Apr 21 2012 3:16am

JordanCon 2012: The Bloggening, Part 2

It’s 12:30 1:30 2:30 3:30 AM, kids! And I am being SUPER RESPONSIBLE today, people. I am writing up this con report only in the pre-wee hours, instead of the actual wee hours totally writing into the wee hours again, never mind. I’m so proud of me! 


Because! Today was Day Two of JordanCon 2012 (well, it was Day One of the official con, but it was Day Two for me, and I’m the one writing this thing so neener), and as promised I am continuing to brave the wilds of sleep deprivation to tell you alllll about it.

Therefore I invite the brave of you to click on, and see!

First, a bit of a backtrack: owing to the lovely and talented photography of con-goer Sandip Mehta, I now have actual pictures for you to peruse from not only today but from the night before at the Pre-Con dinner at (as I have found out) the restaurant Pastis. Lookit:

Jennifer Liang, our amazing JordanCon Director.


Melissa Craib Dombrowski, doing her Toastmaster thing at Pastis.


Harriet McDougal and Jennifer Liang at Pastis, talking to Jason Denzel.


Author Guest of Honor Mary Robinette Kowal at Pastis.


Alan Romanczuk at Pastis.


Myself, looking very odd, and Maria Simons at Pastis.

And now on to today!

So, okay, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover here, so this might be a bit choppy. And note that due to my tragic inability to be in more than one place at a time, this will only be covering what panels/people/thingies I personally got to see. I’m sure y’all will find some way to deal.

First was visiting the registration table and picking up my shiny large badge:

Which, as you see, features the WOT e-book art of our Artist Guest of Honor Sam Weber, who I sadly do not have a picture of at this time even though I did get to share a meal with him. I’ll try to fix that tomorrow. And I have to say that Sam’s e-book art is probably my favorite of all the WOT e-book covers, and I’m totally not just saying that because he name-checked me in his post about it, so I’m extra-pleased that it is featured on the badge I’ll be wearing all weekend. That he is also an awesome person in himself does not hurt this feeling at all.

Then was opening ceremonies, stage-managed by the lovely and talented and very put-upon Melissa Craib Dombrowski. And I have to say, it’s not every day you get to see a striptease (that shameless hussy Jason Denzel), a double eviction (that shameless hussy Richard Fife), a dramatic “children’s book” reading (that… uh, lovely lady Mary Robinette Kowal), a poetry slam (those shameless yet very hardworking and awesome hussies The Program Directors), and flagrant abuse of celebratory blowy thingies (yeah, you get the gist), all in one presentation.

I am dead certain there is video and/or photos of this madness in existence, but I don’t know where they might be located. If anyone is able to provide linkage in the comments, that would be appreciated. However, I can show you the reason for Messieur Jason Denzel’s striptease, which was actually not because (or not only because) he is A Shameless Hussy™, but because he was ordered to show us his new tattoo:

Which, I have to say, is what the kids call badass. Awesome.

Next up for me was “An Hour with the Guest of Honor, Mary Robinette Kowal”, which was… pretty much what it says on the tin. Mary is a prolific writer, voice actor and professional puppeteer, and her work has won and/or been nominated for several prestigious awards, including a Campbell Award for Best New Writer (she loved the tiara), a Hugo for her short story “For Want of A Nail” (apparently Hugo awards make awesome Christmas tree toppers!), and she is nominated again for the Hugos this year, both for her novella “Kiss Me Twice”, and for Writing Excuses, the podcast for aspiring writers she produces along with Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and some guy named Brandon Sanderson.

She told us about the inspiration for her history fantasy series she began with Shades of Milk and Honey and now has continued with Glamour in Glass, which was that she’d reread Jane Austen’s Persuasion and cried like a baby at the proposal scene, and then had been startled to realize that this story which had so moved her revolved not around the fate of the world or earth-shaking conflicts or The Defeat of Evil, but around the very intimate and particular fates of two people and their love for one another. And she wondered, why can’t she do that too, except in a fantasy setting? How would that work? And so that’s exactly what she did. “Jane Austen with magic”: what’s not to love?

She talked about many other things as well, including the tidbit that fan language (which WOT readers may associate with a certain Saldaean lady) was a real thing back in the day, the awesomeness of the Oxford Historical Thesaurus, which not only gives you synonyms but tells you the order in which they entered the English language (so cool), her executive decision to exchange the modern word “blink” for the actual word they used in Regency times, because she just refused to use a sentence like “She nictated at him in confusion”, and I can’t say I blame her (someone commented “that sounds illegal”), and the drama surrounding Glamour in Glass’s initial print run, which somehow managed to come out missing the first sentence. Holy crap.

