(You knew that would be the second title, didn't you?)
Chapter 2, where I am empaneled and have lunch.
After I wrote part I of this saga, I waited around outside the room for my panel talk, waiting to see if anyone would show up early. No one did, so I did a quick tour of the lobby, and was greeted with the sight of several hundred people in costume eating breakfast, talking, and generally enjoying themselves. Auspicious!
My panel started right on time. We were ostensibly to discuss how things get named incorrectly in science fiction (Centaurus is a constellation, a large area of the sky, so being called a Centauran makes no sense). We skipped over lots of topics, like what's a planet, what's a brown dwarf, what do you call an alien-- do you use their language, or yours? What about their planet? What if we someday colonize a planet orbiting HD209458... what then?
It was fun, though a bit of a free-for-all. Afterwards, I went to a panel about what happens if we really do find aliens, which was pretty good. My old friend Seth Shostak was there (astronomer, skeptic, alien-hunter, and host of "Are We Alone", a radio show I have a monthly segment on). I have never heard him in this kind of situation, and he is well-spoken and thoughtful, as well as funny (though his puns are awful, which I already knew). Seth and I had lunch together, and we talked about writing, conventions, and we might have mentioned all the low-cut and high-rise costumes we saw wandering about. That too was fun!
I have a little while here before the panel about podcasting (Seth is on that too) so I'm going to wander the dealer room and see if I want to buy a BatLeth or a book or something. I wish I had my camera!