Six impossible things

Out of Context (Overheard at 4th Street 2011)

Rather than do a normal sort of round-up of how wonderful last weekend’s Fourth Street Fantasy con was, I opted to collect an assortment of interesting comments heard and overheard during the course of the weekend. A few were made by panelists on actual panels; some were made at panels by members of the audience; quite a few were simply overheard in the con suite or in the halls. Unlike the semi-official con recorder, I didn’t get attributions for many of them. I have mixed feelings about this: on the one hand, it would have been nice to be able to acknowledge particular people for their wit or the depth of their insights; on the other, pretty much everyone at Fourth Street was being witty, intelligent, and insightful, on and off panels, and I think perhaps the unattributed quotes give more of the flavor of the con.

So here, unattributed and in no particular order, are a few things that caught my attention during the course of the weekend. Should this inspire anyone with interest in next year’s convention, the link is here.

On to the quotations:

I’ve been artificial for over a year now.

So if the monsters are human, and the humans are monsters, it’s really a definition problem?

In case you haven’t had breakfast yet, there are cheese blintzes in the consuite.

Some of us write by the seat of our pants.

Point of view solves all your problems.

If the author is being obviously sneaky, this is not a plus.

Genre books are built around secrets.

The author borrows the reader’s brain; if he leaves potato chips ground into the carpet, we have a right to be upset.

History will do what it wants, and so will I.

Cows on spaceships? OMG, the methane!

Yeast-risen bread is hard to make when you’re migrating.

Nobody is going to domesticate a wolverine.

Writers like audiences. They pay the bills.

I’m a writer; I don’t know how to retire.

Is this row knitting friendly?

I am not in this position, but I’d sure like to be.

I was trying to see how many genres I could fit into one series.

Writing about one main character is not limiting if that character provides what the author needs artistically.

Readers come at you from such different directions that it is catastrophic to pay attention to them.

If you worry about making your audience angry, you will bore them, and then it’s time to get a job at Walmart.

You can either leave readers wanting more, or leave them wanting less…and if you leave them wanting less, there is retroactive damage to the series.

People in most fantasy novels are strangely healthy with very good teeth.

I am impervious to your eyeballs.

The world is weirder than we thought.

Oh, are those fingers tasty?

A well executed death makes the world seem less messy.

I don’t write fiction. I’m not that brave.

Sometimes you just have to line your characters up against a wall and ask, OK, which one of you guys is screwing things up?

Not all experiments get you a parade in the streets.

Being miserable in a tent is intrinsic to the teen experience.

If you’re not a control freak, you’re not really a writer.

When society is monstrous, monsters become human.

If you want money, become a banker.

You’re not going to run a whole culture on nothing but mushrooms.

Having two publishers is like being a bigamist who doesn’t want to give up either wife.

Humans use magic; monsters are magic.

There is nothing less interesting than a universe in which no one ever grows, no one ever changes, and no one ever dies.

  1. Methane! Knitting friendly rows (I’ve actually had that question at various scholarly conferences I’ve attended, over both knitting and hand-sewing, so I guess that’s just one that crosses all conference/convention lines)! Good teeth and tasty fingers!

    Sounds like a truly delightful time. Makes me wish I lived closer to Minneapolis for next year’s con.

  2. Oh, how this makes me wish I had been able to attend. You and Lois McMaster Bujold are my two favorite authors, too… *sigh* Oh well, thanks for sharing these chuckle (and thought-) inducing tidbits. It sounds like a great time was had by all!

  3. Oh, these were lovely. I’m still chuckling at the idea of potato chips in the carpet of one’s brain.

  4. The healthy, handsome with good teeth thing really does bug me. 😉

  5. Wow…that’s a fantastic collection of comments that are bizarrely amusing, or remarkably insightful…and sometimes both! I once had a writing professor who spouted things like this all the time. It was a great class. 🙂

  6. The cheese blintzes were excellent, too. (As was the rest of the con.)

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