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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ConDFW, part 2

The panel on Creating Weapons in SFF was probably one of my favorites. Panelists included William Ledbetter, Linda Donahue, Kerry Tolan and Mary Gearhart-Gray.

What I particularly liked about this panel was how gracious the panelists were to each other. Everyone got a chance to speak and they invited the audience to actively participate. Sometimes panels can be ego orgies, but this one was delightfully interactive. (lots of good karma)

I also appreciated that many of the panelists came from a scientific background giving them more credibility.

The workshop started with some really implausible weaponry (like the Star Wars light saber), but quickly moved on to potential weapons that would be good to use in SFF.

The panel encouraged writers to think outside the box and to extrapolate using modern technology. Some of the ideas that were thrown out on the floor were:

• Lightning weapons
--I did not know that such a thing was possible. Not currently feasible, but within the realm of future technology.

• Black hole generators
--I'd heard of the possibility of ships coming across minute black holes. Why not actually have a weapon that can create the phenomena--or its ilk.

• Plasma weapons
--used often in current SF stories, but still tres cool.

• Genesis machines
--you'll remember the Genesis device used in one of the Star Trek movies. The idea is to use something that was meant as a beneficial device and corrupt it in such a way that it becomes a weapon.

• Psychology
--my favorite. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Mongols, among others often used the "scorched earth (salted earth)" tactic, destroying their enemies and lands so utterly that nothing would grow there again. When word of the destruction reached other enemies, the people would rather capitulate than risk total annihilation. The psychology of fear is extremely successful.

• DNA identifier. Weapons that can only be used by specific DNA. People whose DNA can infect a specific host through genetic markers. Another good one used on Star Trek as well.

• The Trojan horse. An oldie but a goodie.

The panelists did a great job of presenting their information. What could have been a very dry subject was full of ideas and lots of questions.


I am not much of a techy. Ask anyone! But I go through a lot of pain to make sure the tech in my SF is believable. A lot of this is due to Greg who really stays abreast of all the latest weaponry and communications equipment. Where he finds this info is beyond me. Every time he gives me a suggestion, I have to dig DEEP to find any reference to this new tech. I'm beginning to wonder if he's secretly in Black Ops. LOL!


Marianne Arkins said...

What... what...???

The light saber isn't real? That sound you heard was my bubble popping...

Maria Zannini said...

LOL! My first laugh of the day. Thanks!