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2016 Ad Astra - Day One

Ad Astra began on Friday evening after I checked in and had a burger at the restaurant in the hotel. Registration was a breeze and I got my choice of a free book. I chose Ed Greenwood's The Iron Assassin.

Later, a familiar friend roamed the halls: R2D2. I heard him through the walls. He sounded upset. Someone was surely trying to put an end to his fun. They're always telling him what's appropriate behaviour. For some reason, the picture I took of him got lost.

In the "Give Them A Laugh" panel, we talked about the different types of humour including situational, character, and verbal. In only an hour, it was difficult for the panelists to go into any depth, but there was enough to use as a launch point. One major point was that humour usually has to be interpreted and the reader shouldn't be hit over the head with a joke. It's OK if not everyone who reads the story gets it. Some recommended reads/watches were:

- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
- Dr. Strangelove
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Big Bang Theory
- Robert Asprin
- I, Phone
- Hitchhiker's Guide
- Major Karnage
- Pirate vs Ninja vs Zombies
- The Technicolor Time Machine by Harry Harrison
- British humour
- Red Skelton

In "Loving What Happens vs Loving Who It Happens to" we talked about agency and how the character should end up in situations because of what actions they previously took. We also talked about unique viewpoints like writing from the perspective of a pet rock. The key is always connecting with the reader on an emotional level. Some recommended reads/listens included:

- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
- Speculate podcast
- Ursula le Guin

"The Roots of Religion and Folklore" was thoroughly enjoyable. We talked about urban legends such as The Michigan Dog Man. We also talked about how this paranoia we see with conspiracy theorists may go back to the days when paranoia warned there was a dangerous predator because "even chicken-shits have more babies than dead people do." Recommendations included:

- The Cropsey Documentary
- Michael Moore was mentioned
- A documentary about a guy who pretends to be a murderer and no one ever turns him into the police. Can't find the name of it.
- Satanic cults of the 1980s
- The Exorcist's inspiration vs what it became
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspiration vs what it became
- New Jersey "Watchers" letters
- The Fourth Kind

"The Dos and Don'ts of Writing Erotica" was prone to sexual innuendo as they took us through the ins and outs of the trade. The main points were that the sex should further something in the story just like any other plot device. Yes, that means there should be a plot of some sort. It's also OK to just say they had sex without writing a scene if that's what makes sense at that point in the book. Apparently dinosaur porn is big right now...

Then it was 11PM and I was too tired to go party, so jammies and a bit of reading were in order.

Ciao,
R~

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