I'm back from World Fantasy Con...what a place for a hard SF writer to hang out in, yes? :-) Except that I'm hardly a hard SF writer only.
Good panel topics with some quality discussions. The importance of a good moderator was...er...demonstrated a couple of times, but overall, it's a wonderful convention with lots of opportunity to visit.
I sat on a panel that discussed the relationship between reader and writer. While it initially seemed that we panelists were poles apart in our attitudes...everything from 'I have no obligation to my reader' to 'I have the obligation to make the story accessible'...in general the agreement seemed to be that although you tell the story YOU want to tell, you need to do it as well as possible so that the reader has every opportunity to share it with you.
The question of what obligation I, as reader, have to the writer cost me a bit more thought. What obligation if any DO I have? I think my obligation lies in my willingness to work, to stretch my expectations and give that writer the chance to teach me what she/he is trying to do. No, I do not mean I'll slog through 350 pages of badly written stuff, but if the story iw well written, I'll struggle with unfamiliar style and language and give the writer the chance to show me just what is going on.
Travel home was a fantasy all its own. Tornadoes and thunderstorms combined to crash a lot of the domino-chains that are on-schedule flights and I spent most of the night in airports or on planes. Enough to make me realize that the airport IS a world of fantasy, full of the boundaries between reality and unreality that I love in fantasy. Now I'm going to have to write an airport fantasy. :-)