ICFA 2009, And a Friend Walks By

Do you know how in a novel a friend of the protagonist may walk back into his or her life after an extended absence–a chance encounter that is happily unexpected.  That phenomenon is also a really fun aspect of conferences.  While I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, leeching off Marriott’s free Internet access and writing updates for DynamicSubspace.net, Melissa Stevenson appeared from behind the glossy tile covered column to my right.  

I pulled up a chair for her, and we talked a bit about my earlier presentation and other things that we’ve been up to (e.g., she needs to be more careful at Walt Disney World).  While I was telling her about my essay, Melissa briefed me on a very interesting article from the early 90s that might be apropos to my discussion of online identity and Internet communities by Julian Dibbell titled, “A Rape in Cyberspace:  How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society.”  You can read it online here.  Dibbell’s work will undoubtedly come into my conversation in the longer version of my essay.  Thank you, Melissa!

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.