I’ve learned that the subject of panels is generally less important than who is on them. Note good panelists and go to thier panels. Myke Cole (far left below) from the Disaster Response in SF panel was great, that was the most fun panel of the past two days, and almost no one got to experience it. Although the intimacy probably helped. The chemistry among the panellists, and between the panel and the audience, was awesome.
Note poor ones and avoid those panels. Lynda Williams will not stop talking about her books, regardless of what the panel topic is about. STOP PEDDLING YOUR CRAP! We’ll take a look if it sounds interesting, but hearing you go on and on about it like a Firefly fan on a bender makes it unappealing.
I got to see David Brin!!! Pimpin’ as always.
And Charlie Stross!
One of the most memorable moments was the Patrick Rothfuss reading. (Yeah – he’s just as awesome as you’ve heard.) He is apparently not a big name in SF if you’re old and out-of-touch*. So he was assigned one of the small rooms for unknown authors. It overflowed so badly that they had to move him two floors down to a larger room on the fly. It was still too small. I managed to catch some of the crowding below, but I don’t have a wide-angle lens so it doesn’t really capture the packedness. I may have lost a bit of measure in that room today, a fire or similar panic would have killed us all, and left the world without an end to the Kingkiller Chronicles. He was great, his banter was witty, he read The Gerbil Story and two poems.
* – I realize that’s very easy to say in retrospect. He’s been a bit of a break-out phenomenon, I dunno if I coulda done any better. Still, it’s freaking Patrick Rothfuss!!