I just got home from Apollocon 2013, which I consider my “local” science fiction convention. I’ve been going for a number of years, and I always enjoy it. As usual, I wished I could borrow Hermione’s time turner so I could attend multiple panels at the same time.
I enjoyed all the typical con things: meeting other authors, expanding my thinking on various issues at the panels, and coming home with new books and a list of more books and blogs that I want to read.
One of the neat things about this particular con is that because it is in Houston, home of NASA/Johnson Space Center, it has some great space science presentations and panels. This year, the highlights for me were:
– Dr. Paul Abell‘s presentation on the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia in February (the audio recordings of this thing are just amazing)
– Astronaut Stanley Love‘s presentation on searching for meteorites in Antarctica (with lots of observations about the physical space spent on logistics and time spent on non-science work which are as invaluable to science fiction authors trying to get it right as it is to NASA mission planners)
– Dr. Paul Abell, Dr. Al Jackson, and Dr. Stanley Love’s panel on Planetary Defense and the work being done to find and categorize near earth objects with the potential to impact our planet and cause local to knock-us-back-to-the-stone-age destruction as well as the work being done to find ways to prevent such an event from occurring should a NEO be found that is predicted to impact the Earth
Of course, I am fascinated by meteorites, so I enjoyed all these talks immensely.
But even if one is not fascinated by meteorites, these guys make their subjects compelling. I highly recommend going to one of their talks if you ever get the opportunity.