this one goes to 11

I signed up for Knobcon this coming September. I haven’t been since 2019 and I figure it’s about time.

Registration is still the same price, which is kind of amazing to me. But the banquet/keynote is a whopping $75 this time. Last time I was unimpressed with the (buffet-style) food, the wait for the food, the relatively good stuff running out quickly, got much more out of Dr. John Chowning’s separate presentation on FM much more than his keynote speech, and missed an invite to hang out elsewhere with people who’d probably have been more fun. So, I’ll skip that part.

There was no signup for DIY woskhops. I was kind of hoping to get in on one this time, something with basic soldering and assembly. But either they’re just not doing those anymore, or that registration will be first-come-first-served at the con itself.

There’s still the Friday night performances (and Saturday too if I’m not too tired, which usually I am), ton of exhibitors, and some interesting talks.

My second Stephen Baxter novel has been Manifold: Time, and I have mixed feelings about it. At the time it was written, Termination Shock had not been, Elon Skum was not yet a household name, Virgin Galactic wasn’t a thing yet, and the Space Shuttle program was still active. So the idea of a reckless libertarian billionaire space cadet who wants to save the world and get all the profit/credit from it, was probably a novel thing and not so tiresome as it is now.

The science is weird, to say the least — really pretty neat for a while, but then it gets to a point where it requires suspending a lot of disbelief, and then it sprints right past the breaking point into utterly absurd “oh, come on” territory. And the way our sympathies are bounced around is pretty fast and loose too.

There were some moments where I thought, whoa, this is a fun and neat book, and I’m afraid those moments have passed. There is still a clever twist that I thought of and am waiting for, but I’m afraid the book just didn’t live up to my hopes. I’ll probably skip the rest of this particular series and try a different one.