Monday, November 19, 2007

Who's That Guy With the Bumpy Forehead on the Back Nine?

Is there a target audience for this sort of thing? With every ball sunk, do you have to say "Make it so"?

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Picture Them Naked

Because, as enjoyable as an event like this must be to watch, why not make it even more interesting?

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WFC Photos

Pictures (the few I took) from World Fantasy are now up here.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

WFC Parties and Food

Darren Nash commenting in the last post reminded me that I wanted to write a bit more about the social life at World Fantasy. I realize I made it sound like I was only in the bar, and, of course, I spent plenty of time there.

But there was more, of course. First day there Guy Kay and I had lunch and a great conversation at Mrs. London's. Twice I ate at a Mexican place, one with Nathalie Mallet and her husband Andre Losier, the second time with R. Scott Bakker and the group from Orbit (mostly) UK, including Darren Nash. One night I ate at Wheatfields (I hope I'm remembering the name correctly), a lovely meal with Joe and Gay Haldeman, Jack Dann, Dena Bain Taylor, Guy Kay and Guy's Israeli publisher Rani. A group of us, including Bill and Jae and Karen, ate at Sperry's (which I was told is Robert Redford's favorite eatery in Saratoga - take that for what it's worth); I had an excellent chicken salad. Breakfast once (or was it twice? Most days I was up too late for that meal) was at Compton's, a greasy spoon that opened at 4am on weekdays, 3am on weekends. The one morning (well, almost noon) that I can recall there was with Bill, Ted Chiang, and Daniel Abraham. We also met Ron Drummond, publisher of the 25th anniversary edition of John Crowley's masterful Little, Big. I would have liked to have had a longer conversation with him (as, noted earlier, I would have very much liked to meet Crowley himself). The last meal I recall is at the Circus Cafe, where I had one of the finest burgers ever. That meal was also good for the company, with Jim Kelly, Judith Berman, Brett Cox, Ted Chiang, and Patrick O'Leary.

The other events were a couple of parties. One was a typically noisy room party, hot and loud and crowded and smelly, and so I didn't last long there. The other was the Orbit party, held at a restaurant/bar whose name escapes me. I attended as Fleetwood Robbins' guest (he's an editor at Del Rey and was kind enough to drag me along, even though I wasn't on the guest list), and it was there Darren invited me to dinner. Again, the party was loud and crowded, but not being in a hotel room the atmosphere was quite different. Many people ended up staying there for dinner, which looked like a fine option.

Finally, the last night the bar was so crowded a bunch of us sat out in the lobby, where a small auxiliary bar had been set up. That is where Guy introduced me to Joseph Bruchac, which was a fabulous conversation; if you ever get the chance to listen to this man read or speak, by all means jump at the chance.

That seems as good a place as any to wrap this up. I feel relaxed even writing about Joseph, and that's a good feeling to be left with.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

At Last, World Fantasy Convention

After years and years of wanting to attend, I finally made it to WFC this year. Held in Saratoga Springs, New York, this was apparently the largest-ever WFC, with something like 1200 members. Funnily, it often didn't feel that large, I imagine mostly because the facility was not itself terribly large. One could sit near registration and watch the world go by quite easily. And yet that number certainly showed in the number of people attending who I didn't see at all, or at best only briefly saw.

And seeing people seemed to be the order of the weekend.

The con started for me in the line for the train at Penn Station in New York, where I joined Esther Friesner and Ellen Asher for the ride up. We had a great visit along the way, a very pleasant ride. Esther I've talked to before, but that was the first time I'd had the opportunity to talk with Ellen (who, incidentally, won a World Fantasy Award that weekend. Yay!).

As for the con itself, I attended no panels, and only two readings (one was most of Guy Kay's, the other for Ellen Datlow's new anthology Inferno, in order to finally meet Elizabeth Bear,who could have sworn we had met before. Nope). I also did a reading myself, but that was a fiasco; initially to be scheduled, and then the ball was dropped and I was offered 8:30 Thursday (opening) night, and then that was screwed up and I got 10pm the same night, unadvertised. I'm afraid I wasn't at my best when I read.

Sometime after the reading, my roomie Bill Shunn finally arrived, and we hung that night in the bar. From there on, it was a blur of people I met, chatted with, partied with, hung with, or nodded at ever-so-briefly in the halls. Below I attempt to recreate that list, knowing full well my aging mind will drop some names:

Guy Gavriel Kay (of course, being one my my best friends in the biz; we sampled many single malts together), Jack Dann, Dena Bain Taylor (and now, alphabetically, since that makes more sense), Daniel Abraham, John Joseph Adams, Lou Anders, Eileen Bell, Judith Berman, Gary Blog, Jae Brim, Charles N. Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Eileen Capes, Steve Carper, Amy Sterling Casil, Jeanne Cavelos, Ted Chiang, Carolyn Clink, Bruce Coville, F. Brett Cox, Kathryn Cramer, Julie Czerneda, Nick Di Chario, Christine Cohen, Tom Doherty, Andy, Dave, And Hal Duncan (none related), Carol Emshwiller, Craig Engler, Charles Coleman Finlay, Jamie and West Flanagan, Alan Dean Foster, Amanda Foubister, Jim Frenkel, James Alan Gardner, Bev Geddes, Laura Anne Gilman, Ranaan Graff, Gavin Grant, Kim Greyson, Peter Halasz, Gay and Joe Haldeman, Vaughne Hansen, David Hartwell, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Peter Heck, Matt Hughes (who was our roomie for Saturday night), Jane Jewell, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, John Klima, Nancy Kress, David Kyle, Jay Lake, Claude Lalumiere, Margo Lanagan (and her husband, whose name escapes me), Jeremy Lassen, Kelly Link, Andre Losier, Karin Lowachee, Nathalie Mallet, Nick Mamatas, Randy McCharles, Terry McGarry, Victoria McManus, Yves Meynard (who kindly gave me a ride back to Montreal, from where I flew home on Monday), Lee Modesitt, Darren Nash, Kim Newman, Garth Nix, Patrick O'Leary, Josh Pasternak, Karen Perry, Tim and Serena Powers, Fleetwood Robbins, Barbara and Christopher Roden, Alan Rodgers, Diana Rowland, Cliff Samuels, Robert J. Sawyer, Ken Scholes, Darrell Schweitzer, John Silbersack, Janni Lee Simner, Michael Skeet, Melinda Snodgrass, Ian Randall Strock, Liza Groen Trombi, Jean-Louis Trudel, Den Valdron, Gordon Van Gelder, Sean Wallace, Rene Walling, Sheila Williams, Walter Jon Williams, Gary K. Wolfe, and Jane Yolen.


Y'know, writing that list was actually quite useful for me. I'm appalled at just how many people I missed, now that I've had a closer look at the membership list. People I know online but have never met, like Meg Turville-Heitz and Neile Graham, people I've always wanted to meet, like John Crowley, or people I've met before but haven't seen in some time, like Gene Wolfe.

Meals were great, always with wonderful company, and yes, some business was done. Hopefully I'll be able to update everyone on some of that business soon, but for the moment I don't want to spill on stuff that isn't final.

Again, pictures will soon follow, once I get over to the other computer.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Ever-So-Brief Tale of New York

So I arrived on Monday night after a hellaciously long (12.5 hour) train ride from Montreal. Pat and Mike met me at Penn Station just after a Rangers game had let out. Since Penn Station is below Madison Square Garden, that meant it was busy and noisy. This being New York, that shouldn't come as a surprise.

We walked until we found a Vietnamese restaurant, where I had an excellent summer roll and then chicken pho. And then we made our way to the subway and on to Pat and Mike's studio apartment which, it turned out, I was to have to myself for the next three nights. And then we bid goodnight.

Pat came and met me the next morning, and we had breakfast at Gracie's Diner in the Upper East Side and then headed over to the Museum of Natural History, where we spent the morning and should have spent much longer. It was amazing, and everything I ever wished it could be. And let me tell you, although the students eventually rolled in, I'd highly recommend a weekday morning in the fall as the right time to be there. Much easier to see things.

After that, Pat and I went for lunch (just a simple bagel with cream cheese), and then Pat headed out for a job interview. I walked over to Central Park and poked around for awhile, and then met Bill Wadman for my portrait session. After that I headed up to the top of Rockefeller Plaza to view the city from on high. Lineups here are shorter than at the Empire State Building, and while it's not as high, you do get to see that building and, I suspect, a better view of Uptown, including the immense expanse of green that is Central Park.

Afterwards, I went back to the apartment and ironed clothes, and then went to the Australian consulate for a party in honour of the Aussie contingent that had come up for World Fantasy. We were on the 34th floor of a building across the street from the Chrysler Building, and there were plenty of people drinking plenty of free Australian wine and beer. Included in that group of people were Ellen Datlow, Jay Lake, Liza Groen Trombi, Daniel Abraham, Christopher Roden (newly-met), and, a wonderful surprise, Jae Brim. Afterwards, Jae and Daniel and Jae's roomie Rajjan and I went out for Italian food, joined along the way by a friend of Jae's. Another tremendous meal of portobello mushroom soup and goat cheese bruschetta.

Next morning Mike and Pat came to meet me and we again went to Gracie's for breakfast. And then Pat headed out for errands while Mike and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Again, a remarkable place to visit, and again, first thing in the morning is absolutely the right time to visit. From there we headed downtown and took the Staten Island Ferry, then off to B&H Photo just for the experience of what is the most amazing camera store I've ever seen, then wandered around by foot some more before meeting Pat and 4 others (me and 5 librarians) for dinner at Live Bait, where I had a chicken sandwich whose title escapes me but which was excellent cajun-style fare.

After dinner we all walked to Greenwich Village to watch the Halloween parade, and then walked through Chelsea, slowly shedding group members, until Pat and Mike and I made out way to Time Square. And then we said goodnight, I headed back to the apartment, and then early the next morning took the subway back to Grand Central Station, and then walked to Penn Station to take my train to Saratoga Springs for WFC.

Oh, did I mention I also wrote and submitted a short story in the middle of all this?

Picture links will soon follow.

Addendum: Here are some pix.


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