She handled this catastrophe with remarkable aplomb, I must say, and laughingly handed out to us not only her promotional fans, but a temporary rub-on tattoo of the missing first sentence, as well as an offer to manually write in the sentence on any books she signed this weekend. I fully intend to take her up on that.

So that was very cool. Then in the break between panels I wandered into the art show room, which featured among many other things I need to get a closer look at later the original concept sketch the late and lamented Darrell K. Sweet produced for the cover of A Memory of Light before his passing, and which you can see for yourselves right here on (I’m going to talk more about this at a later point, because it is already 2 AM and I still have half the day to get through.)

Next up was “Is it Fantasy or is it Sci-Fi?”, empaneled with the formidable talents of (once again) Mary Robinette Kowal, Special Guest Dr. Michael Livingston, a professor of English at the Citadel (Robert Jordan’s alma mater) and champion of fantasy literature in the mainstream, and Emilie P. Bush, journalist and author of two steampunk novels, Chenda and the Airship Brofman and The Gospel According to Verdu.

This was a great discussion that ranged over a number of subjects related to the endlessly debatable question posed in the panel’s title which I cannot possibly hope to do justice to right now, but the discussion ranged from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series to Ken Scholls’s Songs of Isaac to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series and beyond, and touched on topics like the importance of genre in marketing as opposed to your audience, the importance of adhering to the rules of your world no matter what genre you write in, the possible role of steampunk in transitioning the public’s tastes from fantasy back to science fiction in recent years, and the issues involved in gender biases when pitching and writing and marketing speculative fiction in general.

And of course, I asked the inevitable question (mostly because someone had to): Star Wars: science fiction or fantasy?

Mary answered, “Star Wars is fantasy set in the future.” And… yep, pretty much.

And THEN there was the first panel I myself was participating in, namely “Who Lives and Who Dies?” which is… also pretty much what it says on the tin. And it was pretty crazy, y’all.

I and my fellow panelists Ted Herman, Thomas DeSimone, Jeffrey Daniel, Jen Halbman, and Aubree Pham fielded the oft-contentious, er, contentions of the audience and offered our own opinions on who was and was not making it out of this pony show alive come AMoL, and the results were sometimes a little surprising.

First it should be noted that the following predictions are predicated on the assumption that the Light wins. Because if they lose, then it’s the “Rocks fall, everyone dies” ending, and that would have (a) sucked, and (b) been a pretty short panel. So take that as your baseline. Because I said so.

Given that, also note that this is all reconstructed after the fact, so I may be a little off/wrong/forgetful in some places, but the gist of what we and the audience decided (or, in some cases, failed to decide) for our life/death predictions are more or less as follows:

Rand: Very much a split decision, in multiple ways, which probably isn’t that surprising. Some think he lives, some think he dies; some think he dies and comes back as someone else, some think he dies and comes back as a Hero of the Horn; some think he pretends to die but doesn’t really, some think he really does die but is then really resurrected three days later; and some think he dies, gets resurrected, and then pulls a JD Salinger and becomes a hermit for the rest of his life.

Okay, that last one was me. But basically any possible combination of lives/dies/pretends to do either was promoted by someone, so I guess the end result is: Dunno.

Perrin: Lives. Rebuilder dude, flowering trees, etc. A number of people, though, think that Faile is going to die. And most everyone agreed that Tenobia and Davram are totally toast.

Mat: Lives. Not only do we have the inadvertent spoiler of the planned outrigger novels, which were supposed to have featured Mat and Tuon’s adventures in Seandar after the Last Battle, but also the prevailing opinion is that he’s just too badass to die. Plus he already did it once, so he has fulfilled his quota.

Nynaeve: Lives. The room was surprisingly universal on this one. Where everyone was split was over whether Lan survives or not. I personally think he dies, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Elayne/Aviendha/Min: There was a lot of argument over Rand’s three women. Several argued that Nicola’s Foretelling of “three on the boat” argues that they all live, but others pointed out that there’s no guarantee that part doesn’t happen before the Big Ass Ending, and one or all of them could die afterwards. Aubree Pham opined that she thought Elayne would die in childbirth, but most seem to think that she will end up ruling Andor after.

