anghara (anghara) wrote,

Worldcon, part the third - Friday and Saturday

Sometime during the previous breathless day we had run across Brenda Cooper in the Green Room, and had arranged to have breakfast with her on Friday - so that's how we started out this day, having a wonderful catch-up breakfast with a friend and basically sitting back and relaxing for a precious moment in what was turning out to be a whirlwind convention (but ye gods, these breakfasts were pricey affairs. Three dollars for a CUP OF COFFEE???) Then we went skedaddling off to the Convention Centre to check up on the status of my Kaffeeklatsch (there were four people signed up, including my husband, and while I was certainly not a Naomi Novik who "sold out" early I did better than SOME other Klatschees who had absolutely nobody at all...) and then we went off to watch a screening of "Galaxy Quest" where the screenplay writer was scheduled to make an appearance. Unfortunately just before the movie started an announcement was made that he had called in sick - which prompted nearly half the people in the room to get up and leave. What gives? The appearance of teh guy who wrote the movie would have been wonderful, but it was a bonus. I was looking forward to seeing the whole goofy thing again, myself. You know. In the company of OTHER PEOPLE who "get" it. We enjoyed it enormously - God, even at, what, fourth or fifth viewing this stuff is STILL funny! - and then I had to go to my last panel, "How to kill a character". It fell a little short of expectations, one of the panelists arrived too late to be of any meaningful importance to the discussion, one of them had his entire backlist in front of him on the table and prefaced his every remark with "And in THIS book I..." hauling out one or another of the books in his display (which is fine, nothing wrong with self-promtion, but this was NOT about HIS work - it was about the general ideas which this discussion might generate) and it was (in my own humble opinion of course) not too well moderated by a moderator who fancied that "running a tight ship" (a phrase she used in her opening remarks) was reason enough to squash any potentially interesting discussion before it had a chance to blossom. I didn't get much of a chance to say the things I wanted to say, because the moderator was in charge of the microphone and she ignored my frantic motions for its possession several times in the discussion. It was a good panel, but it wasn't the GREAT panel it could have been. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

Then we went to the "Eos New Books" panel because my Eos editor, Diana GIll, ran it. We learned that Ray Bradbury has a sequel to "Dandelion WIne" coming out in October - the book is called "Farewell Summer" and I can't wait to get my mitts on it.

After that it was a matter of calling into the Green ROom (was there any FOOD anywhere...? Well, not in here... This convention's con suites were particularly ill-equipped with food, it appears, and the Green Room didn't even appear to have a coffee urn in it - don't these people appreciate that coffee is the fuel that runs a pro during a convention like this?...)and then we went down to the Dealers Room (where this day, earlier on, I acquired a funky-faced dragonet who, because of an imperfection on his upholstered back, was promptly named Scar...) and, eventually, at 3 PM, down to my Kaffeeklatsch.

It's been said elsewhere, but I want to add on the record that whoever thought that locating the Kaffeeklatsches - ostensibly venues for conversation between the presiding pros and their guests - RIGHT next to a sound stage where on-going shows with loud amplifiers constantly and consistently drowned out any attempts at coherent two-way verbal exchange - well - whoever that was probably needs to apologise in public. Even people with normal hearing had trouble in that curtained off little nook (which was also right off the main "arena" where LARGE quantities of people seeking food and lunchtime chatter were also gathering in noisy constellations of babble and laughter) and people with any kind of hearing impairment were clearly and comprehensively discriminated against. I know that at least three of the Klatsches removed themselves from said location and went, well, Elsewhere - and there WERE alternatives. If absolutely nothing else was available, there were two meeting rooms just off the Starbucks cafe in the Hilton lobby concourse which would have been perfect for the occasion - I mean, they even had COFFEE on the premises, which the original venue did not, and once again, it's a KAFFEEklatsch - could we at least have hot water and instant coffee...? If actually brewed stuff was too much trouble? Be that as it may, one of the folks at my own Klatsch turned out to be someone whose first encounter with my writing dates from my first US con, Oasis in FLorida in 2001, and she came to chat and catch up which was, like, Really Cool. I also got to catch up with dichroic, who is the sister of alexjay and a really neat person with whom I once performed the Time Warp down a deserted main street in Auckland, New Zealand. Don't ask [grin]. The conversation was attempted against the background of some sort of Lord of the Rings spoof show set against Broadway tunes filked into oblivion, and every now and again we'd get thrown by teh LOTR context of something like "Puttin' on the Ring" (read "Ritz" for that last word, and you'll get the picture). However, we survived, and fun WAS had, and then we bade one another farewell and I hobbled upstairs (I had made yet another blister, surprise surprise) to change for the Harper Collins cocktail party that night.

