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Thoughts on this year’s ICFA, pt. 2.

(And still, the weird problem remains with using “from” too many times. I swear, the blog refuses to post unless I change some of the “from”s to “frm”. It must be some kind of bug in the module that tries to detect SQL injections, is the best I can figure.)

Yesterday I posted some of my thoughts on the ICFA after having just returned from it. I left out a lot. I’ll try to go vaguely chronologically and hit highlights.

OK, Wednesday:
I hate flying. But the flight down was fine.
The car rental place had no VW Bugs and I so wanted one! *sigh-pout*
I got a little lost trying to find my hotel, decided to give that up and go right to the conference, and made it to the opening panel at exactly one minute before it began!
Don’t recall much about the opening panel…except Brian Aldiss read an interesting poem of his that seemed to exemplify the idea of “sublime” (the theme for this year’s conference.

Brian Aldiss is an interesting fellow. Long time, well awarded, knighted, writer primarily in science fiction. Wrote the short story that inspired the film A.I.. (I’m sorry, but I absolutely loved that movie! Speaking of Aldiss and the movie, there was a session that included a paper by Andrew M. Gordon, author of (among other books) Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg, in which he defended the ending of the movie. Thank the gods! I’m one of the only persons I know who loved the ending because I see it completely differently than most people, and Mr. Gordon defended it succinctly and effectively: Most people see the ending as a sappy, Spielberg ending, and creepy because of the apparent Oedipal evocation. But that mistaken apprehension of the ending is what makes the ending all the more tragic and sad! It’s a very, ironically, tragic ending in which a fake boy programmed for obsession has his “perfect day” with a fake mommy in a staged environment set up by fake lifeforms who worship the missing human race and believe they will come closer to knowing humanity through this simulacra. And Spielberg intentionally and skillfully crafted this treacherously misleading ending. God, just writing this makes me sad. Gordon of course went into these issues at great length with superb presentation, and I believed he took a room full of people who dismissed A.I. out of scoffing hand, and may have changed some minds, or at least got people thinking. Brava!)

(more after the “fold”…)
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