On Sunday I ferried Agent X down to the extremely well-run ChiKids program area for Doctor Who Lego building, Jedi costumes, and steampunk Nerf guns. Agent X had a great time at Chicon. I spent the same period watching a panel on screenwriting by Michael Cassutt, Melinda Snodgrass, and the alarmingly overqualified Dr. Harry Kloor.
The Crack Team then joined noted Chicago game designer Kenneth Hite for lunch, at which we discussed the secret history of Oz and other recondite topics.
My first panel as a participant on Sunday was "The Resurgence of Pseudoscience in 21st Century America." It came out very different from what I (and, I'm guessing, the audience) expected. What I think everyone came into the room for was a nice comforting hour of panelists verbally pissing on Creationists and maybe Anti-Vaccinators, while the audience gets to affirm how smart they are for not believing in that stuff.
They reckoned without Mary Turzillo. She decided to shake things up and challenge people's preconceptions, so she asked, quite reasonably, if there's any difference between believing in the God of Genesis and "believing in" Darwin? After all, except for the small minority of actual evolutionary biologists in the room, most people's knowledge of the subject is based on faith -- faith in the honesty and accuracy of science popularizers and textbook authors.
Mary also challenged the antagonism on display. If the goal is to change people's minds, how is that served by insulting and belittling people who disagree with you? She never raised her voice or lost her composure, but after an hour Mary had an entire huge meeting room full of people sputtering and shouting. BEST PANEL EVER.
After that I went upstairs to a much smaller room to read from Chapter 2 of my forthcoming novel A Darkling Sea. It was very gratifying to see about a dozen people -- none of whom were friends sitting in to show their support -- listen with evident interest to my reading. I think this was my most successful reading to date.
The Dalekette and I rounded out the day at a panel on creating realistic spaceships, but unfortunately my own fatigue has left me with little memory of it. We returned to the hotel room for a light supper of pizza. Then the female half of the Crack Team headed off to the Hugo Awards while I got Agent X to bed and rested up for the night's parties.
The Hugo winners, in case you haven't already heard:
BEST NOVEL: Among Others, by Jo Walton
BEST NOVELLA: "The Man Who Bridged The Mist" by Kij Johnson
BEST NOVELETTE: "Six Months, Three Days" by Charlie Jane Anders
BEST SHORT STORY: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu
BEST RELATED WORK: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Third Edition)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Digger, by Ursula Vernon
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG): A Game of Thrones
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT): "The Doctor's Wife"
BEST EDITOR (SHORT FICTION): Sheila Williams
BEST EDITOR (LONG FICTION): Betsy Wollheim
BEST ARTIST: John Picacio
BEST SEMIPROZINE: Locus (of course)BEST FANZINE: SF Signal
BEST FAN WRITER: Jim C. Hines
BEST FAN ARTIST: Maurine Starkey
BEST FANCAST: SF Squeecast
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD: E. Lily Yu
When the awards were done (in a record-breaking two hours flat, thanks to the ruthless professionalism of toastmaster John Scalzi), we filtered upstairs for parties. Four hours later, we filtered back downstairs to bed for a little sleep before flying out on the last day of the convention.