justinar began the day with a talk on the relationship between reality and story; the value of "trashy" literature; and the difficulty of being susceptible to echoing strong voices in the book she reads. She also introduced a theme ongoing through the day and, thank to reading Ellen Datlow's post related to the subject, my weekend, on how an established author (or editor) can no longer take it for granted that they will continue to receive contracts, from one to another.
Adrian Czajkowski/Tchaikovsky hasn't given up his day job, which is why he can afford to write his ongoing epic fantasy series. He gave us a potted synthesis of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, followed by a nicely-done exploration of the tropes which are current in epic fantasy. A fleeting comment of his on science fiction sparked a fleeting series of thoughts in my mind on a potential academic research project, which was satisfying.
triciasullivan proved she's just as good at talking without having written her talk out entirely advance as she is at writing talks (as she more cautiously did at a BL panel last year). (Which is to say, she's good at both!) She spoke on experimenting with form and content in her own writing, and in that of others. She likes consciously leaving space for her reader to determine just what happened in her novels, even when that may mean the results are not as sleekly edited as they might otherwise be. She then read us the enthralling beginning of an unfinished and currently-uncontracted novel she's working on. The audience could only hope it will some day be published so we can find out what happened next.
The panel was a challenge. Usually, Picocon's one panel involves the current GoHs, plus all the previous years' GoHs present in the audience. This year, they couldn't find enough chairs, so just had the current three as the panel, who were saddled with "Apocalypses" as the topic. Gamely, they did, in fact, discuss the subject, entirely on topic; but it wasn't the easiest thing to do, and I think Picocon's panel format, whose topic doesn't necessarily relate to what the guests know about, really does work better with the more anarchic, larger size of panel.
Afterwards, loitering at the bar, catching up with friends, and meeting some interesting new people. Good to have seen so many of you there!