Since I pretty much enjoyed myself yesterday, I decided to go ahead and attent the second day of the Fantasy and Reality convention at the Haifa University.
I was quite pleased with the way the first day was organized, therefore I was quite disappointed to realize that today they decided to take a similar route that other conventions take and have multiple lectures taking place side-by-side rather then stick with the first day’s format of having only one lecture going on at a time.
As consequence of the way the day was organized, I couldn’t attend all the lecture sessions I found interesting, in particular, I had to choose between the Monsters and Forces of Darkness session and the From Scientists to Sinners session, in which case I chose the latter.
Like yesterday, movies were projected in a dedicated room during the day, todays movies were The Princes Bride, The Rockey Horror Picture Show, Eduard Scissorhands and Liquid Sky, since, embarrassingly enough, I haven’t seen Eduard Scissorhands yet (Despite being quite a Johnny Depp fan), I payed attention to where and when the movies were projected, and noted that since the movie schedule was completely unsynchronized with the lecture session schedule, going to watch a movie meant giving up two lecture sessions (The architecture of the lecture halls does not seem to allow one to comfortably enter or leave in the middle of a session), therefore, I had to give up on that idea.
One thing that caught my attention yesterday was how unidirectional this convention was, the organization seemed to completely dedicated to allowing the lecturers to sound their views, without setting aside any time or means for discussion or feedback from the crowd. This situation was somewhat rectified today when ample time was given for questions and discussion at the end of each lecture session.
Still, it may by my bidirectional internet culture accustomed eyes, but I spend the day wondering at the lack of any feedback mechanisms such as guest books, suggestion boxes or feedback questioners on the premises or on the conventions website.
While this blog post seems to be getting lengthy enough, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the more interesting lectures I’ve attended:
- Pleasures of the Magical Island – Baroque Fantasy in The Versailles Court by D.r. Ati Tzitron – This lecture described an amazingly grandiose celebration which had taken place in the Versailles court in honor of Louis XIV, the celebration was composed of a series of feasts exhibitions and theater plays that essentially involved the entire attending nobility in what may today be called a role-playing game, it is indeed interesting to note that modern amusement parks and MMORPGs may be considered as modern incarnations of those celebrations.
- Communication and the Worst Case Scenario by D.r. Motti Nyger – This lecture dealt with the fact that in modern press we more often then not find headlines that concern themselves with predicting the future rather the reporting past events, in the case of the worst case scenario kind of headlines they can indeed be considered as wiled speculation if not downright fantasy… I find this issue quite interesting, especially since one can observe that this kind of new reporting may be in active use today to convince the public to give up some of its basic liberties in exchange for a perception of greater security.
- Man in Cyberspace – Fantasy and Reality by Prop. Uzi Barak – While this lecture’s subject matter, namely the note that people perceive their online experience as being in another world, was no news to me, it was interesting to listen to the discussion it stirred up among the older members of the crowd.
- From Guliver until Nowdays, the Pessimistic Character of Scientists by D.r. Varda Bar – This lecture dealt with the perception of science and scientists in fantastic literature focusing on the more negative instances of that perception. While the subject matter was interesting enough, what really caught my attention was realizing my ignorance to the fact that Laputa – Castle in the Sky was based on a Guliver story.
- The Design of Science Fiction and Fantasy Heroes by D.r. Galya Shenberg – After making the note that in fantasy and science fiction, the background and design of the characters is often more important the the plot and prose style, the lecturer went on to make a fascinating comparison of the characters Harry Potter and Ender from Ender’s Game, making a note that in a way they are essentially the same character. While the lecture was interesting enough, I do have to sound my contention with the fact that those two less then personal favorite creations are so often discussed as the canonical examples of young-adult science fiction and fantasy.
All in all, this was quite a nice and interesting convention, since I only found out about it by a lucky chance, I find myself looking for the means to be better informed about such conventions in the future.