Which was at a completely different hotel, of course. They told me it was walkable but not with the state my feet were in so I hailed a taxi. The party was interesting. I chatted with booksellers (one of whom buttonholed me to tell me that they had sold out of their stock of "The Secrets of Jin Shei", which was GREAT!), editors (exchanged a few words with Gordon van Gelder about the Slush Bomb...), artists (John Piccacio and I played football for a while with David Hartwell's son), other writers (Garth Nix signed his latest book for me, and Eileen Gunn gave me Japanese etiquette lessons ably assisted, later, by a young Locus editor), and a bunch of other assorted people over quantities of fruit, cheese, and freely flowing wine. I staggered back at about 8-ish, the kind folks from teh Mysterious Galaxy bookshop inviting me to share their taxi home to the Hilton (I meant to drop by and say thank you, gentle people, but time ran away with me so please consider this a public acknowledgment of your kindness).

And this was the night when we learned just what it means to be quartered on teh party floors. Hordes of buffaloes charged up and down the metal stairwell just behind our headboard. Ourside our door people were thunderingly downloading icecubes from the ice machine just across the hallway or practising their yodelling or just screaming with laughter at something like three in the morning. Bleah. Next time, remind me to go straight back down to reception and demand a different room if anything like this happens again...

Saturday, and the first order of business was the rasfc breakfast, hammered out on the newsgroup before we all went Anaheim-ward. The meetup was at 8:30 AM and Aahz (between him and me we turned out to be the main organizers of the event) was mightily entertained at my displays of impatience when people failed to turn up at 8:30 in the dot... but I wanted my COFFEE, dammit. EIther way, what with the group members and their assorted entourages encompassing wives, husbands, significant others and children, we wound up occupying two separate tables in the restaurant and teh conversations ranged from when would be a good time to quit lurking and start posting in the newsgroup to just exactly how much an 800-square-foot cube of gold (which, apparently, would contain all the gold ever mined in the world to date) would weigh, which required the specific density of gold, which one of our number pulled out of thin air via a palmtop and an Internat connection. Ah, the wonders of living in the future.

Fun Was Had, and then rdeck and I went back to the convention centre and the Dealers Room... where I saw soemthing I had not seen before.

Tribbles. Genuine Tribbles, for sale. They even PURRED like the original Tribbles. I was hauling out my checkbook as I approached the table, with the words, "just tell me how much!" coming out of my mouth before I cuold stop them.

I have a genuine Tribble now, and I kept on making it do its "Purrrrr! Purrrr!" thing - much to the entertainment of passers by. I went back to the Broad Universe table for a bit because Grace needed a break, and while she was away I sold four books - two of mine, and two of Louise Marley's novels - and then rdeck managed to convince a lady clad in the uniform of a Star Fleet captain to buy a copy of "Jin shei" A HIGHLY productive half hour or so [grin]. But then I had to decamp, and go and set up my autographing session. The final highlight was when Larry Niven came wandering by and stopped to nod hello at me, and I whined about how EVERYONE had heaps of ribbons on their badges - everyone except poor little me - and he promptly hauled out a pouch from his pocket and handed me a "TrantorCon in 23,309" ribbon. Heh.

I'm always sceptical about these things, especially at a Worldcon - when you can get autographs by writers ranging from Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven and Connie Willis to Elizabeth Bear and John Scalzi, why would anyone pick me...? But pick me people did, and there was a steady trickle, if not yet a deluge or even a stream, of people bearing books whose covers I recognised makign their way towards me on the signing tables. I filled in the rest of the time chatting to Stankey Schmidt, next to me, giving him tips on the best SOuth African wines. I suppose I had a lucky escape because the other person slated for that table and that timeslot was Harlan Ellison - whom I had never met, only knew by reputation, and was bracing myself for teh presence of. Given what the man later did to Connie WIllis in the Hugo ceremonies, I think I got off lucky. So did he, probably. I may not have been famous enough to grope in public, but by GOd if he's tried he would have had a rude awakening, icon or no icon. Frankly, I don't care that he has a reputation to maintain if he had chosen to maintain it at my expense. Connie WIllis should have probably slapped him.

Then I had to race back to the Hilton for my last program item, my reading.

We found my predecessor in the reading slots, Peter Beagle, still reading in full flow and showing no signs of stopping or even of acknowledging the presence of heads popping around the door into the reading room. So I and a handful of folks who had come to hear MY reading decamped across teh hallway to an unused empty room, and had ourselves a ball. I had door prizes - plush toys embodying certain aspects of my reading - which I tossed into the audience of some ten people or so (which is GREAT for a Worldcon reading by a non-household-name writer!) to great effect, and people wandered off with them later looking very content. I will be running a competition with teh same prizes, a little later, on the website - watch that space for more info, VERY soon! The reading done, we chatted for a while about writing, life, the universe, and Alaska. Then the audience waved me farewell, and I was free from obligation of BEING somewhere and DOING something for the first time during the entire con. It was, for all intents and purposes, over for me. Next would come... the fun part.

See the next installment.
Tags: worldcon report

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