This weekend we all went to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA. The number of stalls was noticeably smaller this year: a whole row of children’s publishers was gone. We saw the following panels:
- Real Science (K. C. Cole moderating, with Carl Zimmer, Leonard Susskind and Avery Gilbert).
A good panel discussion with 3 different fields represented: the evolutionary biology of E. coli, cosmology, and the science of smells. Each panellist was engaging in his own way. I picked up The Black Hole War and What the Nose Knows.
- Science Fiction: The Grand Masters (Scott Timberg moderating, with Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison and Robert Silverberg).
This discussion was a disappointment. There were some interesting points but for the most part it could have been retitled “Science Fiction: The Grumpy Old Codgers”. The moderator wasn’t very good either, dragging out such dreadfully old chestnuts as “Is SF really about the future, or about the present?”
- T.C. Boyle with an Introduction by Georges Borchardt.
Mrs Elbeno attended this one, and according to her it was very good. I took care of the mini-Elbeno at the Target Children’s Stage for most of the time, and we watched Choo Choo Soul. Then he ran around exploring the university staircases and such for an hour while Mrs Elbeno waited to meet TC and get her books (Tortilla Curtain and The Women) signed.
- Michael J. Fox in Conversation with Mary McNamara.
I didn’t get to see much of this because the mini-Elbeno wasn’t able to sit still quietly, so I headed out with him after about 10 minutes. Which was actually more like 5 minutes because someone held up the proceedings by shouting for a doctor like it was a medical emergency, only to recover and be apparently all right. Anyway, Mrs Elbeno reported that Michael J. Fox was good; Mary McNamara not so much. And the questions from the audience were of the usual poor standard. Given that I had left early, I went straight down to the post-interview signing zone, but all the presigned books were already sold out, and I guessed that MJF wasn’t about to do a big signing after the interview. So I picked up an unsigned one from the UCLA store.