While there, we met up with Dominick Daunno, space doctor! I really think he has to get that on a business card. I know Dominick as a writer, but in his day job, he treats astronauts for NASA. Yes, it's cool. As is he. :-) We talked for quite a while, along with Meghan McCarron (who is apparently not my Facebook friend, oddly enough, but here's her website http://www.meghanmccarron.com) and E.J. Fischer (one of my Clarion students) At one point, Meghan asked Dominick about the effects of space on gut flora, which he says hasn't been studied yet, but could be, given that they freeze the astronauts' excrement. At which point E.J. said something about anal-retentive data retention, which I thought was funny enough that I wrote it down so I'd remember to share it with you all. See how much I love you?
On from there to a long, slow dinner with Dominck + Michael Damian Thomas, Lynne Marie Thomas, their daughter Caitlin, Jed, John Klima, and various interesting others (who were all seated at the far end of the table, so admittedly, I'm taking their interestingness as assumed, rather than proven, but it seems a reasonable assumption, given the company they were keeping.) I was shocked to learn that Dominick had never heard of James White, who wrote the Sector General novels, about a hospital in space. I LOVE those books. He will have to read them.
Huh -- I just realized that my forthcoming novella (The Stars Change) about a university in space might be somewhat influenced by those. I mean, I put my university on a planet, not just hanging in space (which is sort of a missed opportunity, now that I think of it), but it has much of the same sense of the White novels, of a small, close-knit community, all working together frantically to solve a critical problem. Hm.
After dinner, on to my last panel of the night, Writing Erotica. Now, this is a panel I've been doing for twenty years, but this time was different. It used to be that all the panelists were mostly doing the same thing, writing erotic short stories for anthologies, maybe with some magazine work and/or porn thrown in. Here, I was the lone wolf. The other panelists were writing book-length work, and I think were mostly (maybe not entirely, not sure) in the paranormal romance category. Interestingly, the field has changed enough that they clearly write a lot of sex, possibly more than I ever have. But the writer sitting next to me started off by saying things about how you need a long, slow build-up, and how you never use harsh language, like "cock" and I just about fell out of my chair. Different worlds. :-)
We had a good discussion, though, and I think the (large) audience enjoyed it and maybe even learned some things. It was a fun time, and then I came back to the room and promptly fell asleep. I appear to have picked up the inevitable con cold (DAMMIT) and am coughing this morning, but hopefully will soon have tea and that will carry me through the day.
Off to shower, and then to finish trimming down my academic presentation (on Guinevere and Sita retellings). I am determined not to run out of time the way I did when I presented this at ICFA, even if it means I have to throw the Tennyson segment entirely off the bus.
(You know I won't really throw Tennyson off. He is a misogynistic beast, but I still love him.)