). That's 90% of what I wanted to say, anyway.

Editing the Novel (forgot to note panelists): This panel should have been interesting, and I have a couple of initial notes, the highlights of which I'll share, but I confess I had to actively tune out the panel after a bit. One of the panelists was irritating me very much. I won't say why because it was nothing professional; it has to do with a hobby that I have a complicated relationship with and that she kept reminding me of.

Anyway, here are my highlights of the first twenty minutes or so:

* it's interesting [for an editor] to see what comes back after a suggestion

* sometimes production choices change the reading experience (i.e., a book looks long, but is actually a 60,000 word book, but people read it fast and think they've read a lot and that it must have been great because they read a 'long' book so fast)

Also, a book was mention that sounded like something I'd enjoy, but unfortunately they didn't give the title, and they mentioned the author at the beginning so by the time I knew I was interested, I'd forgotten his last name. Frustration! Can anyone out there thing of a post-apocalyptic book in which the SCA helps reestablish things, written by someone with the first name Steve?


I had a free hour, and then I was onto:


Mission to "Mars" (David Levine): This was a presentation, rather than a panel, about his experience being a member of a crew staffing the Mars simulator station in Utah. It was a really fun talk, which means that I took almost no notes! I was too engaged to have my computer out, typing away. I even got a couple of story ides during the presentation!

I did jot a couple of things down that I didn't want to forget:

* You have to improvise everything, so nothing is the way it is documented
* Handover meetings are all about explaining improvisions
* Every day is like that seen in Apollo 13 ("You have to make this fit into the hole for that using nothing but this")

(Apparently improvisation had a strong impact on my mind)

* shared adversity creates strong relationships
* isloation forces ingenuity, improvisation, self-reliance
* "Protagonistiness"

(I, um, don't remember what that last note means. *sheepish*)


From there, I went directly to:


The secret life of literary agents (John Berlyne, Ian Irvine, Joshua Bilmes, Eddie Schneider): This first lesson for me, in this panel, was a firm reminder not to judge someone by a surface characteristic. One of the panelists' voices was driving me crazy...until I realized I was enjoying his comments more than anyone else's! At which point his voice became a convenient flag to focus my attention if it drifted. :-)

Some highlights and notes to remember:

* Jabberwocky literary agency represent a LOT of authors I know and love

* queries letter should say a little bit about yourself, because agents are looking for an author they can have a relationship with

* John Berlyne: in every case, he will google you

*** John Hemry === Jack Campbell!

- a short story apprenticeship is not necessary, but it helps for networking and name level reasons (not for craft reasons)

That three star note? That's because I love John G. Hemry's novels and was frustrated that there weren't very many of them. I bounced in my seat with excitement to discover that he is still writing, just under another name. Apparently there were marketing/packaging issues that negatively impacted his sales so severely that they had to completely re-brand him.


Once again, I then went straight to:


Anatomy for writers, fighters, and tavern brawlers (Sean McMullen, Jetse de Vries, Catherine McMullen): This was a very informative panel about the mechanics of fighting and bodies in relation to fighting. It was also very visual, though, and I felt I couldn't afford to look down to type, so I don't have any notes. I doubt they could convey the information well without diagrams that are beyond my ability, anyway.

We did get to pass around a chainmail shirt, which is really, really heavy. I mean, you know that it's heavy, but it's a different thing to feel it in your hands! It required muscle just to pass it to the next person. The moderator also noted that chainmail is for extra protection from slices, and that an arrow, a stab, or a good swing will cut right through it.

Other interesting information that I remember:

* There's a benefit, in a fight, to having some fat on you. If you're all lean, then when you get hit hard, it injures the muscle. If you've got some fat on there, it protect the muscle from brusing.

* Within a certain distance (maybe a foot more than arm's length), it's all about who choose to move first. Reaction time isn't a significant enough difference to matter.

And that was my Sunday. Which does mean, I'm afraid, that I didn't go to the Hugo Ceremonies. After three straight panels, I was a bit impatient to be doing something else, and I hadn't read very many of the nominated works, and I've been to a Hugo ceremony before (in L.A.), so I decided I could stand to skip it.

But there was still one day of con to go! The finale will be along in a future post.

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Hello. :) I wandered here via Google while writing up my own AussieCon thoughts. I'm amused to discover that we went to an awful lot of the same sessions, and now I'm waiting to hear what you made of anything on the Monday...

This was a presentation, rather than a panel, about his experience being a member of a crew staffing the Mars simulator station in Utah. It was a really fun talk, which means that I took almost no notes!

One of my favourites too. You know he has an LJ of his own? davidlevine (Also discovered while browsing the interwebz for other people's Con reviews.)

We did get to pass around a chainmail shirt, which is really, really heavy. I mean, you know that it's heavy, but it's a different thing to feel it in your hands! It required muscle just to pass it to the next person. The moderator also noted that chainmail is for extra protection from slices, and that an arrow, a stab, or a good swing will cut right through it.

Well, yes. You should try wearing the bloody things, with a gambeson (padded coat) underneath and a helmet that can weigh anything up to 7 or 8 kilograms on top. After more than about ten minutes in mail, it's very easy to lose any impressively heroic pose and start slouching as all the combined weight starts to compress the spine. (Maybe that's why plate armour was invented - it hides slouching better and adds to the heroic image.)