The room was pretty evenly split on Min; some argued that once she has figured out Callandor for Rand, her purpose is fulfilled, and therefore she is toast. Others thought that it was more likely that if Rand survives, she is the one who’s going to go off with him and be his functional wife, while Elayne and Aviendha go to deal with their respective nations (cue inevitable jokes about scheduled “conjugal visits”). I feel like there are equally strong arguments either way, personally. I don’t want Min to die, of course, because she is awesome, but I put her chances thematically at about 50/50.

No one thinks Aviendha is going to die. Which, on reflection, should probably worry us.

The Dark One (no, really): Several people argued that the Dark One was going to “die”, based on Rand’s statement that he would kill him rather than just re-imprison him, but if I may hijack the opining here for a moment, I don’t buy this at all. Can’t have good without evil, after all, and just because Rand says he’s going to do something doesn’t mean he can actually do it. I can declare I’m going to be the President of the United States all I want; doesn’t mean it’s ever even remotely going to happen. (Especially not if they bother to Google me first.)

Lanfear/The Forsaken: Most were of the opinion that, assuming the Light is going to win, all the Forsaken are toast – with the possible exception of Lanfear. But this is based on the idea that she’s going to turn back to the Light, which I really don’t believe (or maybe I just really don’t like), so I think they are all goners. At least I really hope so.

Moridin: There was actually a lot of argument over this one. The logical thing is to suppose he dies, being Chief Bad Guy and all, but his weird connection to Rand is a possible mitigating factor there. The eventual consensus turned out to be very similar to Rand, i.e. Dunno.

Padan Fain: Dies. In a volcano. After biting off Rand’s finger.


Cadsuane: Dies, most likely in a some kind of blaze of glory. (Ted: “She’ll pull something out of her… hair at the last second and take out someone major and die doing it.”)

Logain: Lives, has glory, etc.

Taim: Killed, a lot, by Logain. (This theory was universally approved by the room.)

Egwene: Somewhat split decision. Some argued that she dies opposing Rand, but most agree that she is almost certainly going to live, mostly because she is the only figure who has any chance of bringing together the myriad factions that are or will be littering the landscape in the wake of the Last Battle. Some disagreed, saying that her prejudice against the Seanchan is too strong, but I pointed out her Dream of a Seanchan woman helping her up a cliff as evidence against that.

Aaand there were more characters discussed, but my brain is fading, so we’ll wrap that up and move on to the last thing that happened as far as I was concerned, which was my drink with Leslie Annis, Tricia Grantz Irish, and Jay Dauro (aka Lannis, Tektonica, and JDauro on, respectively) and their presentation to Yours Truly with what is possibly the best terrible gag gift ever received by anyone ever, courtesy of a certain posse of Re-read commenters who know who they are and are TERRIBLE AWFUL PEOPLE who kept me giggling for a good thirty minutes this evening with their TERRIBLE, AWFUL, awesomely inappropriate gift.

Because – well, see for yourself:


Those who follow the Re-read know why this is so VERY VERY WRONG, and if you don’t, well, you’re probably better off.

I swear, you guys. SO WRONG. I love y’all.

And now I collapse and sleep like dead person. More tomorrow!

1. TinaA
~giggles maniacally~

Glad you like the gifts! Sounds like you guys are having bags of fun, and I'm majorly impressed at the stupid-am posting. Keep up the good work for those of us that can't be there...
2. David Bankson
Great article...but for the record, Star Wars takes places in the PAST, not the future. That's why it starts out "A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away." They weren't humans, which can cause that confusion.
3. Luckers
Leigh, my sweet, just relax and accept the spanking.

Bonnie Andrews
4. misfortuona
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, for easing my Mis-sing JCon pain. Love you Leigh!

The 'team spanking' package was inspired! Also love my re-read buddies. You guys are the best. So wish I could have been there to appreciate the delivery.

Mis-going back into my semi-comotose state while waiting for the next JCon report
Anthony Pero
5. anthonypero
Nadine L.
6. travyl
Leigh, thanks for your detailed report - not as good as really being there, but since that isn't an option, I enjoy to at least experience a bit of the fun by proxy.
Also, wow to our co-Rereaders. That is a great gift.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
7. tnh
I'm sure someone has already mentioned the apostrophe?
Alice Arneson
8. Wetlandernw
Thanks for the update, Leigh. Your sense of humor... well, it is truly FTW!! We knew you'd laugh! (Or at least, the rest of us absolutely assured Lannis and Tektonica that you would... Apparently they believed us.)

So much enjoying these posts, to help all of us who got stuck in wannabee-land (i.e. home) instead of being there with you. Your panel sounds like a lot of fun - as with everything else, I wish I could have been there. Thanks for your kindness to us in writing about your day, even in the teeny-tiny-growing-larger hours of the morning. Continue to have a blast!!
Alice Arneson
9. Wetlandernw
anthony - Back in Black. I want that version!! :) Is it available at cafepress now? (Preferably with the apostrophe.)

