Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

After WFC... Sleeping in...

I slept in until 6:30 today, because I'm still recovering from the Absinthe and late nights (11:30 on the East Coast is, apparently, deadly for me). I couldn't make it to midnight to participate in the Weird Tales Midnight Invocation on Halloween, alas. I hope it went well.

Thoughts about World Fantasy...

Sharon Mock's husband, Zack, has an amazing beard that makes me feel like less of a man. In fact, when he was also wearing a T-Shirt with a burly bear on it, I actually shrank four inches, temporarily. As soon as we parted, I had to load up on Sharon's wonderful, homemade cookies to fuel my regrowth.

Shweta Narayan didn't have a reading? WTF? From now on, if Shweta is at a Con and she doesn't have a reading, someone should let her piggyback in their own time. I know I was reading such very short stories, if I had known ahead of time, I could have intervened with Shweta and the Con...

Will Ludwigsen's reading was astonishing, amazing, and wonderful. I was shocked at how few people there were in the room. Everyone, listen, this is really, really important. Will Ludwigsen is an amazing writer, and a fantastic reader, and you can be one of the cool people that's in the know on this one. Let me help. Here's a recent story from Strange Horizons: Here's his website: Here's a link to a podcast from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, read... well, a little over-dramatically by some actor. Will's reading at WFC was pleasant and cheerful which suited the dark material better. Still... "" Will's next story will be in Interfictions 2, about a very real house that travels across the country to find its family. Go forth and stalk, world.

Absinthe. My god. I never carried any cash (because I spent it all on books). I drank the absinthhe in the Con Suite, lots of it, and I need to find out how to donate to the Con Suite after the fact, because I never had any cash on me when I got there, and could not drop an appropriate donation into the box. And they had *fantastic* absinthe. Anyone know what brand that was? I forgot to ask. (Because I was drinking Absinthe). Someone tell me who was running the Con so I can send them a donation in honor of the Absinthe to their Con Suite.

Guy Gavriel Kay has a new book coming out, and he read some of it. I know, the words "Guy Gavriel Kay has a new book coming out" are enough to open the wallet and open the mind. However, hearing the reading confirms that this is going to be another fantastic book from the premiere historical fantasist. I can't wait!

Finally, at long last, met Ann and Jeff VanderMeer! Unsurprisingly, they're wonderful. Unsurprisingly, Jeff renounced squid during his reading, and I wish him all the best with it. I admit, I have my doubts that it will succeed. His fans have not renounced squid, and that's really the problem he faces. City of Saints and Madmen will likely be promoting Jeff's squidness for decades to come. There will be no escape. The reading from Finch is an excellent reminder that everyone should be picking up Finch right about now. Finch is one of the best books of the year. It is the perfect marriage of very dark fantasy, and very dark noir. It rewards Ambergris locals, who've been celebrating the freshwater squid festivals yearly, and it rewards newcomers who are only ready for a taste of the strange, surreal, city of secret histories. "Finch" is the real shit. Get thee to a bookstore.

Picked up Camille Alexa's short story collection, at last! It's been sitting in my wish list for a bit, and now it shall be removed. I shall read it shortly. Camille has blue hair, and writes speculative poetry. She hung out with me during the group signing and refused to sign my book until she was inspired to come up with something interesting to say. How often do you ask a writer, during the huge group signing event at WFC, to sign their book, and they say "Not yet! Wait! Let me think!" Camille was one hip cat. I think if she started hanging with Sharon, Zack, and Shweta all the cool of the room would become unbalanced and everyone at the edges of their vicinity would only be able to talk about uncool things, like peanut-based dioramas of Civil War battles, or yogurt.

Had a holy shit moment when Jeffrey Ford said hello to me in the hallway. I almost fell over. Yes, I am a writer. But, more importantly, I am a fanboy. I come to this field as a reader, first, and a writer second. Holy shit, Jeffrey Ford said hello to me in the hallway, after we had been drinking with Chris Roberson, Jetse de Vries, Neil Williamson (all fantastic people, by the way). Jeffrey Ford sat across the table from me. I leaned over to Neil to speak quietly in the crowded room, "Hey, uh... Is that... Jeffrey Ford over there?" Neil said, "Yeah, isn't this Con awesome?" "Yes," I said, "This is an awesome con". I never really had the courage to say hello, because I knew I'd be a trembling, over-excited fanboy. Like, for instance, what I was when I said hello to Connie Willis, and also Nalo Hopkinson. Later on, Jeffrey Ford said hello to me in the hallway and I almost fell over.

(This is very similar to my reaction when Jeff VanderMeer first e-mailed me to say he was going to be writing a review of my first novel. Holy Shit, Jeff frikkin' VanderMeer just e-mailed me!?)

I was so glad I got to catch up with my Texas friends, Chris Roberson, Alison Roberson, John Picacio, Gerald Warfield, AlleyPat, Tricia! Jesus, I hadn't seen y'all in, like, forever! I miss you folks!

