This year’s local Spring (W)rites literary festival snuck up on me this year. Like last year, I made it to a single event. Yesterday, I attended a panel on “Sci-Fi vs. Sci-Fact” with local authors Nick Sagan (yes, Carl’s boy) and Paul McEuen. I almost didn’t come, because I’ve been to this panel at sci-fi cons before. But the names drew me.
I don’t recall the jet pack being mentioned, oddly enough. The cell phone via Star Trek communicator was, as was Arthur C. Clarke’s geostationary communications satellite, how close science-fiction does/doesn’t/should/shouldn’t stick to science-fact, and the difficulty of science fiction to predict what’s coming down the pike.
My only gripe is the one I have every time an authors talk or present on topics that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the writing process–i.e. the townies who are determined to make it about the writing process. I still wince, remembering when Joyce Carol Oates came to town a couple of years ago to talk about a nonfiction work on the social and psychological factors that shaped the writing of Hemingway and Fitzgerald among others. Sure, I’d’ve loved to have asked Oates about her own writing process, but I thought that talk was neither the time nor the place. Not to worry though, because a fellow audience member had no trouble chiming in with, “Where do you get your ideas?” I wanted to smack that person on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, scolding “No!”
Still, I’m glad I stuck it out to the end. Chatting with Nick made it all worthwhile, as it always does. We talked about our projects, the publishing game, and the other writers who’ve walked this town, like that Lolita dude and the Twilight Zone guy.
That said, yeah… I think I’m done with “science fiction vs. science fact” panels for the time being.