(tnh - The "trust me..." part wasn't on Leigh's items, IIRC.)
Anthony Pero
10. anthonypero
What, on my poster? Yeah, the font doesn't have an apostrophe in it... I could have fixed it, but I was too lazy...

The swag is correct, I think. It doesn't say the same thing.

EDIT: Fixed just for TNH's copy edit brain.
Anthony Pero
11. anthonypero
If you want something, Wet, I can take the JordanCon off the handle and get it made for you. Even though I wouldn't be making money on it, JordanCon is trademarked. It was fine on Leigh's gift, since you asked the proper people, and it was at the con, but I couldn't leave that on for anything else without permission.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
12. tnh
Thank you for understanding. If it weren't compulsive behavior, it wouldn't be compulsive behavior.
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
Leigh did appear to truly "get" it, and took it in the appropriate good spirit, with a cocktail.

Great Con! Good panels, good guests. Everyone is so friendly! Really everyone, do try to make it next year!
Anthony Pero
14. anthonypero

The Impact font I have on that computer is obviously a knock off. It's missing a bunch of normal characters. I had to grab the comma in Photoshop and raise it up to where the apostrophe goes.
john mullen
15. johntheirishmongol
I suspect there will be some death, but not nearly so much as in any GRRM book, and that is a good thing.
Anthony Pero
16. anthonypero
At least not to our PoV characters.

The Padan Fain comment is the funniest. The role of Padan Fain in the last battle is the easiest and hardest to pick. It's obvious that it will be like Gollum, but I imagine he will fulfill that role in a way none of us can predict.
Anthony Pero
17. anthonypero
If Lanfear turns back to the Light, she's STILL a goner.
18. Metasparks
A room of fans would assume practically everyone who is good is going to live. LOL

I, for one, think Perrin is toast. Tuon is toast. Thom is toast. Moiraine and Lan are toast.
Tess Laird
19. thewindrose
Yes, and my piece of toast is Demandred;)

You guy are so great - giving Leigh the Team Spanking swag. Fun!!

John Massey
20. subwoofer
I am glad that Leigh took it well, cause option "B" was deny everything and forever more change our names on this thread...

John Massey
21. subwoofer
Incidentally, many kudos to AP for staying up into the wee hours to do the art work. Good on ya buddy:D

Thomas Keith
22. insectoid
*dies laughing*

*gets back up* Oh man, that is too funny. I love you guys even more now.

Great report, Leigh! Do us all a favor and get some sleep this weekend, mmkay? :)

Alice Arneson
23. Wetlandernw
And... from the sounds of things, she's gonna NEED a couple weeks to recover from this shindig!
Kimani Rogers
24. KiManiak
"Taim: Killed, a lot, by Logain."
That had me busting up laughing!

I kind of agree with johntheirishmongol@15, I don't expect there to be a lot of death among our main characters; this series isn't that dark (although stretches of TGH and TGS are sometimes a challenge for me to read). I definitely don't expect major-character-attrition on the scale of Malazan or ASoIaF. (Then again, the unexpected factor could be a rationale for doing such a thing).

Finally, a major tip of my hat to all of the rereaders behind the gag gift! That was great! I commend thee!
Roger Powell
25. forkroot
Oh that gift was flat-out awesome! What a hoot!

Sounds like those of you there are having so much fun it should be illegal. Leigh, you are doing a great job in giving us a feel for what it would be like being there.

OK - one minor point on the lives/dies bit. Bumping off the DO is not the same as removing all evil from Creation. As we've seen, the DO does not have a monopoly on evil (technically speaking, it's not a bitheistic cosmoslogy.) Aridhol/Mordeth/Fain represent a separate evil - something that has been critical to the plot so far and will likely figure somehow in the end too.

I am curious to know the panel's consensus on Bela. Will she live to "neigh" another day?
Alice Arneson
26. Wetlandernw
It was mostly anthonypero and subwoofer, really. I tell you, me: they are a dangerous team. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

(We might have tried to get more people involved, except that a) we had to keep it where Leigh couldn't read it, and b) most of it transpired quite late one night, with everything for Leigh ordered and shipped less than 24 hours after the initial idea.)

And kudos to Lannis and Tektonica for having the courage to present it face to face. :) Could have been very, very bad if Leigh's sense of humor had temporarily deserted her just then...

