Loscon 38: Robots, Filking and a Look at the Work of Philip K. Dick
Shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, a small conference room in the basement of the LAX Marriott filled to the brim. The science fiction fans attending this year's Loscon crowded together in tightly packed seats for a discussion of the life and work of Philip K. Dick led by noted authors Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates) and Jerry Pournelle.
Liz Ohanesian This is Melvis. He's a robot made with an old Elvis animatronic head.
Dick, who died in 1982, is one of the most easily recognizable names in science fiction. His novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was adapted for the big screen as Blade Runner. Films like Total Recall, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly are also based on his work. But we weren't in this room for a discussion of film. Inside the panel, the focus was literature.
Powers, a long-time friend of Dick, gave some interesting insight into the famed author. According to Powers, Dick wrote fast and changed his opinions on the theologies that informed his stories almost as quickly. Dick also subscribed to the "first draft is the final draft" school, Powers says, which made his books a "snapshot" of his views at the time of writing.
Liz Ohanesian It's not a sci-fi convention until the Klingons arrive.
This was an intimate discussion, one in which fans could ask questions without having to line up early on in the session. It was the sort of panel that makes Loscon stand out from many larger events.
"We like to have our guests get up close and personal with the fans," says Arlene Satin, chairman of the annual fan-run convention.