Mail is also pretty useless when dealing with mass weapons like clubs, maces, and axes. Something that Sean definitely knew, but forgot to mention. He also failed to mention that it's ()%&@_!!$)&! cold to put on early in the morning, liable to rust unless made out of stainless steel, and when David Eddings was describing his characters as smelling like foundries he did actually get something right. ;)

Hello. :) I wandered here via Google while writing up my own AussieCon thoughts. I'm amused to discover that we went to an awful lot of the same sessions, and now I'm waiting to hear what you made of anything on the Monday...

Hi there! I wandered by your journal to see if I could solve the not-exactly-a-mystery of our similar panel choices, and am amused to realized that I think part of it is due to the fact that I also choose panels based on topic rather than on BNAs attending. Not that I don't occasionally go to a panel for a specific person, but it's not usually because I want to "meet" them, it's because I know they make for a high energy and entertaining panelist. (The only exceptions to this this year were Jay Lake and Carrie Vaughn; unfortunately, shyness seized hold of me and I couldn't bring myself to speak to either of them.)

One of my favourites too. You know he has an LJ of his own? davidlevine (Also discovered while browsing the interwebz for other people's Con reviews.)

I do! He mentioned it during the talk, and I made a note and friended it when I got home. :-) His entries tend to be much longer than I'm used to on LJ, but interesting.

Well, yes. You should try wearing the bloody things, with a gambeson (padded coat) underneath and a helmet that can weigh anything up to 7 or 8 kilograms on top.

Gah, I can only imagine. And then I try to picture what it'd be like to have to travel long distances and fight in all that weight. O.o No wonder the historical concept of a warrior is beefy rather than lean!

After more than about ten minutes in mail, it's very easy to lose any impressively heroic pose and start slouching as all the combined weight starts to compress the spine. (Maybe that's why plate armour was invented - it hides slouching better and adds to the heroic image.)

*laughs*

Although, I do also wonder if there isn't an element of presentation in the motivation. If you want to intimidate someone...

Mail is also pretty useless when dealing with mass weapons like clubs, maces, and axes. Something that Sean definitely knew, but forgot to mention.

That makes sense. Even if it doesn't break the mail, which I imagine axes and maces at least would, the mail isn't rigid, so all that force still gets transmitted straight through to your body. Yes?

He also failed to mention that it's ()%&@_!!$)&! cold to put on early in the morning, liable to rust unless made out of stainless steel, and when David Eddings was describing his characters as smelling like foundries he did actually get something right. ;)

That's a cool sensory detail! And also makes me wonder if there was anything they could do to prevent or reduce the rusting, since stainless steel is (as far as I'm aware) a comparatively modern invention.

I wandered by your journal to see if I could solve the not-exactly-a-mystery of our similar panel choices, and am amused to realized that I think part of it is due to the fact that I also choose panels based on topic rather than on BNAs attending.

Ahah! Another one. :) I do actually remember you vaguely from the Queer Representations one, because of the reccomendation of Robert Sawyer's trilogy. He's been on the 'to read' list for a while, but for another book called 'Calculating God'.

His entries tend to be much longer than I'm used to on LJ, but interesting.

Long entries are good. Much better than the two line post covering what the author had to eat for breakfast. I like LJ for the long posts, while admitting that Facebook may actually be more useful for social life in a superficial kind of way.

It's also fascinating, and sometimes hilarious, to read what other people make of Australia. I've been enjoying his tourism entries. :)

Gah, I can only imagine. And then I try to picture what it'd be like to have to travel long distances and fight in all that weight. O.o

Nobody sensible, or without an alternative, did. Armour is heavy. And hot. And cold. If people weren't feeling like they could be ambushed at any time they generally only put on armour when required (although 'professional' foot like the Romans may make a liar of me there- can't quite remember what they got up to). It's one of the sillier things in the movie version ofThe Two Towers, and armour also makes horses work harder, leaving them in no condition for charging or other rapid manouvres.

If you can wade through it, Mary Gentle's Ash is pretty good on the details of living and working with later period armour.

Even if it doesn't break the mail, which I imagine axes and maces at least would, the mail isn't rigid, so all that force still gets transmitted straight through to your body. Yes?

Yep. The gambeson helps a little with brusing, but it isn't going to prevent fractures or internal injuries to soft squishy bits. Arguably one of the advantages of more massive helms (and armour in general) is that they do soak kinetic energy and transfer less to the body, cutting down on internal injuries to the cranium, thorax, and abdomen.

And also makes me wonder if there was anything they could do to prevent or reduce the rusting, since stainless steel is (as far as I'm aware) a comparatively modern invention.

Most arms and armour were oiled or waved to prevent oxidisation (rust), although IRL, I have never seen anyone actually do so - it's much more likely to be kicked under the bed at the end of the day. ;( I've heard of armour being buffed with sand or rough clough to removed light build-ups of rust, and seen people use all sorts of things from dish-scourers to polishing wheels on angle-grinders(!) in the present day.

A quick squiz on the web revealed at least one site with maintenance instructions for their stuff. :)

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