TANGO! The lovely Melinda Thielbar and J. C. Hay were at the con, and I haven't seen them since Saratoga Springs! I wish I had more time with everyone I haven't seen in so long! Goddammit, the con really needs to be about six weeks to catch up with everyone! Melinda introduced me to one of her fellow Clarion graduates, who teaches Tango, and we learned to dance just a little in the huge hallway of the Fairmont. Okay, John Hay wasn't around when we got around to the tango, but he missed out. My only regret is that Melinda's husband wasn't around. Richard Dansky deserves some accolades and beer, as I know the paperback rights to Mr. Dansky's excellent novel FIREFLY RAIN were recently picked up. I'll be sure to let everyone know again closer to April. Don't forget, now, party people.

Books! I have so many books! Where will I put them all? Everyone who blogs about WFC will blog about the books. I was most pleased to get a free copy of MADNESS OF FLOWERS by Jay Lake, at his reading. (THANKS JAY!) I enjoyed Trial of Flowers the most out of Jay's books, because New Weird is aesthetically more fun to me than Clockpunk (though I did enjoy the Clockpunk). Now I have the new freaky-deaky chapter in a weird city with unforgettable magic and gods. My favorite scene in Trial of Flowers was the roulette table, and the surprising appearance of the color white. *wink* No spoilers, here, folks! I wonder what will happen next...

I could go on and on and on and on. Look, if you're a writer, and you got the scratch, this is the Con for you to go to go to go to.

And, I've got to go to go to go to work, party people.

Oh, I did a reading Friday, and I was very pleased that people I didn't know showed up! Naturally, I was more pleased that people I knew showed up! I read three completely different stories under the assumption that I want everyone to have something they like. "Speaking of Butterflies", from Brain Harvest, "The End of Her World" from Dark Recesses Press, and "Dedalus and the Labyrinth" forthcoming from Weird Tales. Everyone told me I looked really nervous (which I was), but also that they loved the second story. Having read a similar line-up at a Con, I happen to know that most con audiences fall asleep during "The End of Her World", which is a very dense and depressing sort of story. I was surprised it was the most popular one of the day. Hm. Next year, if I do a reading, I may read "Death's Shed" forthcoming from LCRW...

Anyhow, have a fantastic day, everyone. I have a fantastic amount of work to do, so I must leave you with that.


J m mcdermott said...

Only at WFC can I post an entire entry about it and forget to mention the lovely and talented Nancy Hightower.

Only at WFC can I attend all weekend, and get so distracted by all the amazing goings-on that I forget to mention THE NEW AWARD FOR SPECULATIVE FICTION IN TRANSLATION ANNOUNCED DURING THE CON!

Only at WFC can I write a whole post and forget to mention how wonderful it was to finally meet Cheryl K. Morgan and chat books!

Only at WFC can I spend all weekend looking around for GoH Zoran Zivkovic and get so busy meeting amazing people and famous people and other people that I completely whiff tracking down Zoran and saying hello!

Jesus Christ, if every Con were like this, no one would go home. We'd all just travel, like New Romantic noblemen from Con to Con to Con, every weekend, scribbling stories to fuel the plane tickets and hotel rooms. Maybe it's a good thing it's only once a year.

Linda J. Daly said...

I'm sorry I missed WFC! I would have been at Will's reading, for sure.

And I love Zak. He's one of my Viable Paradise X tribemates -- and Sharon spent the week with us, too, as a support spouse. (Which was only fair, since at Sharon's VP (IX), Zak attended as support spouse.

I haven't seen the beard yet, but I'm anxious to.

(Hey, and my word verification word is 'ingest.' I should start keeping a list of those.)

J m mcdermott said...

Hey Linda!

Part of me always kind of sad when the word verification assures me that I'm not, yet, a robot.

Anonymous said...

Hey, good meeting you!


Anonymous said...

Hey, great meeting you! ...even if you did mention everyone else BUT me in your post... :)


J m mcdermott said...

Hey! Jesus what a crowd! I didn't mention Patricia McKillip, Rudy rucker, the fantastic custom beer at the nightshade party, etc. So you're in some great company, Robert! Great meeting you, and your reading went great even minus the guitar!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about commenting twice...some glitch with signing into my Wordpress account so I could post.

Yeah, the Lightbreaker beer at the Nightshade party!

Zoran was at my reading, just a few feet away from you...

Unknown said...

The absinthe they had was St. George's Absinthe Verte. It made me very happy too, since I'd wanted to try the stuff for ages and ages and never could justify the cost of the bottle sight un-tasted.

I had a helluva time too, and it was great getting a bit of time to hang out with you. Sorry about the intimidating beard. I've got a lot of different stories on why it is, but I like the 'novel beard' story best. IE, I started growing it out when I began my novel and I'll cut it off when I get an agent... or revise it... or find the perfect straight razor or something.

J m mcdermott said...

Zak, my friend, never apologize for an awesome beard.

If anything enter a contest!