The language is poetic, the main characters interesting, the setup somewhat cliche. Yet another young woman halts her career to return to a small town and save the family farm.
At the start of the book we are plunked down in the middle of fractured relationships. The tension is palpable from the first page. We come to know everything about the hearts and minds of our main characters.
So when a major plot-point is resolved by the change of heart of a side character, with absolutely no insight given into what brought about the change, the resolution leaves the reader dissatisfied. Pressures evolve and dissipate rather than explode as the title implies.
That evolution makes for a worthwhile read, though, if not quite the one expected. The main characters were engaging and well-written enough to want to want to follow.
Sunday was the best day by far. The first panel I attended was by Muncie-area author Casey Glanders, called “Writing Worlds: Writing and Publishing Superhero Fiction.” It was basically a lecture on self-publishing for other independent authors. But I got the opportunity to expand on some of the library resources he touched on. That was kinda cool.
The Steampunk and Comics panel should have been amazing. The presenter was in costume, his presentation was professional, and it was full of the history and development of steampunk as a genre, as well as the divergence of the steampunk timeline. But some kid sat down a couple rows in front of me streaming the whole presentation through his cellphone on a selfie stick. Which really wouldn’t have bothered me if not for the fact he kept commenting to his audience. I got up and asked security to speak to him, which they did, and he left. But immediately afterward, the guy behind me decided it was a great time to take a phone call. Didn’t take it outside, didn’t hurry to get off the phone. Just sat there chatting away. That ruined it for me. Old lady, remember? I couldn’t concentrate, so we left to watch more Freestyle D&D.
Would have liked to have seen the voice acting panel, “Voice Acting: Everything You Want to Know.” I wanted to know things. But there were scheduling conflicts. Also, “Writers: Worldbuilding Workshop” coincided with “Black to the Future: An Exploration of of Minorities in the Space Time Continuum.” I earned my creative writing degree at least three years ago, and I’m still put off from workshops. So I chose the latter. And I’m so glad I did. It was easily the best panel of the whole weekend.
Did you know it was thing on Twitter not long ago (probably during the whole uproar over a black actress being cast as Hermione) to completely recast Harry Potter with people of color? Why wasn’t this all over library lists and groups? Why didn’t we all latch onto this? Granted I’m no Harry Potter fan, but why was I just hearing of this?
But that was only one part of the discussion. The panel runs an independent media channel on YouTube and had very insightful things to say. They engaged the audience in a meaningful way, beginning with the question, “When was the first time you saw yourself truly represented in mainstream media, and who was that character you identified with?” and ending with the question of what we could all do to improve representation of minorities.
I would have liked to say the highlight of the day was (Gabrielle from Xena) Renee O’Connor’s Q&A. I mean, Jonathan Frakes AND Renee O’Connor both at the same convention? So cool. But as great as they were, they still couldn’t top that last panel.
Day 2 was pretty disappointing, to be honest. It was the busiest day, with the biggest crowds and most costumes. But the panels were really crap. There were few that appealed to me. Starbase Indy spoiled fan cons for me, I guess. Theirs was so much better in every way.
“Behavioral Development and the Child Protagonist,” sounded like it would be fantastic. But it was presented by a homeschool art teacher, with no credentials in child development that I could discern. The talk basically amounted to the presenter reading off a list of characters and giving her opinion (with the audience chiming in) on whether or not a child of that age would really behave that way or be realistically able to handle the circumstances they were placed in. Unfortunately, I chose this over “Explaining Manga for the Comic Book Fan.”
“Life as a Girl in Yaoi” was just as bad. I only have a vague idea of what yaoi is as a genre. I hoped I might learn something. All I learned is that it proaaaaaabably isn’t a good fit for the library collection, although I suspect there are some tamer forms that rely more on subtext. But the presentation was just so bad. I felt like I’d crashed a stoner party, watching three young women tell inside jokes and digress into tangents and side conversations that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.
“Is Fan Art Legal” fell right at dinner time, and my teen was starving (as per usual), so I missed out on that. The previous day’s panel on copyright, patents, and trademarks really glossed over this issue. I was interested to hear it covered with more focus. But I didn’t go. Another thing I realized later that the copyright panel didn’t address was the pervasiveness of digital copyright infringement. The response was basically, “Oh, get a lawyer.” They really kind of ignored the problem of theft of images or art that then goes viral. Like, they didn’t even seem to be aware.
So, Saturday really centered more around entertainment. The highlight of the day was Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker’s) Q&A. I spent most of the day in the exhibit hall and the game cave. The panels I was interested in were all in the late afternoon. I had been looking forward to RHPS. But by 8:30 I decided I was an old lady now and went home to bed.
I guess this convention would be a great place for someone with no experience in professional public speaking or a fear of doing so to practice. The standards for presenters are just that low.