I’m home from the trip to Utah. I have learned a lot: Provo has the most amazing mountains looming over it, and fantastic restaurants (I think we did our best to eat our way around the world). I also learned that as I was told, LTUE is not a fan con. It is a symposium that was started for students at the local university who wanted to meet authors, publishers, and artists. It remains a great learning experience. Unlike most fan-centric panels, I felt compelled to make profuse notes during the panels I attended. Some were video-taped, and I will track down links for my readers, they are worth taking the time to watch (and often a lot of humor, as well).

I’d love to go back. But after getting home yesterday and realizing that a 13 hour sleep cycle was needed to recover, and I have a small mountain of homework to attend to and studying for dual exams… I may need to skip a year until school is done, the timing is bad for this college student, not being local. But it was well worth the extra work I’m faced with. On top of the educational aspect, I was able to meet friends and chosen family, to make new friends, and go out to dinner with one of my editors, which was a lovely experience. That, I will miss.

Listening to Toni Weisskopf deliver her keynote address and analyze Margaritaville for the story was a small epiphany moment for story-building. I have ideas, now. Constructing stories is, as she points out, a matter of twinning plot, and theme. Message doesn’t come into it. I’m paraphrasing, as she was talking faster than I could write, but it went something like this: the urge to write is universal, creating a narrative is something everyone does. But you should only write science fiction is you must. It’s hard, and you should only do it if you want to change the world. Larry Correia things fun adventure stories won’t change the world, but he’s wrong.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

Humanity is worth saving

One planet is not enough for humans

Experiments and efforts to reach space are not a waste of money, but useful for life on earth, and reaching beyond it.

The government is incapable of reaching out to the stars, private endeavours will be the ones to drive that movement.

We write and publish to persuade others toward that goal of reaching out to the stars.

Science Fiction stories further that persuasion and expansion of imagination.

This is why science fiction needs to be based in hard science, and also why fantasy needs to create the understanding of what it is that heroes do.

This is no way interferes with belief in a higher power – or conversely, requires belief in a higher power.

I came away from this symposium inspired, motivated, and dreaming bigger. I’m so glad I went, it was well worth it.

I’m sure I will write more, but for today, I’m out of time.

LTUE photos
Toni Weisskopf, publisher at Baen
Guns in Fiction Panel: Julie Frost, Mike Kupari, Larry Correia, Scott Bascom
Gathering some of the Odd clan for a moment.

LTUE Day Three-14

Dragon Keep Provo UT
Jeremy of Dragon’s Keep: proud as punch, isn’t he?