World Fantasy Convention Report

I am a little late with this, sorry. Also, I don’t do much in the way of detailed con reports. Not only because I’m lazy, but I’m convinced people don’t really experience the con vicariously through them. Overall, the con was really great for me. Got to see many people I haven’t seen in a long time, met some fabulous folks, was able to get things done, and I came away feeling like I have some of the most wonderful friends in the universe.

The one thing I did not do was go to any panels. I only attended two readings, and I only did that because I wanted to support those friends and didn’t happen to have something already scheduled or those times. I’m not a particular fan of readings. I think this is because I can rarely sink into fiction being read to me the way I can if I’m reading it myself. Also, not everyone is a terrific reader. Further, one of the points of going to readings for some is to meet the author in question. More often then not I find other ways to meet authors I really like.

Still, the readings I attended were good. Not like some others I heard about… goodness.

I spent a little time in the dealer’s room behind the Prime Books table, but only a little. During the day I tried to get things done, like writing or freelance work, and in the evenings I partied! There were several memorable dinners with the Prime Books crew and assorted special guests. I also got to eat with fabulous award winning and nominated Catherynne Valente and her entourage of sexy, sexy men. There was lunch with Scott from LaunchPad, whom I did not see enough of, and much running around with Alaya Dawn Johnson, Carol Burrell, Nina (Nivair H. Gabriel), and Evonne Tsang.

I met David Anthony Durham in the flesh for the first time. He’s an incredibly nice guy and I made sure to gush about his book to everyone. Mike Kabongo and I had to break the sad, sad news to him that there were, indeed, only about 8 black people at the con. I think he eventually met all of them.

I met a lot of other people for the first time, but at the risk of leaving someone out, I won’t go into a long list of names. Let’s just say that there were plenty of cool people running around and I got the chance to touch them, which is all I really want.

There were almost 1200 people there this year, which meant I kept missing people or sometimes saw them exactly once before they had to go. I’m particularly sad I didn’t get to spend more time with Karin Lowachee, whom I haven’t seen in years and years, and Steve Perry, same years and years deal. There were many OWW people there whom I haven’t seen in a while. Charlie Finley snubbed me! Is that any way to treat a cousin? Humph.

All the people I saw most I saw at parties. And there were some great ones.

The Paper Cities/Secret History of Moscow party was really, really great. I know we stayed up far too late at that one talking about all kinds of crazy stuff. If you do not have a copy of Ekaterina Sedia’s book, go to your local indie bookstore and buy it right this instant. It is seriously fabulous. She is a great person to hang around with and I couldn’t be happier for all her success so far. I’m also most pleased that Matt Kressel’s first foray into anthology publishing is shaping up. The book looks great, there’s a great roster of authors in it, and I think it will do well.

That night Nina and I decided to start writing at 3am. Somehow, words did not flow freely as we thought they would. We resisted Liz Gorinsky’s siren call to “breakfast” at the diner opening up at 3am, though.

Other memorable parties – the Abyss & Apex party, the Electric Velocipede High Tea, the Tor Party, after it calmed down a bit, the Aussie party, where Garth Nix served me wine, the Weird Tales party, which I could only be at for a little while, and other, secret soirĂ©es.

I brought many wonderful shirts with me to cons, as I am determined to be known for having awesome shirts. But none of the shirts I brought could top the one John Klima had waiting for me:

Tempest and Jim Minz pimp Electric Velocipede

It reads: tempest says read electric velocipede or she’ll come to your house and smack you around.

And, you know, I totally will. Because that zine is pretty damn great. I had the pleasure of seeing that t-shirt on several people over the weekend. And I know David Anthony Durham, Matt Kressel and Nina all have one. I hope they wear them to the next con.

There was a very interesting progression of shirts over those first few days. They got more and more threatening. Day 1 I was in a posse, Day 2 I was going to smack you around, and Day 3 I was tired of slitting throats. I felt the need to buy a shirt with a fist coming out of it for Day 4.

What else… several editors said, “Send me a story!” which I love to hear. (And I did send two of them, just two more to go.) An agent said, “Hey, when am I going to see a submission from you?” which also makes me happy. I pitched a non-fiction book to a publisher and, when I told others about said book, several people encouraged me to put the proposal together and try to get it in front of a major press. I shall not ignore such advice.

And just to round out the business dealings, I asked some people about doing interviews and artist profiles for Fantasy magazine, and all said yes. A productive weekend to be sure.

Sunday night, when most folks were gone and things were winding down, I had a nice (slightly drunken) conversation with Jetse de Vries about being cool, asked Jim Minz his opinion on some agents, and talked with Holly Black about “beavage”. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that word means. Apparently the conversation that gave birth to that unholy (but incredibly awesome) word was about the subject discussed in this post. When I told Holly that I had written said post, she exclaimed, “That was you? Oh my god, that post is legendary!” which I was not aware of. Nice! At least I do not have cause to write another one like it this year.

I’m glad I got a chance to see so many people and sad that I missed so many others. But it was a good con, I had many great conversations, things got done, and I came away feeling like an awesome person for knowing so many awesome people. I’m not suffering too much post-con depression, but I’m chalking that up to the fact that I am surrounded by a sizable chunk of those very awesome people here in my regular life. I don’t have to go far to be with my people. If only everyone was so lucky!

More of my pictures here. Pictures by Stephen and Nina here. Pictures by Sean Wallace here. Ellen Datlow’s here. WFC Flickr Pool here.