Friday, May 23, 2014

Balticon 2014 Rundown: Day 1 : Frikkin' Lasers!

Space Weapons and Future Warfare in the Real World

You'll be happy to know that Charles E. Gannon arrived safely. He was joined on this panel by James Daniel Ross (who was wearing a Serenity shirt... Sweet!), Jack (John) Campbell (Hemry) (no one could figure out what to call him), Myke Cole, and Walt Boyes.

I have to be honest with you, my dears. At this point I began to be a little dismayed. You see, last year at Balticon, one of the things that I found to be utterly fantastic and totally exciting was the number of women on the panels. I think there were women at nearly every session I went to last year, including some of the hard-science ones. And I was now two-for-two of panels peopled entirely by white males. Taken individually these guys are all interesting. I enjoyed both panels immensely. I just hope this is not a trend that holds out for the whole con.

This panel was everything I expect from hard science at Balticon. Some of the things they argued about went ... well maybe not COMPLETELY over my head, but certainly above the ear region. Chuck and Jack had a fascinating conversation about insulating spaceships with water, and how hard it would be to get that much water off the ground. There was discussion of how everything in space is a weapon (see: Gravity).

I learned that a M-16 puts gritty gas into the chamber, and therefore requires cleaning more often than an AK-47. (I hope I got those model numbers right... because Myke Cole is honestly a little scary in real life, and is approximately the last person on the planet I'd want to misquote.)

Random Quotables

I see your biosphere and raise you a holocaust. -- Gannon
Marines with rocks are dangerous. There are lots of rocks in space.
Space warfare is a matter of seeing things coming from days away. -- Jack Campbell

Suggested Reading

I can pretty comfortably state that I will be needing to read all the books by all of these guys. They're all fascinating to listen to, and I can only imagine how interesting their fiction must be. Also, one of them recommended the book Kings Who Die, but a quick Google search is not coming up with it, and I didn't write down the author. So I'll have to do some digging later and see if I can figure it out.

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