Sunday, December 3, 2017

World Fantasy Convention, 2017, Part IV: Day 3

World Fantasy Convention, 2017, Part IV: Day 3

I've finally got back to this report -- I have been distracted by things like Thanksgiving and the deadline for my most recent Locus column. Alas, that means my memory has gobbled up even more names of people I met, which stinks. I apologize to the many I've forgotten.

Saturday morning we skipped anything elaborate for breakfast, settling for snacking in the con suite. I also took the opportunity to work out, as we also did some laundry. The only other con member I recognized in the workout room was Tananarive Due, but I'm sure everyone else was there another time!

Mary Ann and I both wanted to go to the panel "Karen Joy Fowler in Conversation", an interview conducted by Kelly Link. (Fowler is one of Mary Ann's favorite writers.) This was very enjoyable and interesting. Karen talked about her -- somewhat idyllic-seeming -- childhood in Bloomington, IN and the way that was disrupted when her father took a position at Stanford when she was 11. [Coincidentally, we ate at a restaurant in Bloomington the Saturday after Thanksgiving, on the way back from my brother's house in Indianapolis, and visiting my son's gf in Elletsville, a town next to Bloomington.] She discussed her academic career, in which she took a Bachelors and a Masters in Political Science (the first concentrating on Southwest Asia, the second in East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) because UC Davis didn't have a program about Southwest Asia.) Her approach to a writing career was interesting -- she wanted to take ballet, and after injuries sustained courtesy of the police during a protest, she thought that impossible, but her husband bought her ballet lessons anyway, which she took until the presence of "16-year-olds who could touch their knees to their ears" got too frustrating. A writing group provided her a replacement evening to herself. Eventually she started selling her stories, and then her novels.

She discussed the difference between her stories and her novels, and some little stories about her experience with workshops, including Clarion; both as student and instructor; and also some stories about the public life of the writer. I was particularly struck by her mention of her original writers' group, which is still active. Alas, she said, all the members of the group are so concerned with rejection that they won't submit their stories anywhere, so they are writing, in essence, for an audience of seven.

After that, I had nothing until my own panel, my only one this con, at 3. That meant it was a good time for a Dealers' Room visit, and then lunch. I haven't mentioned the Dealers' Room much yet -- I actually visited it several times, though I didn't buy all that much. It was a really fine, very literary-oriented, room. I spent plenty of time at the Small Beer Press table, at Dave Willoughby's table, at Greg Ketter's Dream Haven Books table, at the Tachyon Books and Fairmont Press displays, and of course at Sally Kobee's booth. I am sure I am missing some, too ... -- yes, that's right, Larry Hallack as well. Talked at some length with Patrick Swenson, Richard Warren, Jim Van Pelt, and others.

For lunch we were determined to get Barbeque. John Joseph Adams had recommended a place, I think it was Rudy's Country Store, and we planned to try that but by the time we left we were running out of time, so we picked a closer place, the Big Bib. Once again we were vaguely disappointed by Texas Barbeque -- the Big Bib was OK, but nothing special.

We got back with just a little time to spare before my panel. I ran into Jack Skillingstead, whom I've met before a couple of times, and began talking to him, mentioning that I work at Boeing, as he once did. Jack looked a bit puzzled, then the light dawned. He hadn't recognized me (because of beard) -- and he said he thought to himself "The only guy I know in SF who also works at Boeing is Rich Horton ..." -- then the other shoe fell. Nancy Kress came out of the panel she'd been at about then, in which she had gotten into a bit of a heated discussion with one of the panelists. We talked for a bit, and it was time for my panel.

The subject was the best short fiction of 2017. I had printed a list of my favorite stories of the year, trimmed to include only Fantasy. In the event, we opened up the discussion to SF as well, but really we concentrated mainly on Fantasy. The other panelists were Ellen Datlow, Scott Andrews, and C. C. Finlay. I thought the panel went very well. I don't have a summary to give -- it would end up being too top-heavy on my choices, because my memory is crummy. Someone in the audience was recording it, I think, and others were taking notes.

The other two panels I wanted to see were in the evening. Mary Ann and I weren't terribly hungry -- if nothing else, the barbeque was filling. So we went down to the Riverwalk again to find the ice cream place recommended by Joe McDermott. I think it was called Justin's. At any rate, the ice cream was as good as advertised.

The 8 o'clock panel was called "Women Authors That Men Don't Read -- or Do They?". I think the panel title purposely overstated the notion that men don't read women writers. The panelists (F. Brett Cox, Lisa Freitag, Marta Murvosh, and Dave Smeds) most agreed, I think, and discussed a variety of worthy women writers, regardless of whether men read them or not. Brett and Marta both brought up some academic stats about how much certain writers are written about -- Margaret Atwood is (perhaps not surprisingly) the most cited fantastic-connected writer. Angela Carter was surprisingly little discussed until a fairly recent jump -- I suspect it coincided with her death. Ursula Le Guin does get a fair amount of academic attention.

At 9 o'clock there was a planned "roast" for Editor GOH Gordon van Gelder. Ginjer Buchanan conducted it, and made clear that it was more of a very light roasting, or "toasting", and that proved to be the case. There was a slide show with much discussion of Gordon's life and career. A wide variety of folks got up to talk, but mostly just to say nice things. Brad Denton did give a very funny presentation. Jack Dann gave a nice talk, and so did Kij Johnson, who mentioned shared Clarion experiences. Gordon complained that the roasting wasn't as hard on him as he had hoped. (I did get up in the audience participation panel and mentioned how shortly after I got a lifetime subscription to F&SF an issue arrived without any periods -- doubtless to save enough money to afford to offer the great deal Gordon gave me on the lifetime sub.)

That was the end of the programming, so it was time for another session at the bar. Lots more people to talk to ... I discussed Tina Connolly's chances at winning Best Collection with her (we both agreed another collection would certainly win, and we were both wrong about that one -- but, alas, Tina didn't win either). I talked about Canadian weather with Jerome Stueart -- it does get really really cold up there, in certain places. (Perhaps that's why Jerome is back in Ohio now.) I was able to talk briefly with Fran Wilde, and with Fred Lerner -- I learned that he has completed a novel related to his one published short story "Rosetta Stone". I really liked that story, so I'll look for the novel. Talked with Scott Andrews for a while. (There is a picture of Scott and I with our beards in the December Locus.) Mary Anne Mohanraj. And several further people, that my shabby memory is betraying me about.

Here are links to all five installments of this con report:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

No comments:

Post a Comment