This time next week, I’ll be wandering around Narita International Airport, trying to convince my body that the previous eleven hours weren’t a horrible dream and wondering what in hell’s about to happen. See, Ken talked me into going to the 2007 International SF/Fantasy Conference in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, and right after that, I get to fly back to Narita to get to Nippon 2007 in Yokohama, Japan. The entire thing will either be eight kinds of awesome or the kind of mind-scarring experience of which I will never speak again.

I’m a little nervous about the China part because I have no idea where I’m staying, other than during a one-night layover in Shanghai. The con people haven’t gotten back to anyone about hotels or rides or the availability of trained panda valets (I’m betting none on that last one, but remain cautiously optimistic), at least to none of us regular shlubs. Neil Gaiman and David Brin will probably have armies of panda valets, ready to cater to their every whim and desire. Me? I just hope I won’t undo months of training by trying to breathe the air.

Worldcon will be a breeze, since Yokohama is supposed to be the most Western city in Japan. That the place will be crawling with potential steakfuckers out to indulge their tentacle rape/schoolgirl sock/giant robot penis fetishes is possible cause for concern, but Ken and Yuki will be steering us to interesting places to eat and drink, while the steakfuckers flock to Anna Miller’s.

I’m bringing the laptop, but I’m going to see if the ol’ E61 can take advantage of the local WiFi to post to Twitter and to this site via email. I’ll also upload pictures and video and often as possible, so check in. I’ll try to keep it entertaining.

I’m also going to be sitting on some panels, which is exciting and terrifying. There are some heavy names there, and I’m still not sure how I got put beside them.

Fri 1100 Conference in Chengdu, China
Participants: Adam RAKUNAS, Jason STODDARD, Ken BRADY
A talk about the conference in Chengdu, China.

Sat 1000 The Inevitable Google Panel
Participants: Dr Andrew A. ADAMS, Eileen GUNN, Tom GALLOWAY, Adam RAKUNAS
Love it or hate it, more than half of all net users search via Google. Is it really the end all and be all of all human knowledge? Computer knowledge? Our panelists have fun and try to predict where it will be in 2 year? 10 20? 100?

Sun 1600 Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds
Participants: Adam RAKUNAS, Ken BRADY, Naoyoshi SHIMAYA, Yuki SAEKI
Virtual worlds are a perfect example of science fiction becoming part of mainstream culture. People work, play, and create everyday in these virtual spaces. How are these cutting-edge applications changing how we live, work, and participate in society and entertainment? And what does the future hold for storytelling and communication as the technology improves?

Mon 1000 Blogging and Live Journals in SF
Participants: Adam RAKUNAS, Chad ORZEL, Yoshio KOBAYASHI, Patrick NIELSEN HAYDEN
Blogging (and related activities) are having an impact on the world at large, and the SF community in particular. Blogs tell us more about the people in the field, the way the field works, and who is who — and at a pace and a distribution that few if any fanzines ever matched. Blogs influence the directions of our community, can impact awards by making works or their creators better known, and perhaps even influence the works being created. Or is the impact overstated, as all things net related seem to be? Can writers use blogs to market themselves? Are blogs a way to engage the community? And is this true worldwide, or is it just an US-centric fad? Or even the English speaking world?