The sex panel was good and i would have enjoyed it a lot if not for the absolute exhaustion. Two of the panelists were married to each other and the wife seemed to deliberately say things to embarass her husband. At the beginning when everyone introduces themselves and states their credentials the first woman introduced said something like "Hi, I'm a fantasy writer who has written books with sex in them AND I've had sex". There was a general snicker. When it got to the other woman she tagged her writing creds with "And I have sex" *pointed* "with HIM".
Serious topics covered were tailoring the sex scenes to both the story and your expected market, whose writing had influenced them in how to handle sex scenes, how to deal with writing things that squick you (rape, same sex, tenticles) that you still think needs to be in the story, and "Oh, my God, now that I'm published my MOM could read THIS".
Bill Hatfield, a local to me writer who works at a bookstore I used to frequent when I lived right up the street, said he sent his mom a copy of his first book expecting her to just stick it on a mantel or something and was horrified when she actually read it and called him up to give him what for over the dirty bits. Heh!
One guy in the audience tried to ask about why there was so much fanfic written by women about male/male sexual relationships and so little professionally published stuff but I shut him down by pointing to examples, especially the manga coming out of Japan that is being translated and marketed here at an increasing rate. Has he NOT read Ann Rice? Mercedes Lackey? Anything by CLAMP? And that's right off the top of my head. There's much more out there.
Sunday after we'd gotten everything packed and checked out of the hotel I made it to the first panel only 15 minutes late. It was a demonstration of the steam punk gadgets that the guys had made for their costumes as well as practical advice on how to make your own props on the cheap, and not just for steam punk. The one guy would start the First Church of JB Weld if he could. He could not sing it's praises enough.
Here are a couple of pics:
Then it was the Brain Computer Interface panel with 3 Ph.D.s and two people with advanced experience. I taped it for my boss and it was very informative. In addition to the stuff I expected on cybernetics there was a bunch of info on the state of the art in nerve regrowth, mapping brain function, and other stuff directly applicable to what we do at work some day in the near future.
One interesting thing is that there is no ONE neural pathway for any given task. Wire up two people and have them do the same task and the areas of the brain that fire are the same but the specific pattern will be different. This has a lot of implications on retraining people after stroke or brain injury but it's driving the guys who want to be able to build devices that can translate firing patterns into meaningful data bonkers. You can't implant an electrode into a rat and have it run a random maze and interpret the readout to figure out which maze it ran if you don't know ahead of time.
The last event for me was the showing of the Buffy musical episode "Once More With Feeling" on the big screen with full permission and encouragement for the audience to sing along. It was awesome! And it had me awake enough to not want to crawl off and die at the thought of the long drive home.
I know there's stuff I missed so there will probably be one more post on the con some time soon. I haven't forgotten that it's Monday either so look for the beefcake to go up shortly.