ICON 26 Summary 3/31/2007
Many people have asked me how ICON went. I think it went well. I made new fans, made some contacts, and I had fun. ICON's eclectic nature makes for a wild (and weird) ride. I felt right at home. I could even say it went well enough that I heard a conspiracy theory about me. That's always a good sign.
I had my first reading of TTB. I was fortunate enough to have my reading after my first panel, the panel on nanotech. I had one of the biggest readings there! I don't count this to heavily because Long Island is my home turf, but it can't hurt.
The space opera panel was kind of awkward. Mainly because I didn't write a space opera. There was one revelation for me in that it seems that terrestrial nanotech scifi (nano-terra?) and space opera seem to have in common is they both provide opportunities for isolation. The vastness of space isolating travelers, or the more local pleasure of manufacturing necessities, and collecting energy, off the grid. Of course there would still be communication in both cases, but they do have similarities.
The patent panel was disturbing. Aside from the usual horrors of the slow death of financed collaboration and the vastly skewed monetary model of unchecked government granted monopolies, I found out that my MIR/Datahold patent restriction conspiracy model is roughly in use today. According to a IP lawyer and several second hand accounts, the NSA is already actively scanning patents and classifying them if they decide they are unfit for public use. The inventor(s) are then 'expected' to sign NDAs about their newly discovered tech and then sometimes are offered a job. I had come to the same conclusion about the effectiveness of this technique for the book, not as as expose or such but as a literary tool. I was just trying to give the characters some innocence to nanotech and it's potential horrors as to relate to the reader better. Now it seems as if this entire story can actually happen.
The irony here is I think the NSA will not be heavily involved in nanotech research since their mantra seems to be more 'superior intelligence technology' as opposed to battlefield tech. Nanites will obviously have enormous clandestine use, but intelligence has less use if your military and police are inferior to your enemies. Perhaps the NSA and MIR will have a showdown in future books, as the NSA is unseated as the most important spooky agency.
Future weapons wasn't as cool as I hoped. I seemed to take that panel over, and I feel bad for subjecting everyone to the hall of mirrors which I use to gaze at myself. :( One important conclusion seemed to be that nanites (or just about any other weapon) will have little effect on US air superiority, and that stealth, social influence, and urban cover will be the most effective weapons.
The Gutenberg panel was small but fun. I found out that some people are participating in closed community collaborative editing much like this book but without the traditionalist stigma of being 'freely available.' I expect that will be a big influence on online collaboration in the future. Personally I am glad I took the creative commons route, because of the monthly horror stories of books and movies literally rotting away because the copyright holders won't publish them but won't give up the rights either. Being part of a owned pop culture sucks. The panel seemed pleasantly surprised when I told them that writing, publishing, and receiving piles of edits online has made me a better writer. I expect the next book to require much less work after it is written.
Unfortunately I did not accomplish one of the things I set out to do. I had too few conversations with people who are in the business. I am looking for an agent or a publisher. If you are one of those and interested in publishing an inexpensive paperback book in conjunction online distribution please contact me. Lets talk.