I'll certainly have more to say later, but I want to tell this story right now, mostly in an attempt to strike while the iron is hot.
I was hanging out with John Scalzi ( scalzifeed
), Jeff Beeler ( jeffreyab
) and Tobias Buckell ( tobiasbuckell
) outside of a conversation pit where Jeff and John were going to be on a panel concerning Warfare in Science Fiction. At that moment, a few minutes before the panel was set to start, the head of programming approached and informed John and Jeff that the panel would have to be moved into a cafe enclosure across the hall, in which three other events were taking place simultaneously, because the hotel did not want War discussed in an open area like the conversation pit.
So I merrily suggested they discuss Tea Parties in Science Fiction instead (since a tea party was one of the events that was occurring in the cafe space I mentioned), as in John's Hugo-nominated science fiction novel, Old Man's Tea Party
And they took it, and ran with it. They included the other two panelists on the... analogy, then clued in the rest of the audience. And away they went. Toby did an audio recording of the whole thing on his Palm, and hopefully it'll be up at his website
What was most amazing was that after about five or ten minutes of sniggering and sly looks, the whole thing settled down into a really awesome dsicussion of warfare in science fiction--with tea-relaed words and concepts slotted in. Panel and audience together only slipped up a handful of times, maybe less.
This certainly approaches the level of the Authors Who Did Not Attend Clarion panel at Chicon in 2000.