Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Science of Science Fiction

San Francisco's Mission District, it seems, has become addicted to "crawls."  Just a few weeks ago they hosted the huge Lit Crawl that ends the LitQuake Festival, and this past Friday night they hosted a Science Crawl.  What are they going to think of next?

My final stop on the Science Crawl was essentially the same as my final stop of the Lit Crawl, except this time I stopped a the bookstore side of Borderlands Books and Cafe.  Regular readers of this blog have heard me sing the praises of this independent specialty bookstore many times, but I won't let that stop me from doing it again.  Let me just say, if you have any interest in fantasy, science fiction, or horror, this store or their website should be destination shopping for you.  I'm not even especially fond of any of those genres, and I still consider it one of my very favorite spots in all of San Francisco.

In addition to the friendly setting and the interesting subject matter, there was another compelling draw to this particular event.  The three panelists were awesome!  I'd actually heard Scott Sigler speak very entertainingly at another Science Fest event earlier in the week.  The popular Porchlight Storytelling Series had half-a-dozen story-tellers (including a physicist, a neurologist, and a mathematician) speak on the subject of "epic fail."  Scott had told a story that wasn't science- or science fiction-related, but it was an epic fail.  (And if you're really curious about those stories, you may view them on my You Tube channel here.)

Now, I had the pleasure of hearing Mira Grant read at the Lit Crawl, where she definitely piqued my interest in her work.  So much so that I've already read and very much enjoyed Countdown, the novella that's the prequel to the series she's speaking about in the videos to follow.  It's only a matter of time before I break down and read Feed.  (And, yes, for a woman who claims not to be interested in zombies, I do read an awful lot of zombie books.)

Finally, there's Jeff Carlson, the author of one of the best opening lines of all time: "They ate Jorgensen first."  I ask you, how do you read that opening sentence and not want to read on?  Oh, you may not want to admit you want to read on, but you do.  Incidentally, that is the opening line to Plague Year, the first novel of a kinda fabulous nanotech trilogy.  As it happens, nanotech thrillers are one of my favorite things, and I went to a signing--at Borderlands Books, in fact--of Plague Year several years ago.  At that first signing, Jeff and I hit it off famously.  We discovered that we had several friends in common, and we have stayed chummy (mostly over email) ever since.  I have always been shocked that a guy who writes such sick, sick stuff is such a very, very nice guy.  Jeff and I hadn't had a chance to catch up face-to-face in literally years, so it was especially nice to see him.  (Sorry we went on and on, Mira!)

BTW, you'll be seeing more about Jeff on the blog in the near future.  I've got some books I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing shortly, and I also have an excellent story to share in a separate blog post.  It will be entitled:  How I tricked Jeff Carlson into killing me.  Look for it soon.

But enough about me and my murderous friends.  Let's get to the good stuff!  This was an awesome panel discussion!  Truly, it was the perfect way to end my Science Fest week.  I was so very happy to have a front row seat for this fascinating discussion among peers, and I'm so happy to be able to share the event with you.  These three writers are being billed as science fiction authors, but I think you could make a case that they're thriller authors and horror authors and probably many more classifications.  And if you're not interested in science fiction, thrillers, or horror, I'd recommend watching the first couple of minutes of this video just to see Frost, the coolest bookstore cat ever.  (When the video wobbles a little in the first section, it's because Frost is climbing up my shawl.)  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Susan, I just had to laugh at your "What Should I Read Next?" vote. Gee...let me guess what you want to read! You might want to check out my review of Prague Cemetery. I thought of you while I was reading, as there is a strong anti-semetic theme underlying the conspiracy theories in the plot. Unsure what you will think, if you will see it as a device or feel hurt by it, so I wanted to warn you. It definitely made me uncomfortable. The first section is very strong; it does mellow some after that, but is still there. There are many other prejudices and clearly unbalanced thought processes as well, so the Jews are not the only target. I know you are a tough girl, but I don't want you to feel blind-sided.