Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Steph's Two-Week Odyssey, Part V: World Con in Pictures (Plus One Additional Sight)

We've come at last to the terminus of my journey through the eastern half of the U.S.: World Con. Overall, I'm glad I went. There's been some drama over the past week or so regarding a certain panel that was held Friday afternoon (which I will discuss in my next post), but my own experience at the con was generally positive. I finally got to meet Jerry Pournelle - who, for me, has been an important formative influence - and the panels I attended were both cordial and thought-provoking.

Here are my best pictures from World Con itself:

You'll probably notice that I took several pictures of Pournelle. I went to most of the panels on which he was a participant.
This was taken at a panel discussing the creation of alien worlds. Larry Niven is second from the right.
This picture of Pournelle was taken at a panel discussing Robert A. Heinlein.
Here, we have Chuck Gannon, Larry Niven, and Joe Haldeman discussing the physics of meridional worlds.
This bust of Heinlein was installed this past week in the Hall of Famous Missourians. It was unveiled for the first time at World Con, and I got a chance to attend both the unveiling and the subsequent reception.
I also got a chance to attend a small group discussion with Chuck Gannon.
Like I said, I went to a lot of panels on which Pournelle was a participant.
I also went to see an interview done with Robert Silverberg -- and I managed to snag a free autographed book!

Sadly, before too long, it was time for me to head back to Virginia to resume my normal, work-a-day existence. On the way, though, I did manage to visit one last attraction that should amuse every geek reader I've got:

Because how can you drive through Iowa and not stop here?

Thus endeth my two week vacation. Like I remarked last Wednesday, I ended up bruised, sunburned, and completely exhausted by the end of this road trip, but it was all entirely worth the trouble.


  1. Ok, I have to admit a bit of envy here. You got to watch a discussion about Robert Heinlein featuring Jerry Pournelle. That is an event so awesome it threatens to cause a rip in the space-time continuum.

    Seriously, I've been a Pournelle fan since forever. His science fiction (both alone and with Niven) is just great, and his writing on computers (he was an early adopter who managed to get Heinlein into them) was/is a must read for anyone who uses them on a regular basis. He's a legend who deserved better than to be voted below No Award.

  2. Pournelle's science articles were wonderful also. Collected in A Step Farther Out. They originally appeared as monthly columns in Galaxy under then editor Jim Baen.
    My two favorites that stick in my mind are Save Our Gooney Bird which was about saving Skylab from a fiery re-entry and explained orbital mechanics using algebra any high school student could follow and Jim Baen's Electric Spaceships which was about replacing an ion drive spaceship's power plant with a rectenna so a maser from an SPS would have something to do besides cook birds. These were back in the mid-70s before Byte I believe. He's still keeping an online journal at Chaos Manor that dates all the way back to Genie and Compuserve.

  3. He is still in the "I do this so you won't have to" business, as his technology review column (which is seperate from his journal) is still around. If you were into computers in the 80's, Jerry's user column was the very first thing you read in every issue of Byte magazine. Those were interesting days indeed.