I'm back from the road. And I've got to admit that I had a pretty nice time at the Worldcon.
Meeting Vivian and Yang Feng, (left and right above) from Science Fiction World, the Chinese magazine and publishing house in Chengdu, China. They were both the kind of people you take an instant liking to, and reminded me how much I like China, Chengdu, Science Fiction World, and all the folks I met on my visit there. I value my association with SFW and hope it can be extended into the future.
Hanging out with Pat Cadigan, one of the two greatest science fiction writers ever born in Schenectady, New York. She won a Hugo, by the way. That was typical of her.
Having a ray gun shootout with George R. R. Martin. I won. Though I suspect he'd disagree.
Drinking and arguing and talking trash and literature with Eileen Gunn and Gary K. Wolfe. Every convention, there's someone you keep running into and into and into, without intending to. This con, it was Eileen and Gary. Though my very good friends Ellen Datlow and James Patrick Kelly came close.
Short encounters with Howard Waldrop and Kim Stanley Robinson.
The How to Write Short Fiction panel with James Patrick Kelly, Cat Rambo , and Vylar Kaftan. This one worked brilliantly for two reasons: 1) It was a straight-up question-and-answer session. Nothing but what the audience wanted to hear. 2) Nobody showboated. There was some polite disagreement, but we all simply did our best to give the best and most useful advice possible. There is a consensus wisdom on how to write that comes from the collective experience of hundreds of writers and we simply passed along those parts of it which in our experience work. For the rest of the convention, I had people coming up and telling me it was a great panel.
Meeting Mary Mohanraj, I think for the first time. If I'm wrong about that, I plead convention amnesia.
Spending lots and lots of time with Gardner Dozois and Susan Casper. I could've done that here in Philadelphia, but it just wouldn't have been the same.
Chatting with Arlan Andrews, founder of SIGMA, about his entrepreneurial experiences and his adventures in Saudi Arabia.
Learning from Billee Stallings that she's published several of her father's western novels as e-books. Billee's father was Will Jenkins, who published SF under the name of Murray Leinster. An extremely important science fiction writer and prolific over many, many genres.
Skipping the Hugo Awards ceremony because, as Howard Waldrop put it, "I don't have a dog in that fight," and discovering that the hotel elevators were empty. No lines! I went to the SFWA Suite, where Gardner and Gordon Van Gelder were following the awards by virtual means and telling stories about the old days. I joined them and discovered that I had become one of the Old Guys whom everyone listens to because we know the dirt and the lore and can pass it down. I also discovered that I had somewhere along the line acquired the discretion to pass along only the non-scandalous stories. Did I ever find myself saying, "So there he was, drunk, naked, and pushing a bed down the corridor when...?" No, I did not.
Seeing friends, some all too briefly, I met in science fiction events in other countries. Petra, I hope you enjoyed the George and Howard Panel I steered you toward.
And . . . well, heck. I could go on like this forever. I think back to my first few conventions, where I haunted the panels hoping against hope that somebody would slip and let fall the secret of how to actually be a writer, and how lonely they were because I didn't know anybody, and I have to admit that things have gotten a lot better.
So I was happy to have gone and now I'm happy to be home. May all your travels be as happy.