IMG_1337 What sciences haven't been used yet in SF?
Two steampunk guys, and Steven Brust (right) leaving the "What sciences haven't been used yet in science fiction?" panel. I didn't even take a picture of the panelists (which weren't among these guys), because this panel reached an all-time intellectual low in my memory of ArmadilloCon. It happened when a certain poet (I don't know why he was on the panel, because he didn't seem to have a clue about science) said that a new "scientific" idea that still hasn't been used was a spaceship powered by "emissions" from eating Mexican food. Moderator Madeleine Dimond tried hard to keep it on track, and in fact the panel later recovered from the poet's verbal emissions. We had a brief, but interesting discussion whether cyberpunk fell in the realm of computer science, or not -- Madeleine agreed with me that it doesn't, and that real computer science is one of those very underutilized sciences in SF. Another guy in the audience suggested cyberpunk takes a transhumanist approach, without being necessarily scientific.
In the style of the "Gorilla of the Gasbags" challenge, Madeleine issued her own challenge to the audience -- to write a SF story based on an underused science. She let everyone who wanted to draw a slip of paper with a science on it. I drew alien psychology. And the best thing, we have two years to submit our stories for teh challenge, because there won't be an Armadillocon next year.
Read more about ArmadilloCon in my blog posts, especially about the ever-popular What You Should Have Read panel, where our well-read panelists recommend the year's best science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.