On real WoT stuff... someone mentioned the other night that this is the last JordanCon with any real value for a Looney Theory panel. After this, we'll be stuck with rehashing theories for unresolved points, with only the Encyclopedia to possibly clear them up. No more "Who Lives, Who Dies" panels, either. What are they going to do for panel discussions next year??
Leilani Cantu
27. spanishviolet
Thanks for the great report! Love reading about the panel discussions.
John Massey
28. subwoofer
Nope- it takes a great brain and a criminal-like mastermind to pull something like this off... maybe a WoT guru perhaps?

::looks pointedly at Wetlander::

Me? I said "get her a dog"...

::blinks innocently::

WoTish... was there further discussion of "is Taim, well... Taim?"

As far as Egwene goes- there must also have been great discussion on the evolving role of Aes Sedai in society. I think it is events like what will happen that legends are made from.

j p
29. sps49
I guess a Aes Sedai symbol is appropriate for the paddle, but y'all could've used Sterling Archer's ubiquitous ping-pong paddle.

And it's hilarious.
Thomas Keith
30. insectoid
APero @5: So that's what you were saving #1000 for. XD

Wetlander @26: Easy; IF we can all make it (the Light send it be so!), we can discuss, to our heart's content, how much we enjoyed the ending of one of the greatest fantasy epics on Earth.

We could also talk about what we think should be included in the Encyclopedia-to-be, etc.

IF we could all make it.

Anthony Pero
31. anthonypero
Hate to break it to you, but everyone is going to die...

... Eventually
Jonathan Levy
32. JonathanLevy
Great gift gag! Kudos to the conspirators.
Jay Dauro
37. J.Dauro
Yes, folks, she not only took it well, she loved it. So you don't have to change your names. (I was there when she opened the box.)

Besides, after Saturday night, she probably doesn't remember where it came from. ;^)
Valentin M
38. ValMar
May I join in the congratulations of the intrepid conspirators who organised the gag gift (a new term that i learned today)! Well done chaps! Maybe it's just a hindsight but I would always have thought that Leigh would've received the gift with good grace, at the very least.
Anthony Pero
39. anthonypero

Yeah, my comment @35 was supposed to be funnier, but a mod must have come through and removed the duplicates :)
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
subwoofer @28 - Who, me?

::blinks innocently back::

You must be thinking of Freelancer.

But I heard a rumor that it was all scissorrunner's fault.
Evan Langlinais
41. Skwid
Wait, wait...they didn't make an actual paddle?

I am dissapoint!
Charles Gaston
42. parrothead
@41 Well, no, such things are expensive and generally custom made. Some type of medium-weight wood, finished to prevent splinters, and most effective with holes drilled through to eliminate air resistance/maximize impact that must be bevelled on one side in order to prevent breaking the skin. Custom paint jobs take even longer.

Anthony Pero
43. anthonypero
Trust me. A real paddle was discussed. ;) but this happened and was shipped to Atlanta in 24 hrs
44. Janel
Rand: I agree that he will apparently die but I think what dies are the other persons who have been using his body since their bodies are dead. Whether he will still be able to channel, whether he will still be the Dragon, I don't know.

Egwene: Don't know if she will die or not but she can come to reason and join with Rand and others if she can just get over herself being the Amerlin Seat and therefore being the only one who knows everything that everyone else should be doing. I really can see her going into the future, hopefully a bit wiser, and doing a good job guiding her group.

Cadsuane: I like Ted's idea for her: fitting.

The Dark One: Rand could indeed kill him and I wish he would. For those worrying that without evil there could be no good, just wait a couple of days: there's sure to be someone or more than one pop up believing he can force people to do evil or just control them.

Taim: I agree with what was said.

What do you suppose happens to Loial? DOES he go back to a Stedding for the rest of his life or does he keep his connection with the people he has come to know? He DOES live, I hope.
juanita heath
45. nanajade
I must be one of the few but I don't like Min with Rand. Since she joined him in Caemlyn/Carhein(sp?) in LOC my opinion of her has continued to drop. She is more annoying than Elayne. (hard to believe I know)..haha I want Rand to "retire" to Rhuidean with Aviendha over the Two Rivers with Min. Perrin and Faile are established there and Elayne needs to restore titles and Manetheran to them....Not happy with her deal in TOM
47. s'rEDIT
Whoo-boy! Am I ever late to *this* party.

Hello? Hell-o-o-o-o-o?

{{echoes reverberate}}

Greatest Gag Gift evah! My thanks to those who thought it up and those who presented it. We loves our Leigh!

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