Welcome to Worldcon!

Sign for the Klingon Language InstituteToday, we drove from the Bay Area to Reno, Nevada. Upon arrival, we immediately headed for the Reno-Sparks Convention Center to pick up our Renovation Twitter mini-button Twitter mini-button (aka Worldcon, aka the 69th World Science Fiction Convention) badges and scope out the lay of the land.

As usual, we got a bit turned around at first, but then we saw the sign to the right—our clue that we were nearing our destination. We then picked up our badges and work out the logistics of Stack Exchange’s sponsorship of the Green Room, which—while not a Renovation issue—required us to stand in line to talk to people at six different help desks, split up over three floors.

 


Tom Whitmore and Karen Anderson

After finishing that sprint and taking a breather, we ran into our friend Karen Anderson Linked In mini-button Twitter mini-button, who is working on the con’s Daily Newsletter (she’s an editor and excellent writer by trade). She introduced us to her sweetie, Tom Whitmore Linked In mini-button.

Your fannish acronym of the day is SMOF, which stands for “Secret Master of Fandom.” Tom Whitmore definitely is one—he was a co-founder of The Other Change of Hobbit bookstore, a former Worldcon chair (for ConJosé, the 2002 Worldcon), and the Fan Guest of Honor at Denvention, the 2006 Worldcon.

 


The amazing Patty Wells

Tom and Karen then introduced us to Patty Wells, Renovation’s Convention Chair. That means she’s in charge of, well, basically, everything. It was immediately clear to us that she’s a lady who gets stuff done, and we found her to be amazingly un-frazzled and calm—particularly considering that this next week is the culmination for her of years of effort. If I was in her shoes, I’d be thinking about the three million things I had to do in the next hour. Instead, she was gracious and charming to the two of us—people she’d never met before.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the first day of the convention, and if you have any questions about the program, the schedulethe speakersthe vendors, the costumes, the Hugo Awards, or the convention itself, just ask in the comments.

And now, it’s way past our bedtimes. More to come!

Stack Exchange is going to Worldcon!

Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)Hi, I’m Tom Negrino, and I’m a member of several Stack Exchange communities, including Science Fiction and Fantasy, Writers, and Apple. In real life, I’m an author of computer books, with more than 40 books published. And of course, I’m a lifelong reader of Science Fiction. My wife, Dori Smith, is a Stack Exchange Technology Evangelist and Community Manager.

Together, from August 17 through August 21, we’ll be representing Stack Exchange at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, in Reno, NV. Stack Exchange is helping to sponsor the Green Room for program participants. I’m speaking on three panels. Dori will be promoting the Science Fiction and Fantasy and Writers sites, and roaming the halls with Stack Exchange swag, including shirts, stickers, and pens.

Dori and I will be posting to this blog throughout Worldcon, so expect to see some of the flavor of the con, including pictures of hall costumes, coverage of some of the sessions, and more. If there’s anything you especially want us to write about from the con—sessions you want covered, questions you want asked, attendees you want photos of— please say so in the comments. We can’t promise to fulfill every request, but we’ll do what we can.

Featured Question: Why Do We Hear Leia’s Theme During Kenobi’s Death

[This post is based on our Question of the Week #1!  Periodically, we’ll feature questions (and their answers) that demonstrate the type of question that we’re extremely interested in having on scifi.stackexchange.com.  These questions aren’t just well asked (and answered), but are interesting and worth reading even if you’re not familiar with the work.]

 

Adrian Petrescu asked “Why do we hear Leia’s Theme during Kenobi’s death?“, referring, of course, to the death of Obi-Wan ‘Ben’ Kenobi in the classic Star Wars (or less-classic Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).  For those that haven’t seen Star Wars, my apologies for the spoiler (and go watch them all, in whatever order you prefer).

During the film, the composer, John Williams, uses several musical themes (the “Force theme”, “Luke’s theme”, an “Imperial theme”).  When Kenobi is killed, when any of those themes would seem appropriate, Williams (and/or possibly Lucas) chooses to play “Leia’s theme” instead, even though there is little connection (especially as known at this stage) between the two characters.

Adrian posits a theory from his music professor:

Kenobi has taken on a paternal role for Luke and so Williams is co-opting Leia’s “feminine” familial theme for the entire Skywalker family, thereby foreshadowing that entire connection.

However, Adrian is doubtful that Williams knew about the familial connection at this time, and so whether he could have been foreshadowing it.

DVK‘s excellent answer references Michael Matessino‘s liner notes on RCA release of “Star Wars: A New Hope: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack“:

Interestingly, Williams uses Princess Leia’s theme at the moment Ben vanishes, deferring to the purely musical effectiveness of the sweeping melody over any apparent thematic relevance, although the theme does reinforce the connection between the Princess and the old Jedi suggested by her holographic message.

In other words, Kenobi’s connection to Leia in Episode IV, as far as Williams knew, was not via Luke, but via her father, Senator Bail Organa (“… years ago, you served my father in the clone wars”).  DVK also clarifies that Williams could not have known about the Luke & Leia family connection at this time.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old boy: but he is no ordinary 12 year old; he is quite possibly the smartest 12 year old that has ever lived. He is born into the Fowl family, known to be criminal masterminds, and he is no exception. He is on a mission, to discover a secret that no one, adult or kid, has ever discovered, namely the existence of fairies. Assisted by his bodyguard, who is known only as Butler, he sets out to find the fairies, and sets a plan in place to kidnap one of them in exchange for a ransom of 1 ton of gold.

This series is aimed at a younger audience, but as with many books, it holds equally well with adults as kids. The books contain enough suspense in trying to figure out what Artemis’s next move should be that it quickly builds suspense. It is an easy read, the current edition contains only 304 pages, yet it really draws you into this fascinating universe. It contains high technology, magic, thrills, and a tale of redemption, as Artemis ages. Currently, there are 7 books in the series, which all of them have the same level of quality.

Bottom line: I highly recommend this series to any children interested in fantasy or technology, or who are just looking for something new to read. I will equally recommend this to adults who are looking for an easy read.

For more information, see the Wikipedia page.