Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Fantasy 2011: Part 2, but Still Day One

Last time I wrote about Part One of arriving at World Fantasy, and then there was a pause because I developed a Coughing Sickness. I'm mostly better now, so here's the next bit.

After Part One, I went forth to registration, where I got the Big Bag of Book Swag. Registration is always great, because it's full of all the people showing up, so all I have to do is take a step in the direction of my choice and then settle into a conversation with people I know for a while, and then repeat, and I can just do that for hours. This time I made it about twenty feet into the Dealers' Room and then stuck in with most of the Clarion class of 2008 for over an hour. I've never attended Clarion or any other big workshop, but a few years of going to conventions has allowed me to meet several graduates thereof, and this time I was able to fill in some in-person meetings of people I'd previously only known online. That was worth the price of admission right there. Done. World Fantasy Success accomplished on the first afternoon.

Unlike many people, I enjoy going to opening ceremonies at conventions, so I went in and sat with Paul Genesse, a nifty guy and also my editor for The Crimson Pact: Volume Two. The ceremony was a brief and lively operation run by Connie Willis, and I got my first glimpse of Neil Gaiman through real air instead of a computer screen. I didn't faint or anything. He was kind of far away.

The evening sped up after that. I went to Kater Cheek's reading, and then on to the bar, where they only had one bartender working for a whole convention worth of people, plus other people not involved with the convention! Bad choice, bar, bad choice. I sat with a lively group on the patio behind the bar, which was not lit well. Despite the lack of light I was able to discern the many empty glasses that sat on the tables around us all evening. Because of the line at the bar, I had purchased two drinks at once, which I drank in an efficient manner, thus rendering my memories of most of the conversations rather minimal, but I do recall there was a pleasant stretch of food talk that included vegetarianism v. meat-eating. Eventually I decided it was time to see what parties were going on, so I got out my instruments and calculated a path back to the Tower, where all of the party rooms were. Okay, I didn't use instruments. I'm that good.

The party I attended was crowded, of course, so I went out to the lawn (a wonderful area just outside the con suite that was one of the best places to hang out at the convention, by day or night) and sat with Rani Graff and his friend, who was one of my Google+ acquaintances, who became my new friend, Didi Chanoch. Those two are fun fellows, and I highly recommend them. We were joined by the lovely and talented John Berlyne, who I then monopolized until I realized it was either go to sleep in my room, or go to sleep on the grass. I made it to my room.

At this point I'm realizing that if I don't hurry up the telling of this tale I may not end up telling all of it, so I will do my best to cover at least an entire day per post from now on, if not more!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World Fantasy 2011, Getting to There and Part of Day One and I'm Sorry It's So Short

For the last weekend of October, and a few days around it, I was away in San Diego for the World Fantasy Convention. I love science fiction/fantasy cons in general, and World Fantasy is my favorite of them all; it's just the right size, with around 800 people, and most of them work in genre fiction or art in some capacity.

My trip started with some time to myself. I rode a commuter train from Milwaukee to Chicago, took a cross-country train ride in a sleeper car from Chicago to Los Angeles, and then got on another commuter train to ride down the coast to San Diego. The scenery for most of the trip was stunning, and there were ocean waves for the last bit! During the rides, I spent a couple of days listening to music and reading. I started and finished Graham Joyce's novel The Silent Land on the way. It's a beautiful book. At a ski resort, there's an avalanche, and the two main characters are caught in it. When they manage to get back to the resort village, no one else is there. Joyce does an amazing job of keeping the story interesting and vivid; I recommend it.

When I got to the convention hotel, my social life went nuts, as it always does at these things. I'm afraid to try to list all of the names of the people I spent time with, not to mention all of the other people I met in passing, so I do not promise to mention everyone and if you're one of the people I don't mention, please know that I cherish you anyway. I navigated my way through the lush and strange layout of the Town and Country Resort and dropped things off in my room, and then navigated my way through it again to find some friends for lunch. By "lush," I mean that the landscaping in that place was almost visibly growing larger from one second to the next, and you could hardly see around all of the vivid green leafery and bright bright flowers, and there was the occasional disorientingly odd smell, as if things had been planted that really weren't meant to be smelled in such numbers. By "strange," I mean that the buildings were kind of old but not old enough to be, you know, desirable, and I suspect that their design was not even considered the height of good taste at the time when they were new, and also there was no direct route to anything, so really I was forging a new path almost every time I went anywhere, except when I would sometimes accidentally find myself in a familar setting for reasons I could not then and cannot now explain.

But I made it to the bar for lunch! And had good times with Ferrett Steinmetz, Amy Sundberg, Kater Cheek, Andy Romine, Vylar Kaftan, and Vy's fella whose name I learned once but must one day learn again.

And hey! Time's up. Since I really need to get on this blogging thing as opposed to the not blogging, I'm just going to post this right here and now and return to the timeline next time.